Scholarship Essays For College

If you’re a skilled writer, a few hundred (or even a thousand) words is no biggie.

Students that can easily express themselves through writing flock toward scholarships with interesting essays and the scholarships on this list are just that.

All of the below scholarships require an essay entry – some as short as only 250 words – with interesting essay topics that range from safe driving and technology to America heroes and animal activism.

To help better organize your scholarship and internship search, please note that the following scholarships for writers are listed according to deadline, with the earliest deadline appearing at the top of the page. Deadlines that vary will appear at the bottom of each list.

If you enjoy expressing your opinions through writing, the scholarships on this list await your entries.

Scholars Helping Collars

Deadline: 2/15/18
Available to: High School Seniors
Award Amount: $1,000

The Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship is open to current high school seniors. You must submit an essay of between 500 and 1000 words with two to three photos of your volunteer efforts to help animals in need and how that involvement has changed your lives or shaped your perceptions on the importance of animal welfare in order to be considered for this award.

Learn more about the Scholars Helping Collars.

Live Deliberately Essay Contest

Deadline: 3/15/18
Available to: Ages 13-21 Years
Award Amount: 3 Awards of $250

The Live Deliberately Essay Contest is open to all students aged 14 – 21. You must submit an essay of no more than 750 words based on the prompts listed on the sponsor’s website. This year’s prompts will ask you to consider a time in your life when you pursued a path that was “narrow and crooked,” but felt like it was the right path for you. In what ways are/were you able to, as Thoreau advises, walk that path with “love and reverence?” How has navigating that path shaped you into the person you are becoming?

Learn more about the Live Deliberately Essay Contest .

AFSA High School Essay Contest

Deadline: 3/15/2018
Available to: High School Freshmen through High School Seniors
Award Amount: $2,500

The AFSA High School Essay Contest is open to high school students. To be considered, in a 1,000 – to 1250 – word essay, you must identify two cases – one you deem successful and one you deem unsuccessful – where the U.S. pursued an integrated approach to build peace in a conflict – affected country.

Learn more about the AFSA High School Essay Contest .

Brighter Future Scholarship

Deadline: 3/31/2018
Available to: College Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: $500

The Brighter Future Scholarship is available to undergraduate, graduate or law students enrolled at an accredited college or university. You must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit 500 word letter of intent that identifies a problem and explains how you intend to use your education as a way to begin solving that problem, thus creating a brighter future.

Learn more about the Brighter Future Scholarship.

NPG 2018 Scholarship Contest

Deadline: 4/20/2018
Available to: High School Seniors through College Juniors
Award Amount: Awards from $750-$2,000

The NPG 2018 Essay Scholarship Contest is open to high school seniors and college freshmen, sophomores and juniors. You must submit an essay of between 500 and 750 words on one environmental issue from the sponsor’s chosen list and explain how it is made worse by population growth and describe what measures you would recommend our nation’s leaders take to ensure we protect our fragile environment for generations to come. You must also be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident to qualify for this award.

Learn more about the NPG 2018 Scholarship Contest.

E-Waste Scholarship

Deadline: 4/30/2018
Available to: High School Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: $1,000

The E-waste Scholarship is available to high school, undergraduate or graduate students. You must submit a short statement that completes the sentence “The most important reason to care about e-waste is…” and be U.S. citizen or legal resident to qualify for this award.

Learn more about the E-Waste Scholarship.

Feldco Scholarship

Deadline: 6/15/2018
Available to: College Freshmen through College Seniors
Award Amount: $1,000

The Feldco Scholarship is available to current and prospective college students. To be considered, you must submit a 700 – to 1000 – word essay on the following topic: “How has your family contributed to who you are today?”

Learn more about the Feldco Scholarship.

Immigration Scholarship Essay Contest

Deadline: 7/01/2018
Available to: High School Seniors through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: $1,500

The Immigration Scholarship Essay Contest is open to U.S. citizens attending or planning to attend an accredited college or university. You must submit an essay of between 800 and 1000 words on one of the five topics related to immigration listed on the sponsor’s website in order to qualify for this award.

Learn more about the Immigration Scholarship Essay Contest.

Love Your Career Scholarship

Deadline: 9/10/2018
Available to: College Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: $1,000

The Love Your Career Scholarship is available to students attending an accredited college or university. You must submit an essay of at least 1,000 words describing at least three steps that you plan to take in the next year to start a path towards having a career that you love in order to qualify for this award. Topics may include: What are your passions that could be turned into a career? What are some ideas you have for a business based on things that you love and are skilled at? You must also interview a professional in your chosen field that has at least three years of experience.

Learn more about the Love Your Career Scholarship.

MajGen Harold W. Chase Prize Essay Contest

Deadline: Varies
Available to: College Freshmen through College Seniors
Award Amount: $3,000

Sponsored by the Marine Corps Gazette, the MajGen Harold W. Chase Prize Essay Contest is open to all Marines on active duty and to members of the Selected Marine Corps Reserve.

The contest honors the essay that proposes and argues for a new and better way of “doing business” in the Marine Corps.

Learn more information about the MajGen Harold W. Chase Prize Essay Contest.

Mary Grant Charles Prize Scholarship

Deadline: Varies
Available to: College Freshmen through College Seniors
Award Amount: Varies

The Mary Grant Charles Prize Scholarship is open to undergraduate students at Tufts University.

You must possess the same creative qualities in the writing of prose and poetry to qualify for this award.

Preference is given to students whose writing reflects an interest in ancestry and genealogy.

Get more information on the Mary Grant Charles Prize Scholarship.

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Eight Steps To Writing a Killer Scholarship Essay

If you are applying for college scholarships, you are probably knee-deep in paper right now.

Your SAT scores, high school transcripts (or undergrad, if you’re applying to graduate school), letters of recommendations, applications forms, and of course, the dreaded scholarship essay.

Most scholarship programs – from the $20,000 one run by your new college to the $200 one sponsored by the hardware store down the street – require at least one essay.

Some require several written statements. And after finally finishing all those college essays, the last thing you probably want to do is put fingers to keyboard again. Well buck up because while you are nearly done, this homestretch is going to be make-or-break for your college career. Getting into the school of your dreams is only half the battle. Figuring out how to pay for it is the other half. (Or, with the way college tuition costs are skyrocketing today, perhaps figuring out the funds is more like the other two-thirds!) If you are feeling stuck (Stop staring at a blank computer screen! The words aren’t going to magically write themselves!), then check out these eight helpful suggestions for writing the killer scholarship essay:

1. Know your audience.

Let’s say you ran a scholarship search on one of the popular online engines. You got a list of 16 solid leads and now you are rushing to write a dozen and a half essays before the deadlines pass you by. Before you jump in with both feet, take a few minutes – or more – to get to know the organization that sponsors each scholarship. Review their website, paying special attention to sections about the organization’s history, vision and board of directors. If you are applying to a major national (or international) organization, you might want to cross-google the board members’ names. The information you glean can have a big impact on what you chose to write about. For example, if the essay asks about the most influential leader in history, you probably don’t wax on about Karl Marx and the saving grace of Communism to the Daughters of the American Revolution. Information is power. Arm yourself with it.

2. Follow directions.

“Follow directions?! That’s your great tip?,” you might be thinking to yourself. And you’re right: It is pretty basic advice. But then, you’d be surprised by the scores of candidates who fail to answer (or even address) the question at hand. Or the ones who write 600 words, when the application asked for 150. Or even those who send in a single-spaced essay when the instructions called for double spacing.

3. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

You already wrote some wonderful essays to get into college. In those files, you will likely find some great kernels if not entire sections of text that you can recycle for your scholarship essays.

4. Brainstorm.

Most scholarship essays are relatively short (200-800 words) and highly focused. They ask you to reflect on a narrowly defined topic – your favorite author, your opinion on a new piece of legislation, a pivotal experience in your childhood. When not an idea comes to mind, start with some free association brainstorming. Here’s how: Write the question across the top of a piece of paper. Then allow yourself 10 minutes to write down every word or phrase that comes to mind. (Set a timer if that will help.) Don’t judge, just jot.

5. Filter.

Go through your brainstorming pages and circle any viable responses. Now make another list with just those words and phrases. Spend a good 30 minutes fleshing them out. See which concepts can fit together, and weed out the extraneous one.

6. Crystallize a thesis.

Many scholarship candidates make the mistake of writing before they know what they want to say. They are floundering, and their writing reflects it. When you only have 200 words to sell your idea, each word has to count double. That is why a clear thesis statement is so important. A thesis is your guide – it helps make sure that every word you write is pointing in the right direction. To arrive at your thesis, carefully study that mess of notes from your brainstorming and filtering sessions. Your thesis is there, I promise. You just have to find it. Once you figure it out, write it down. Chose your words carefully. Rewrite it a time or two (or 20) until every word you have written has importance. Now, take a deep breath. The hardest part of the process is behind you.

7. Connect the dots.

With your thesis as your guide, write the body of your essay. Perhaps that sounds overly simplistic, but remember: You already laid a wonderful foundation, so now your words can flow. Just make sure that you are staying on point (check back in with your trusty thesis, if you start to wander.) Now is the time to focus on content. You can jazz up your style later.

8. Make it shine.

Just like when you wrote your college essays, you must captivate the attention of important decision makers when writing a scholarship essay.

Make them care about you (but remember that there is a fine line between care and pity. This is not the time for your sob story, even if your life has indeed been one.)

Look at your sentence structure and word choice. Without going overboard and sounding like a thesaurus, your essay should reflect intelligence and polish.

Ask for help from a trusted advisor if this is not your forte. But remember: You – and only you – should be the author of your essay. Anything else is plagiarism.

9. Proof your Scholarship Essay.

And then proof it again. No matter how brilliant your prose, missing punctuation and spelling errors can totally undermine the impact. Email your essay to your parents, best friend, or English tutor and ask them to look it over for you before you press send for good. A fresh set of eyes can catch little mistakes that make a big difference.

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