The Biggest Scholarship Essay Mistakes

scholarship applicationWith tuition prices at an all-time high and the economy still looking sluggish, a lot of students are in need of some kind of financial support during college. Thankfully, there are literally hundreds of thousands of scholarships out there for every type of student.

If you’ve spent some time doing research to find out which scholarships you could qualify for, you’ve probably noticed the application requirements often include an essay.

Below are some of the most common mistakes most students make when writing scholarship essays and how to avoid them:

Don’t Let Grammar Mistakes Slip Through
Making sure that your grammar is correct shows the reader that you care. This is a general rule, whether it’s a term paper, a thank-you note, a resume, or a personal statement for college applications. In the case of scholarship essays, you’re asking someone to consider giving you money, so you want to make the best impression possible. Put your essay through a spellcheck. Ask a friend to read it and correct it. Print it out and read it out loud. Make absolutely sure there are no errors when you send it off.

Don’t Trail Off Topic
A lot of students do this and it’s one of the worst essay mistakes ever. If you’re supposed to be writing about how you overcame a challenge, don’t write about how you enjoyed visiting Paris last summer. It’s amazing how many students start out strong and then start meandering into other subjects. Rambling makes for a weak essay and doesn’t give the reader any idea of your potential. To avoid straying, make an outline of your major points before starting and stick to it as you write.

Don’t Ignore Word Count Limits
If the scholarship providers ask you to write a 350-500 word essay, don’t stray outside of this range. Falling short of the minimum 350 words leaves the impression that you didn’t try hard enough. Exceeding the 500 word limit could get you eliminated for being unable to follow directions or express yourself succinctly.

Don’t Brag
While you want to highlight your strengths and qualities, a dose of humility is always a good idea. You don’t want to be so humble as to leave out the great things about you, but you do want to strike a balance between listing your qualities and showing off. Don’t say, for example, “I’m the greatest basketball player of all time in my high school. Nobody can beat my record. I’m a living legend.” Instead say, “I’m proud of the fact that my long hours of training and my passion for the game have led me to be the top-scoring basketball player in my high school’s history.” Nobody likes to hear someone’s brag. But people do love to hear someone’s success story.

Don’t Whine
There are a lot of scholarships available to students who have experienced hardship. If you’ve been through a difficult experience as an immigrant seeking asylum or if you have a disability or your family has an extremely challenging financial situation, then it’s important for you to tell your story. If you’re writing an essay in this category, please consider what the scholarship donors are looking for: someone who is bright and positive who has earned an opportunity to improve his or her life. That means you’ll want to steer clear of whining or complaining. Tell your story in an objective way.

Cari Bennette is a passionate blogger, aspiring writer, and avid reader. She works at custom writing service Jet Writers, and contributes to different blogs related to e-learning, college study, education, and other topics in her articles. Cari also helps students who seek writing advice.

image credit: nau.edu

Original Post Date: August 27th, 2015

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Your Sophomore Year: It’s Scholarship Crunch Time

Have you started applying for scholarships yet? We get it – you’re only a high school sophomore. But scholarships aren’t only for seniors and college students. There are plenty of organizations that give college money to teens regardless of age or class year. Here’s what you can do to get your hands on some of that cash.

college money

Find Scholarships You Qualify For
Different scholarships have different requirements. Here are a few things many organizations take into account when they’re choosing a winner:

  • GPA or academic history
  • Ethnic background
  • Athletic ability
  • A history of volunteer work
  • Extracurricular activities or hobbies
  • Your planned major or course of study
  • The school you want to attend
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Unusual skills or talents
  • Religious affiliation

With so many scholarships (and requirements!) out there, it’s tough to figure out what exactly you’re even eligible for. That’s why your Cappex account only shows you the scholarships you’re a good match for. We don’t want you wasting your time applying for awards that you aren’t eligible to win – and chances are, you don’t either.

Get Organized
Once you have your list of scholarships, it’s time to get moving on those applications. Mark the deadlines on a calendar and write down all the application requirements. Do you need to send a resume, write an essay, get letters of recommendation, or create a video? Every scholarship is different.

Even if the closing dates are weeks away, get started now. Procrastinate too long and you could miss the deadline completely.

Cross Your Fingers and Hope for the Best
Chances are, you won’t get every scholarship you apply for. That’s why it’s so important to get started sophomore year – you have three whole years to build up money for college! With any luck, you’ll be able to win a few awards that will cut the cost of college significantly.

Good luck on those applications!

image credit: wzozfm.com

Original Post Date: August 26th, 2015

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Your Freshman Year: Am I Eligible for Scholarships?

What do you think of when someone says “college?” Football games, parties, and new friends probably top the list of things that come to mind, but what about student debt? Chances are, this big part of the college experience probably pops into your mind from time to time.

But you’re only a freshman! What can you do about paying for school now?

college money

Believe it or not, scholarships aren’t only for high school seniors and college students. There are plenty of organizations that give college money to teens regardless of age or class year. Here’s what you can do to get your hands on some of it.

Figure Out What You’re Qualified For
Scholarships have all sorts of requirements. Here are a few things many organizations look for when they choose a winner:

  • GPA or academic history
  • Ethnic background
  • Athletic ability
  • A history of volunteer work
  • Extracurricular activities or hobbies
  • Your planned major or course of study
  • The school you want to attend
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Unusual skills or talents
  • Religious affiliation

With so many scholarships (and requirements!) out there, it’s tough to figure out what exactly you’re even eligible for. That’s why your Cappex account only shows you the scholarships you’re a good match for. We don’t want you wasting your time applying for awards that you aren’t eligible to win – and chances are, you don’t either.

Make a List of the Deadlines and Requirements
Once you have your list of scholarships, it’s time to get moving on those applications. Mark the deadlines on a calendar and write down everything you need to do for the application. Some scholarship applications are as simple as a tweet. Others require letters of recommendation, essays, or art projects.

Send in that application ASAP! We get it – it’s easy to get caught up in a Netflix binge or a Snapchat session, but the longer you wait, the more you risk missing the deadline.

Sit Back, Relax, and Watch the Money Roll In
It’s unlikely you’ll win every scholarship you apply for. That’s why you should send off as many applications as you can starting freshman year. Keep it up over the next four years and you’ll have a decent amount stashed away when it’s time to head off to college.

image credit: wzozfm.com

Original Post Date: August 26th, 2015

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