People can give you advice about essay scholarships best practices but will it really make much of a difference in the end? Probably not. That is not to say that you should not take to heart all that follows, but when it comes to essay scholarships you will either write something that speaks to the judges or you won’t.

Try to be original with essay scholarships. That’s not as easy as it sounds. Your best bet is to look inside yourself and write essay scholarships that have meaning for you. When you write something to please the judges your essay scholarships end up sounding derivative and like you’re pandering.

Look at other contest winning essays with caution. You do want to follow a structure, sure, but you do not want to sound like everything else that came before you.

Read the instructions several times and then forget them. They are still there in the recesses of your mind somewhere—we just don’t want them cluttering up your flow and making you sound formulaic and wooden. Just write, baby! You can always go back and edit to the contest specifications after a first draft.

Don’t edit yourself while you are writing. Let it all come out on the paper and then fix it later. Writing is rewriting so you are going to want to go through several drafts.

What sort of essays are most essay scholarships judges looking for? Obviously it depends on which scholarship we are talking about, but there are a few safe bets.

Many essay topics will be about overcoming adversity. There are times when this can be an extremely difficult question for a teenager to answer. If you have had a nice life so far maybe the most adversity you have had to deal with is being cut from a high school sports team or getting a bad grade on a test. Good for you; unfortunately life won’t always be so easy.

Popular topics for this question can be a death in the family, moving to a new town, or having your parents go through a divorce. If you think hard enough you can find a difficult time in your life and discuss how you got through it and overcame it.

Another popular essay question is to name someone who has had a big influence on your life. Most people, of course, go with mom or dad, a grandparent, maybe a teacher.

It doesn’t really matter who you pick. Your explanation of why is what does matter. Again, be fresh. Be bold. Be honest. That will come through in your writing and the goal here is to walk away with some scholarship money, is it not?

Start your search for essay scholarships early and prepare well. Let the thoughts develop in your mind before you necessarily put them on paper. Give yourself weeks if not months to write it as well as you can write it, but respect the essay scholarships and don’t think you can win with a last minute effort. This is the big leagues now. Put your game face on and go write one heck of an essay!

How about making all scholarships strictly based on academic performance, which would lower costs and make education more accessible to everyone?

Are you ready for the NEXT STEP!