Common Scholarship Essay Questions And How To Answer Them

A lot of scholarships today make essays one of their selection criteria. The topics of the essays are given randomly and you are required to be as sincere and detailed as is necessary to provide every piece of information the screening committee wants in the essay.

The questions appear simple in most cases until you start thinking about how to compose an essay. In most cases, you have to think critically to have a meaningful piece. Your essay must be sincere, organized, and written in a grand style.

Some students don’t consider the essay as serious as they should, and this leads to failures, with time, energy, and money wasted. An essay is one of the easiest ways for scholarship organizers to gauge your academics. If you fail to impress the audience with your essay, chances are your application will add to the pile of rejected ones destined for the trash.

The way you compose the essays says a lot about your abilities. Poor writing betrays a lack of or inadequate communication abilities. Students who cannot communicate effectively have little chance of impressing any scholarship review committee.

There are some very common essay questions that scholarship bodies ask. We’ll look at how to go about essays on such topics. Here are the best perspectives on how to approach each type of question.

Why Do You Deserve The Scholarship?

You can start by telling them how the scholarship money will help you achieve your long-term goals. That goal must align with the purpose of that scholarship (if there is any stated purpose) or at least not against it. Every organization will typically have some purpose for dolling out scholarship awards. Only candidates who have goals aligned with that of the sponsor will be considered suitable candidates. Your ability to convince the review committee that your ambition serves the interest of that scholarship is key to your success.

You have to focus on the purpose of that scholarship and where it comes from as you write your essay. This will help you keep the essay in line and not include things that are irrelevant or do not contribute to building your profile in the image outlined by the organization.

While trying to persuade the screening committee that you are worthy of that scholarship, it is helpful to point out and explain some of your achievements. Do not be shy to promote yourself, only don’t exaggerate or come off as arrogant. Extraordinary achievements show that you are very likely to make it in your future education. If you don’t show any achievements and you compete with people who do, that will put you at a disadvantage even if you did well in other parts of the application process. In most cases, preference leans towards candidates who have demonstrated the ability to be great achievers.

You can also point out the obstacles you faced, maybe during your previous education, and how you overcame such obstacles. The emphasis should be on how you overcame those obstacles, like through innovative problem-solving approaches. This shows that you are a problem-solver, which is a great leadership personality, particularly if that scholarship is all about grooming leaders in various fields.

Guide your essay with a thesis statement. This statement will help make your piece cohesive and simplify the task of writing as it streamlines your thoughts toward a unanimous end. Sometimes you don’t know what the thesis statement should be from the beginning. Just go on writing. As the essay develops, you will be able to identify the dominant thought and then craft your thesis statement accordingly.

Be wary of generalizations like, “I am a hard worker, or I am a very intelligent student,” and so on. Everyone can say these, but it is ambiguous for the reviewer to understand just why you are a hard worker. It could be that he won’t agree with you on what defines someone as a hard worker. Prefer specific statements about your ability to work hard. For example, you could say, “I self-sponsored my education while catering for my mother and still managed to graduate with a 3.7 on a scale of 4”. You don’t have to say you are a hard worker for the reviewer to conclude that you are.

Try to back up your assertions with an example. Don’t just say I possess great entrepreneurial skills without saying why. You can briefly explain how you started some trades, saved, and further invested. Or how you took over from an employee and pivoted a firm to success.

Who Is Your Role Model?

When you start writing about your role model, do not be occupied with how to mold it into an essay yet. Just write and keep writing. Get as much information about him as possible down on paper. Do not attempt to pick the best information yet. By the time you are done saying whatever you know about him or her, you will be able to discern how the essay should proceed, and which information to include.

Learning a lot about your role model will help you answer the question better. So if you haven’t learned much about your role model, you may end up having to make up stories or get stuck describing in the essay how that person has affected your life through their personality or achievement.

Not only should you describe the personalities of your role models, but also include how each personality has made you a better person. For example, you might have learned that your role model is hard-working; he wakes up early and manages his time in the most effective way. You can describe how you managed to overcome laziness by imitating them, or how you became good at managing time.

You can quote your role model in the essay. Something they said holds true and resonates with you. A lot of great people make thought-provoking statements that affect the way people think, especially statements that have attained global popularity.

You can also tell how you first learned or got to know about your role model. Make it into a brief story if the word count permits that. Describe how your view of life changed completely when you found out about the role model.

What Are Your Greatest Personal Achievements?

Chances are, you have made some achievements in your life. You might not be aware because you haven’t thought critically about it or haven’t attained your goals in life. Our lives are a jumble of failures, mistakes, successes, and achievements. Pretty much everyone has their own share of sadness and joy as a direct consequence of success or failure.

The achievements to include in your essay should be the ones you consider the greatest. Add as many as the number of words permits.

You can identify achievements easily when you link your actions to a long-term goal. Obviously, one of your greatest achievements should be when you discover your purpose in life. This is so because there are many who don’t know what they want in life. They only live for the moment without any plans for the feature. By discovering your purpose, you gave your life direction. Explaining the events that inspired your long-term goal should feature prominently in your essay. You can narrate how this event occurred and how it has affected your thoughts since then.

Measuring achievements in relation to an ultimate goal is an easy way to identify those great things you did that are not obvious. Reaching a long-term goal follows a series of short-term successes, which you have planned and executed consciously. When you identify a goal and map out successive steps to reach it, those successive steps are tasks created due to that goal. Each task accomplished is an achievement. You could describe how and why you created these tasks and how you executed them—perhaps the most important steps.

An example of achievement is deciding to become a medical doctor and then studying the subjects in high school that will help you become a medic. You make an achievement when you pass all the required subjects with good grades. Next will be successfully applying to a university and then gaining admission, probably after undergoing a competitive test. This will be another achievement, and so on.

Achievements can be personal, financial, educational, emotional, etc The important thing is that they solve a problem in your life or help solve problems related to your future goals. Personal achievements can include reforming yourself to manage time better, overcoming laziness, getting good control over your temper, or developing a clear mind. Financial achievements could be some flourishing business you managed to establish, securing a job, or other things that are financial gain, directly or indirectly.

What Are Your Long-Term And Short-Term Goals?

Scholarship organizations do not like students who are selfish. If you can convincingly link some humanitarian cause to your life goals, it will improve your chances of winning the scholarship.

Begin by asking yourself some questions about your short- and long-term career goals. Ask questions such as, What do I visualize myself like in ten years? What are the values and beliefs that shape my worldview and future goals? What do I need in order to achieve my main objective? How much impact do I want to have on society?

After outlining these questions and brainstorming answers to them, you can proceed with the first paragraph by describing the cause of your inspiration to become a humanitarian philanthropist or whatever. Your story should be interesting and spun so that it absorbs the reader.

Your short-term and long-term goals differ by the period of time within which you intend to achieve them. The short-term goals are normally set within 6 months or less, while the long-term goals are set above six months. Some consider this time span to be a year.

The short-term goals will lead to long-term goals. They are streamlined to make it easier and faster to reach the final objective. You can outline the short-term and long-term goals in your essay and describe how and when you intend to achieve each. You can also add information on the progress you are making toward one or more of these goals.

What Are Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Or Both?

When describing your weaknesses, you should start by identifying your failures in the past and finding the reasons for those failures. One or more reasons might be your fault as a result of weakness. For example, you missed an important interview due to procrastination, being sluggish, forgetful, and so on.

Use Your Weakness.

Some weaknesses are so obvious that, from time to time, you are conscious of having such traits. Another weakness could be some of the things that people complain about you, though this depends on what you make of their complaints. But generally, when a great majority starts saying you possess a particular weakness, chances are high that you actually do. You can describe events that demonstrate your possession of that weakness. Of course, you don’t want to include weaknesses that disqualify you from the scholarship.

You will have weaknesses like procrastination, a quick temper, being a perfectionist, and others. Everyone has positive and negative abilities. There’s no problem with having weaknesses, only that your weaknesses should not overshadow your strengths and should not be so serious as to prevent you from accomplishing what a funding organization is aiming for in students. The essay question about strengths and weaknesses allows the screening committee to know if you are conscious of your strong and weak points.

Use Your Strengths.

Being conscious proves that you self-reflect and can deduce which actions led to failure or success in the past. It also shows that you are able to learn by correcting those weaknesses and improving your strengths. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is also a sign that you know what to avoid and what to go for solely based on your abilities. It is far easier to correct ourselves and improve if we know where we are getting things wrong.

Your strengths are the opposite of your weaknesses. If you are having trouble figuring out your strengths, you can start by identifying some impressive achievements you’ve made, and then try to trace the reason for such achievements. Like what you did very well or the personality you possess that made it possible to achieve that. Your achievements should provide a clue about your strengths. For example, maybe you have good time management skills, which allow you to accomplish a lot of things in the shortest possible time. As a result of such time management skills, you were able to study for your degree while attending practical computer classes and still did well.

Why Did You Choose This University?

Scholarship funders may ask you to describe why you like a particular university, especially scholarships organized by universities. This is normally the type of essay you should expect from scholarship awards sponsored by or through universities.

If you are asked why you chose a university, the first thing to do is run some background research on the university. There should be some reviews online and some comments by students and people who might have had some personal experience with the university. Most reviews will stress some strong points about the university and where it might be lagging behind. You are going to be focusing on what people say they like about the university.

Also, search the university’s website. Each university has values and a mission statement somewhere on the website. You are going to look at their values and see how they resonate with your own goals in life. You will be describing these values and how they align with what you intend to achieve. Additionally, you should also talk about how these values will contribute to achieving your objectives.

The values of a university are probably what the university wants to know you are aware of and understand. Understanding the values will help you get the most out of the university, and you are very likely to come up with an essay that impresses the reviewers.

Don’t start discussing things that the university doesn’t possess or values that the university doesn’t hold in high esteem. Doing so will prove you didn’t even take the time to learn about your future school and that you lied to the scholarship funders. Being labeled a liar is already enough justification to discard your application.

You can talk about how great the university’s scholars are and even mention individual lecturers you know in the department you are interested in studying and what qualities these lecturers possess that convinced you. You can also point out some notable figures the university has produced, like prominent scholars, leaders, scientists, and more. Describe briefly the journey of learning about these people and how they became your role models or something. Aside from individuals, you can also talk about the facilities the school has, like libraries, laboratories, campuses, and so on. Talk about how these things will help you learn better to achieve your life goals.

Convincing the screening committee that you really know this institution and love it will show that you are capable of taking advantage of what the school has to offer, meaning the scholarship opportunity will be utilized wisely. There are many more things you can discuss at the university that prove you really like it.

If you are asked to write an essay about where you envision yourself in the next 5–10 or 15 years, the scholarship body wants to know that you are someone with clearly defined goals. A goal is clearly defined as some successive steps you have to accomplish before reaching it. These steps will typically lead to milestones of a year, 5 years, 10, 15, 20, or more.

To be able to answer this question correctly, you must have mapped out a complete outline of your goals and how you intend to get there. That means you will describe the most important steps to be accomplished before you can finally achieve your objective. Clearly state where you want to be in 5 years and how you intend to get there. Do the same with the other milestones. You can go as far as providing more details about the steps you’ll take and why.

In conclusion, it is very important to learn how to write good essays. Questions you may encounter are not limited to the type described here. Knowing how to write an essay will greatly improve your chances of winning scholarships. You can come up with new innovative ways of writing that augment what you have learned here. You may also study examples of essays for academic or scholarship purposes to get some hints. If you have contributions to how students should approach one or more of these essay topics, share them in the comments.

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