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Dr. Katherine Schmidt WOU Writing Center. SCHOLARSHIP ESSAYS 101. What College Students Say. Recognize Your Task. fact opinion observation response summary analysis. Deciphering Your Professors’ Directions. Biology 101

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Dr katherine schmidt wou writing center

Dr. Katherine Schmidt

WOU Writing Center


Recognize your task
Recognize Your Task

fact opinion

observation response

summary analysis

Deciphering your professors directions
Deciphering Your Professors’ Directions

Biology 101

Document the processes of your lab experiment in a one-page report.

Political Science 101

Consider Merkley’s and Wyden’s work as senators. Who has effected more change and why?

Psychology 101

Examine how your past shapes your present: (a) analyze your childhood, and (b) explain how it has shaped you into the adult you are today.

English 101

Analyze Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

150 word scholarship essay
150-Word Scholarship Essay


Describe a challenge or obstacle you faced in the last ten years. What did you learn about yourself from this experience?

Getting started talk about yourself
Getting Started: Talk About Yourself

  • value experiences and accomplishments that do not get listed on a resume

  • talk to other people

  • simply reflect: what moves you?

Next step write to discover
Next Step: Write to Discover

  • freewrite

  • timed writing

  • remember: a first draft is never a last draft

    writing to learn versus

    writing to communicate

Content some helpful tips
Content: Some Helpful Tips

  • Choose a few key points to develop.

  • Include concrete examples to illustrate your points.

  • Avoid braggy generalizations; instead, describe a specific incident to show your strength(s).

  • Think about including something that readers would remember, long after they’ve stopped reading.

  • Have any books, classes, or philanthropic encounters profoundly shaped and/or shaken your outlook?

  • Write from a positive perspective.

  • Always consider how your essay might fit with everything else you will be submitting.

150 word scholarship essay1
150-Word Scholarship Essay


Describe a personal accomplishment and the strengths and skills you used to achieve it.

150 word scholarship essay2
150-Word Scholarship Essay


Explain your career aspirations and your educational plan to meet those goals.

After drafting comes more writing
After Drafting . . . Comes More Writing


is not



Not linear—it’s recursive and messy.

After drafting comes more writing1
After Drafting . . . Comes More Writing

  • The best essays go through a series of revisions (10+ drafts). Get input from a number of sources: mentors, writing tutors, and friends. 

  • Stay objective. Don’t fall madly in love with your first draft, if you’re serious about earning scholarship monies.

  • People say that a picture equals a thousand words (yes, it’s cliché); however, reverse the idea as you read your essay: does your thousand words add up to one fabulous picture of you?

L ast step package carefully
Last Step: Package Carefully

Top swimmers and runners often win by a narrow margin—perhaps by only one tenth of one second. With this in mind, remember that execution of detail can also make or break your scholarship essay score.

mixing up there and their:

could this be a problem for your reader?

what about the following?

I think the experience sucked.The experience challenged me.

1000 tips
$1000 Tips

  • Do not include excerpts from the dictionary—Webster is NOT worth quoting.

  • Do not use contractions (don’t), exclamation marks (!), and ambiguous pronouns at the start of sentences (it, this, these).

  • Do not write in second-person point of view (you) . . . ever. First-person POV (I), however, is completely expected.

  • Edit as if each mistake will cost you $20.

  • Take advantage of your resources: we want you to succeed.

Writing success is possible for you
Writing success is possible for you.

Make time for writing. Make time for sharing. Make time for revising.