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How to Nail Your Scholarship Essays & Interviews

As spring nears, it’s a great time to start thinking about scholarships. There are so many possibilities out there that pretty much any student can find a scholarship that matches their academic, economic, or interest profiles. Scholarships are an excellent way to help finance your education—and your life—while you go to school, and I always encourage the students I work with to look into them.

If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, there are a lot of different kinds. Some might ask you to write an essay about yourself or another topic of interest, while others require you to attend an actual interview (which might happen in person or virtually). No matter what format your application takes, there are three things to keep in mind.

  • Lean on your key messages. The best way you can stand out from the crowd is to be consistent and clear in how you convey your point. If you haven’t developed key messages for yourself yet, I have a ton of free resources for you to consider. But it’s a concept you can apply to any topic—even an essay about something you loved, like your favorite book. By thinking before you write (or speak), you can take the time to find recurring themes and ideas that will help you and your ideas stand out.

  • Ace your delivery. Again, whether you’re writing an essay or talking to another live human, the way you come across is incredibly important. It can be easier to do in writing because you have the benefit of time to craft the exact message you want to share. But, if you’re participating in an interview, it’ll be essential that you practice transforming your key messages into spoken responses.

  • Ask good questions. If you’re participating in an interview, you’ll be asked a lot of questions, but don’t forget to come prepared with your own. Asking questions shows you’re prepared and engaged, qualities that others appreciate. Thoughtful questions that tie back to your key messages won’t go unnoticed. And don’t forget: Even if you’re not interviewing, there may still be opportunities for you to demonstrate this kind of intellectual curiosity in an essay as well.

Need help pulling it all together or someone to bounce your ideas off? I’d love to schedule a free chat to talk more about how I can help you shine.


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