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  • Writer's pictureJeff Boron

Do's & Don'ts - What to Leave Out of Your Scholarship Essay

The 2024 Young Achievers Scholarship season is officially open! If you're a student graduating in 2024, 2025, or 2026, be sure to head over to our scholarship page to apply today! Today on the blog we want to touch on some do's and don'ts when writing a scholarship essay. This doesn't only apply to the WNY scholarship that you can earn through our nonprofit, but any scholarship you might apply to. We recommend applying to as many scholarships as you can! We've touched on some tips and pointers for earning a scholarship here before, so be sure to go back and brush up on your skills with these free resources! Click the image below to read more!

As we embark on another Scholarship season, we wanted to touch on a few things NOT to do when crafting your scholarship essay. These aren't necessarily written in stone, but they can give you a good idea of what to avoid to separate yourself from the competition.

Avoid Generic Statements - Otherwise known as "Platitudes"

Part of being a good writer is demonstrating your point in a way that isn't the same as everyone else. You want to be unique and show that you put thought and care into your essay. One way to find yourself at the bottom of the pile is to use phrases that may seem commonplace, but don't show your creativity. When describing what winning the scholarship would mean, be specific and provide a personal exhibit of how it would help you. Avoid using terms like "money can't buy happiness," or "it would mean everything to me."

Avoid "Text speak" & Profanity

This is something that may seem pretty basic, but remember you aren't talking to your bestie. When writing a scholarship essay you should present yourself professionally, and remember who you're writing to. Don't use curse words, or address anyone using terminology from TikTok. Remember to use proper grammar and avoid short-form text language. Ur gna regret it if u do. lol....

Humor is okay! Just be sure to remove any "text speak," and be sure to use clean language.

Avoid Overdoing It with Inspirational Quotes

If you want to include an inspirational quote, consider using one from someone you know. It will provide much more personality to hear how someone close to you inspired you than to speak to a Taylor Swift lyric or an Abraham Lincoln quote you saw on Instagram. You can certainly use quotes to help inspire your message, but try to avoid leaning on it as a theme to your essay.

Avoid comparing yourself to famous people and aim to include meaningful advice or wisdom you received from a person who is special to you.

Avoid Negativity of All Kinds

One thing you certainly want to avoid is making an extreme declaration. What does this mean? It means using a negative outcome to make your argument. An example would be, "If I don't get this scholarship I won't be able to go to the college I want." Once again, this may seem obvious, but if you aren't in the right frame of mind to write that day, maybe wait until a day where you're feeling a bit more positive. Writing in the wrong mindset can keep you from writing your best essay.

If you want to speak to a problem or challenge in society, be sure to provide evidence to how you can help solve the problem, rather than evidence on how you won't be able to.


Wrong way- "Social media has created a toxic environment for kids worldwide, and it affects their mental health."


Right way - "Despite the challenges that social media provides to the mental health of kids worldwide, I plan to dedicate my studies in psychology to helping kids find peace and comfort with themselves internally."

Avoid Putting Yourself Above Others (& Other Applicants)

Surely the goal of any scholarship essay is to sell yourself on why you are deserving of an award, but one way to be sure you don't win is by speaking unkindly about your competition.

Avoid speaking down about anyone else, or why they may be less deserving of scholarship money than you. Aim to focus on why YOU ARE a good candidate, rather than why anyone else isn't.

We hope this blog helps students of Western New York better understand the Do's and Don'ts of scholarship essays! If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to us via our contact form! We have professional tutoring services and experts in college planning who can help you to learn other tips and tricks to earning scholarship money. Remember to follow us on Facebook to stay up to date with all our latest content and tips for parents & students! Now.. get over and apply!


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