Scholarship Essay Resources

The essay is no longer just a significant part of the application package. It is a separate scholarship competition.  A well-written essay must not be EXTEMPORANEOUSLY written.

Scholarship Workshops
Select Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 11:00 am or 1:00, 2:00 pm.

Follow the PRINCIPLE: Be part of the 10 - 15% who are ❝IN❞ every scholarship competition....... NOT just completing an application.



Four Basic Points to Essay Success:


FIRST - Read the Do's and Do not's,❞  to eliminate unforeseen mistakes.


SECOND - The Question(s)❞  guide you  in your answer, find its ❝BASIC POINTS.  Also add those details required motivate and inspire the sponsor to select your essay.


THIRD - Use the following ❝Basic Writing Rules❞ to start your personal statement/essay


FOURTH - Use the ❝Essay Writing Tools❞ to help FOCUS your efforts and lean to get HELP!


Writing Assistance:

 What To Do and Not Do

Scholarship writing, DO's and DON'TS: Read both before you write your essay or personal statement. Not doing so can mean the difference between clarity and endless words or understanding and not  understanding essay/statements questions, read and be more Successful.


  • DO: Use the How to Apply for Scholarships web page
  • DO: Use the Question Breakdown to organize your writing .
  • DO: Use examples when writing to support your answers and clarify your points of interest.
  • DO: Answer all questions or select the BEST QUESTION if given a choice.
  • DO: Review EACH draft, ensure the draft is reviewed for correct format, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and flow; this will mean only minor corrections are needed during the final review. 
  • DO: Have someone (an Instructor, Counselor, or Scholarship Specialist, etc...) review your ❝Final Draft.❞
  • DO: When printing your Final Paper on regular paper, make sure it looks perfectly. Use a ❝SCHOLARSHIP ONLY❞ printer cartridge (a cartridge saved for the scholarship process only).
  • DO: Make it your goal to give the ❝PERFECT❞ impression.  All parts of the application package are scored, make it your best effort, to receive the maximum possible points.
  • DO: Save the essay and sponsor's questions on your computer in a specific file for use as a rouugh draft for other possible essays.  The essay can be revised to answer similar questions later. 
  • DO NOT: PLAGIARIZE it automatically ELIMINATES applicants from the competition.
  • DO NOT: SUBMIT Essays or Personal Statements with more or fewer words or pages than are required.  This will cause you to SELF-ELIMINATION.
  • DO NOT: Write the minimum number of words or pages required for an Essay or Personal Statement.  This effort does not provide a QUALITY answer to the question.  This demonstrates too little effort when expressing the expected interest, concern, facts, and depth of understanding in the question to be successful in the scholarship contest.
  • DO NOT: Write your Essay or Personal Statement,  using slang, texting, or inappropriate language.  sponsors expect college level language, prose.
  • DO NOT: Hand write your essay/personal statement.
  • DO NOT: Elaborate on how ❝broke❞ you are, or how ❝badly❞ you need to pay rent, or that you need to get your car fixed....etc. if these are NOT part of the question format.

    - First - Scholarships are normally for college expenses ONLY. 
    - Second - If you are not asked about those things, you are complaining and sponsors ONLY want to have their questions answered.
  • DO NOT: Discuss how you are receiving social assistance (unless specifically asked by the sponsor)

Basic Writing Rules

Writing Rules -   

it is in a writers Best Interest to use the Basic Writing Rules that can make your essay better then those you will be competing against. Please take your time and read the basic rules provided.


1. ALWAYS — follow the sponsor's directions/guidelines:

  • READ ALL ❝Terms and Conditions❞ for the scholarship or Essay Contest.
  • Review the entire application or webpage requirements, this includes all questions and ALL requirements & special instructions.  If the sponsor's guidelines are not clear seek assistance from the ❝Scholarship Specialist.❞

2. BEFORE WRITING STARTS — Focus on the sponsor's essay/personal statement instructions/requirements! If you are unsure, contact the ❝Scholarship Specialist❞ for an appointment to review the application materials.


3. SHORT ESSAY WRITING   This essay approach is focused ONLY on those essays common to online applications similar to AcademicWorks, San Diego Foundation, and other campus based applications.  These types of essays are short (100 - 200 words), which means YOU MUST do MORE with LESS and do it WELL.  There are two aids, the basic aid is SHORT ESSAY-EZ GUIDE for highlights only and other is the SHORT ESSAY-DETAILED GUIDE, each guide provides a different level of assistance to show applicants how scholarship essays are developed.


4. FORMAT & WRITING — The essay and personal statement, use basic steps and guidelines to start your paper.  Begin with the correct formatting, either set by the sponsor or basic writing fundamentals.  Also begin writing, use basic grammar of your paper.


A. Format and Guidelines — Use as the sponsor(s) state (if given) when writing the Essay/Personal Statement.  If none are provided, at a minimum use the following guidelines:

  • Use plain white bond paper, 8 1/2 x 11
  • Left & Right margins 1" Top and Bottom
  • Use a Standard Header on your: ❝Personal Statement❞ or ❝Essay❞
  • Double Space the sentences on your paper. (Except your address or header)

B. Writing & Grammar Basics — Follow correct writing guidelines, ensure the essay is broken down into paragraphs; use transition sentences between each thought or paragraph.  Review your paper with a spelling and grammar checker, ensure punctuation, vocabulary, and style are corrected with each draft; check essay flow by reading ❝your paper❞ out loud.  Ask yourself: ❝Is there depth to my Answer or Answers?❞

  • Use the Online Writing Tools provided below. Never guess at what is or is not correct.
  • Use a ❝Proof Reader❞ Example: Scholarship Specialist, Professor or Counselor or the Writing Center. Regardless of PERSONAL feelings DO NOT use friends as proof readers. It is best not to place your friends in a position to suggest corrections, your friends may be uncomfortable and not tell you ALL of the facts.
  • Your essay should be UP LOADED as a ❝PDF❞ unless otherwise directed, this will ensure your essay is received the same way it was written.

Online Writing Tools

 Writing Tools

 The online writing resources below are available to help you with all of your essay writing needs. Applicants may use them to develop, organize, and prepare their essay.  These writing tools are recommended for use when writing your personal statements or essays.


Resources - OWL English - Purdue University Writing Lab


Resources - OWL English - Purdue University ESL Writing Lab


Resources - MLA Example - University of Maryland Guide


Resources APA Example - University of Maryland Guide


Resources - Cuyamaca College Writing Center

The Video Presentation Assistance

Essay Presentations

Sponsors provide one of several options to the written essay, and the  Video Essay Presentations are common today. This does not mean they are easier in fact effective presentations are fun and challenging. Use the following VIDEO Presentation Guide to assist you in preparing for the challenge.


VIDEO Presentation Guide


How to UpLoad a Video Securely


Contact Us 

For further assistance and guidance in applying for scholarships, please contact the Scholarship Office. We are located in the Financial Aid Office (Building 300) at the Student Services Center. To make an appointment please email or call (619) 660-4537 provide  your Student ID number, please provide your best date and time that you are available.  Walk-in appointments are welcome.


Ernest Williams
Scholarship Specialist
Financial Aid Office
1 (619) 660-4537

*Cuyamaca College Financial Aid Office does not guarantee the accuracy of translated text through Google Translate. If the information you are translating is not clear, please return to the home page of Cuyamaca College Financial Aid & Scholarships, click "Contact Us," and call for assistance, or email your question to the appropriate Advisor. Cuyamaca College Financial Aid Office disclaims and will not accept any liability for any problems caused by the use of the Google Translate feature.




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