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Need-based
Merit-based
Next to passages which fit that description

Underline where the author:
Defines where they want to be in ten years / demonstrates clear goals / shows they understand the subject and what is required

Put a star next to where the author:
Shows where they have been a leader / organized others / worked with a group toward a common goal

Circle where the author:
Tells what they will do with the money, and how that is different to what would happen without the money.

Write ‘overcome’ where the author:
Talks about how they overcame difficulties in their life.

Example Essay Outline:

    I.       Who are you?

             a.   Personal Characteristics

                       i. Strengths

                       ii. Weaknesses

                      iii. Obstacles Overcome or Currently Confronting

             b.   Important Involvement/Activities

                       i. What Are They

                       ii. Why Are They Important

                      iii. How Are You Involved

             c.   Leadership

                       i. Where Do You Show Your Leadership?

                                1.   At Home?

                                2.   At Work?

                                3.   In Organization?

                                4.   With Friends?

                       ii. Why should you be awarded this Scholarship?

                                1.   What do you have to offer the donor: are they making an investment in a successful, contributing member
                                     of society? Will you be a good example or role model to others in your community?

                                2.   What is this subject? What will be required to succeed in it? What role models / peers / fellow researchers
                                     / people you admire do you have in the subject?

                                3.   How will you use the scholarship? Assume that all applicants need the money or they would not be
                                     applying. Rather than saying, "I need the scholarship because I need the money," tell the donor how it
                                     will be used. "I will use this scholarship to purchase the extra supplies needed especially for my major."
                                     "With this scholarship I will be able to move into campus housing and participate in campus housing and
                                     participate in campus activities and organizations." “In addition to the needed funding provided by this
                                     scholarship, I hope that this recognition will also enhance my application for internships in my field of
                                     study." “Without this scholarship I will have no choice but to have a job throughout my studies, just when
                                     I really want to focus on ________.”
SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY WRITING
Scholarship Essays are those that give you a free or an inexpensive ride to college. These essays are meant to show the
College or University Board that you are one of those students who should get money to study in that school rather than to pay
money out of their own pocket. Scholarships can be based on merit and need and depending on the type a successful scholarship
essay should look different for both cases:
 Scholarship essay (Need-based, FAFSA). This type of essay shows to the evaluators how poor or unprivileged you are and how
much the money you can get will help you success in college and make your American Dream come true.
 Scholarship essay (Merit-based). This type of essay shows to the evaluators how remarkable or genuine you are and how much
the money you can get will help you to further your abilities, outstanding skills and how likely you are to benefit your university,
your community and your country in the future.
Both types of a scholarship essay speak about your personal experience and self rather than about some abstract things.

The most important element of a scholarship essay is the subject matter. The writer should spend several days on brainstorming
to come up with the best ideas, achievements, needs or experiences to put on a limited piece of writing that a scholarship essay
represents.

The first area is the major accomplishments, achievements and victories. Usually, the best and most interesting scholarship
essays are based on accomplishments and victories that everyone recognizes. The victories and achievement need to be current
and challenging. The writer should be ready to provide a proof of achievement to the scholarship review committee upon
demand.

A scholarship essay should point out the factors that distinguish the writer from the rest of applicants and emphasize the efforts
the writer made to achieve something. The writer can speak about hobbies, favorite books, films, clubs, and skills that will
impress the review committee and will distinguish the writer from other applicants. A scholarship essay needs to be succinct, easy
to read, and impressive. It should trace the writer's life and persuade the review committee that she/he is the right person for the
scholarship the university provides.

It makes sense to speak about the challenges and difficulties the writer has in life. Still, the essay should not stir up emotions of
compassion, guilt or sadness in the review board. On the contrary it should impress them with how these difficulties and
challenges influenced the writer's life and caused him/her to become a better person. A scholarship essay speaks about the
lessons learnt rather than the actual problems or difficulties. Even the scholarship essays that are written to obtain a merit-based
scholarship do not directly beg for cash, yet rather point out to the reviewers of the essay how much that cash would benefit the
applicant and how much the applicant will do for the university, the community and the country.

A Scholarship Essay must show the university that the applicant will not only benefit from the money (scholarship) but also will
make the university benefit from such investment in students and community. Therefore, an scholarship essay should show the
university that the student is a winner, an achiever and a leader who has a chance to win their place under the sun as they did in
the past. The past is what one writes about in the scholarship essay.

Regardless of the topic of a scholarship essay, the writer must keep in mind the fact that the universities want to know the
answer to only two questions in all types of scholarship essays they require you to write:
 Your past successes and learning abilities. How did you learn from mistakes, failures, challenges and victories? By knowing how
you learnt from these mistakes will allow a university or college to make predictions about your future successes. No one will give
money/scholarship to a potential loser.
 Your current aspirations and how the scholarship will benefit your career. What role will you play in the society 5-10 years from
now?
Essay #1
I started 10th grade at Verdugo Hills High School three and a half years ago after my family had moved to the United States from Mexico. I
had to face the problems of not knowing the language or how the education system worked. I felt alone. Everything was different from my
country. I could not express myself with the people around me. Often I felt frustrated. Many people told me that graduating would be hard for
me because I did not know the language and was just starting to learn English.

Instead of being upset about this comment, it motivated me to better, to study hard, and to get good grades. In this way I would show the people
that I could do it. My goal then was to graduate from high school with good grades and on time with the rest of the students my own age. My
counselor gave me credit for my transcript I brought from Mexico. She moved me from the 10th grade to 12th grade the following year. She
told me if I finished the requirements for graduation, I could graduate in ninety-four. Then I began to apply for college. I looked at the
requirements for admission. I realized I was not prepared to go to college, after all, I had not taken any college preparatory courses like
Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics. Finally I did it. I graduated from high school in ninety-five. I was fifth place in my class and so happy to
receive my diploma with high honors and the CSF (California Scholarship Federation) seal.

My family had a large part in my achievements in high school and continues to be a source of motivation in my achievements in college. My
family is not large. There are four of us: my father, my mother, my sister, and myself. I am the youngest in the family and the first one to
graduate from high school and to attend college. Although my sister
is two years older than I, she could not finish high school. My sister quit school and got married at an early age. This was another thing that
motivated me to continue my education through college. I wanted very much to make my parents proud of me. My family encourages me to be
part of activities at school and in the community.

Although I was involved in many activities in high school, here at CSUN (California State University, Northridge), I found that is harder for
me to be involved in extracurricular activities because my class schedule does not allow it. The fact that I have to take the bus 21 miles home
causes me to have to leave school before it gets too late. This also makes my involvement in school activities difficult. I would like to join
some organizations like SCEC (The Student Council for Exceptional Children). I like to work with people who are interested in developing the
potential of students with exceptionalities. I am also interested in FASA (Filipino American Student Association) and in Armenian Student
Association of CSUN because I would like to know about their culture before I graduate.

In my community, I am involved in the youth group and in the choir of my church. I sing at mass every Sunday morning. I practice with the
choir Thursday and Saturday nights and Sunday before mass. In the youth group I am the treasurer and I am in charge of the group’s activities
once a month. These activities demand commitment, responsibility and time. In my spare time I like to read novels, exercise, and go out with
my friends to see a movie or eat in a restaurant..

One reason for attending college is that I want to prepare myself for the future by getting a better education. Another reason is that I would like
to give my parents the satisfaction of having a daughter who graduated from college. I applied for admission at CSUN, leaving my major
undeclared because I could not decide between Business and Journalism. I expected to get a B.S. degree, because there was a chance to go into
business, but in my second semester at C.S.U.N., I have to change my B.S.degree into a B.A. degree because I prefer to be a journalist instead
of a business woman.

College Education is very important for the future of a young adult like me. College is my opportunity to improve my life by having more
opportunities to get better jobs, my family by encourages them to go back to school, and you a look into different ethnic groups, their
backgrounds, style of thinking and ways to solve problems in the world. I think because I want to be a journalist, I need to have an open mind
to understand the people in the community and to know more about the world in which we live. My goal is to become a journalist who would
be in touch with the people, helping them to make this world a more pleasant place in which to live.
Essay #2
I am currently enrolled in my fourth semester as a full time graduate student in the School Psychology specialty of the department of
Educational Psychology and Counseling. Upon successful completion of this program I will earn an M.S. in Counseling and the Pupil
Personnel Services credential, allowing me to practice as a school psychologist in California schools. My goal to pursue a career in the field of
education has been a part of my plans since my early teen years. From my first summer job to my current position, the majority of my work and
volunteer experience has involved counseling and children. To know that I can make a positive impact on a child’s life is very rewarding for
me.

I was most enticed to school psychology by its varied and challenging nature within an educational setting. The responsibilities of the
profession involve, but are not limited to counseling, testing and assessment, behavioral intervention, classroom observation, educational
referrals and crisis counseling.

A school psychologist never knows exactly what the day will include, much like my current position as a counseling assistant at Irving Middle
School in Los Angeles. From this experience I know that this spontaneity and high energy are vital for my growth and satisfaction within my
career. As an undergraduate I feel I dedicated my best efforts towards my education and on June 12, 1993 I graduated with high honors from
the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in communications. I soon attained full time employment with Hathaway Children’s
Services, where I continue to work on various weekends and holidays. This facility is a residential treatment program for children with severe
emotional disturbances resulting from traumas such as abuse, neglect, homelessness, or abandonment. My main responsibilities as a counselor-
child care worker are to aid children in learning and carrying out daily living skills, counsel them in their relations with peers and adults, serve
as a responsible role model, and to work closely with other members of the treatment team, such as therapists and social workers implementing
Hathaway programs. All of this has proven to be an invaluable learning experience.

Complementing this experience is my current 30 hour per week position as a counseling assistant. My responsibility is to provide various
psychological and educational services to students who need additional assistance to succeed in school and in the community. Included in this
group are approximately 75% of Irving’s students. Therefore my day is usually filled with activities such as group, individual and crisis
counseling, conflict resolutions, behavioral observations and recommendations, and assistance in assessments. In addition, I am involved in a
Peer Counseling Program, where I assist in training and coordinating 25 students to become peer counselors who serve their fellow students. I
feel very fortunate to be involved in Irving’s counseling program. I am proud of my work there and feel it is excellent preparation for my future
role as a school psychologist..

Volunteer work has also been an activity that I like to include in my life. I currently volunteer at the Pasadena Humane Society for three hours
each week. I assist in socializing and finding families for homeless dogs and cats. During my senior year of college I served as a volunteer,
tutoring gifted children through my university’s honor’s program. Helping a child realize his or her own potential gives me a strong sense of
accomplishment. I found this experience to be emotionally rewarding.. I hope that by sharing my activities and goals, I have been able to give
you a glimpse into the person I am and what I hope to achieve. I have included what I have felt to be the most significant influences on my
career choice. I expect graduate school to continue to be a journey which I embark upon with great enthusiasm.
Essay #3
Dear Scholarship Committee:
If the 18 year-old James would have known and understood the value of higher education the way the 34 year-old James does you would have
received this letter sixteen years ago. Perhaps the passage of 16 years and the experiences contained in them will prove to be an advantage that
will make further education of the 34 year-old more fulfilling personally and more beneficial to family, friends and the community.

I am, first of all a husband and father. Tammie, my wife of eight years, and I have two beautiful children— our daughter Darby born in March
of 1993, and our son Dane born in February of 1995. My marriage and the birth of our children are the most satisfying, inspiring events in my
life. Another recent event, not exactly a positive one at first glance, is one of the reasons you have received this letter. I have been a
journeyman carpenter for the past nine years, working for several framing contractors in Ventura and L.A. counties on both residential and
commercial projects. My duties have included all aspects of framing construction as well as supervisory responsibilities. My life changed
drastically on November 18, 1994. A wall and beam assembly, later estimated to weigh some 3000 pounds, fell onto my left leg causing a
complete break of my tibia fibula.

Since this career ending injury, however, more positives that negatives have emerged despite long therapy sessions and several follow-up
operations. I can honestly sat that the worst consequence of breaking my leg was that I broke my leg. The incident has allowed me the
opportunity to spend more time with my wife and children and to seek a college education.

Before the accident I was physically active at work, in recreation, and in my participation as a semi-professional football player with the
Ventura County Cardinals. At that point I hadn’t thought seriously about furthering my education. Before the accident I was active at work, in
recreation, and in my participation as a semiprofessional football player with the Ventura County Cardinals. At that point I hadn’t thought
seriously about furthering my education. Because of my injury, I was faced with the realization that I was not indestructible. This revelation,
along with much prompting from my wife, encouraged me to view this as a chance for a positive change and a more secure future.

I am the first in my family’s history to attend a university. In Spring of 1995, I enrolled in 22.5 units at Oxnard College. Being a self-motivated,
goal-oriented person. I was able to achieve a 4.0 G.P.A. and a place on the Dean’s Honors List. Despite my subsequent operations and my
wife’s ten day hospitalization for a severe blood clot which developed after the birth of our son. I have maintained a 4.0 G.P.A. after 75 college
units. My goal is to continue in my ambition to earn a Bachelor’s degree. I plan to major in Communications and minor in Psychology to
improve myself and my ability to interact and communicate effectively with others.

One of my most time-consuming activities, as well as one of the most rewarding, is my involvement with the New Apostolic Church of which I
have been a member since birth. My responsibilities as volunteer youth counselor and advisor for our 20 Southern California congregations
include planning and promotion of youth trips and activities. I
am called upon for guidance, both natural and spiritual to benefit the young people, who are worth as much time and effort as we can possibly
offer. Our activities include visiting the sick and elderly, as well as the performance of various musical presentations throughout the year. My
new communication skills and the broader view provided by the university experience will be invaluable in my relationships with these youth
and all others of which I am a part.

My career goals will also be enhanced by my education. I have nearly completed the certificate for the Fire Technology Program at Oxnard
College which I am studying in addition to my regular classes. When my injury heaals I will actively continue the pursuit of a career with the
Fire Department. This will, again. Provide many opportunities for community service and ensure that others will benefit from both my life
experience and formal education. This will be most rewarding for me.

This 34 year-old returning student has learned to appreciate the generosity of others. I would be honored and grateful for whatever assistance
you are willing to provide me. Your investment in me will be one which will not only assist me in the accomplishment of my personal goals,
but an investment that will benefit our community, locally as well as the greater community of human kind. Thank you for your consideration.
Very Sincerely Yours.
Essay #4
As for life, it is a battle and a sojourning in a strange land; but the fame that comes after is oblivion. S(121-180)
Throughout my existence, many individuals have posited that infamous question: “So, what are you going to be when you grow up?” I cringe
even now just to have written it. During my childhood, the answer came quickly and with assurance: “A doctor”. I don’t know quite when I
settled on that profession, but there it was for all to wonder and marvel at. My high school education was organized so as to take advantage of
all the honor’s courses that my school had to offer, as I knew this would look much more attractive when I applied to college and eventually
medical school. I graduated top of my class with a 4.0 G.P.A. and was selected Valedictorian.

My first year at college as a pre-med student resembled not so much a pristine have of learning as bucolic romp. Even though I was attending
Brigham Young University, I still found time for those late night parties, eating pizza for hours, and rarely finding time to study. I imagined
that college grades would be as effortless to attain as high school grades had been. My roommate nearly called the emergency room when I
received my first report card. The next semester was even worse. To further my frustration and despondency, I was also trying to come to terms
with my budding sexuality, and coming out of the closet as a gay man at a Mormon University was a living hell. In the end, due to family
pressure, I left disgrace, and was later excommunicated by the church.

I drifted rather aimlessly for the next few months, until I found a job with a firm as a lowly accounting clerk, a far cry from my dreams of being
a doctor. I tried to reason with myself that it was temporary set-back, and that I would attend another school later that year. It would take me
ten years to realize that dream.

Finally, after many years of drudgery, I made it to the pinnacle of my career as a controller for a major engineering firm in Encino. One
morning, I woke up and realized for perhaps the millionth time, that I was miserable. I decided then and there, that no matter what transpired, I
would return to school. I completed my application to Northridge, and in October of 1993, decided to return to school full time.

After the earthquake on January 17th, I firmly believed that my dreams had been shattered once again, and the universe was trying to tell me to
stay where I was. (a little egocentric, eh?) I could have walked on air when I heard despite all of the overwhelming odds, the university would
open just two weeks late. I can remember everyone saying how they disliked attending school in trailers, and complained constantly about the
mud, but I truly imagined it was heaven on earth. The very idea that I was back in school enthralled me and I still feel disbelief when I
contemplate that reality.

I freely admit the time I spent working was extraordinarily helpful, as it allowed me to return to school with increased organizational skills and
the intense desire to perform well. Since I have returned, I have been on the Dean’s List for six semesters, achieving a 4.0 GPA Spring 1994, a
4.0GPA Summer 1994, a 3.94 GPA Fall 1994,a 3.91 GPA Spring 1995, a 4.0 GPA Summer 1995, and a 3.88 GPA Fall 1995. Having been
admitted to both the General Education Honor’s path and the English Honors major, I have been given the opportunity to study under some of
the best teachers the university has to offer. My educational process remains enthralling, as I realize the journey to my degree itself. To this
end, I have also dedicated myself to working with important organizations on campus. I remain involved with Consider Your Alternatives, the
substance abuse prevention group on campus, as well as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance, for which I was the director Spring and Summer
of 1994. I sit on the campus advisory board for LesBiGayTrs and was elected President of Sigma Tau Delta for 1995-1996. I am looking
forward to taking part in the campus wide restructuring of the general education format, which will hopefully have a much broader emphasis on
the gay, lesbian, and bisexual experience, as well as the honors curriculum.

I volunteer outside the university as well, with such organizations as AIDS Project Los Angeles and Project Angelfood, a hot food delivery
service for home bound AIDS patients. I also spend time at the Van Ness House and Cry Help, two recovery units for substance abuse. I am
extremely rewarded in myriad ways with this work, and strive to give back some of the gifts that I have been so lucky as to have been given
throughout my own life.

I plan on continuing my education throughout the next few years as I endeavor to procure my doctorate in English Literature. In this way, I will
be able to realize my childhood dream of becoming a “doctor”, but in a much different way than I ever imagined. Of course, I don’t suppose
that small child would mind very much.

				
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