Many scholarship applications rely on great writing. Your words need to be clear, concise and grammatically correct to keep you in the running. Regardless of the type of scholarship, here are some writing tips that help your application stand out.
Correct punctuation is one of the most overlooked components of writing. It can certainly make a large impact on the message you are trying to convey, as well as the overall feel of the application. People can often tell how much time and thought you put into an application by seeing the punctuation done (or not done). Now, if you cannot decide which specific type of comma you need to use, I’m pretty sure it won’t make a huge difference in your application. However, capitalization, periods, and regular commas are essential for your writing to be taken seriously. Grammarly is a great resource to keep your application mistake-free.
When writing traditional paragraph answers or essays, it’s crucial to keep your focus idea(s) in mind. Creating a simple outline can help you narrow in on essential information, and get rid of the unrelated info.
Every person’s dreaded sentence from their English teacher: “Make sure you have a clear opening and closing statement!” (At least this was one of mine). However, in my opinion, this part of writing doesn’t need to be so daunting. If you’re having trouble thinking of a good opener/closer, start with a general statement and return to it once you have written more of the body information. This is why making outlines before you write can be helpful. You will already have planned your main points and their supporting evidence! When deciding which information should go where, search up a paragraph/essay structure template and read your writing out loud to hear how it flows. After all, information placed awkwardly is most easily caught by hearing it!
Mind the Limit
Y’all, I learned this the hard way. Always, always, always make sure you read the character OR word limit! When applying for a scholarship recently, I absent-mindedly disregarded specifications of the limit and ended up having to cut down my beautiful paragraphs from 250 WORDS, to 250 CHARACTERS (which is literally two sentences). On the other hand, if you are struggling to reach a word/character limit, it’s helpful to remember that quality always wins over quantity. Now obviously, don’t just write 50 words for a 250 word limit, but if you are close enough and feel that all the information is there and well-presented, don’t feel obligated to max out that limit–no one has time to be counting the exact amount you have written anyways.
Find Your Thesaurus
Strong synonyms for adjectives and verbs when describing yourself and what you do can make a significant difference to the power of your application. Find your thesaurus, (book or online), and find words that make your writing richer.
Everyone can make little grammar, punctuation, or structural mistakes. Read your writing out loud, ask for someone else to read it, and spell-check the heck out of that application.
You got it, you brave human! It takes a lot of guts and energy to write about different parts of your life and present them as clearly as possible. After hitting submit, go get some cake, you deserve it!