Making Application: A College Scholarship and Your Personal Statement

Making Application: A College Scholarship and Your Personal Statement
  • Opening Intro -

    If you are planning to apply for one or more college scholarships you are making a smart decision. A college scholarship can help defray at least some of the costs related to your academic pursuits.


And with billions of dollars in scholarship money awarded each year you have the opportunity to claim your slice of the largess.

Making application for a college scholarship takes research. You need to find those scholarships you qualify for and follow the instructions to the letter. You will also need to include a personal statement that explains to the scholarship committee who you are, what you are applying for and why you would like to be considered. Here is what you need to know about writing a personal statement.

1. The ideal candidate for committee consideration.

As you apply for a college scholarship you should understand what type of individual the scholarship committee is considering. There are also different types of scholarship candidates that they want.

For instance, if this is a sports-oriented scholarship, then you need to emphasize your athletic prowess. If you are applying for an academic scholarship, one that is based on your educational achievements, then you will emphasize that point.

Keep in mind that some scholarships are directed towards a specific gender, ethnic group, race or a socio-economic group. This may sound discriminatory, but it is permissible by law.

2. Read the scholarship prompt.

Some students do not know what to write in a personal statement. The scholarship committee offers you assistance by providing a prompt.

Specifically, that prompt outlines some of the points that they would like you to make as you craft your statement. Rarely will you go into this process blind. Typically, you are provided with enough information to guide you on your way.

3. Imagine what you will say.

Knowing that a statement is due from you should mean that you will first consider some things about you. These “things” include certain characteristics that are peculiar to you including your traits.

You should also consider past achievements and how these tie in who you are and what you want to become. Once you recall enough facts about yourself, jot these down on a piece of paper.

4. Work on your list.

In the second point we examined the prompt. Now, you need to look further out by developing a list of possible topics to discuss as well as goals you want to reach.

Essentially, you are building a case for yourself, one where you must convince the committee that your application warrants thoughtful consideration. It is important to tell a story explaining where you have come from, where you are now and what you hope to achieve through your academic pursuits.

Your career goals are, of course, important as well. For what you learn while at college will prepare you for life. Tie it all in to make your case.

5. Begin to write.

With your main topic selected you should begin to draft an outline. That outline will help you to write your first draft, as well as keep you focused without rambling on.

Most personal statements are fairly concise with colleges requiring 500 words perhaps more. Do not worry about being wordy; you will be refining and editing your document in due time.

Your first draft must simply come from your heart with little worry about sentence structure, spelling, grammar or the nuances that will set your work apart from the pack.

6. Complete your first draft.

Write your first draft and then set it to the side for now. Plan to pick it up on another day to review what you wrote. With fresh eyes and a clear mind you can discover if you covered the salient points.

It is at this point you can revise your copy to reflect your current thinking. Expect that you will have to go through at least two or three rounds of edits before you nail down your final copy.

7. Prepare your final copy.

You’re now ready to write the copy that you will turn in with your scholarship application. This copy will essentially be your most recent draft rewritten. By writing or typing it over once again you can hear how it sounds and make corrections to sentence flow.

Once done give your personal statement to someone you trust to review it. If there are problems or some other point can be made or expounded, then take those into consideration and adjust your personal statement accordingly.

College Scholarships

You should know that college scholarships have strict deadlines. That means you should have your personal statement done well in advance of the deadline with a final copy ready to go.

Yes, it is a lot of work to apply for college scholarships, but the financial remuneration can spell the difference between going to college or not for many prospective students.

See AlsoCollege Scholarships in the Unlikeliest Places


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Categories: College Planning