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Ofid Scholarship Essay Outline

Sample Scholarship Essays


If you’re applying for a scholarship, chances are you are going to need to write an essay. Very few scholarship programs are based solely on an application form or transcript. The essay is often the most important part of your application; it gives the scholarship committee a sense of who you are and your dedication to your goals. You’ll want to make sure that your scholarship essay is the best it can possibly be.

Unless specified otherwise, scholarship essays should always use the following formatting:

  • Double spaced
  • Times New Roman font
  • 12 point font
  • One-inch top, bottom, and side margins

Other useful tips to keep in mind include:

  1. Read the instructions thoroughly and make sure you completely understand them before you start writing.
  2. Think about what you are going to write and organize your thoughts into an outline.
  3. Write your essay by elaborating on each point you included in your outline.
  4. Use clear, concise, and simple language throughout your essay.
  5. When you are finished, read the question again and then read your essay to make sure that the essay addresses every point.

For more tips on writing a scholarship essay, check out our Eight Steps Towards a Better Scholarship Essay .


The Book that Made Me a Journalist

Prompt: Describe a book that made a lasting impression on you and your life and why.

It is 6 am on a hot day in July and I’ve already showered and eaten breakfast. I know that my classmates are all sleeping in and enjoying their summer break, but I don’t envy them; I’m excited to start my day interning with a local newspaper doing investigative journalism. I work a typical 8-5 day during my summer vacation and despite the early mornings, nothing has made me happier. Although it wasn't clear to me then, looking back on my high school experiences and everything that led to me to this internship, I believe this path began with a particularly savvy teacher and a little book she gave me to read outside of class.

I was taking a composition class, and we were learning how to write persuasive essays. Up until that point, I had had average grades, but I was always a good writer and my teacher immediately recognized this. The first paper I wrote for the class was about my experience going to an Indian reservation located near my uncle's ranch in southwest Colorado. I wrote of the severe poverty experienced by the people on the reservation, and the lack of access to voting booths during the most recent election. After reading this short story, my teacher approached me and asked about my future plans. No one had ever asked me this, and I wasn't sure how to answer. I said I liked writing and I liked thinking about people who are different from myself. She gave me a book and told me that if I had time to read it, she thought it would be something I would enjoy. I was actually quite surprised that a high school teacher was giving me a book titled Lies My Teacher Told Me. It had never occurred to me that teachers would lie to students. The title intrigued me so much that on Friday night I found myself staying up almost all night reading, instead of going out with friends.

In short, the book discusses several instances in which typical American history classes do not tell the whole story. For example, the author addresses the way that American history classes do not usually address about the Vietnam War, even though it happened only a short time ago. This made me realize that we hadn't discussed the Vietnam War in my own history class! The book taught me that, like my story of the Indian reservation, there are always more stories beyond what we see on the surface and what we’re taught in school. I was inspired to continue to tell these stories and to make that my career.

For my next article for the class, I wrote about the practice of my own high school suspending students, sometimes indefinitely, for seemingly minor offenses such as tardiness and smoking. I found that the number of suspensions had increased by 200% at my school in just three years, and also discovered that students who are suspended after only one offense often drop out and some later end up in prison. The article caused quite a stir. The administration of my school dismissed it, but it caught the attention of my local newspaper. A local journalist worked with me to publish an updated and more thoroughly researched version of my article in the local newspaper. The article forced the school board to revisit their “zero tolerance” policy as well as reinstate some indefinitely suspended students.I won no favors with the administration and it was a difficult time for me, but it was also thrilling to see how one article can have such a direct effect on people’s lives. It reaffirmed my commitment to a career in journalism.

This is why I’m applying for this scholarship. Your organization has been providing young aspiring journalists with funds to further their skills and work to uncover the untold stories in our communities that need to be reported. I share your organization’s vision of working towards a more just and equitable world by uncovering stories of abuse of power. I have already demonstrated this commitment through my writing in high school and I look forward to pursuing a BA in this field at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. With your help, I will hone my natural instincts and inherent writing skills. I will become a better and more persuasive writer and I will learn the ethics of professional journalism.

I sincerely appreciate the committee’s time in evaluating my application and giving me the opportunity to tell my story. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts

Do:Follow the prompt and other instructions exactly. You might write a great essay but it may get your application rejected if you don’t follow the word count guidelines or other formatting requirements.
DON'T:Open your essay with a quote. This is a well-worn strategy that is mostly used ineffectively. Instead of using someone else’s words, use your own.
DON'T:Use perfunctory sentences such as, “In this essay, I will…”
DO:Be clear and concise. Make sure each paragraph discusses only one central thought or argument.
DON'T:Use words from a thesaurus that are new to you. You may end up using the word incorrectly and that will make your writing awkward. Keep it simple and straightforward. The point of the essay is to tell your story, not to demonstrate how many words you know.

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Planners and Searchers

Prompt: In 600 words or less, please tell us about yourself and why you are applying for this scholarship. Please be clear about how this scholarship will help you achieve your personal and professional goals.

Being African, I recognize Africa’s need for home- grown talent in the form of “planners” (assistants with possible solutions) and “searchers” (those with desperate need) working towards international development. I represent both. Coming from Zimbabwe my greatest challenge is in helping to improve the livelihoods of developing nations through sustainable development and good governance principles. The need for policy-makers capable of employing cross-jurisdictional, and cross- disciplinary strategies to solve complex challenges cannot be under-emphasized; hence my application to this scholarship program.

After graduating from Africa University with an Honors degree in Sociology and Psychology, I am now seeking scholarship support to study in the United States at the Master’s level. My interest in democracy, elections, constitutionalism and development stems from my lasting interest in public policy issues. Accordingly, my current research interests in democracy and ethnic diversity require a deeper understanding of legal processes of constitutionalism and governance. As a Master’s student in the US, I intend to write articles on these subjects from the perspective of someone born, raised, and educated in Africa. I will bring a unique and much-needed perspective to my graduate program in the United States, and I will take the technical and theoretical knowledge from my graduate program back with me to Africa to further my career goals as a practitioner of good governance and community development.

To augment my theoretical understanding of governance and democratic practices, I worked with the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) as a Programs Assistant in the Monitoring and Observation department. This not only enhanced my project management skills, but also developed my skills in research and producing communication materials. ZESN is Zimbabwe’s biggest election observation organization, and I had the responsibility of monitoring the political environment and producing monthly publications on human rights issues and electoral processes. These publications were disseminated to various civil society organizations, donors and other stakeholders. Now I intend to develop my career in order to enhance Africa’s capacity to advocate, write and vote for representative constitutions.

I also participated in a fellowship program at Africa University, where I gained greater insight into social development by teaching courses on entrepreneurship, free market economics, and development in needy communities. I worked with women in rural areas of Zimbabwe to setup income-generating projects such as the jatropha soap-making project. Managing such a project gave me great insight into how many simple initiatives can transform lives.

Your organization has a history of awarding scholarships to promising young students from the developing world in order to bring knowledge, skills and leadership abilities to their home communities. I have already done some of this work but I want to continue, and with your assistance, I can. The multidisciplinary focus of the development programs I am applying to in the US will provide me with the necessary skills to creatively address the economic and social development challenges and develop sound public policies for Third World countries. I thank you for your time and consideration for this prestigious award.

Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts

DO:Research the organization and make sure you understand their mission and values and incorporate them into your essay.
DO:Focus on your strengths and turn in any problems or weaknesses into a success story.
DO:Use actual, detailed examples from your own life to backup your claims and arguments as to why you should receive the scholarship.
DO:Proofread several times before finally submitting your essay.
DON'T:Rehash what is already stated on your resume. Choose additional, unique stories to tell sell yourself to the scholarship committee.
DON'T:Simply state that you need the money. Even if you have severe financial need, it won’t help to simply ask for the money and it may come off as tacky.

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Saving the Manatees

Prompt: Please give the committee an idea of who you are and why you are the perfect candidate for the scholarship.

It is a cliché to say that I’ve always known what I want to do with my life, but in my case it happens to be true. When I first visited Sea World as a young child, I fell in love with marine animals in general. Specifically, I felt drawn to manatees. I was compelled by their placid and friendly nature. I knew then and there that I wanted to dedicate my life to protecting these beautiful creatures.

Since that day in Orlando, I have spent much of my spare time learning everything there is to know about manatees. As a junior high and high school student, I attempted to read scholarly articles on manatees from scientific journals. I annoyed my friends and family with scientific facts about manatees-- such as that they are close relatives of elephants--at the dinner table. I watched documentaries, and even mapped their migration pattern on a wall map my sister gave me for my birthday.

When I was chosen from hundreds of applicants to take part in a summer internship with Sea World, I fell even more in love with these gentle giants. I also learned a very important and valuable lesson: prior to this internship, I had imagined becoming a marine biologist, working directly with the animals in their care both in captivity and in the wild. However, during the internship, I discovered that this is not where my strengths lie. Unfortunately, I am not a strong student in science or math, which are required skills to become a marine biologist. Although this was a disheartening realization, I found that I possess other strengths can still be of great value to manatees and other endangered marine mammals: my skills as a public relations manager and communicator. During the internship, I helped write new lessons and presentations for elementary school groups visiting the park and developed a series of fun activities for children to help them learn more about manatees as well as conservation of endangered species in general. I also worked directly with the park’s conservation and communication director, and helped develop a new local outreach program designed to educate Floridians on how to avoid hitting a manatee when boating. My supervisor recommended me to the Save the Manatee Foundation so in addition to my full-time internship at Sea World, I interned with the Save the Manatee Foundation part-time. It was there that I witnessed the manatee rescue and conservation effort first hand, and worked directly with the marine biologists in developing fund-raising and awareness-raising campaigns. I found that the foundation’s social media presence was lacking, and, using skills I learned from Sea World, I helped them raise over $5,000 through a Twitter challenge, which we linked to the various social media outlets of the World Wildlife Federation.

While I know that your organization typically awards scholarships to students planning to major in disciplines directly related to conservation such as environmental studies or zoology, I feel that the public relations side of conservation is just as important as the actual work done on the ground. Whether it is reducing one’s carbon footprint, or saving the manatees, these are efforts that, in order to be successful, must involve the larger public. In fact, the relative success of the environmental movement today is largely due to a massive global public relations campaign that turned environmentalism from something scientific and obscure into something that is both fashionable and accessible to just about anyone. However, that success is being challenged more than ever before--especially here in the US, where an equally strong anti-environmental public relations campaign has taken hold. Therefore, conservationists need to start getting more creative.

I want to be a part of this renewed effort and use my natural abilities as a communicator to push back against the rather formidable forces behind the anti-environmentalist movement. I sincerely hope you will consider supporting this non-traditional avenue towards global sustainability and conservation. I have already been accepted to one of the most prestigious communications undergraduate programs in the country and I plan to minor in environmental studies. In addition, I maintain a relationship with my former supervisors at Save the Manatee and Sea World, who will be invaluable resources for finding employment upon graduation. I thank the committee for thinking outside the box in considering my application.

Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts

DO:Tell a story. Discuss your personal history and why those experiences have led you to apply for these scholarships.
DO:Write an outline. If you’ve already started writing or have a first draft, make an outline based on what you’ve written so far. This will help you see whether your paragraphs flow and connect with one another.
DON'T:Write a generic essay for every application. Adapt your personal statement for each individual scholarship application.
DO:Run spellcheck and grammar check on your computer but also do your own personal check. Spellcheck isn’t perfect and you shouldn't rely on technology to make your essay perfect.

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Sample Essays

Related Content:

Hello,

I need some help with my scholarship essay. I got a graduate admission in Netherlands however am now searching for a scholarship. I managed to get one i can apply for, the essay is: A short essay - of about 500 words in English - giving reasons for applying for the OFID scholarship, explaining your educational goals, and clearly describing how you will use the experience gained from your Master's degree studies to help in the development of your home country.

My desire to engage in Social Change, to move Ugandan communities forward



Coming from Northern Uganda, a region ravaged by the Lord's Resistance Army decades-long conflict resulting in humanitarian crisis and wiped out hallmarks of a stable society. I am glad and feel blessed that I managed to beat all odds and emerge successful in my education career. Since I grew up in an environment full of development challenges and inequalities; I am committed to engaging in Social Change, justice and equity for sustainable development. I am convinced that understanding a community's concern in regards to poverty, inequality and social exclusion; and developing strategies and policies backed by society's own responses to social needs can be the force that drives us towards hope for sustainable development. I applied for a Masters in Development Studies, majoring in Social Policy for Development so that I can attain my mission.

My motivation towards this OFID scholarship is because I believe my career plans, morals and ethics aligns very well with the organization's mission and aim. The OFID works towards fostering South-South partnership with fellow developing countries worldwide with the aim of eradicating poverty. I also appreciate that the organization gives chance to less advantaged scholars to pursue their goals especially in education and professional careers. One of the OFID's focus areas is Education; Empowering through knowledge. I am therefore sure that the funding this scholarship provides will push me a step closer to achieving my life and career goals.

I come from a community ravaged by war effects, vulnerable with no social safety nets to cushion this, children left orphaned; if not abducted returnees, women and the elderly continuously wallowing in cycles of poverty, diseases and social exclusion. Many of these communities have been left with no hope for what tomorrow holds. My desire to engage in Social Change; to move Ugandan communities forward especially in the education sector, poverty- reduction towards achieving sustainable development intrigued my desire to study Social Work and Social Administration at Makerere University which I completed with an Honors. I took particular interest in general Social Work, Social Development and research which has further nurtured my desire to advance my education career with focus on Social Policy for Development. I chose to pursue a Masters of Development Studies, majoring in Social Policy for Development. The program will equip me with the professional and intellectual capacity to come up with improved analysis of societal responses to social need and as a result demand for social change to attain sustainable development. I envision becoming a Social Worker strengthened by extensive knowledge base provided by the program to realize this goal.

Empowering through knowledge with great focus on quality and quantity is a strong way of attaining our higher goal of eradicating poverty. The program equips me with the knowledge and focus on how social policy can be used to aid progressive transformation and sustainable, gender-aware, socially-just development. The ability to use theoretical concepts and ideas and apply them to daily life situations and needs will be resourceful in my target to carry out researches that can be used to advocate for better policies and strategies reform. The knowledge gained from the program and overall research experience will be used in extensive community work to bring about sustainable and lasting solutions to societal needs. It also creates a network of connections with the university and my country which creates a path for other scholars too. My time spent abroad will indulge me in a multi-cultural environment from which I can emulate great ideas of how social policy has worked in the European context and derive ways of how to moderate and integrate it in the African context.

I came up with this. Any help rendered will be useful; on the number of words, introduction and conclusion, and other information to add.

Thanks

Palma, it is imperative for your application that you manage to connect the ideals or objectives of OFID with your desire for higher study. Aside from the sponsorship based upon a masters degree related to the course offerings supported by the scholarship, what other strong reason do you have that can convince the scholarship committee that you will be an excellent candidate for the program? Your essay doesn't really explain anything that can convince them. What you wrote is all about your country and its trials and tribulations, with very little reference to yourself if at all.

In line with your educational goals, you must first inform the reader that you have the academic grades to match your application. Indicate the GPA of at least 3.0 in an overall 4.0 scale. Present your strongest college subjects in relation to your chosen major and explain how these subjects intertwine to create an interesting study plan or educational goal for yourself.

Rather than presenting such a complex but generic discussion of the problems in your country, concentrate on the problem that best relates to your chosen masters degree. For your educational plan, you can indicate an explanation as to how you plan to help resolve that particular issue upon graduation. Then explain how your studies in this field can help you achieve that goal. That way, you can clearly explain how your studies can help you to improve the situation in your country.

At the moment, your essay is nothing but a really rough draft that contains hits and misses in terms of delivering the necessary information for the consideration of your scholarship application. Try to refocus the essay using the suggestions I made above. You have a very interesting topic to discuss. It is all just a matter of proper discussion development on your part in order to increase your chances of winning this scholarship as the slots are highly limited for this particular scholarship program.

@Holt...Thanks for the correction

This is what i could come up with. Hope its an improvement....Still battling the 500 words...its now at 550

Coming from Northern Uganda, a region ravaged by the Lord's Resistance Army decades-long conflict resulting in humanitarian crisis and wiped out hallmarks of a stable society. I am glad and feel blessed that I managed to beat all odds and emerge successful in my education career. I grew up in an environment full of development challenges and inequalities which has nurtured my commitment to engaging in Social Change, justice and equity for sustainable development. I am convinced that understanding a community's concern in regards to poverty, inequality and social exclusion; and developing strategies and policies backed by society's own responses to social needs can be the force that drives us towards hope for sustainable development. I applied for a Masters in Development Studies, majoring in Social Policy for Development so that I can attain this mission.

My motivation towards this OFID scholarship is because I believe my career plans, morals and ethics aligns very well with the organization's mission and aim. The OFID works towards fostering South-South partnership with fellow developing countries worldwide with the aim of eradicating poverty. Its strategy is people centered and focuses on projects that meet social and basic needs. I believe that my mission to engage in extensive community work and research to back up policy reforms aligns with OFID'S aim of encouraging self- reliance and inspiring hope for the future. I also appreciate that the organization gives chance to less advantaged scholars to pursue their goals especially in education and professional careers. One of the OFID's focus areas is Education; Empowering through knowledge. I am therefore sure that the funding this scholarship provides will push me a step closer to achieving my life and career goals.

I graduated with an upper second honors from Makerere University obtaining bachelor's degree in Social work and Social Administration with a Cumulative GPA of 4.25. I took particular interest in general Social Work, Social Development and research which has further nurtured my desire to advance my education career with focus on Social Policy for Development. I chose to pursue a Masters of Development Studies, majoring in Social Policy for Development. The program will equip me with the professional and intellectual capacity to come up with improved analysis of societal responses to social need and as a result demand for social change to attain sustainable development. I envision becoming a Social Worker strengthened by extensive knowledge base provided by the program; who can provide Social Development advice provided by the program to realize this goal.

I come from a community ravaged by war effects, vulnerable with no social safety nets to cushion this, children left orphaned; if not abducted returnees, women and the elderly continuously wallowing in cycles of poverty, diseases and social exclusion. Some of our governments polices on poverty reduction are good however they are limited by either in-applicability to the local context or poor implementation. I will work towards writing a paper that can be used by our policy makers to back up their policies from the society's own response to their social need. In the long term future plan, I hope through the program to expand on my knowledge base regarding social needs and policies to set up a foundation that offers psycho-social support to people struggling to cope with life's issues and social needs.

Palma, this is a better directed reason essay when compared to your first version. This has more focus on the reasons why you are applying for the scholarship. However, the focus of your reasons are more geared towards your educational goals. You have to place at least a mention regarding the reason why your family cannot afford to help yo pay for a masters education at your university of choice. That is, before you present your educational goals. The scholarship committee members need to know what your financial status is in life in order to fairly consider your application along with the others.

If you wish to cut down on your word count, you can start by removing the first 3 sentences in the second paragraph. There is no need for you to explain the objectives of the scholarship to the reader. They will all be highly familiar with the mission and objectives of their own scholarship so there is no need for you to remind them about it.

Consider revising your opening statement to become shorter and more relevant towards your application. If need be, change the slant of the opening paragraph to explain the reasons why your financial situation requires you to seek the support of scholarship grants in order to gain higher and better education.

@Holt
Thanks again.

I tried to add something. Hope its a better improvement still....

Coming from Northern Uganda, a region ravaged by the Lord's Resistance Army decades-long conflict resulting in humanitarian crisis and wiped out hallmarks of a stable society. My parents struggled to finance my undergraduate studies through thick and thin but are now retired with no direct form of income to support my Master's program. I thus seek the support of this scholarship. I come from a low-income household faced with development challenges and inequalities which has nurtured my commitment to engaging in Social Change, justice and equity for sustainable development. I am convinced that understanding a community's concern in regards to poverty, inequality and social exclusion; and developing strategies and policies backed by society's own responses to social needs can be the force that drives us towards hope for sustainable development.

I believe my career plans, morals and ethics align very well with (...)

I am thinking to do away with the words in bold, any suggestions to lessen the word count are helpful....

Thanks

Your opening sentence can be removed safely without affecting the rest of the paragraph. That sentence in particular is the reason why your opening statement sounds a bit off. It provides information that does not directly tie-in with the discussion contained int he first paragraph. The words in bold do not work to improve the content of the first paragraph either. In order to bring better sense to the paragraph, you should opt to delete that problem sentence instead. It will also help you to meet the required word count. That paragraph should contain a description of how your family struggles financially even in these days, after the completion of your college education.

In the second paragraph, do not explain the objectives of OFID to the reviewer. He already knows that information and does not need to be reminded about it. In fact, that is probably one of the criteria that he will be looking for in your essay. Instead, present the information about how your beliefs align with their mission. That is more relevant towards responding to the prompt requirements.

@Holt

Hope this is way much better.....

My parents struggled to finance my undergraduate studies through thick and thin but are now retired with no direct form of income to support my Master's program. Currently I work in a private company as a Customer Service Team leader to support my parents, some of my unemployed siblings and myself. I come from a low-income household that has faced many development challenges and inequalities which has not deterred me from working towards my goal: but nurtured my commitment to engaging in Social Change, justice and equity for sustainable development.

I am convinced that understanding a community's concern in regards to poverty, inequality and social exclusion; developing strategies and policies backed by society's own responses to social needs can be the force that drives us towards hope for sustainable development. I believe that my mission to engage in extensive community work and research to back up policy reforms aligns with OFID'S aim of encouraging self- reliance and inspiring hope for the future. I appreciate that the organization gives chance to less advantaged scholars to pursue their goals especially in education and professional careers. I am therefore sure the funding this scholarship provides will push me closer to achieving my life and career goals.

I graduated with an upper second honors from Makerere University obtaining bachelor's degree in Social work and Social Administration with a Cumulative GPA of 4.25. I took particular interest in general Social Work, Social Development and Research which has further nurtured my desire to advance my education career with focus on Social Policy for Development. I chose to pursue a Masters of Development Studies, majoring in Social Policy for Development. The program will equip me with the professional and intellectual capacity to come up with improved analysis of societal responses to social need and as a result demand for social change to attain sustainable development. The ability to use theoretical concepts and apply them to daily life situations and needs will be resourceful in my target to carry out researches to be used to advocate for better policies and strategies reform. I envision becoming a Social Worker strengthened by extensive knowledge base provided by the program; who can provide Social Development advice to realize this goal.

I come from a community ravaged by war effects, vulnerable with no social safety nets, children left orphaned; if not abducted returnees, women and the elderly continuously wallowing in cycles of poverty, diseases and social exclusion. Some of our government's policies on poverty reduction are good however they are limited by either in-applicability to the local context or poor implementation. I will work towards writing a paper that can be used by our policy makers to back up their policies from the society's own response to their social need. In the long term future plan, I hope through the program to expand on my knowledge base regarding social needs and policies to set up a foundation that offers psycho-social support to people struggling to cope with life's issues and social needs.

Thanks

Pao, there is no need to present a discussion of your college grades. That first few sentences in the third paragraph are not a required element of this discussion essay. You are not being asked to present information about your college record, you are being asked to discuss your future academic goals. The discussion should therefore focus on your ideas as to why you require additional training in your chosen masters degree course. Provided that it relates to your future professional ambitions. I suggest that you revise that third paragraph to instead, reflect the information that I explained above. You tend to focus on the past when this paper is all about looking to the future. As such, you can better develop the paragraph if you choose to pick up from the second sentence in the third paragraph instead. That is more forward thinking in discussion and better aligns with the prompt instructions. The mere adjustment of the content in that paragraph will make the essay stronger, more impressive, and hopefully, ready for submission with your other documents.



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