Common Scholarship Essay Prompts and How to Answer Them

questions and answers for college scholarship essay

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Not all scholarships require an essay, but those that do often have similar questions or prompts to answer. Take a look at these common scholarship essay prompts and start thinking about how you would answer each one, because odds are you’ll have to soon enough.

College Scholarship Essay Prompts and Answers

Why do you deserve this scholarship?

Ooh, let’s start out with a tough one right off the bat. You’re going to have to look deep for a good answer to this prompt: “why do you deserve this scholarship?”. Don’t just say “Because I’m a hard worker” or “Because it will help fund my college education.” Think hard. What do you offer that no one else does? Why exactly did you apply for that specific scholarship? Remember to keep the donor’s values in mind when answering.

Describe a time you demonstrated leadership.

Oftentimes people automatically equate “leadership” to “leadership position” and worry they may not have any leadership experience. But you don’t have to be student body president or captain of the football team to be a leader. Did you ever take point on a school project? That’s leadership. Act as a camp counselor one summer? That’s leadership. Take charge of a challenging situation? Textbook leadership. You likely have more experience than you think.

What person do you most admire? Why?

Some might specify that it should be a person in your life, some might leave it open to public figures both alive or dead. Either way, give this answer some thought and heart. There should be real reasons behind just who it is you admire. What qualities do they have? How do you hope to emulate them? What specific thing did they do that inspired you? Specificity is a great way to make any essay answer even stronger.

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

This one has a lot of variations including what are your long-term goals, what do you hope to accomplish, or what is your dream job? The key theme here is the future. Obviously plans might change as you grow and encounter obstacles, but consider the question as you currently are. Do you have a career in mind? If so, great! If not, you can say you hope to discover a career path while studying in college—lead with what field you want to study.

Describe a challenge you have overcome.

Rare is the person who has never encountered a challenge. Adversity is something we all face, in one shape or another. Whether it’s discrimination based on who you are, financial struggles in the household, dealing with health issues, juggling a busy schedule, failing a class, making a hard decision, pick a specific struggle that you’ve gone through and write about it. What did you learn during the ordeal? How did it change or shape you? Does it impact your future plans?

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Allison Wignall

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