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Scholarship Writing Tips

Many students have questions regarding applying for scholarships. This tip guide will help you to develop a "working file" of information that you typically need for applications.  Once your scholarship resume is developed, you can save it as a template when applying for other scholarships.

Remember to also become familiar with campus and local scholarships available by researching the UWEC Financial Aid Office website at

There are several basic questions that you need to be prepared to answer on your application.

 Who are you? 

  • Name
  • Year in College
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • E-mail (use your university e-mail)
  • Major/minor
  • Grade Point Average

What are your goals?

Education Career Objective: Why/How did you choose the major you are in?  What are your goals:  Be as specific as possible.  Include:

  • Relevant employment experience 
  • Special skills that support your goals (computer, languages, work with children, elderly, etc.) 
  • Volunteer experience
  • Personal or family experience

Why should you be selected to receive the scholarship award?

Address any topics that will show the scholarship committee and donor that you are a committed and successful student.   You might include one or more of the following items or others that you wish to address.

 Your Personal statement

What sets you apart from others? Do not neglect to mention if you are a non-traditional student, a veteran, first-generation college student, low-income, or if you have a documented disability or family obligations (such as a child/family/parents to care for). What about the impact of the death of a loved one or a divorce in the family?  Have you overcome or have ongoing healthe challenges such as cancer, surgeries, managing chronic conditions (e.g. fibromyalgia, arthritis, diabetes, allergies, etc.)?

Don't underestimate importance of hours you are working (and more than one job).

Do you have experiences or interests that might be relevant to the spirit of the scholarship you are seeking? Examples could include your hometown, county, hobbies,experiences such as employment, travel, volunteer experiences, etc.

Do you have high financial need seperate from typical tuition and living expenses? Be specific—medical/dental/vision/prescription expenses; computer; additional course costs (art supplies, software, musical instrument); car repairs; child-care cost; reduced hours of employment; care for family member; commuting from distant city; study abroad, etc.

A critical point to bear in mind as you write your essay is to be truthful and sincere. Be factual, but not too humble and avoid sounding "whiney". Ask someone whose opinion and expertise you value to review your scholarship resume and application.

Keeping Yourself Organized

It is important to keep a record of your scholarship searches and applications.  One way to do this is by keeping and excel spreadsheet with labels such as:

Once you have a "working" scholarship essay, keep it in a separate folder labeled Scholarship Searches, or something to that effect, so you can easily find it.  You can then reuse this essay and/or fine tweak it to fit each scholarship ayou apply for.  Be sure to complete a 'file saveas" document and give it a name that will help you to identify it quickly or when you are in need of reviewing it.  It is also a good idea to include the full date in the file name for your reference.  Always keep a back-up folder on a thumb drive or external hard drive, as well as in the space the UWEC gives you to use (W drive).

Additional scholarship information can be found through Fastweb, a national scholarship search engine.


       GOOD LUCK!!


Compiled by: Bonnie Isaacson and Trudy Bement
Nontraditional Student Services, and Student Support Services
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
January  2013



Top Ten Tips for Winning Scholarship Applications

Ever wonder what the folks who award the scholarships want to see? Fast Web has polled scholarship providers across the country, asking for their tips on applying for scholarships.

Tip #1: Apply only if you are eligible.

Read all the scholarship requirements and directions carefully and make sure that you are eligible before you send in your application. Your application won't make one bit of difference if you aren't qualified to apply.

TIP #2: Complete the application in full.

Be sure to complete the entire application. If a question doesn't apply, note that on the application. Don't just leave it blank.

TIP #3: Follow directions.

Provide everything that is required. But don't supply things that aren't requested &emdash; you could be disqualified.

TIP #4: Neatness counts.

Make a couple of photocopies of all the forms you receive. Use the copies as working drafts as you develop your application packet. And always type the application, or if you must print, do so neatly and legibly.

TIP #5: Make sure your essay makes an impression.

The key to writing a strong essay is to be personal and specific. Include concrete details to make your experiences come alive: the 'who,' 'what,' 'where,' and 'when' of your topic. The simplest experience can be monumental if you present honestly how you were effected.

TIP #6: Watch all deadlines.

To help keep yourself on track, impose a deadline for yourself that is at least two weeks prior to the stated deadline. Use this 'buffer time' to proofread your application before you send it off.

If worse comes to worse, call the scholarship provider in advance and ask if it's possible to receive an extension. Don't just send the materials in late; the committee may refuse late applications. But don't rely on extensions &emdash; very few scholarship providers allow them at all.

TIP #7: Take steps to make sure your application gets where it needs to go.

Before sending the application, make a copy of the entire packet and keep it on file. If your application goes astray, you can always reproduce it quickly. Make sure your name (and social security number, if applicable) appears on all pages of the application. Pieces of your application may get lost unless they are clearly identified.

TIP #8: Give it a final 'once-over.'

Proofread the entire application carefully. Be on the lookout for misspelled words or grammatical errors. Ask a friend, teacher or parent to proofread it as well.

TIP #9: Ask for help if you need it.

If you have problems with the application, do not hesitate to call the funding organization.

TIP #10: Remember &emdash; your scholarship application represents you!

Your ability to submit a neat, timely, complete application reflects on you. It's your face to this organization. Take pride in yourself by submitting the best application you can.