Scholarship Essay Writing: Craft a Winning Narrative to Fund Your Future


The scholarship essay is a crucial part of your application. It’s what tells admissions officers who you are, why you’re special and how you plan to use that specialness for the benefit of the world. The best scholarship essays are those that tell a compelling story about your life journey and how it relates to the opportunity being offered by the school in question. In this post,  Dr Lawrence Gray will explain how to write an effective scholarship essay by creating a narrative that will grab readers’ attention and keep them engaged through your entire application package (or at least until they get distracted by something else).

A scholarship essay is a narrative of your life that explains how you have overcome adversity and achieved success. In order to write a winning scholarship essay, you must share your story in such a way that it shows the reader why they should help fund your future.

In order to do this, there are several components that make up each successful scholarship application:

  • Introduction–This is where you introduce yourself and explain why you deserve the funding being offered by this particular organization. It’s important to focus on what makes you unique from all other applicants so that they will be interested enough in reading more about who “YOU” really are! Remember: Your introduction should also include some information about what exactly being awarded this particular scholarship would mean for YOU as well as YOUR FAMILY (or whomever else may benefit from receiving financial aid).

Don’t use first person unless it’s absolutely necessary.

The first person is a narrative mode that uses “I” and other personal pronouns to tell a story. It’s used when you are describing an event that happened to you, or when you need to make a point about yourself–for example, if your essay is about how being poor has made your life difficult but also taught you valuable lessons about hard work and perseverance.

The second person uses “you,” as in: “You should do this thing because…” This can be useful when telling readers how they should act or think (though it’s often considered more persuasive than persuasive). The second person can also be used in nonfiction narratives, such as memoirs or biographies; however, these kinds of stories are usually told through the eyes of someone else–the author himself/herself–rather than directly through his/her own experiences.

Finally, there’s third person narration which takes place outside both characters’ heads: It describes events without using any pronouns at all!

Thesis Statements and Narrative Hooks

Thesis statements are the foundation of your essay, and they must be clear, concise and interesting to the reader. They should also be unique to your paper. A good thesis statement will state exactly what you plan on proving in your paper (and no more). As such, it should have a direct connection with what comes after it–it’s not enough for a thesis statement simply to make sense; it must also lead logically into what follows in order for readers who haven’t read from start-to-finish yet help them understand where this piece fits into larger conversations about scholarship or narrative writing.

The best way I’ve found for determining whether my own work has met this standard is by asking myself: “Is [person] going read this paragraph?” If yes (and especially if they want), then I know we’re good!

Make your story memorable.

  • Use quotes.
  • Quotes are a powerful way to make your story memorable, and they can be used in many different contexts. If you’re not sure where to find good quotes, try looking at websites like Brainyquote or Goodreads. You can also use quotes from books or movies that resonate with you (e.g., Harry Potter fans might want to quote Dumbledore). Or maybe one day your mom said something really wise; why not include it?
  • Use your own experiences as inspiration! Maybe there was a time when someone gave up on you but then came back later–that could make for an interesting anecdote about perseverance and resilience. Or maybe there’s something funny that happened at school once upon a time…you get the idea!

Don’t start with something unique about yourself — explain why it’s important to the reader.

Start with a hook. When you’re writing a scholarship essay, it’s important to grab the reader’s attention from the very beginning. A good way to do this is by starting with an anecdote or story that captures their interest and helps them understand why your topic is relevant to them. For example:

In fifth grade I had an assignment where I had to write about my future career aspirations, so my teacher told us all about what she did for work as a lawyer at her firm in downtown Chicago. She talked about how much fun it was being around all of those lawyers who worked together like one big family — they even went out after work sometimes! It sounded like such an amazing environment; everyone seemed so happy there! So when I grew up and became an adult myself (which happened pretty quickly), I decided that working at law firms would be right up my alley because it reminded me so much of what Ms. Henson had described during our little lesson back in elementary school…

Your scholarship essay should be personal, but it must also be professional and well-written.

Your scholarship essay should be personal, but it must also be professional and well-written.

A good scholarship essay will let the reader get to know you as a person, but it also has to follow a specific format and adhere to certain guidelines set out by the institution awarding the funds. The best way to do this is by writing about something that is important to YOU, something unique ABOUT YOU (whether it’s related directly or indirectly), and something INTERESTING TO YOUR READERS (whether they are professors or administrators).


We hope these tips will help you write the best scholarship essay possible. Remember that a strong narrative is key to winning over the reader and getting them excited about your story. It’s also important that your essay has a clear thesis statement that explains what makes your unique experience so valuable to others who could benefit from hearing it too!

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