How to Answer the Question “Why Do You Deserve This Scholarship?”

If you’re anything like me, finding the answer for why do you deserve something, whether it’s a job, scholarship, or anything else, is one of the hardest things to do. It requires critical thinking and introspection about what you bring to the table as a person and as a student. A lot of scholarships will ask you “Why do you deserve this scholarship?” Here are some things to keep in mind when answering.

College student looking out a window and thinking.

1. Be Yourself

You don’t want to simply run with what “looks good” to the scholarship committee. They will absolutely see through this approach.

Instead, you’ll want to give thought to your answer, and develop that. It should be coming from an honest place within you. This will ensure you’re making the answer unique and true to you.

The scholarship essay and application is your chance to show who you are as an individual. Are you a hard worker? Are you passionate? Use your strengths and highlight specific examples of where they shine through in your essay.

2. You Deserve This Scholarship Because You Have Passion and Persistence

Letting your passion show through in your answer allows the committee to see your dedication. You deserve this scholarship based on your love of learning, your enjoyment of your field, or your passion for growth. If you are not having fun, why are you there?

Does the scholarship help get you closer to your life-long dream? Make sure to show the committee your passion, rather than telling them about it. It’s a good rule for writing in general: show, don’t tell. Not only does this approach make you more memorable to the committee, it shows them that you’re someone who will put the award to good use. Apply “be yourself” and your passion into a well thought out personal statement to catch the reader’s attention.

3. Think About Why You Applied

Another thing to consider is, “Why are you applying to this scholarship?” Maybe you need the money to attend and afford college. Maybe you thought you matched the desired qualities in the application. Perhaps winning this scholarship allows you to work fewer hours at your job and spend more time studying and earning better grades.

You are applying to the scholarship for a reason. Remember why you are a good candidate, and incorporate it. At the end of the day, the scholarship organization wants to know who they’re awarding and why.

4. Consider Your Obstacles and Failings

None of us are perfect. We all have our failings and mistakes. And we all have challenges we have to meet on a daily basis, some small, some large. These should absolutely be something you think about while writing this scholarship essay.

Explaining how you learned from past experiences, errors, and failings can show your passion for a field as well as your growth as a person. It could be the perfect thing to highlight to show why you “deserve” this award.

A Few Example Responses:

Still stumped? Let’s review a couple of examples that can inspire responses of your own!

Example One – Academic Goals:

1 in circle

I believe I deserve this scholarship because it will help me achieve my future plans and long-term goals. By furthering my education in biology, I can work towards my career goals in the medical field. I aim to make a difference in my community, and this scholarship will absolutely be the difference-maker when it comes to affording the education I need to do that and give back in the future.

Why It Works: This paragraph works because you’re directly relating the scholarship to your own goals. You’re explaining how it will help you achieve both your education and career aims, and how you will also make a difference in your community. Scholarships want to know their money is going towards worthy recipients that align with their own values.

Think about your goals and how they directly pertain to the scholarship. Why should the award be given to you?

Example Two – Dedication to the Field and Experience:

2 in circle

I am sure you have quite a few people applying for this teacher-oriented scholarship, but I do think I deserve this award because of my background. I’m a perfect fit because not only do I meet the criteria of a 3.5 GPA, my volunteer work has always been children-oriented. Not only have I helped kids at the local camp, but I’ve also offered swimming lessons at my high school’s pool. I’ve also been working part-time at my town’s daycare for the past 8 months.

Why it Works: In this case, the student is applying to a scholarship that is dedicated to those who wish to be a teacher. They highlight that their skills go beyond just the “minimum.” The student also explained how they’ve worked towards making a real difference in kids’ lives already in their town.

When writing your own “why I deserve this scholarship” piece, make sure you’re talking about how you went above and beyond in your work. What sets you apart from the rest of the people applying? How have you already shown you’re dedicated to your intended field?

Example Three – High School and College Athletics:

I’ve worked hard to become a top player on my softball team, and that, to me, means more than just attending practice every week. In my sophomore year of high school, we had to move several states away due to my parents’ work, and trying out for the softball team where no one knew you is difficult. However, I worked harder before try-outs than ever before to sincerely show how I can make a difference to my school’s softball team and am proud to say I made quite the impression. I’m hoping I can make the same impression in this scholarship application.

Why it Works:

For this example, the student is applying to an athletic scholarship and highlighting how they overcome challenges. When writing your “why I deserve this scholarship” essay, consider your own challenges. How did you overcome them? How did it affect your life, education, and hobbies afterward? Did you meet your goals?

Tip: If the scholarship isn’t sports-oriented, you may want to steer clear of the topic. Committees often get several if not hundreds of applications from athletes and writing about the same topic as others may not set you apart from the others – even if you feel you have a unique experience!

Example Four – Highlight Your Achievements

I believe I deserve this scholarship because I have always been focused on student leadership. In my junior and senior years of high school, I was voted class president. I helped organize events for students, held successful fundraisers for the school, and advocated for my graduating class when it came to healthy school lunch options. During this time, I was also accepted to the senior GRAD program and was chosen to help juniors apply for the program. I understand the importance of advocating for others while also handling the responsibilities that come with leadership. This scholarship will allow me to continue to help others.

Why it Works: This essay highlights the student’s individual achievements in the realm of student leadership. Scholarship committees love to see a student who goes above and beyond, and this not only shows they were elected and selected for these positions, but that they also thrived at them.

This can be a great route to take especially for awards that are dedicated for students who need to display how they were leaders in their school or community or for any other scholarships that require you to have reached certain milestones to apply.

Example Five – Personal Struggles and Financial Need

I understand that you have several students applying for this award, but I hope my application will stand out among the crowd. I personally have faced a number of struggles, especially in the last four years. In my sophomore year of high school, I lost my father due to cancer. Due to the medical expenses and debt, we were forced to move out of our home and it depleted our savings. It has made affording college extremely difficult. While I am receiving federal financial aid, it may not be enough to cover my school expenses. This scholarship will absolutely help me afford college and reach for my academic and career goals.

Why It Works: For scholarships that are need-based, highlighting your own personal struggles can help show the committee a more personal side of your need. This student talked about the event that lead to financial hardship and how it directly impacted their family. They acknowledge they have received assistance, but that it will not be enough.

You may not want to get into graphic detail of your hardships – and you don’t have to – but covering at least the basics can help get your message across to the scholarship committee.

Answering the question “Why do you deserve this scholarship?” can really be a difficult exercise for many of us. It’s important to look inward and really understand yourself, your achievements, and your goals. Brainstorming can be your best friend if you’re having a hard time answering it – or you may even want to ask others for their opinions!

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13 thoughts on “How to Answer the Question “Why Do You Deserve This Scholarship?””

  1. ANDREW NJAMBUYA says:

    thanks much Ellen. Your content was of greater help to me.

  2. Kallista says:

    Wish I would’ve found this before my fist scholarship interview. I blurted out I didn’t deserve it because I haven’t given back as much as I should’ve.

  3. Samuel says:

    Thanks. This article was really helpful

  4. Sabina says:

    This 100% percent helpful. I am grateful to whoever wrote this article.

  5. Sabina says:

    This 100% percent helpful. I am grateful to whoever wrote this article. It has helped me realize why I am applying for the scholarship.

  6. Olutomi says:

    Very helpful .

  7. Abbey says:

    Thanks a million Ellen.

  8. Emmanuel says:

    Very helpful and informative.
    Thanks for sharing

  9. Tayhard says:

    Awesome you Ellen, what a perfect, helpful and informative reply to while one deserve a scholarship. Thanks so much!

  10. Elias says:

    Thanks a lot

  11. Oluwaseun says:

    Thank you so much Ellen. Wow that’s helpful information.

  12. Moses Nasse Iakavai says:

    Thank you so much Ellen. This is really helpful. Cheers!

  13. Joce Leilua says:

    very helpful

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