Using a previous scholarship essay contest we hosted, where our judges received more than 4,000 essays, we noticed some frequent mistakes students make that can instantly disqualify you from an essay contest.
We thought to ourselves, "Hello, learning opportunity!
Here, an example of what NOT to do in an essay – and some tips on making yourself a better candidate for scholarship cash.
Here’s one of the essays we received for a previous scholarship contest, to help you learn the do’s and don’ts of essay writing:
“To be able to hold onto your money you have to know how to manage it. Money management is a complicated process. As teenagers we often have no idea how to manage money and we end up wasting a lot of it. But in a bad economy most of us have had a crash course in what happens when you don’t manage your money properly. We have had to delve into a world foreign and unfamiliar to us and solve our own money problems. The most successful of us have managed to still have some semblance of a social life without going over our small budgets. The keys to doing this successfully are actually quite simple.
Set up your own budget of expenses. Teenagers may not have to worry about paying a mortgage or rent but we do have to be able to pay for gas, insurance for our vehicles, and the never ending list of project expenses and supplies for classes. So you have to sit down and balance what you spend in a month with what you actually make, and whether that’s the money you get for your birthday that you manage to stretch with help from mom’s pocketbook or it’s the minimum wage that you get from the local fast food joint where you have managed to find employment the money comes from somewhere and it needs to be written down.
Review your expenses daily. This includes balancing your checkbook and reviewing your online statements, as well as calculating any emergency expenses that you were not considering. This needs to be fluid as sometimes things come up that you just couldn’t have forseen.
You have to get creative. You are not always going to have the time to sit there with a calculator crunching numbers so create small ways to keep thing balanced without having to. Send yourself easy phone reminders about a few of your expenses. Always bring your school id with you because a lot of places will give students discounted rates. And finally, just remember where your money is going it will help.”
So, what was wrong and what was right?
One thing the essay writer did correctly was to stay within the word count for the contest.
The essay contest stated within the rules that essays should range from 250-350 words and this essay comes in at 349 words. Good job!
Another positive is that the writer stayed on topic and answered the question that was presented.
However, even though the writer did stay on topic, the response took a meandering approach and didn’t take a strong or memorable stance. In short, the “meat” of the essay wasn’t there. Think of it this way: sum up in one sentence what you want the reviewer to know and remember after reading your essay. Did you get that across in a clear and concise way?
Each essay should get across at least one breakout idea (aka, the thesis statement) and the rest of the essay should focus on selling that point. If it’s a new, creative or off-beat idea, focus on selling and explaining that. If it’s a common idea, focus on trying to say it better than anyone else.
Here are a few more examples of what the essay writer did wrong:
Misspellings are the fastest way to ensure an essay is disqualified. When combing through a stack of essays, a judge will first rule out the essays with simple misspellings. Long story short: run a spell check and have someone else you trust look over it. It’s always best to get a second set of eyes.
Incomplete sentences – Remember, each sentence should have a subject (someone or something) and a verb (action). Wondering if your sentence is complete? Here’s a hint: A complete sentence tells a complete thought.
No capitalization –
it’s bad enough not to capitalize words at the beginning of a sentence, but at the beginning of a paragraph it stands out even more! Yikes!
Missing punctuation –
In this example, the writer does not have proper command over the use of commas — namely they are missing in places they should have been added and added places they are not required.
Poor grammar and sentences that don’t make sense –
The essay writer uses poor word choices, improper grammar and mistakes such as having too many spaces between words. Another example of poor grammar is the confusion of grammatical persons — in the beginning of the essay the writer uses the first person plural (we) and toward the end, the writer uses the second person (you).
Run-on sentences –
In this essay, one sentence has 72 words. As a rule, try to keep sentences no longer than 35 words each.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you write an essay. Remember, you don’t want to give the judges any reason to disqualify your essay right off the bat.
Need Money to Pay for College?
Every semester, Fastweb helps thousands of students pay for school by matching them to scholarships, grants, and internships, for which they actually qualify. You'll find high value scholarships like VIP Voice's $5,000 Scholarship, and easy to enter scholarships like Niche $2,000 No Essay Scholarship, and internships with companies like Apple, Google, Dreamworks, and even NASA!
Join today to get matched to scholarships or internships for you!
The purpose of national honor society essay
The following text will serve as a national honor society essay example and will demonstrate one of the possible ways to write it properly. The main purpose of a national honor society essay sample is to show how to present a candidate and prove that he or she is eligible to join this prestigious organization. Thus, the applicant should address the requirements of the membership, which include personal qualities or academic achievements, such as grade point average and service as well as one’s character or leadership experience. The essay has to be well structured and written with clarity like in the national honor society essay paper example, given below. A story, which demonstrates leadership qualities and character of the applicant, will be a brilliant addition. This national honor society essay examples service may be useful as an additional help for applicants to see what kind of information is crucial for successful essay; however, it is also crucial to keep an essay personal and unique. The following text can be used as a national junior honor society application essay example as well.
The national honor society essay example
Being chosen by my teachers and other leaders to be a candidate for membership in the National Honor Society is a great honor for me. It means that I have achieved my goal of demonstrating my determination and willingness to help people and serve the community. I believe that I am able to become a valuable member of the NHS because I am hard working, reliable and I possess all the qualities required by this prestigious organization, such as scholarship, leadership, character, and service abilities.
My academic achievements are the result of my hard work and assurance that my membership in NHS is another step that will enable for me to achieve success and cherish the chances of becoming a leader and thus a worthy role-model for other people. By having a GPA of 3.91 and 3.92 in the 9th and 10th grades, respectively, I have proven to my teachers and myself that I am able to make my dreams come true. One of these dreams is to have an honor to be a part of NHS society. In addition, while in high school I have been taking all honors courses and, as an elementary student, I have participated in many academic competitions such as the Academic Challenge in 6th and 7th grade, where my team and I scored the second and first places, respectively.
Apart from studying with dedication and participating in competitions, I also play active role in the life of my school. Since childhood, I had a chance to develop my leadership and organizational skills through sports and had my school team win many competitions. My school is one of the places where my leadership qualities are valued as I often become a head of many activities, such as staging plays, organizing shows and school trips with my teachers. Being a leader gives me the opportunity to work in a team and consider my peers’ ideas to make our plans creative and enjoyable for everyone. My personal traits help me to gain trust and respect of my peers as they believe me to be a positive, open-minded and reliable person. I have learned to solve problems and conflicts thanks to this great experience of leadership, and I am always ready to assist my peers when it is needed.
The skills mentioned above can be useful not only at school, but also in the community, where I always try to take an active part. For example, each year I and my parents take a trip around all the hospitals, where we give patients flowers and gifts and just spend quality time with them. This has been a tradition since my childhood, and I am sure to keep it when I have my own family. I think that it is my duty as a member of my community to help and be an uplifting power and example for others, so that our society becomes what we want it to be.
I believe that with my skills and abilities I will be able to contribute to the society most effectively and reach my full potential in helping others. My academic achievements serve as a proof that my personal qualities and dedication will help me to develop character needed to serve and meet all the expectations of NHS to the fullest extent.
Also read: Expository essay sample: Interesting education facts around the world