3 Biggest Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Scholarship Essay

Education is quite an expensive investment. Though the benefits are immense in the long run, the reality is that it is a tedious affair for most people. As time goes by, tuition fees are skyrocketing, and the sad fact is that students are putting higher education aside until a time that they can afford it. But even with these realities, a ray of hope has been found through scholarship opportunities thanks to some kind and generous souls in the world. You can apply for a scholarship to make your higher education ambitions a reality.

However, with the volumes of people applying for scholarships, it has become a necessity for people to write scholarship essays. These essays serve as a sieve to get the best deserving students for scholarship amongst the many who are in need. It is also necessitated by the fact that the scholarship opportunities are limited since no institution can afford the resources to cover every needy student. In light of this, one will have to stand out with their scholarship essay to increase their chances of being picked by the selection panel.

This article will highlight three biggest mistakes that would ruin your scholarship essay thereby ruining your chances of scoring the scholarship opportunity.

1. Failing to Answer the Question Asked by the Panel

This is not only a common scholarship essay mistake that students make in writing, but also a mistake that people make in life. Most people tend to use the strawman approach when answering things. You find that someone has been asked a specific question but in their paper, they’re answering another question and they are doing it correctly. The fact that you have responded to the other question (which you were not asked) rightly doesn’t absolve you from the initial question that you were asked.

While writing the scholarship essay, some students tend to do the same. They fail to address the question that was initially asked. This automatically ruins your chances and they won’t stand a chance against those who have answered the question correctly. The scholarship committee requires you to make a clear and correct submission to the question asked. In fact, they use this criterion to weed out the many applications on their desks.

So a quick word of advice, just answer the question that you were asked! Your scholarship essay will stand a better chance of being selected if you do so.

2. Failing to Submit the Essay Within the Stipulated Time

Many scholarship applicants get locked out merely because they missed the deadline. They may have crafted the best scholarship essay but time simply proved their efforts futile. This may be due to unforeseeable circumstances, but for most scholarship hopefuls, it is just a case of procrastination and a culture of doing things the last minute. Statistics show that out of the total number of grads, about 2/3 had received aid. Considering the volumes of applications received by the deadline, trying to convince the panel to add yours on top of the many scholarship applications received will be not worth the candle to them. To remedy this:

    • Always strive to plan your essay well in advance.
    • Do your research way early before time so that you can have the comfort of writing and submitting it within the stipulated period.
    • If you may, create a writing schedule. You can do this even one year in advance. You can still do this if you are applying for multiple scholarships.

3. Uncreative and Unpolished Writing

This part focuses on the essay itself. Writing a scholarship essay is not a normal affair. It is not like a basic essay. Take it as an interview where you are proving your worth to the scholarship selection panel. Your main aim should be to engage the panelists that will read your essay. This calls for sheer creativity. Use:

      • Vivid descriptions that you can think of
      • Use imagery
      • Personalization to tweak your essay

Don’t be too rigid and formal – that’s what everybody is doing!

Consider this illustration:

My grandfather inspires me because even in his old age he serves the community as a farmer.”

Every morning before sunrise, my granddad gets out of the comfort of his warm bed, slips into his overalls and boots, gets a bucket and zealously walks to his dairy farm in the backyard. He then studiously embarks on milking the cows, so that the neighborhood gets fresh milk (straight from the farm) for breakfast.”

The last statement is more vivid and descriptive than the first one. The reader can visualize what the grandfather does every morning as opposed to the first statement where he is plainly depicted as a farmer.

As far as polished writing is concerned, most essays are submitted without being proofread. Simple aspects such as spelling errors, grammatical errors and punctuation mistakes can cost you your long awaited scholarship. It turns the reader off to see such silly mistakes and you will pass off as someone who is not keen to detail. To remedy this, always run your scholarship essay through:

      • A spell-check,
      • Proofreader and,
      • Grammar-checker.

Have a second and third party read through your scholarship essay to point out issues that need to be corrected. Make some improvements to your vocabulary by adding intelligent phrases. All these will go a long way in making your scholarship essay appeal to the selection panel.


Well, there you have it. These three scholarship essay mistakes are some of the big mistakes that people make in their scholarship essays. Analyze them carefully against your scholarship essay to see how it matches. Going the extra mile to avoid these mistakes and others in your scholarship essay will make you stand out amongst others who may not be aware of them. You will become a better candidate and that scholarship might just be yours!

Have you discovered other mistakes that are rampant in scholarship essays? Share with us below.

Lucas Cappel is a writer and an educator from Ohio. He has a deep-rooted interest in education which he channels through his writing and his work as a writer/editor at https://essaywritersite.com. Lucas is also interested in travel and the development of modern technology.


4 Comments on “3 Biggest Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Scholarship Essay

  1. These are outstanding scholarship essay tips! When students submit their essays for my scholarship, the Savor Summer College Scholarship, many tend to write as little as possible. The essay is supposed to be up to 500 words, but many students put in a small amount of effort and send me one small paragraph with very limited details. When I see this, I immediately know that the student has not invested much time in trying to impress me (the scholarship judge) and I do not consider their application a winning one.

    • The most important advice I tell student is, “Quality is so much better than quantity.” When you see the short essays that are not thought out, it is typically because students are trying to send out as many scholarship applications/essays as possible. However, sending in a handful of quality applications/essays will be much more likely to win a scholarship than sending in 100 quick and without much thought applciations/essays.

  2. Pingback: link private tutoring

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: