Hours & Contact Info

Fall and Spring Semesters:
Monday - Friday
9:00am - 6:30pm

When classes are not in session:
Monday - Friday
9:00am - 5:00pm


Writing the Scholarship Essay


Writing the Scholarship Essay/Personal Statement

The scholarship essay or personal statement is a very common requirement on scholarship applications. For many people it is also the most dreaded part of the application process. And for some, it is the reason why they will not even bother to apply.

We know that many people struggle with the writing process. However, with the following tips and resources, we hope to demystify the scholarship essay and make the process manageable.

Getting Started

Starting an essay is the most difficult part of the process. This is true even for professional writers, so do not be discouraged if you have trouble with this – you are not alone. However, there are a few things you should do before you even start putting pen to paper (or typing):


(1)Describe a piece, or pieces, of art, literature, music, or film which you have created or in which you have participated. (2)Why is it meaningful to you? (3)What did you learn?

In the above example, we have a question with three parts. By breaking it down from 1-3, you now have your sequence in which you should begin answering the question in your essay. Make sure you address each part, giving it the attention that it deserves.


(a) To demonstrate personal traits in you that are similar to the personal traits of the person for whom the scholarship is named.
(b) Show how my strong family support contributes to my success.


Using the goals listed above, one possible theme would be how family appreciation and support can be the foundation for individual success.


I. Introduction

(a) Introduce theme.

(b) Lead the reader into first body paragraph.

II. Body Paragraph 1

(a) Discuss first point, or answer first part of question.

III. Body Paragraph 2

(a) Discuss second point, or answer second part of question.

IV. Body Paragraph 3

(a) Discuss third point, or answer third part of question.

V. Conclusion

(a) Re-emphasize theme, or tie any lose ends left from intro.

Writing the Essay

Now that you have your theme, goals, and outline, it is time to write! Start filling in your outline one step at a time. To avoid writers block, allow yourself to “write badly,” keeping in mind that the first draft WILL NOT be perfect. Here are some tips for putting things together:


“I am a literacy volunteer. I did not decide to do this work because studies report that 21% of adults (over 40 million) in this country are functionally illiterate or because 43% of people with reading deficiencies live in poverty or even because 70% of people with reading deficiencies have no job or only a part time job. My reason for becoming a literacy volunteer was much simpler. My Dad couldn’t read.” (Taken from

The example above is successful because it entices the reader to read further by stating interesting facts, and leading them in to the rest of the story. Also, the author successfully introduces her main point: that she, inspired by her own father’s struggles with illiteracy, seeks to help others who are also illiterate.

Example (of a transition):

“Once I learned how to scale rocks on the artificial rock face, I needed to try out my skills on a real mountain.” (From


“Dad may never read Dostoyevsky but we are both thrilled that he can now read his sister’s letters from his hometown in Romania, and doesn’t have to pretend to read the newspaper anymore.” (From

Here, the author ties up any loose ends left over from the introduction while re-iterating his/her main point; without going into a summary of the entire piece.

Things to Keep in Mind Throughout the Process

Here are some things that you will want to think about as you are writing the essay:

Revising the Essay

Other Resources


Our guide was put together primarily from the information obtained from the following websites: 




Scholarships, Awards & Other Opportunities|Office Directory|Contact & Office Hours

  • BMCC logo
The City University of New York

Borough of Manhattan Community College
The City University of New York
199 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007
212-220-8000 | Directory

Text Only Version|Make this web site talk