Your personal statement is your chance to show the scholarship committee why they should pick you. Your statement should be brief (a paragraph or two), and it should show what makes you a special candidate for the award.
I recommend an opening that highlights an accomplishment, a lesson, or something about yourself that will draw the reader in. It’s important to establish some authority over your topic so the reader trusts what follows.
Examples of how to write personal Statement for scholarships Application
“I spent six weeks in the South African wilderness, on foot, trying to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.”
“While studying abroad in Spain, I was lucky enough to be taught by Pablo Picasso.”
“My father was in a coma for three months after he suffered a stroke. During that time I cared for him at home and helped pay our bills.”
These are all powerful openings that make the reader want to read more.
These are not:
“I really like dogs.”
“I have a lot of pets.”
“I don’t know if you would call it a hobby, but I once gave my neighbor a haircut and charged him $5.00. He was so happy that he paid me $10, and I was only charging him $5 because I think that barbers should be paid more than their customers. The point is that I am good with my hands.”
This sort of statement would make the reader think you don’t have much to say and doesn’t sound as though you have much to give.
The best personal statements also show that you understand the importance of education by making an explicit point that you are applying to a program that prepares students for jobs.
“I’m applying to this internship because I want to use my skills and abilities in the field of education. I am passionate about working in this field and have spent this past summer volunteering at an after school program.”
The most effective personal statements also show the reader why he or she should support you instead of the other people competing for the award.
In other words, don’t just tell what you’ve done, tell why it’s important that someone else knows about it.
“I have raised money for charitable causes in my community. In the past, I organized a toy drive and a pasta sale to raise money for the local food bank. In high school, I started an after-school tutoring program.”
You don’t need to go into detail about how much money you raised or exactly how you went about it; just mention something that demonstrates your commitment to making a difference in the world.
You should also mention what you want from the scholarship: what you will use it for.
“I am a student at Mount Holyoke College, and I am applying to the Edmund F. Moran Memorial Scholarship in order to use the award money towards tuition and books for the next school year.”
But don’t say that you want the scholarship “in order to use it towards…”; instead say what you will do with it, like “in order to use it toward…”
This is because you shouldn’t lie by omission. In other words, you shouldn’t say you want something, then not mention it when you’re asked about what your scholarship would be used for.
“I am applying to the Edmund F. Moran Memorial Scholarship because I would like to use the money towards tuition and books for the next school year.”
If your statement is filled with facts and figures as well as personal anecdotes and life lessons, it will immediately come off as boring.
So don’t take the easy way out. Give your essay more energy; make it a page-turner.
As an example, here is an essay that I think has a good balance of content and style:
“I am applying for the Edmund F. Moran Memorial Scholarship because I would like to use the money towards tuition and books for the next school year.
My first desire was to be an artist. My elementary school art teacher recognized that I had a talent for drawing and would often ask me to draw pictures of what I thought the class was learning about. By junior high, my artistic abilities had progressed to the point where I could do a very detailed portrait of anyone.
I was always the one who did my friends’ yearbook pictures and played with clay in my spare time during school. My paintings inspired my teachers and made me feel like I was a valued member of the art class.
When I attended Williams College for my undergraduate degree, I majored in the arts and spent most of my time drawing pictures of the many buildings on campus. My professors there often complimented my artwork by highlighting it in their lesson plans. When they asked me what I wanted to do with my career after college, I knew that I wanted to become an artist.
I spent my junior year abroad studying at the University of Barcelona. I sought out some classes that would contribute to building my artistic education, and I ended up taking a few art classes that allowed me to be more versatile as an artist. I found out that I had a talent for painting and drawing portraits straight from life.
In the summer between my junior and senior years, I had an internship with the Williams College Admissions Office. There, I helped with mailings that went out to prospective students. During that time, I had a chance to work with the College’s admissions director.
He told me that he thought I had a knack for writing and asked if I’d be interested in applying for an internship at the admissions office.
That summer, I realized how much more fulfilling writing about my experiences than actually experiencing them was going to be. I wrote some journal entries about my time in Barcelona and shared them with my friends at Williams as gifts.
When I returned to Williams in the fall of my senior year, I applied for a job at the admissions office. The director was impressed with my resume, and offered me a respectable starting salary. I started working there on Jan. 1st and stayed until the end of May that summer.
I learned that being an admissions officer wasn’t as exciting or glamorous as becoming an artist. The responsibilities included organizing our file cabinets, making phone calls to alumni families, and transcribing interviews that took place on campus. Each of these tasks could be tedious at times, but also taught me a lot about the inner workings of the office.
I’m not entirely sure that I want to work in college admissions for the rest of my life. I don’t know whether I would want to pursue art school or stay in my current position. But I do know that if I were to win a scholarship, it would enable me to finish my education and pursue a career that is important to me without any financial burden weighing on my mind.
In addition to helping me pay for my college education, this scholarship would give me the opportunity to use artistic talent to improve the lives of others. I want to change the world through art and show that its beauty can be found even in the smallest of details.”