A popular scholarship essay prompt is “Tell us about yourself.” This question is relatively open-ended, which may make it difficult to answer at first glance. What should I tell them about myself? My struggles, my goals, my passions…? These may all be fitting topics, depending on the scholarship. We’ll show you some scholarship essay examples about yourself, along with writing tips to guide you along the way.
What they want to know about you
As you prepare to write, think of the topics the scholarship committee would be interested in. These may include:
- Your current degree, as it applies to your overall career goals. You can explain why you chose your current educational path and what you want to do with that.
- Your short-term and long-term professional goals. Frame your answer as if to say “Where will you be in 5 years? Where will you be in 10 years?” Scholarship committees like to reward people with defined aspirations.
- Past experiences that sparked your passions. You could talk about an influential person in your life, but make sure most of the essay focuses on you. After all, you are talking about yourself.
- Something about you that relates to their organization. With any scholarship essay, you should try to connect yourself with the organization providing the funding. Don’t force a connection. Find one that naturally fits. Mention hobbies, experiences and goals that match what the review committee is looking for.
- Something unique that sets you apart from other applicants. This may be volunteer experience, career specialties, situational differences (growing up in an area that didn’t encourage education), etc.
Note that you do not have to throw all this information into one essay. Choose the elements that best fit the scholarship. If you were on the review board, what would you want to learn about each applicant? What would make you choose one applicant over another? Keep this in mind as you develop your thoughts.
What they don’t want to know about you
There is plenty of information you could include in an about yourself scholarship essay. There is just as much information to avoid though. Some topics to keep out of your essay include:
- False information. Do not make up stories or fabricate goals to fit the prompt. The scholarship committee can instantly tell when someone is lying, and they will disqualify you immediately.
- Past struggles that do not pertain to the essay topic. You can briefly mention struggles from your past, as long as you mention how you’ve learned from them. Do not make your essay a long story about the hard life you’ve led. Focus on your triumphs, not your obstacles.
- Vague goals and aspirations. Scholarships are usually given to students who have a plan. If you say, “I’m not sure what I’m doing yet,” the committee will select a more motivated candidate. If you have a plan and a backup plan, that’s fine. Just make sure you mention both options and show which one you favor.
- Cliché stories that most people tell. There is something that makes you stand out as a person. Use that to your advantage. Don’t rely on generic information they’ll find with other applicants.
- Unrelated elements of your personal life. In most cases, you should not mention your significant other in the essay. You might mention a spouse if you need to reference your children or a turning point in your life, but these personal details do not fit most essays. Any information that seems frivolous or ill-placed should be removed from the essay.
Read through your essay carefully. If you stop at one point to say, “Why did I mention that?” get rid of the corresponding information. Showcase the best elements about yourself in a fluid and cohesive manner.
Scholarships for High School Seniors
Looking for scholarships for high school seniors? You’ve come to the right place! This handy guidebook will give you all the information (and more) you need to find scholarships for high school seniors. In this guide, you’ll learn about scholarships for different types of students, different scholarships by subject, scholarship applications, easy and weird scholarships, local scholarships, corporate scholarships, fraternity and sorority scholarships, and more. Read on for more information on how you can win scholarships for high school seniors…
Short scholarship essay example: Tell us about yourself (100 Words)
With 100 words, you can only focus on one or two elements of your life. Think about your biggest selling points – the things that show you are the ideal candidate. Start by introducing yourself and your educational status. Then jump into the main topic of the essay. You may not have room to mention how the scholarship will help your education. Instead, mention how your education can help your career. The other information will be implied.
My name is Christian Wood. I am a high school senior who will be attending the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall. I want to become an online journalist. My goal is to work for the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, or another news outlet that has a strong online presence. Most people already get their news on the internet, and the industry will be even bigger by the time I graduate. Getting a degree in journalism with a focus on digital media will set me up for a fulfilling, fast-paced career fit for the future.
Word Count: 96
Medium scholarship essay example: Tell us about yourself (250 Words)
With a mid-length scholarship essay, you have more space to explain how your past has influenced your present and future goals. You should have rom for an intro paragraph, a few body paragraphs, and a conclusion (maybe incorporated into the last body paragraph). Think of a few main points you want to touch on, and write those down first. If you still have room, you can add more details about yourself.
My name is Sarah, and I spent most of my childhood on the wrong medication. I experienced a problem common in clinical psychology – misdiagnosis. Professionals provide inaccurate diagnoses for many reasons – from antiquated testing methods to limited education. I want to open my own psychological testing facility and help change that. Therefore, I am pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Neuropsychology.
I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child because I had trouble focusing in school. The medication my doctor prescribed to me only made me numb to the world around me. I couldn’t think or process emotions, or had no emotions at all. After several years my parents finally decided to get a second opinion.
I saw a specialist and she concluded that I didn’t have ADHD, but a combination of dyslexia and dysgraphia (difficulties with reading and writing). She sent us to a therapist who helped me learn how to work around my conditions, and my life improved tremendously. I went from being a lifeless student with barely passing grades to an honor roll student full of joy and excitement.
Unfortunately, my story is not one of a kind. There are countless children in America who are put on mind-altering medications that do not adequately address their needs. I cannot help all of those children, but I can provide a better alternative for the ones in my area. Through proper education, funded by financial aid, I can learn about psychological evaluations and provide the most accurate diagnoses possible.
Word Count: 249
Long scholarship essay example: Tell us about yourself (500 Words)
Scholarship essays that are 500 words or longer let you tell the whole story. You can discuss your past, present and future in a comprehensive manner. Avoid rambling and make sure each topic contributes to the overall essay. If one piece feels out of place, remove it and elaborate more on the existing elements. By the end of the essay, the reader should have a full understanding of who you are and what you want to accomplish.
My name is Sierra Breault, and I am a junior at Murray State University. I am double-majoring in Criminal Justice and Forensics Science, and I will graduate in 2024 with two bachelor degrees. My career goal is in social justice, so I can contribute to criminal justice reform. I want to ensure that those who commit crimes are treated fairly.
I come from a small town where excessive force and even death by cop incidents are often committed, especially against minorities. A few years ago, one of my relatives was charged for a crime although the crime scene evidence wasn’t properly obtained, catalogued and analyzed.
This experience played a big part in my wish to study criminal justice. I started exploring the career more when I decided that a desk job just wasn’t for me. Throughout high school I struggled because of the routine nature of it all. I saw the same people and attended the same classes every single day. I knew I didn’t want a job that would be that stagnant. That’s when I got the idea to work in law enforcement, because there would always be a new challenge for me to tackle. After researching the field even more, I set my sights on crime scene investigation.
I have performed much better academically in college than I ever did in high school. That’s because there is no routine to the experience. Every week, I have new projects to complete, tests to study for, and activities to try. I have been involved with the campus Crime Stoppers organization all three years of college, and I was elected president for the upcoming term. This lets me work closely with law enforcement to supplement my college education and further my career.
After graduating, I will apply for work as a dispatcher in a state organization, such as the Department of Criminal Investigation. While my ultimate goal is to work as a forensic analyst or crime scene investigator, those positions usually only go to people within the organization. Dispatch is the most direct option for career entry, giving me the best chance to pursue my dream career.
I am applying for this scholarship to help me finish the last two years of my degrees. As a college junior and soon-to-be senior, my scholarship opportunities are limited. Most awards are reserved for freshmen. I took advantage of those early on, and I have one recurring scholarship that covers half of my tuition. However, I need additional financial aid to cover the remainder of my academic costs. I appreciate your consideration, and I hope that you can help me pursue a profession in criminal justice. This is my passion, and I have a clear plan to turn that passion into a lifelong career.
Word Count: 463
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