The SMART Method: A = Answer the Essay Question Completely

When writing your scholarship essay, make sure you answer the essay question completely. This is another way to be S-M-A-R-T when applying!Make sure you answer the essay question completely

by Monica Matthews, Scholarship Editor

The third segment in my series of applying for college scholarships using the S-M-A-R-T method is all about the “A”.

A = Answer the essay question

This may seem like a no-brainer, but scholarship judges swear that many students tend to ramble in their essay answers, leaving the original essay question partially unanswered. Also, some essay questions contain more than one query or part and students may think they have fully answered the question, but have not.

A great trick for checking essay answer completeness is for students to ask an educated and trusted adult to read their answer, not knowing the question, and see if they can guess what it is. If the reader is unsure or wrong, the student can work on rewriting or clarifying their answer for completeness. If the reader knows exactly what the question was, the student knows they have answered the question and can then ask about compelling content and move on to proofreading.

Students can use this list to ensure they have done their very best to write a great scholarship essay:

• Have I completely answered the question(s) asked?
• Does my essay begin with content that draws in the reader, a hook?
• Do I write from the heart, sharing true, detailed, and relevant information?
• Have I identified the theme of the essay and addressed it in my answer?
• Did I research the background of the organization and become familiar with their mission?
• Have I had at least 2 pairs of trusted eyes read and critique my essay?
• Has my essay been proofread for grammar, punctuation, and typos?
• Does my essay follow word-count or other format guidelines outlined in the scholarship requirements?
• When others are reading my essay, do my words evoke positive reactions such as laughter, smiling, and/or spontaneous comments? (“Wow!”)

Stay tuned for next week’s tip as I continue the S-M-A-R-T scholarship applying method and learn about how important it is to thoroughly review all scholarship guidelines before submitting each application.

Related: Scholarship Mom Tip – Win with a Hook!


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