The Scholarship Essay And the Writing Process Jennifer McBride & Vincent Piro
AGS Scholarships • Ed Walsh Service Awards • Charles Bell Top Service Awards • Kathleen D. Loly Academic Awards • Virginia Coffey Top Academic Awards • Robert Mantovani Awards for Combined Excellence in Service and Academics • Tom Jackson Award for Combined Excellence in Service, Academics and Leadership
A Note About Nominees • Chapters can nominate one service award nominee and two academic nominees. • Exception: If a college hosts a regional conference or a state convention (or does the registration for a state convention), then they are allowed one more service nominee. • Each chapter has its own selection process, so check with your advisor.
Requirements • Service awards require a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (*semester GPAs for the year cannot have fallen below a 3.0), 30 units completed by the end of the spring term, and membership for the entire academic year (Fall to Spring). • Academic awards require a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher, 60 units completed by the end of the spring term, and membership for the entire academic year (Fall to Spring). • Your chapter must be in good standing to send nominees.
The Writing Process • Step One: Triggering and Analyzing the Situation • Step Two: Gathering and Brainstorming • Step Three: Shaping by Writing an Outline • Step Four: Writing Your Rough Draft • Step Five: Revising the Content • Step Six: Editing Grammatical and Mechanical Errors
Step One: Triggering and Analyzing the Situation • Usually, the desire for financial assistance triggers your need to write a personal statement as part a scholarship process. • The goal of a personal statement is to convince someone that you are worthy to be granted a scholarship or receive financial aid.
Discussion • What might be some other reasons for applying for a scholarship?
Audience • It is important to consider the audience of your personal statement. • Are you writing to a national scholarship committee? • Are you writing to a state-wide scholarship committee? • Are you writing to a local scholarship committee? • Research the organization giving the scholarship for which you are applying. Who is offering the scholarship? Who are the judges? For what is the organization known? What is the organization’s mission?
Activity • In groups, list what you think are the characteristics of an AGS scholarship reader (advisors from the various schools). List what you think his or her background might. List what you think he or she values most. List what you think he or she will value in your personal statement.
Carefully Analyze the Directions • If you are to write following a specific set of directions, then carefully read the directions several times. • Are there different parts to the directions? • Are you asked to provide different types of information about yourself? • Divide the question into its parts and make an exhaustive list or cluster that answers each part of the question.
Example • Discuss howyour interest in your field or major developed and describe your experience in the field – such as volunteer work or internships – and what you gained from this involvement. • There are three parts to these directions, each highlighted above.
Activity • AGS Kathleen D. Loly Scholarship Directions: • a one or two page autobiographical essay by the applicant that includes information about who the applicant is and what the applicant hopes to accomplish. • Group Discussion: How many parts are there to the directions above? What are they?
Activity • AGS Ed Walsh Award Directions: • a one or two page statementby the applicant . . . This statement must include not only what the applicant has contributed to AGS, the campus, and the community, but also how involvement with AGS has affected the applicant. • Group Discussion: How many parts are there to the directions above? What are they?
General Questions for Brainstorming • What's special, unique, distinctive, and/or impressive about you or your life story? • What details of your life (personal or family problems, history, people or events that have shaped you or influenced your goals) might help the committee better understand you or help set you apart from other applicants? • When did you become interested in this field and what have you learned about it (and about yourself) that has further stimulated your interest and reinforced your conviction that you are well suited to this field? What insights have you gained? • What are your career goals? • Have you had to overcome any unusual obstacles or hardships (for example, economic, familial, or physical) in your life? • What personal characteristics (for example. integrity. compassion. persistence) do you possess that would improve your prospects for success in the field or profession? Is there a way to demonstrate or document that you have these characteristics? From Purdue’s OWL. <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/pw/p_perstate.html>
Activity • Freewriting: Spend a few minutes answering the following question based on the AGS Loly Scholarship: Who are you and what do you hope to accomplish?
Organization • There are three parts to a personal Statement: • The Introduction • The Body Paragraphs • The Conclusion
The Introduction • Introduction : Many personal statements begin with a catchy opening, often a distinctive personal example, as a way of gaining the reader's attention. From there you can connect the example to the actual scholarship for which you are applying. Mention the specific name of the, as well as the degree you are seeking, in the first paragraph. Adapted from Indiana University’s Tutorial Services <http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/wts/perstate.html>.
Body Paragraphs • Detailed Supporting Paragraphs: • Subsequent paragraphs should address any specific questions from the application, which might deal with your own qualifications or your long-term goals or some combination. • Each paragraph should be focused and should have a topic sentence that informs the reader of the paragraph's emphasis. • The examples from your experience must be relevant and should support your argument about your qualifications. Adapted from Indiana University’s Tutorial Services <http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/wts/perstate.html>.
The Conclusion • Conclusion: Tie together the various issues that you have raised in the essay, and reiterate your interest in receiving the scholarship. You might also mention how receiving this scholarship will be a step towards a long-term goal in a closing paragraph. Adapted from Indiana University’s Tutorial Services <http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/wts/perstate.html>.
An Outline • Turning your brainstorming into an informal outline may help you organize your thoughts and make sure you have addressed all parts of the directions
Example • Introduction: mention that I need a scholarship to University of San Diego because I want to be a teacher. USD has an excellent School of Education. • Body Paragraph: Mention how I have always wanted to be a teacher since junior high when I tutored elementary students. • Body Paragraph: Mention that I have experience as a teacher’s assistant in Mr. Smith’s biology class. • Conclusion: Note that my desire and experience make be an ideal student for USD.
Activity • Create an outline for the following directions: a one or two page statementby the applicant . . . This statement must include not only what the applicant has contributed to AGS, the campus, and the community, but also how involvement with AGS has affected the applicant. • Introduction: • Body Paragraph: • Body Paragraph: • Conclusion:
Drafting • Write several drafts of your personal statement: • Using your outline as a guide • Working within the word limitations • Following an special formatting directions given on the application.
Revise • As you revise your essay: • Cut out any repetitious ideas or words. • Add in examples and details that make your experiences stand out from other applicants. • Change the order of paragraphs so that your most interesting ideas and best writing are at the beginning and end. • Replace irrelevant information that does not address the directions with relevant information that stays focused on the directions.
Editing • Edit several times for the following: • Spelling errors • Grammar errors • Punctuation errors • Typos • Contractions and abbreviations • Have several other people proofread your work, preferably a professional, such as a teacher.
Activity • Revise and Edit Correct the statement below My interest in science date back to my year in h. s., where I in physics, chemistry, and math. When I was a sr, I took calculus course at a local college and earned good grade. It seemed only logic that I pursue a career in electrical. . . . I am highly aware of the rebutation of your school, and my conversation with several of your former students have served to deepen my interest in attending. In addition to your excellent faculty, your computer facilities among the best in the state. I hope you me the this scolarship from your university so that I may persue my studies at your fine institution.
Corrected Version My interest in science dates back to my years at Merced High School, where I excelled in physics, chemistry, and math. When I was a senior, I took a first-year calculus course at a local college, Merced College, and earned an A. It seemed only logical that I pursue a career in electrical engineering. . . . I am highly aware of the superb reputation of the University of Nevada, and my conversations with several of your alumni have served to deepen my interest in attending. I know that, in addition to your excellent faculty, your computer facilities are among the best in the state. I hope you will award me the this scholarship from your university so that I may pursue my studies at your fine institution.
Provide All Materials • Often scholarships will ask for additional materials: • Transcripts • Lists of Accomplishments or Awards • Letters of Recommendation • Be sure to include all materials in the application packet, or more than likely, your application will be rejected.
AGS List for Ed Walsh Service Award • A list of the applicant's service to AGS, the campus, and the community during semesters the applicant has been a member of AGS. This list must summarize the major accomplishments semester by semester and give an overall impression of what the applicant has contributed to AGS, as well as the campus and community. Include estimates of the total hours spent on various activities.
Analysis • List the requirements of this list: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Resources Writing the Personal Statement. Purdue University. 22 Mar. 2004 <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/ handouts/pw/p_perstate.html>. Personal Statements and Application Letters. Indiana University. 22>. Mar. 2004.<http://www.indiana. edu/~wts/wts/perstate.html>. With a special thank you to Roberta Rivera (Puente Project, UCOP)