Scholarship Essay Prompts for an Outstanding Application

College fees are often a massive burden for many students. For this, students often turn to student loans, grants, and scholarships to alleviate the financial burden that comes with a college education.

However, many institutions require a scholarship essay as part of their criteria for sifting among various applicants. Your essay should thus indicate your attention to detail and highlight your accomplishments, goals, and writing abilities.

The scholarship essay should also put up a strong argument to show why you deserve the scholarship and express your overall understanding of a subject. If you are confused about how to write your scholarship essay, this article should come in handy.

Here, we’ll discuss the steps, tips, and outline of the essay, helping you overcome errors that could compromise your final score.

Scholarship essay outline

The scholarship essay outline follows a simple structure with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Like all essays, however, your scholarship paper should organize details to ensure flow and present an outstanding argument, worthy of landing you a scholarship.

Introduction: how to start a scholarship essay

The introduction of your scholarship essay should take up between one and two paragraphs of your essay. This section highlights the key ideas of your essay and also contains the hook for your paper.

As such, your introduction should be outstanding to make a great first impression that pushes the scholarship panel to interact with your application further. Some great ways to hook your readers include using rhetorical questions and anecdotes highlighting your key points.

Ideally, give your introduction a personal touch, expressing your desires, fears, and hope, for better interaction with your audience.


The body of your essay expands on your arguments while providing relevant support where needed. This section should make up the bulk of your essay, taking up between two and three paragraphs of your essay.

Conclusion: how to end a scholarship essay

The conclusion often comprises one paragraph and highlights what you hope to achieve from the scholarship. Here, reiterate your hopes and highlight how the scholarship will help you towards these desired outcomes.

How to write a scholarship essay

Owing to its importance in your academic journey, much thought ought to be invested in the scholarship essay. As such, rushing into writing your paper may jeopardize your chances to land the scholarship or result in challenges in your writing process.

Some of the steps to consider as you write your essay include:

  1. Understand the essay question

Before researching your topic, read the question to determine the requirements for your essay. The question may specify the subject of your essay, the preferred word count, and the formatting style recommended by the scholarship panel.

Ideally, jot these requirements down and use them as a guide for editing your essay, to ensure compliance with the requirements.

  1. Brainstorm and research your topic

After establishing the subject, brainstorm on the experience you have been asked to discuss and highlight the chronology of events that led to a certain lesson. If necessary, research to establish the necessary sources to back up various arguments within your paper.

  1. Prepare an outline

It is crucial to prepare an outline before you write your essay. The outline allows you to organize your ideas for optimal flow and to have a smooth writing experience without veering off your key arguments. 

The outline also helps you gauge how well ideas have been developed and to trim irrelevant essay ideas. 

  1. Write

After developing your outline, conversationally expand your essay. We recommend that you keep your sentences short and also that you avoid jargon which could compromise your reader’s capacity to understand your essay.

  1. Edit

Finally, peruse your work to determine how it meets various requirements and also to correct grammatical and structural errors that could compromise your final score. You may consider expert scholarship essay writing help to nub various issues and format your essay to the acceptable scholarship essay standards.

Scholarship essay format

  • 1-inch page margins
  • 12-point font size
  • Standard font, e.g., Times New Roman or Calibri
  • Double-line or 1.5-line spacing

How long should a scholarship essay be?

A scholarship essay often ranges between 500 to 1000 words. The essay length however depends on the institution and is therefore prescribed in the essay requirements.

If no instructions are offered, consider consulting beneficiaries of the scholarship or limiting your essay to the minimum words required for a persuasive case. However, avoid very long papers as these may prove tedious for the scholarship panel given the vast number of applications to consider.

Scholarship essay prompts

  1. What impact did the positive or bad challenge you faced have on you?
  2. Describe a unique ability or accomplishment that sets you apart from other students.
  3. Do you concur that overcoming obstacles is the only development path?
  4. Why are you a qualified candidate for this scholarship?
  5. What is your study strategy and why did you pick this particular topic of study?
  6. Methods to avoid bullying and abuse in school settings
  7. Cultural appropriation and racism as roadblocks to social progress
  8. What beneficial effects has your favourite book had on your life?
  9. Do we manufacture our happiness?
  10. Why are you concerned about education?

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