Tips for Writing a Strong Essay

Your scholarship essay should discuss yourself and your educational goals and should include personal information that you want to be considered by the scholarship selection committee when they evaluate your application.  A strong essay will greatly improve your chances of receiving a scholarship. Most students feel some anxiety about writing essays, but the following tips can help you improve your score:

  1. Put your heart—and some work—into it.
    The scholarship judges are instructors and staff from around HCC. They care about HCC students, which is why they volunteer their time to read the applications. Tell them about who you are—your background, your struggles and past successes, your hopes, your educational and career goals and how a scholarship would help you to achieve them. And show them you will deserve the scholarship by taking the time to work on your essay.
  2. Do not write as if you are writing on MySpace!
    It is perfectly fine to talk about yourself and use pronouns like “I” and “my.” However, this is still an essay, so treat it like something you might submit in an English class. Do not begin the essay with “Hi, my name is . . . .” This is not an appropriate beginning for an essay. Also, judges should not know your name when they are reviewing your application.
  3. Be specific.
    If you want to “help people” someday, say how. What specific actions do you see yourself doing someday? If your family has had financial problems, provide some details. If you have participated in different volunteer or school organizations, write about what you specifically did in those organizations. Help the reader to see and feel your experiences and your goals.
  4. Structure your essay. Start with a good introduction and end with a strong conclusion.
  5. Re-read, revise, and proof your essay. Also run a spell check and have somebody else review it before you submit it.


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