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Writing College Essays: Five Myths You Need to Know

Writing College Essays: Five Myths You Need to Know

The college application process is stressful. From deciding on your dream school, prepping for the SAT or ACT, to finishing all those applications, the task can feel near impossible. It's not - and neither is writing a college essay that works. To help our college-bound high school seniors, let's debunk some myths surrounding writing a persuasive college essay.

Myth #1: "I have to write the greatest essay in the world."

Every student wants to stand out, but you don't have to write the Iliad or the Odyssey to do so. The college essay is your opportunity to showcase your achievements and contributions. However, what most people don't realize is that they overindulge and exaggerate when talking about themselves. Admissions offices can read right through self-praise - what they are looking for is authenticity. Emphasize achievements or lessons you have learned that highlight your best traits. Tell a story about your experiences. What have they taught you? The truth sounds a lot better than you think.

Myth #2: "I'm not creative."

You don't have to be creative to write a successful college essay; but you have to be personable. Don't regurgitate the same answers for every application. Admissions offices can tell when an application has been recycled. Add your own flair to each essay. Whether that be in your tone, content, or writing style, be sure to do something unique with each essay so that your reader remembers it.

Myth #3: "I should limit my number of applications because college applications are expensive."

You're right, applying to college gets expensive - but just like scholarships, there is money out there for applying to college too! If applying to college is out of your budget, contact the admissions office of the school you're applying to. They can give you forms to apply for a fee waiver. The process may seem cumbersome, but a free application will be worth it.

Myth #4: "I can wait until tomorrow."

Just do it now. Are you one of those people who writes something ingenious at the last minute? Your brain actually works better when you exercise it. That exercise will make your ingenuity a habit instead of something that saves you when you're under pressure. Your college essay does not have to be perfect the first time. Prioritize consistency over the grandiose last-minute essays and the result will be a well-written and concise articulation of why your dream school needs you.

Myth #5: "I have to know what I want to study."

No, you really don't. If you know what you want to study, good for you! However, having your mind made up about your future has no sway on your ability to write a persuasive college essay. A large part of college is figuring out what you want to do - that's why you're going. So when you write, talk about your interests and passions to showcase your potential. Try adding how you think the school will help you hone these interests. That way, your application will be unique and tailored to the school.

See? Writing college essays isn't as intimidating as it may seem. Keep these myth busters in mind the next time you're stressed about the college application process and you'll be good to go. Remember to always run your essays through a proofreading service like Scholly Editor for the finishing touches!

Need help paying for college after you get in? Get matched to scholarships instantly when you build a profile on Scholly.

Meet the Newest Addition to the Scholly Platform: Scholly Editor

Meet the Newest Addition to the Scholly Platform: Scholly Editor

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Scholly Editor is the latest product offering from the Scholly portfolio, making writing and editing your work easier than ever. Through AI technology, Scholly Editor allows users to have their writing checked for grammar, spelling, and style.

Scholly, an app created to connect and match students to thousands of scholarships and streamline their journey to pay for college was founded in 2013 and has now grown to be one of the hottest educational apps on the market. While the app and its scholarship service has garnered attention on a global level, we knew we wanted to take our service even further beyond scholarships. Founder Christopher Gray always intended for this app to be a comprehensive platform for students and individuals alike to access educational resources affordably, and thus Scholly Editor was developed. 


By logging onto their Scholly account via desktop, students in any grade level can use this software to have their written work reviewed, from college papers and class assignments to personal creative writing. While Scholly isn’t the first to do this, we’re doing it differently and better than the rest. Our platform is clean, easy to use and accurate, using technology designed to provide accuracy and precision. Best of all, it's affordable. We understand that many students cannot afford tutoring in writing or simply do not have access. Scholly Editor helps more students get writing assistance without a financial burden.

But it doesn't end at ease of use, we made sure the software looks great too. Through streamlined technology and a reliable step-by-step interface, Scholly Editor looks sleek and sophisticated, eliminating any confusion or clutter. We are committed to helping more students reach and maximize their potential. Scholly Editor, at its core, is a product for everyone, allowing us to live up to our mission: OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL.

Need to see it to believe it?

4 Tips to a better Scholarship Essay

4 Tips to a better Scholarship Essay

Sure, everyone know that Scholly helps you find the scholarships looking for you, but that doesn't mean you can just phone in the essay. Here are 4 tips for writing a better scholarship essay:

1. Understand who you're writing it for.

Take some time to know the organization that's offering each scholarship. Review their website, and the company/organization’s vision and positioning — It could make a meaningful difference in what you choose to write about, and how you angle it. Write from your mind and heart, of course, but make sure it's done in a way that will resonate with your audience!

2. Don't start from scratch every time.

You probably already have essays you wrote to get into college. You can find some great starters in them, and can repurpose them into some substantial head starts for your scholarship essays.

3. Edit.

Most essays are short, but you will likely have a lot to say once you get going!  We suggest writing it out long form, and then go through again, highlighting the most critical pieces. Figure out how to make them fit together, and leave the rest on the cutting room floor. You'll be left with all killer and no filler.

4. Proof it, and proof it again!

But don't just take your word for it... send your scholarship essay to your parents and friends. A fresh set of eyes can catch grammar mistakes, typos, or just help make it better!

Hope that's helpful, and don't forget to join Scholly, to help make the search for scholarships easier.

Christopher Gray's top tips on how to apply for as many scholarships as possible ...

Christopher Gray's top tips on how to apply for as many scholarships as possible ...

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It’s back to school time and we know college is on your mind, as well as how to pay for it! Luckily, the fall is prime time for scholarships. This is when the biggest scholarships out there are opened up and ready for you to apply to. When I was back in high school, September gave me a bit of a high. Suddenly, I realized that there was so much money out there for me, and I had to find the most efficient way to get it all done and to apply for as many as I could. That being said, here are a few tips to make sure you get to apply for as many scholarships as possible:

  • Recycling scholarship essays is a great way to apply for as many scholarships as possible. Most scholarship essay prompts are similar (or sometimes the same) so I suggest reusing essays as much as you can in order to scale your efforts. I personally won 1.3 million dollars in scholarships,  and for a lot of the scholarships I won I recycled my essays!
     
  • Scholarships that have very specific eligibility requirements are usually easier to win since there will be fewer applicants. The same goes for smaller scholarships that are around $1000-$5000, since many students don’t apply for them thinking they are not meaningful amounts and won't move the needle. Smaller scholarships can add up and really make a difference. Scholly allows our users to sort scholarships by amount and we also have something called the Scholly Score, which lets our users know how competitive the scholarships are. 
     
  • Lastly, you can also reuse the same recommendation letters. It’s terrible when you have finished a scholarship application and at the last minute you need to rush and wait on mentors, teachers, your boss, or whoever to write you a solid recommendation letter. Find the people to write them now and get it done!

Also, Scholly has some new updates in the coming months that will make the scholarship process even more efficient for students. Stay tuned!  :)

 

How to Mess Up a Scholarship Essay

How to Mess Up a Scholarship Essay

Oh no, you spelled that word wrong! It happens all the time but mistakes like these and others can cost you free money aka scholarships. You wouldn’t want to miss out on $2,500 because you typed an “L” instead of a “Z” right? Well here are some common mistakes and tips on how to avoid them.

Fulfill the Criteria

Make sure you read the scholarship application description and follow the guidelines. If the scholarship asks you to write about a time where you overcame a struggle, don’t write about how your aunt’s cat is the most adorable cat. Be careful with copying and pasting other scholarship essays that you wrote - this could be a huge blunder if you replace it with the wrong topic. If the scholarship application says there is a maximum of 500 words, keep it to 500 words. Unfortunately, you won’t get any extra credit here for going over the word count.

Misspellings

We mentioned it briefly in the introduction but this is a very easy way to mess up your scholarship essay. One or multiple misspelled words show the scholarship reviewers that you didn’t take the time to proofread. If you’re competing against others for scholarship money, taking the time to proofread shows that you actually care about getting the scholarship. We suggest getting a second pair of eyes on your scholarship essays to check for spelling, grammar, punctuation, run-on sentences, and more.

Stay Humble

Although scholarship essays ask you to talk about yourself, they are no place to brag and boast. In acknowledging your accomplishments you should always carry a strong sense of humility. Scholarship reviewers are here to help support you and it helps if you have stories that reflect on how others in your community have helped you to achieve your goals. We’re all in this together and it’s hard to want to stamp ‘won’ on essays where people think they’ve got it all figured out themselves.

Stay Hungry

If you’ve experienced hardship in your life and your scholarship essays ask you to write about that, make sure that you write in stride. Try to tell your story in a frame that doesn’t sound like you’re complaining about your situation. How people write about their experiences can be very telling about how they deal with those experiences and reviewers of scholarships want to ensure that the individuals they’re supporting will use their resources to continue growing to advance themselves out of their situation.

 

The Top 5 Myths About Scholarships

The Top 5 Myths About Scholarships

Many people believe that they can’t or won’t win scholarships for certain reasons that really aren’t true. We want you to win as much money as possible for college so here’s our list of the top 5 myths about scholarships to keep you encouraged throughout the process:

1) “I don’t have enough time to search for and apply to scholarships.”

Not to toot our own horn but that’s why we’re here! Scholly was made for you so you don’t have to spend all of that time searching for scholarships. Make sure you keep a list of your activities and update them in the Miscellaneous category on your profile to get matched with more targeted scholarships that are suited for you.

2) “There are too many people I’m competing against to win this scholarship.”

There are so many scholarships out there. And by so many, we mean SO many. Over $100 million in scholarship awards go unclaimed each year. These range from essays that ask you to write your favorite thing about milk to telling about a time where you overcame a struggle. The chances are that there are scholarships out there that you will win but you just need to apply!

3) “I can’t get scholarships with my GPA”

Yes you can. Plain and simple - there are scholarships out there that don’t have any GPA requirements. While you should work to improve your GPA, it does not define your scholarship opportunities so apply and apply often.

4) “My race or family’s income is going to prevent me from getting scholarships.”

It’s true that many scholarships are suited for specific income levels or racial backgrounds. However, those are not the only opportunities that exist. Scholarships cater to people based on a variety of criteria where race and income don’t matter. These merit based scholarships offer great ways to help afford your education.

5) “I’m too [insert reason here] for scholarships.”

I’m too old, young, boring.... Don’t let your thoughts discourage you from applying to scholarships because the truth is that scholarships abound in a variety of categories. You should have to be intentional about finding what opportunities match you the best. And we’re here to help you do exactly that.

 

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