What’s the best scholarship essay format?
Many scholarships require students to write an essay as part of their application. These writing scholarships aim to learn about a student’s experiences, interests, or background through the essay. Once you have written the essay, you may be wondering: how do I format it? Should you include a title? What about spacing, page numbers or citations? In this guide, we’ll tell you exactly what you need to know about the scholarship essay format.
Always follow instructions
The first rule of the scholarship essay format is following all of the rules that the scholarship application states. Whether that is spacing, citations, or font size, you should always follow the directions. There isn’t a faster way to get a scholarship committee member to say “nah” than ignoring the directions.
However, many scholarship applications do not have specific instructions. Keep on reading to learn about what to do in these situations.
Does the scholarship need a title?
In my experience reading scholarship essays, a title is very optional. If it is an especially clever or necessary title, then sure, go for it! Otherwise, I would recommend saving your valuable word count and put it towards the actual essay. If you write your essay and are feeling stuck on a title, let it go and don’t worry about it.
What font size should I use?
Font size is a little bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears: you want it to be just right. Too big? The scholarship committee member reading your essay may think that you are just trying to waste space. Too small? The scholarship is just difficult to read. The gold standard of font size is 12 and that’s what we’d recommend using. A traditional font like Times New Roman or Arial is going to be your best bet (this is not the time to go crazy with a funky font).
Should I single or double space the essay?
We know that most of your essays for school are probably double spaced. This is usually a good call for scholarship essays as well, because it makes the essay easier to read. In addition to spacing, you want to make sure that your scholarship essay is broken down into paragraphs and is not one single block of text.
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Are page numbers required?
On many school papers, you may have to put a page number on each page. This is not necessary for your scholarship essays unless it is a requirement.
Does proper scholarship essay formatting require citations?
If you are citing other sources, it is a good idea to use citations. It does not matter whether you are using MLA, Chicago, or some other type of citation (unless it is specifically required). Instead, it is important to simply be consistent in how you cite your sources. Most essays probably will not require outside sources or research, but if you are applying to certain research-based or STEM scholarships you may want to brush up on your citations.
How should my essay be organized?
Generally, essays should include three main components:
- Introduction that should hook the reader from the very first line and give an overview of what you will be talking about.
- Body that will reveal who you are and expand on your major points.
- Conclusion where you will wrap up your essay and ideally leave the scholarship reader with a sense of who you are as a person and what they can expect from you as a student, community member, and human being.
Writing can be a very stressful process for students, both in the scholarship process and the college admissions process. One of the best things that you can do is give yourself plenty of time to write and refine your essays. Ideally, you will also have a trusted outside reader serve as an editor for all of your essays. While the scholarship essay format does matter, it is even more important to tell the scholarship committee member reading your essay an engaging story that makes you stand out.