Bryanna Davis is a Marketing Coordinator at International Student Loan. In this article, she will go ahead and dive right into how to write a killer scholarship essay in 8 steps.

Essentially a scholarship is free money, and typically they are for your international education.

Now just because they are free doesn’t make them easy to get. So there is a bit of work involved with scholarships first locating a scholarship and secondly, applying.

One of the hardest parts of applying for a scholarship is going to be the essay portion.

Many students have a problem with this, so this article is devoted to writing killer essays.

Step 1: Understand the Question or Topic of the Essay

It’s important to read over the question many times. If you can’t understand what the essay is asking, you’re going to want to find a friend, family member, or perhaps a professor who can help explain what the essay is asking.

If they are unsure as well, you do have another option. We have had this happen in the past, usually with international students who are not yet in their country of study. Contact the host institution or company that is granting the scholarship and ask them for further clarification of exactly what the question or topic is asking. Some students are hesitant about doing this because they think contacting them will hurt their chances of receiving the scholarship. Keep in mind that you have the option of not sharing your name. Give the host school or company a call and say that you don’t want to identify yourself, but you need more information. It really won’t be a problem.

Step 2: Do Your Research

Every single essay has at least a little bit of research that can be done. This will help “beef up” your essay and give you a better chance of putting your best foot forward. We’ve gone ahead and created a sample question to help explain this step better.

Sample question: “Ways you plan to use your business experience to help mold the future of international business.”

Of course, you probably won’t get this question or one like it, but we have done this to show you how to break down the question and find the different areas you can research.

– So the first part is to look at the part of the question that says, “Use your experience in the business.” you will want to start by researching yourself. You can do this by gathering your resume, past awards, or simply creating a list of your past business experiences. This will help you reflect on the types of business experiences you have had and what you will be able to bring to the table to help the future of international business.

– The second bit of research you should conduct is on the international business itself and a few ways to improve. Look for current problems in the international business world and then bring it all together and see how you can combine your experiences with the problems that international business is currently facing.

Step 3: Brainstorm

Essentially brainstorming is having a quiet moment to let your mind run with your thoughts. Write down your thoughts and any ideas that come to mind that might be parallel to what the question is asking. So once again, using our example question, we have to write down a few ideas that might come to mind when brainstorming this topic.

For example, to explain, we have three ideas, but when you brainstorm, you will have many more ideas that come to mind and will probably have a few off of these ideas.

So the examples we have come up with our time difference, cultural etiquette knowledge, and working habits.

Keep in mind when you are brainstorming that you can always cross a thought out of your list later on, but if you have a great idea that you don’t write down, chances are you won’t remember it later. No matter how silly you may think the idea is, please write it down because you never know when it could come to play later on.

Step 4: Funnel Your Main Ideas

After your brainstorming, it’s time to funnel your ideas into one idea, turning it into your essay’s main point.

Once again, We have taken the example question and created Our main idea based on our brainstorming ideas.

We took “business etiquette” and turned it into “How learning business etiquette of the country you are in is beneficial.” Our essay will now focus on this main point. Keep in mind that you can use your other brainstorming ideas to help accentuate the main point, but they should all tie together to focus on what the main point is saying.

Step 5: Write a First (Rough) Draft

As you may have noticed, you’re already more than halfway through the eight steps before you even start to write your essay.

There are a lot of important steps before you put pen to paper. Whenever you write your first draft, you’re going to want to find a quiet area where you can think, and if you prefer to use a typewriter, feel free to do so (even though we wouldn’t recommend it).

Do whatever gets your brain juices flowing because the purpose is to write a killer scholarship essay. Something to keep in mind is there are eight steps to this process. Technically you could write an essay in only one step: writing, but then it wouldn’t be a killer essay, just an OK one.

Here’s a tip to keep in mind when you sit down to write your first draft. If you are writing an essay that even you don’t want to read, chances are the judges won’t want to either. You want to make it entertaining, creative, and original. You can do this by telling personal stories or experiences to help relay who you are to the judges.

Step 6: Leave It, Then Come Back

After you have written your first rough draft (probably the easiest step of all), leave it!

Leave your essay alone for a few hours or a few days, however long you have. If you have a few days, that’s best, but any period is great for giving your eyes and mind a break.

When you come back, you will see any spelling or grammar mistakes – any of those larger errors that you may have made the first time.

Step 7: Proofread

The next step in our process is to proofread. You’re going to want to look for any spelling or grammar errors in your essay.

After you have proofread your essay, find someone else who can review it for you.

When writing a language that is not your first (so as a second or third language), we recommend finding someone whose native language is the same as the scholarship prompt.

For example, if your essay is in English, find a native English speaker to proofread your essay.

Step 8: Submit!

Of course, the final step is to submit your essay, but the key is to ensure you turn it in on time.

We had a student in the past who went through all eight steps and created a beautiful essay, but he was a few minutes late submitting it, and it was unfortunately disqualified from winning the scholarship.

Every essay has rules, and after all, they are giving you free money, so it’s important to follow the rules.

After following the other seven steps, it’s important to complete the process and complete the 8th step, turning in your essay on time.


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