Teachers

10 Winning Scholarship Essay Examples From Real Students

88 total views

Writing a scholarship essay can be intimidating. The competition is fierce and the stakes are high, so students are bound to feel the pressure. It may be helpful, therefore, to look at essays that were successful. What did those students do to impress the committee? These scholarship essay examples will give you a better idea of how to make an application shine! 

Tips for Writing a Scholarship Essay

We’ve put together a whole guide for how to write a scholarship essay, so if you haven’t read it already, definitely give it a look! In addition, here are some quick tips to help students get started. 

Carefully read the rules

The last thing you need is to be disqualified from winning a scholarship because you didn’t do the right thing. 

Start early

Don’t wait until the last minute to start researching and applying for scholarships. Give yourself plenty of time to work through the process. 

Get to know the provider

Think of the scholarship provider as your target audience. You want to tailor your essay to impress them, so do your research. What kinds of candidates are they looking for? What causes do they support? Dig deep for the information you need!

Brainstorm

Think about who you are, what you want to say, and how to appeal to the scholarship committee. Write everything down and then choose the best ideas. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Stand out

The scholarship committee will be reviewing many applications. How can you make yours unforgettable? Highlight your strongest assets, share hard lessons if they showcase your growth as a person and/or student, and be honest. Never lie in a scholarship essay!

Be professional

Consider this the most important academic paper you’ve ever written. Don’t use slang or casual language. Submit a properly formatted essay that’s been well-edited and proofread by multiple people.

One last tip

Don’t reuse scholarship essays! Yes, it’s time-consuming, but students need to put the same effort into every application. Use the same process and it will get faster and easier every time!

Scholarship Essay Examples

AFC Visionary Scholarship Essay by Nicole Kuznetsov

Award Amount: $5,000

Essay prompt: Why do you want to go to college? Why is it important to you?

Why it was successful: The  beauty of this essay is that it’s well-organized and simple. Nicole Kuznetsov chose to outline her story by using chronology and provided a clean, concise story following a linear path.

As a child, my life had structure. Coloring books had lines, letters took on very specific shapes, and a system of rules governed everything from board games to the classroom.

North Coast Section Foundation Scholarship Essay by Christine Fung

Award Amount: $1,000

Why it was successful: Christine Fung masterfully shared how her upbringing instilled strong values, a love for education, and a passion for medicine.

The more involved I became, the more I learned as a leader and as a person.

The Bill Browning Scholarship Essay by Gabby DeMott

Award Amount: $10,000

Essay prompt: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Why it was successful: Gabby DeMott shared her experiences with personal growth and overcoming fears in Germany. She also appealed to the very human feeling of wanting to belong in a way that was inspiring. 

Never have I felt so accepted while being an outsider, so proud of a country that isn’t even mine, so part of something I didn’t really belong to.

Life Happens Scholarship Essay by Emily Trader

Award Amount: $15,000

Essay prompt: How has the death of a parent or guardian impacted your life financially and emotionally? Be sure to describe how the loss of your parent/guardian impacted your college plans, and explain how the lack of adequate (or any) life insurance coverage has impacted your family’s financial situation.

Why it was successful: Emily Trader fully addressed the prompt in honest, beautiful detail. She knew her audience and tailored her essay to appeal to them while telling her compelling story. 

If this devastating experience has taught me anything, it is this: financial planning for these situations is absolutely invaluable.

Change a Life Foundation Scholarship Essay by Isabella Mendez-Figueroa

Essay prompt: Please explain how your experience volunteering and participating in community service has shaped your perspective on humanity. Elaborate on how these experiences have influenced your future ambitions and career choice.

Why it was successful: Isabella Mendez-Figueroa shared an empowering story about her parents overcoming financial adversity so that she and her sister could be the first in their family to go to college. 

As I’ve grown I’ve learned to fight my own monsters but I now also battle the ones that frighten my parents, the monsters of a world that they weren’t born into.

Giva Scholarship Essay by Joseph Lee

Essay prompt: Who is (or what makes) a good doctor?

Why it was successful: Joseph Lee offered a captivating, personal story that was essentially a list of things that make someone a good doctor without it feeling boring or calculated. 

I learned such lessons in the purest manner possible, by being a patient myself, and will use them to guide me in all future patient encounters, as I strive to be a "good" doctor.

New York University College of Arts and Science Scholarship by Ana

Award amount: $39,500 

Essay prompt: Explain something that made a big impact in your life.

Why it was successful: Ana discussed how early experiences with learning difficult things has contributed to her passion for teaching and supporting students. 

Only at the ice rink could I be myself; the feeling of the cold rink breeze embracing me, the ripping sound of blades touching the ice, even the occasional ice burning my skin as I fell—these were my few constants.

The Fund for Education Abroad Rainbow Scholarship Essay by Steven Fisher

Award amount: $7,500

Essay prompt: The Fund for Education Abroad is committed to diversifying education abroad by providing funding to students who are typically under-represented in study abroad. Please describe how you and/or your plans for study abroad could be viewed as under-represented.

Why it was successful: Steven Fisher’s powerful essay  connected his realizations about his own sexual identity with embracing the beautiful diversity found all around the world. 

My growth as a person was exponential. I rewrote so many areas of my life where I didn’t do things I wanted because of social conditioning.

Women’s World Banking Founder’s Scholarship Essay by Rosaisha Ozoria

Essay prompt: Write about your hopes for the future of women and girls worldwide.

Why it was successful: Rosaisha Ozoria focused on a very specific topic, financial literacy for Hispanic women, and emphasized its importance and relevance to her own life. 

This is a tremendous goal, but for me, it is an opportunity to make a difference – in my neighborhood and for my Spanish community.

The Millennium Gates Last Dollar Scholarship Essay by Famyrah Lafortune

Award amount: $3,500

Essay prompt: Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” —Nelson Mandela Describe a change you would like to make in the world. Tell us about how you would plan to make that change, and what obstacles you might encounter along the way.

Why it was successful: Famyrah Lafortune starts with a strong statement about ending racial inequality and then details the steps she’ll take to make it happen. 

By raising awareness of racial disparities that occur everywhere, I might encourage a new wave of change in our country ...

Do you have any great scholarship essay examples? Share them below!

Plus, check out these 10 Strong Scholarship Recommendation Letter Examples.

Want more suggestions? Be sure to subscribe to our newsletters.

Share this Post

About Us

What started as a mission to share educational news has grown into your daily go-to for educational resources for teachers, parents and students.