Struggling to write a scholarship essay? Let’s make it easy!
Here’s everything you need to know about writing your scholarship application for the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award, valued at $28,000.
- Scholarship Value: $28,000
- Application Deadline: February 1st
- Who Can Apply: Students graduating high school, finished high school, or completing their first year of CÉGEP
- Where To Apply: Terry Fox Humanitarian Award Website
If you’re anything shy of a natural word wizard, essay writing can be a daunting experience.
The thought of hovering over your keyboard for hours, watching the curser on your word doc blink over, and over, and over again, can force your body’s cortisol levels through the roof! Yikes.
Consider this article your 101 crash course to crush your scholarship application, particularly the essay portion. Let’s use the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award as an example.
The first thing you’ll need to know is that the application is divided into four primary categories:
- References (contacts of people that can speak to your character and humanitarian volunteer experience).
- Personal information (Basic Information, Emergency Contact, Education, Work Experience, Athletic, Volunteer, Other Extracurricular Activities, Awards and Recognition).
- Essay (750 words to summarize your entire existence, ugh).
- Supporting documentation (transcripts).
The good news? Submitting your reference, personal and supporting information is pretty much fool-proof. So, you’re safe there.
The other news? The personal essay asks you to cover a lot of information, which means you’ll have to elevator pitch yourself in a maximum of 750 words *cue the internal monologue of panic*.
So, let’s focus on the essay stuff.
First, have you ever seen Gary Provost’s work where he talks about the perils of mundane writing?
Okay, I’ll show you!
In his work, “Make Every Word Count,” Provost offers some useful writing advice. The key to making yourself stand-out is to catch your reader’s attention, immediately. Plus, some people say that with attention spans decreasing in today’s digital climate, marketers only have 8.5 seconds (or less) to make an impression. So, it’s best to start every introduction with a short (but punchy) sentence. From there, you’ll want to switch it up between short and long sentences to add variety and keep the writing dynamic.
In the case of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award essay, maybe it looks something like: “I was 13 years old when I saved a man’s life.”
Would you keep reading? I would.
When they say “background,” they don’t mean your place of birth or native language. The program administrators will want to know who you are in a general sense, including your accomplishments, your motives, and perhaps the steps you’re taking to reach certain objectives.
RULE OF THUMB: In the words of legend Gord Downie (may he rest in peace) “Nobody’s interested in something you didn’t do.”
Basically, talk is cheap. Demonstrate your commitment and embodiment of Terry’s humanitarian or athletic ideals by explaining the implications of what you’ve done, instead of what you’re going to do.
This could be anything, really. Whether you’ve faced mental health struggles, physical barriers, or learning disabilities throughout your youth — this is your opportunity to talk about how adversity has turned into a drive to explore solutions.
In some cases, obstacles may not necessarily be personal.
What does that mean? Maybe you’ve outlined specific humanitarian or social welfare objectives, but you find that the information surrounding certain topics is not easily accessible. How could you possibly invoke change if you don’t have adequate knowledge? QUESTION TO ALWAYS CONSIDER: What does a society look like when the public’s access to information is restricted? What are the social and political implications of that? Explore this question. Ponder it. Embrace your inner Orwell. If you don’t have the solution to an obstacle, always talk about what steps need to be taken to get there.
The easiest way to tackle this would be to clearly outline what humanitarianism means or looks like to you, how you developed your definition, and how your actions relate. In this section, you can clearly outline the five W’s with respect to how you help others. If possible, this would be a great place to toss in some hard numbers or measurements that clearly indicate the impact your efforts have made in a community.
Where the heck are you? How did you get there? Where are you going?
This is your final Hail Mary to prove your Terry-ness. You can talk about your educational plan and where you plan to take it in terms of a career. What impact will your humanitarian service have on your studies? Or, better yet, what impact will your studies have on your humanitarian service?
Get creative and think long term as you’re writing scholarship applications, you’ll do just fine. For more tips, read “The Ultimate Guide To Winning A Terry Fox Humanitarian Award.”
Are you looking for more ways to make student stuff easier? yconic is all about preparing Canadian students, like yourself, and your parents for college and university. Also, that means matching you with the right school, helping with tuition costs, and providing advice on how to live your best post-secondary life.
So, check out yconic for (what we like to call) the ultimate student manifesto.