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  Essay/Personal Statement
Most scholarship providers will request applicants to write either an essay or personal statement. The essay/personal statement is one of the most important parts of any scholarship application. Without an essay/personal statement, every application will look the same with the same basic information (i.e. grades, financial need, extracurricular activities, etc.). The essay is a key factor to whether an applicant is invited to an interview or awarded the scholarship.

The essay/personal statement is a self-portrait of you. It can tell the scholarship committee a great deal about you that they would otherwise have not known. It offers an insightful view of yourself (i.e. values, experiences, dream, etc.), your method of thinking, ability to communicate, and write effectively. It provides an added dimension to the application. This is your opportunity to shine and sell yourself. Your essay can make or break your application.

Scholarship essays often cover the same topics as college application essays. You may be able to reuse or revise previous essays written for college applications and scholarship applications to use for new scholarship applications. This does not mean that you should write one very general essay/personal statement to use for every scholarship application. If you reuse an essay that you wrote previously, you must revise it and tailor it to each individual scholarship. You may have to write a new essay to address the essay question on a scholarship application. If you kept copies of all previous essays written, you may have saved yourself a lot of time.

Once applicants realize that an essay/personal statement is required, most applicants never send in their application(s) - thus eliminating themselves out of the competition. Here’s something to think about: If you spend 10 hours writing an essay (from beginning to end) for a $1000 scholarship and you win it--that is $100 per hour and at your age, this will be the best hourly wage ever!

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