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12 Tips For Writing Scholarship Essays For International Students

Scholarship Essays

How to Write Scholarship Essays For International Students can be a daunting task, but if you follow these twelve tips, you can ace your scholarship essay in no time at all! 

Here are 12 Tips For Writing Scholarship Essays For International Students that will help you become successful with your scholarship essay writing skills and win the scholarship of your dreams!

Write about something you care about

Scholarship essay writing is tough and it’s often quite personal. To make sure your scholarship essay shines, you should write about something you care about. 

You have to have a deep passion for your cause because you’ll be spending an extensive amount of time researching, networking, and writing. 

If you’re interested in applying for scholarships as an international student, that alone means it should be something you care deeply about. 

In general, choosing something that has been meaningful to you will work because personal experiences always come through in your writing and can help spark attention from judges or admissions officers who may not know much about your background.

Personalize Your Scholarship Essays

Take your time in developing your scholarship essay so you can fully answer each prompt. There is no specific word count for international students, however, it is suggested that you write between 500 and 750 words. 

Make sure to use a persuasive tone while writing your essay and avoid making it too boring or academic.

In order to find success on scholarship applications, work on using correct grammar and spelling. It may sound obvious but make sure there are no typos or grammar mistakes within your essay! The scholarship committee will not take you seriously if they notice multiple mistakes while reading through your essays.

Know Your Audience When You Write

Before you write scholarship essays, make sure to be aware of your audience. Each university and scholarship is different so your essay will also have to be tailored toward that institution. 

Find out what that particular university likes to read before you begin writing your essay. If you are applying for a scholarship sponsored by an international foundation, keep in mind that they may not want to hear about how America needs international students because of diversity. Rather focus on something unique about yourself or tell a story that exemplifies who you are as a person. 

In some cases, it’s best to find out everything you can about your audience before you begin writing since it helps narrow down your approach and makes creating the first draft easier. You might even find yourself avoiding irrelevant details and language as well as unnecessary transitions or supporting information.

Follow Application Guidelines Closely

You might think you’re being a rule-breaker by writing scholarship essays that stray from an application’s requirements, but really, you’re just demonstrating your inability to follow directions. 

Scholarship providers have taken their time to craft carefully worded guidelines and make sure that applicants are on track. If you deviate from these instructions, you’re going to leave them wondering what else of yours they can’t trust even if there is no real reason for concern! 

Scholarship providers want students who are serious about their education and willing to put in a lot of hard work! In addition, closely following application guidelines demonstrate self-control and a strong work ethic. 

Consider Reusing An Existing Essay

Whether you’re applying for a prestigious scholarship or trying to win an award for your academic excellence, chances are you’ll be writing a scholarship essay or two. 

Before you start crafting an original essay from scratch, consider looking at some examples of other scholarships essays. 

Reusing is smart because it not only gives you more time to think about content, but it will also ensure that your essay stands out as unique and authentic. The last thing you want is to inadvertently plagiarize by incorporating text without proper citation.

Write An Introduction That Captures Your Reader’s Attention

How many scholarship essays have you read that begins with a boring introduction? If you’re like most, not many. Scholarship administrators are busy people and they don’t have time to read boring essays. 

When writing an introduction for your scholarship essay, make sure it catches your reader’s attention right away. 

Start by getting their attention with a shocking fact or statistic (so they keep reading). 

Next, tell them who you are and why you deserve to win. 

Finish up by explaining what will happen if you win so they can picture themselves giving that money to you instead of someone else.

Structure Your Essay logically.

Regardless of what you’re writing about, it’s crucial to structure your essay logically. 

Scholarship committees will be reading dozens of essays in a short amount of time and an easy-to-follow format will keep them interested in your story. 

Consider starting with an introductory paragraph that gives basic background information on yourself and why you’re qualified for that scholarship. 

Include a brief summary (bullet points) of your credentials and work experience; by doing so, you provide context to substantiate your claims later on. 

Once you’ve established who you are and why you deserve money from that organization, explain how exactly you’re going to use it as well as what type of impact it will have upon society.

Show Enthusiasm And Interest

When writing scholarship essays, you’ll have to show enthusiasm and interest in your intended career path. If it isn’t genuine, you’ll be able to spot it from a mile away. 

To write great scholarship essays and connect with your reader, think about:

  1. Why do you want to pursue a degree in that area, 
  2. What drew you to that field and 
  3. How education will help get you there. 

The combination of these three elements is powerful and pretty hard to fake.

Use Real-Life Examples

Take an example from your own life or someone you know well, and give a detailed explanation of how you overcame these challenges. Use specific examples and details to bring your essay to life for admissions officers. 

A scholarship essay is often a very personal piece of writing; don’t shy away from stories about hardship or failures, as long as they show how you overcame these experiences and learned from them. 

Scholarship essays are different from other kinds of college essays in that they aren’t just about what you have done, they are also about who you are.

In addition to describing obstacles overcome and lessons learned, show admissions officers who you are by including details that reflect character traits such as perseverance, compassion, creativity, etc.

Keep the Tone Positive, inspirational And Engaging

The most important aspect of writing a scholarship essay is to keep the tone positive, inspirational, and engaging. 

While scholarship committees are looking for strong, high-achieving students who are passionate about the field, the essays themselves need to be upbeat. Scholarship committees want students who will make a positive impact on their institutions and communities. 

The essays you write can reflect that mindset in tone as well as the content. If there’s one piece of advice I would give all prospective international student applicants it’s to ensure that your tone reflects positivity and enthusiasm at all times. 

Whatever else you do or don’t include in your essay, show the people reviewing it that you have what it takes to make an outstanding member of their community.

Proofread Your Work

Proofreading your work is important for several reasons:

  • It allows you to catch grammar and spelling mistakes that may have slipped through; 
  • it helps you spot awkward phrases and sentences that could cause confusion; 
  • and it makes your essay flow more smoothly (and looks less like a rushed job). 

Make sure to take your time when writing. Plan ahead and proofread your work, and ask others to review it as well (such as family, friends, or professors). A few minutes of effort could help you avoid common scholarship essay mistakes that may mean rejection. 

Also, make sure to provide sources if you use them, as some scholarships require all writing to be original content, rather than quotes or copied sentences. If they want an original application, they want an original application! 

Proofreading can also help improve your essay’s overall appearance by catching formatting errors such as incorrect margins or font type/size.

Make Use Of Available Resources

Writing scholarship essays is one of those challenges that can seem overwhelming at first. But, once you sit down and take a deep breath, you’ll find there are resources available to help make your application stand out from other applicants. 

This list of tips will walk you through what works and what doesn’t for scholarship applications to international schools. 

This includes; advice on writing service-minded, compelling personal statements while highlighting transferable skills in your chosen field of study. 

You might also want to check out a few college blogs for valuable tips on how to prepare for life in an American university. 

Here are a few examples: The Dean’s Corner (University of New Hampshire), University 101 (Iowa State University), and Admissions 101 (Georgia Tech).


After reviewing these 12 tips for writing scholarship essays for international students, you should be able to write a winning essay that will give you an edge over other applicants. Keep in mind, though, that while these tips can help you start your essay, they’re not all-inclusive. 

Once you’ve written your essay, make sure to proofread it thoroughly and then have someone else read it so they can catch any mistakes or issues that might need correcting. 

Finally, remember that scholarship essays are personal so make sure to convey who you are as a person through what you write.

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