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How to Write a “Why Do You Deserve This Scholarship?” Essay

When you are applying for scholarships (or college admissions), you’ll find many scholarships that require essays. These essays can vary, but you’ll come across certain prompts multiple times. One of the most common prompts you’ll see is why do you deserve this scholarship? The specific phrasing of the prompt may change from scholarship to scholarship, but the gist of the question is about why the scholarship committee should award you the scholarship.

Before we get into tips for how you can write a winning “why do you deserve this scholarship” essay, we’ll tell you why scholarship committees  ask this essay question.

Don’t miss: Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool

What is the scholarship selection committee looking for in this essay?

This is actually really simple: the scholarship committee is looking to identify the most deserving student for the scholarship. This is why it is important to take some time to research the specific scholarship opportunity, as well as the organization that is funding the scholarship. You will likely find some clues on the scholarship website to illuminate what the scholarship opportunity is all about. 

How to write a “Why do you deserve this scholarship” essay in 4 steps

Make a strong first impression

As with any scholarship essay, you will want to start the essay by engaging the reader right away. By starting strong and grabbing the reader’s attention, your essay will immediately stand out. You can start with a brief slice from an analogy that you’ll dig into later, a bold statement, or, when appropriate, a joke. Try to make the first sentence central to your essay, but avoid writing out your main idea verbatim.

Learn more: How to start a scholarship essay (with examples)

Use specific examples from your own life

Next, you will want to show the reader why you deserve the scholarship with a few specific examples from your life. These examples should be tailored to the scholarship awarding organization. Don’t just write what happened, but rather, extrapolate a meaning from your examples and illustrate what they demonstrate about you and how you’ve learned from them.

Oftentimes, the most important part of an essay isn’t the events you write about, but the meaning you gleam from them. Show your reader that you take a thoughtful approach to these experiences and you’ll find success in your applications.

Keep in mind the focus of the scholarship

Every scholarship and scholarship awarding organization is different. That’s why it is a smart move to tailor your scholarship essay to the scholarship and/or organization.

If you are applying for aviation scholarships, the scholarship committee will be very interested in why you are interested in studying aviation or aeronautical engineering. So, strong candidates for these scholarships will have some sort of demonstrated track record that is related to aviation.

Similarly, if you are applying from a scientific organization, you will want to be specific about your interests. This means specifying your field of interest between science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

Learn More: How to write a winning scholarship essay

Share more information about your career and educational goals

Finally, you will want to shed some light on how you plan on using the scholarship award (if you were to win it!). Are you planning on attending a specific college? Perhaps you are pursuing a technical or vocational certificate? Or maybe your career pathway will require a masters or doctoral degree?

Whatever the case, you’ll want to show the scholarship committee exactly what you plan on using the scholarship award for and how that fits into your educational and/or career goals.

Related: College essay primer: Show, don’t tell

Looking for more help writing your scholarship essays?

Check out our extensive guide to responding to the most common scholarship prompts to help you respond effectively to other common prompts. And we’ve also got you covered with these mini-guides on:

Remember, it’s never to early to apply for scholarships, so apply to all you qualify for–your future self will be thankful! 

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