10 Tips for Writing Scholarship Essays

Everyone jumps at the opportunity of receiving free money, but as soon as we see that an essay is required, we immediately put it off. I know I’m guilty of this. But this past week, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on how to write scholarship essays. During the workshop, I learned a lot and decided that it’d be great to share some tips with fellow students.

  1. Personalize your essay- The readers want to know who you are. A good way to do this is to tell a story.
  2. “Challenge” or “Obstacle”- When the prompt includes one of these words, write a story about how you overcame a challenge or obstacle. Mention how you “grew” from that. Correlate it with your education or finances.
  3. Talk about your “goals” and “vision”- The people giving away the money like to know that their money will be put to good use. Talking about your career goals is a great way to make that valid.
  4. Be specific – Tell them what you want to do with your life. Why you’re pursuing a higher education. Why you need the money etc.
  5. Imagine your audience – Your reader is a real person with a life and personality of their own. Talk to them as if they’re a friend. You will more than likely relate to them.
  6. Be memorable – Tell them things that make you unique. Use emotions that will leave them crying, angry, frustrated. Usually heartfelt stories make these marks.
  7. Don’t be formal – You are telling a story, you don’t need to be overly proper. You often times don’t even need an intro for essays like this, just begin telling your story.
  8. Use imagery – Describe emotions, settings, details etc.
  9. Follow the word count – Try not to go over the word limit but do not go drastically under. (Ex: if it’s 300 words, don’t go under 250)
  10. Read your essay and then read it AGAIN and then have someone else read it!

To apply for the Alamo Colleges and Northwest Vista College scholarships, go here.

By NVC Student Haneen Rafati


Student Ambassadors Get Leadership Experience

by Alexia Hall

When NVC’s Student Leadership and Activities Coordinator  Darryl Nettles  was asked to make-over the student ambassador program at NVC  6 years ago, he had a quite a task.

The program was small and hadn’t made much progress in comparison to similar programs in other educational organizations. Today, the program has grown to 21 ambassadors.

“We had so many good applicants, so many good people,” Nettles said. “We were originally funded for only 15 ambassadors, but we made room.”

It might be NVC’s best kept secret. Ambassadors volunteer their time for a chance to represent the school in a variety of ways; they may be asked to give campus tours, serve on committees, organize a school function, or even usher at a Wildcats game.

All in all, ambassadors must put in 48 hours of service by the end of the year. That averages out to 3 hours per week. Ambassadors who complete their service receive a $500 dollar scholarship for the year, $250 for each semester.

But Nettles insists that’s not why most ambassadors give their time.

 “I’m amazed at the amount of time some of our student ambassadors put in. I mean, you’re talking about students who have a family, work full time, and go to school full time, yet they love the program and NVC so much, that they put in the extra time. They tell me they’re not doing it for the money.”

“The program has so much intrinsic value,” Nettles says, “Students have networking opportunities, and they develop marketing and leadership skills they might not otherwise get.”

Nettles stated that his staff is looking for a variety of students. “We’re looking for enthusiastic people, not necessarily stellar students who have a 4.0 GPA. We’re also looking for those students who we can help to grow through this opportunity.”

Applications for next year’s ambassadors start April 1. Interested students should apply at the Cypress Center RM 126. The deadline for applications is April 19.

Alexia Hall is a student at Northwest Vista College