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Personal Statements

Getting Started with Scholarship Essays
You love to learn and for most of your life you’ve been the smart one. Guess what? From now on, that’s the norm for the applicant pools when you’re applying for an award. To stand out in a crowd of smart, interesting people, you have to:

  • be bold -- don’t suffer from Midwestern modesty. Share your accomplishments and ambitions.
  • be specific -- when scholarship committees read through a hundred applications at a go, the students they remember are the ones with rich, specific details in their essays.
  • be authentic -- don’t guess about what the scholarship committee “wants” -- this is the sure way to write an essay just like all the others. They are putting a lot of time and money into the students who win this award, and they want to make sure that each recipient is someone who will contribute to the program -- not just someone who wants a prize. You have to trust that you are unique and demonstrate what personal qualities you will bring to the experience.

Other tips:
The classic: show, don’t tell!
Don’t waste words on “givens”
Focus on the positive
Be clear and straight-forward in style
Expect to write multiple drafts
Follow directions!

GET FEEDBACK - at a minimum, ask someone to proofread your application. You should also ask trusted advisors for constructive criticism. Dr. Anne Wallen specializes in helping students with scholarship applications. You can schedule a one-on-one appointment with her to review your application.

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