Sources Of Knowledge Short Essay Scholarships

Scholarship and award essays have a lot in common with admission essays, but the standards for winning essays are much higher. Hundreds or thousands of applicants might be trying to win each spot. Grammar, spelling, sentence structure, organization, and content of your essay must be impeccable.

Follow All the Rules

Before you start working on your essay, make sure you know all the rules. Do not test the patience of your readers by breaking even a minor rule. When it is possible to do so, get the latest set of rules from the organization's web site. Most importantly, make sure you clearly understand what you are supposed to write your essay. If the prompt reads, "Account for your opinions of the role of the United States in global warming," that is exactly what you are supposed to do. It would be wrong to frame your essay around global warming.

Likewise, if you are required to include certain themes or sources in your essay, do not fail to include them.

Meeting the Deadline

Usually there is no real difference between submitting your essay weeks in advance and sending it by express mail on the last day. An office assistant will put your essay in the pile for your readers, all the same. The advantage of submitting your application early is that if there is a problem, you might be contacted early enough to be able to correct it. The advantage of taking extra time is what you might need to improve your essay.

Do You Know What the Institution Values?

It is essential to learn what the institution values and then to demonstrate in your essay that you support those values. An essay about you should show that you either exemplify those values already or aspire to achieve them through some aspect of your life and work.

What will make your essay rise above the rest?

1. Do more research and make sure that you get the circumstantial details correct: is that castle at Lake Bled really 900 years old, and is it really on the eastern hill? If you are writing about a personal experience, engage in some honest introspection to truly understand and account for your thoughts and feelings.

2. Write drafts. As your experience develops and your style improves, you will gain a more intuitive sense of what structure will work best, so you will not have to go through all the permutations every time.

Writing the Essay: The Title

In scholarship essays, the title often makes a great difference. A smart, catchy, relevant title marks the essay worth reading and the essayist worth noting.

1. Usually it is not enough to name the subject of the essay in the title. It is especially important to go beyond the general theme where all contenders are responding to the same prompt. Give, in addition, a sense of the argument of the essay.

2. Write as specific a title as you can without going on too long or emphasizing only part of the argument. Remember that whatever you promise in the title it must actually come through in the essay.

3. Consider using some of the words (or synonyms for the words) of the prompt, but do not simply restate the whole prompt, unless you are specifically instructed to use the prompt as the title of the essay. Even so, if you are submitting several essays in response to different prompts, make sure that the titles clearly suggest which essay goes with which prompt.

4. Presenting a promise for essay writing often engages the reader. Titles that begin with "How" or "Why" promise that you will explain something worth understanding. Similarly, presenting a question in the title is basically a promise that you will provide some sort of answer in the essay.

5. A common practice in writing titles is to give two versions of the title separated by a colon.

The First Sentence

The first sentence of an essay must be award-winning. It can be short, medium, or long, but it must orient the reader in terms of tone, content, and language. Use it to start preparing your readers for the "trip" that you have designed for their benefit.

Tone. Choose a tone that is appropriate for the essay.

Content. Just as in the title, the content of the first sentence should prepare the reader to learn your perspective on your topic. This means, again, choosing a level of specificity that is not too broad. Get right to the issue.

Language. Remember that early drafts of your first sentence should be just enough to get you started as you write and revise. You can spend time focusing on the first sentence after you have a solid command of your argument and a perfect feel for the tone of your essay which may not be until you have written several drafts. Do not get bogged down before the rest of the essay is in place.

The First Paragraph

In a great opening paragraph, every sentence does significant work. Each sentence requires significant attention to tone, content, and language. The two anchors are your opening sentence and your thesis sentence, but these do not lie apart from one another or from the rest of the sentences. Like an interlocking framework, all the sentences work together; even a small shift in one sentence could affect all the others.

For example, let us stay with the paragraph on global warming.

Again, note that the writer leaves some material for future research. Much of the content work can be performed later and added to the next draft. Just remember that when your research suggests an alteration in the argument, the argument should be changed accordingly.

The Body

The body of an outstanding scholarship or award essay has the same features as outstanding essays in general. Remember that each body paragraph should be a discrete unit with a clear point, taking the next reasonable step as you proceed through a consistent line of arguments.

Dealing thoughtfully and intelligently with counter-claims and counter-evidence is often essential to award-winning essays. Readers want to know that you have considered your position carefully. This includes demonstrating that although you have considered other positions, you remain persuaded that your position is  strongest. The following advice is also essential for essays in which you do not take a position but present a variety of possible claims in order to demonstrate your knowledge or interest in a particular issue.

When you treat any claim that is not your own, especially a counter-claim, present it fairly and, as much as possible, on its own terms.

At the same time, pay attention to the relative amount of efforts that the essay expends on your position versus the other positions. Usually the majority of the essay should focus on your own position, so do not get bogged down in refuting other positions at length. Likewise, do not worry about responding to every potential challenge; it is normally quite enough to include your responses to the best and most significant challenges that could be offered.

In covering the ground of your own position, make sure that you are using a high standard of evidence. Remember that evidence is often a quotation from another source. Do not cite a second-rate source, including most encyclopedias, dictionaries, newspaper articles, popular magazines, and most of the material on the Internet. Even a strong Internet source is suspect among readers, simply because it shows that you did your research from the relative ease of your computer rather than at the library. Whenever you can, find a published source (usually a book or journal article) to cite in place of an Internet source.

It ought to go without saying that your evidence also should be (1) relevant, (2) interpreted thoughtfully and accurately, and (3) appropriate.

(1) Relevant evidence is that which pertains to the particular point being made in the paragraph if not also the entire argument of the essay. When you are searching for and choosing from among relevant pieces of evidence, look for phrases that are memorable and which use some of the key words that are used elsewhere in your point or in the overall argument.

(2) Accurate interpretation of evidence involves understanding the evidence in its larger context as well as in itself. Thoughtful interpretations also bring out the importance of the quotation in its new context, the particular location in your essay where the evidence is brought forth.

(3) Evidence is appropriate when it has the right length (not too long or too short given the amount of weight that it carries), the right tone (objective, combative, or whatever is necessary for you to illustrate or develop the point), the right source (a trustworthy rather than a suspect source), and the right form (in some places it makes sense to quote a speech or lines of a poem, but in other places only written prose will do).

Although the evidence in the body of your essay often will come from sources that you quote and statistics that you cite, some evidence may take other forms. Winning essays often rely on a wide variety of relevant and appropriate evidence. For example, sometimes the outcome of a minor line of argument becomes a piece of evidence, that is, one of the premises of your major line of argument. Sometimes your own observations are the most important evidence, such as in essays that describe your own experience or achievements (including many admission essays as well as reports on your own scientific experiments). And sometimes your evidence is common knowledge and it does not need to be cited, although it might be essential to your argument, such as the idea that Einstein revolutionized Newtonian physics with his theory of relativity.

The Last Paragraph. In a short admission essay, the last paragraph often should do a lot more than sum up the essay. In contrast, in a long academic essay the body paragraphs tend to lead the reader to a kind of plateau, followed by a "conclusion" with a markedly different feel: the reader knows the essay is ending. In long essays, the conclusion can consist of two or three paragraphs or even as much material as an entire admission essay. A successful scholarship essay, often having a length between that of a short admission essay and a long academic essay, exhibits the best of both kinds of conclusions.

In other words, a strong scholarship essay does not need to make the conclusion do the double duty of providing additional content and providing an ending statement at the same time, which is characteristic of a very short essay. Yet the conclusion of a scholarship essay should do more than simply sum up what has been presented so far. Likewise, a strong scholarship essay seldom needs a long concluding section. Most of the points to score have already been scored by the time the conclusion begins. Instead, consider the conclusion as your opportunity to move your readers from the plateau of your argument to the best place they should visit next. Remember the metaphor of taking your reader on a trip: from the plateau, you and your reader are best positioned to see the overall landscape and to make a decision about the next step.

The summary in the last paragraph should be clear (or in some particulars, implied), but some kind of intelligent, witty, perceptive, motivational, or otherwise interesting further remarks also should appear. What kind of further remarks you choose will depend on what seems most appropriate to your particular essay.

Finishing Touches

You can write a winning essay without having read any writing guides and without getting any help from others. But the chances are minimal.

1. Get the reactions of one student or peer reader and one reader above that level (a teacher, parent, boss, or professor). Best of all, try to find an authoritative reader who has the similar tastes with your intended audience. Ask them to comment on strong and weak points of your essay.

2. Read your essay aloud to catch typos and, more importantly, to hear the tone and flow of the essay. Read it to someone, and have that person read it back loud to you. Remember that the reader of your essay will read as the essay looks on the page, not the way you imagine it sounding in your head. Even so, note that one of the judges might read individual lines or sentences out loud to persuade other judges that your essay deserves to win (or to fail). Make sure that your worst three or four sentences are still readable and your best three or four sentences are memorable and prize-winning.

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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