Though writing an essay for a scholarship application can be a daunting task, think of it as an opportunity to showcase your abilities and talents to the scholarship committee. By accentuating your strengths through your writing, you will be able to effectively communicate that you are a deserving candidate for their award.
Strive to illustrate your strengths and experience when writing essays for a scholarship application. Throughout your life, you continually discover your talents and abilities. As you develop these talents, they become your strengths in life. Try to demonstrate multiple strengths in your essays. Possible topics that you could illustrate in a scholarship essay include service, leadership, academics, arts, athletics, entrepreneurship, creative talent, leadership, diversity, challenges overcome, and community involvement. Decision-makers for the scholarship program will see your strengths and abilities as reasons why you are worthy of a scholarship.
Add Variety to Your Strengths
Convince selection committees that your talents and experiences are expansive. Demonstrate the variety of your strengths by dividing them into categories and highlighting each one. Below are examples of how you can emphasize the following strengths:
- Service by describing service projects you performed for your church, community, and school or work
- Leadership by outlining leadership positions in your church, community, and school or work
- Athletics by highlighting the top three sports that you excel in: football, soccer, tennis, cheerleading, track, field, or other
- Academics by specifying your top three academic subjects in school: math, science, history, civics, economics, English, or other
- Creative talent by explaining your talents: visual arts, music, dance, poetry, or other
- Any other talent or ability by identifying three ways you have demonstrated that strength in your life
Give Your Strengths Magnitude
In addition, you should show selection committees that you have developed each of your strengths extensively. Tell them how your accomplishments set you apart from others. Demonstrate the magnitude of your strengths by sharing at least three accomplishments within each category. We call this method of presenting your skills and accomplishments “powerstatements.”
Two important concepts govern the preparation of power statements:
- Highlight the skill you are presenting by using “power words,” such as motivated, organized, responsible, problem-solver, and other words that describe your particular strengths.
- Describe something you accomplished with the skill you are presenting. You may include a challenge you faced, actions you performed to overcome the challenge, and the results of your actions. Try to quantify the results of your accomplishments to show your value to a scholarship committee.
Some Examples of Power Statements:
I can achieve results. For example, I planned, organized, and led a charity project that packaged over 5,000 boxes of humanitarian supplies for victims of Hurricane Irene. The whole project was completed and shipped in one day.
I have organization management skills. For example, I reorganized my company’s manufacturing department, increasing yield by 15 percent.
I am an over-achiever. For example, I maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout college while working full-time, taking honors courses, and serving as the president of the Education Society on campus.
I am dedicated. For example, I won the city and regional championship in the 5K by training four hours daily to improve my running time by 45%.
I am creative. For example, I designed a new product line that increased my company’s revenue by $25,000.
By expressing the variety of your strengths, you will show that you are a skilled and well-rounded individual. By expressing the magnitude of your strengths, you will prove that you are accomplished in those areas of your life. Using power statements to deliver these messages will communicate your value with greater impact to selection committees. These applied techniques will create an essay that is more impressive and persuasive of your qualifications.
For more information about scholarships, see the following:
Letters of Recommendation
Scholarship Master Application
Topics for Scholarship Essays
How to Strengthen a Scholarship Essay
Finding Financial Aid on LDSjobs.org
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Strength is defined as “the quality or state of being physically strong,” “the ability to resist being moved or broken by force,” and “the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way.” (Merriam-Webster). In my opinion this definition sufficiently encompasses the meaning of strength. However, I would also include in this definition, that strength is a feature that sets individuals apart from each other. A person’s strengths make them unique and valuable.
My top five strengths (as determined by Gallup Strengths finder) are Restorative, Context, Analytical, Deliberative, and Learner. Restorative can be defined as problem solving. A restorative person enjoys breaking down issues and solving them step-by-step. Context can be described as looking to past results for answers to current issues. Someone who is contextual learns from the mistakes of history so that those mistakes may not be repeated. Analytical strength is the ability to break down and analyze a situation. An analytical person finds answers in deep contemplation and study. Deliberative can be defined as careful and reserved. A deliberative person is not likely to take risks unless all negative and positive consequences have been taken into account. Learner can be described as the love of knowledge. Someone who enjoys learning accepts that they do not have all the answers and therefore must continue seeking out answers to problems.
My strengths are oriented toward education and learning. Therefore they will play a strong role in my current life of academics. My ability to analyze, study, find answers will be beneficial to my college career and hopefully result in a high amount of success. My strengths are not, however, restricted to an academic environment. They will hopefully play a beneficial role in my future career as problem solving and analyzing issues are crucial qualities for successful members of the workplace. Knowing my strengths enforces my decision to continue my academic studies beyond college. Knowing my ability to analyze and find solutions compliments my future goals of a higher degree of education and achievement.
In the future, I may utilize my restorative strength by solving a complex problem imposed by my future workplace by breaking the problem down, and solving it step by step. I may utilize my contextual strength in the future by looking back on past failures that I might have made. These failures could occur in college or the workplace, however my contextual strength will prevent the same mistakes from occurring twice. I may utilize my analytical strength in my future by analyzing my issues so that I may find the best possible solutions. I may utilize my deliberative strength by remaining reserved in my actions, and not taking chances, which could result in fewer failures. I may utilize my strength of learning by continuing my education throughout my life. This could happen in the form of graduate degrees or professional studies.
My aforementioned strengths are unique to my personality and my character. They define me as an individual who is proficient at learning, analyzing, and problem solving. It is my hope that these strengths will continue to benefit me throughout my college career, and then eventually support me as an effective and productive member of society.