Emphasizing Strengths in Scholarship Essays

At Self-Reliance Services (LDS Jobs), we'll help you become gainfully employed through education and networking with local companies.

Though writing an essay for a scholarship application can be a daunting task, think of it as an opportunity to showcase your abilities and talents to the scholarship committee. By accentuating your strengths through your writing, you will be able to effectively communicate that you are a deserving candidate for their award.

Strive to illustrate your strengths and experience when writing essays for a scholarship application. Throughout your life, you continually discover your talents and abilities. As you develop these talents, they become your strengths in life. Try to demonstrate multiple strengths in your essays. Possible topics that you could illustrate in a scholarship essay include service, leadership, academics, arts, athletics, entrepreneurship, creative talent, leadership, diversity, challenges overcome, and community involvement. Decision-makers for the scholarship program will see your strengths and abilities as reasons why you are worthy of a scholarship.  

Add Variety to Your Strengths

Convince selection committees that your talents and experiences are expansive. Demonstrate the variety of your strengths by dividing them into categories and highlighting each one. Below are examples of how you can emphasize the following strengths:

  • Service by describing service projects you performed for your church, community, and school or work
  • Leadership by outlining leadership positions in your church, community, and school or work
  • Athletics by highlighting the top three sports that you excel in: football, soccer, tennis, cheerleading, track, field, or other
  • Academics by specifying your top three academic subjects in school: math, science, history, civics, economics, English, or other
  • Creative talent by explaining your talents: visual arts, music, dance, poetry, or other
  • Any other talent or ability by identifying three ways you have demonstrated that strength in your life

Give Your Strengths Magnitude

In addition, you should show selection committees that you have developed each of your strengths extensively. Tell them how your accomplishments set you apart from others. Demonstrate the magnitude of your strengths by sharing at least three accomplishments within each category. We call this method of presenting your skills and accomplishments “power statements.”

Two important concepts govern the preparation of power statements:

  • Highlight the skill you are presenting by using “power words,” such as motivated, organized, responsible, problem-solver, and other words that describe your particular strengths.
  • Describe something you accomplished with the skill you are presenting. You may include a challenge you faced, actions you performed to overcome the challenge, and the results of your actions. Try to quantify the results of your accomplishments to show your value to a scholarship committee.

Some Examples of Power Statements:

Service

I can achieve results. For example, I planned, organized, and led a charity project that packaged over 5,000 boxes of humanitarian supplies for victims of Hurricane Irene. The whole project was completed and shipped in one day.

 

Leadership

I have organization management skills. For example, I reorganized my company’s manufacturing department, increasing yield by 15 percent.

 

Academics

I am an over-achiever. For example, I maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout college while working full-time, taking honors courses, and serving as the president of the Education Society on campus.

 

Athletics

I am dedicated. For example, I won the city and regional championship in the 5K by training four hours daily to improve my running time by 45%.

 

Creative Talents

I am creative. For example, I designed a new product line that increased my company’s revenue by $25,000.

By expressing the variety of your strengths, you will show that you are a skilled and well-rounded individual. By expressing the magnitude of your strengths, you will prove that you are accomplished in those areas of your life. Using power statements to deliver these messages will communicate your value with greater impact to selection committees. These applied techniques will create an essay that is more impressive and persuasive of your qualifications.

For more information about scholarships, see the following:

Letters of Recommendation

Scholarship Master Application

Scholarship Sources

Topics for Scholarship Essays 

How to Strengthen a Scholarship Essay

Finding Financial Aid on LDSjobs.org

Continuing Education 

                                                                         

Feedback

Was this helpful?