College Essays vs Scholarship Essays: 4 Important Differences To Know

Are you wondering if college essays and scholarship essays are same? Here are the 4 key differences between them

Updated by Souradeep De on 21st October 2020

Essays are key elements of college applications, as they not only cater to college admissions but can also help in winning your desired scholarship. So, what’s the difference between college essays and scholarship essays?

A prime difference between college and scholarship essays is the purpose of writing them. They are supplementary documents for two distinctive goals - college admission, and scholarships. 

Through essays, individual colleges ask you to pour your heart down and express yourself in your unique way, so that they can get a rough overview of who you are as a person and whether you are worth as a candidate.

While in the case of scholarship essays it is a bit different and you need to point out your recent and past achievements and plans and how you’re going to make your way through using the money you’re asking, from the scholarship.

College Essays and Scholarship Essays - Differences

Though in simple terms, essays are nothing but a short or long piece of writing in any particular subject, when it comes to getting admission in colleges or applying for a scholarship, essays play a crucial role to help you get exactly what you want. While applying for a college or a scholarship you have to be aware of certain factors to steal the show and grab hands-on your desired college or scholarship. A few key factors, some tweaks here and there, and your unique way of expressing yourself will surely make the most out of your essay. 

There are several distinctions between college and scholarship essays. Here are a few factors that would help you distinguish between both the essay categories -

Why do you need to write an essay?

The fundamental difference between a college essay and a scholarship essay is their purpose or Motive.

A college essay particularly focuses on your writing skills, creative and cognitive thoughts, and how you deal with situations and events in a structured and organized way. In your college days, you may come across various scenarios where you might have to write a lot, so through the college essay, the college authority checks whether the students can cope up with the new environment. It is also a check on your character and personality. 

When it comes to scholarship essays, it’s more definitive and has to be precise. Scholarship essays have nothing to do with your creativity or writing skill. Its primary focus is to check whether you’re worthy of the scholarship. You need to specify the grounds of your call for assistance, in addition to other requirements. So, get your pens flowing and give your best to get the scholarship you want at ease!

What should you write?

Usually, college essay prompts are elusive and need to be detailed or broad. Most colleges use the Common Application or Coalition Application where you can choose your desired prompt you want to write on. All you’ve to do is make it as wonderful as you can.

On the other hand, scholarship essays are definitive and need to be precise. Organizations and institutions providing scholarships don’t care much about your creativity and all they want to know why they should offer you the scholarship you’re asking for. Scholarship essay prompts usually ask about your future goals and your achievements so far.

You may also read - How to write an essay for a scholarship?

How should you do it?

Since college essays demand your creativity and critical thinking capability, you need to be well aware of the fact, that through your essay, the college authority will get a rough overview of who you are as a person, how you think, and how you act. So, be sure to make it interesting, as it’ll represent your characteristics and traits as a person.

Scholarship essays on the other hand primarily focus on your future goals and past achievements, so you got to make sure that your essays meet the demand of the scholarship providing organization. It’s advisable you go through the organization’s goal or mission and mention it in your essay explaining what made you apply for the scholarship from their organization. You should also try to include your ambitions, plans, and personal experience to get the spotlight you seek.

How much should you write?

Since college essays are based on prompts, they come with a word limit. Not too long, nor too short. A simple, creative, and lucid essay, limited to 500-650 words is enough to get your chances rolling.

Scholarship essays on the other hand are professional and have a definitive format which one should keep in mind. Apart from being short within 500 words to be precise, scholarship essays need to be written in Times New Roman Font, double spaced, usually, two to three pages in length and equally margined from all the sides, preferably an inch.

Tips On Champion Essays  

Well, now that you’ve come so far, we’re pretty sure that you’re eager to know more about what to do and what not to do while writing your college or scholarship essay. Knowing your grounds and keeping your strategies clear will boost your confidence and will make your essay more practical and appealing to the authorities involved. Not only that, writing a good essay either for your college application or for any scholarship program will enhance your writing skills, and will increase your chances in many other extracurricular activities where writing plays a major role.

  • Read the instructions carefully

  • Be humble while writing an essay and don't brag about your achievements.

  • Don’t write what you are not. Often people exaggerate in their college essays, creating high and unrealistic expectations for the college authorities which end up application rejection

  • Be organized and make sure to point out your thoughts in simple terms

  • Make it personal. Since, both the college and scholarship authority wants to know about you in person, make sure your essay is personal and true to its core

  • Don’t use flattery languages. Stories that come out to be raw and authentic are more likely to get approved than those which are sugar-coated

Concluding thoughts

Be it a college essay or a scholarship essay, in the end, it’s your own. So make sure you’re giving your best and do not panic. You just need to be real and express yourself in your unique way. If it doesn’t make you happy, then your efforts are all in vain. So whatever you write, be happy with it, because, in the end, it is what matters the most!

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