Guide to Writing a Scholarship Essay
Applying for a PLNU Department of History and Political Science competitive scholarship should be taken seriously, as a reflection of the applicant's professionalism. The Departmental Scholarship is not just an honors scholarship which goes to the students with the highest grade point average. The university has those scholarships. Nor is this scholarship for the most friendly and social students. This is not a minor university, and this department's best students will not be insignificant, modest, and ordinary students or graduates. This scholarship is for those students who best reflect the purposes and values of this department.
The approach, style, and content of the essay are crucial. The committee wants to know that you have thought deeply about who you are and how you reflect the best quality of the department.
Your application is a request for the department to invest in you. To do that you must be a person of interest and value to the department. You cannot be "floating" through college. You have to know yourself, what you are interested in, and how you are using your studies to prepare for your goal. You should understand your academic years as a whole, a package, a personal program.
Understand and explain your motives for applying for a scholarship. The essay should produce a picture of you as a person, a student, and who you will become because of the benefits of your education in this department. What you choose to say in your statement tells the committee what your priorities are. Why would we identify you as a person to reflect the best of our department? Do not tell the committee you are "interested" in your major. Go deeper than that. What, if anything, captures you as a person or a student in your major? Do not tell the committee you are "serious" about your major. Define that word with evidence of what you have done with your courses, with departmental activities, and with any community, campus, departmental, and professional activities. What, if anything, has happened in your work within the department that has had a profound affect on you?
Your essay should utilize your very best writing skills. Write simply and in the active voice. Write a compelling opening paragraph. Make the first sentence of each paragraph compelling. Limit your essay to 500 words.