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Entrepreneurship Motivation Essay Scholarships

The following scholarships are provided by GetSchooled and are grouped by topic. Check out MONEY’s Best Colleges finder tool and overall rankings, or get more information on paying for college at GetSchooled.com.

Big Money Scholarships

These scholarships all offer $10,000 or more.

Cameron Impact Scholarship

Scholarships for students with high academic achievement who have a stated goal of public service and/or demonstrated active participation in community service.

  • Amount: Up to $50,000 per year (intended to cover tuition, fees, course related expenses, books, supplies and equipment)
  • Deadline: September 15, May 15 (two application cycles per year)

Live Mas Scholarship

Scholarships open to all students, ages 16-24, currently enrolled or enrolling in an accredited post-high school program. To apply, create and submit a video (two minutes or less in length) that tells the story of your life’s passion.

  • Amount: Up to $25,000
  • Deadline: May 2018

Davidson Fellowship

Scholarships for students with a project in the STEM or humanities fields that have the potential to make a positive contribution to society.

  • Amount: Up to $50,000
  • Deadline: February 8

James W. McLamore WHOPPER Scholarship Program

Scholarships for students who demonstrate an active leadership role in community service, athletics, etc.

  • Amount: Up to $50,000
  • Deadline: December 15

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship Program

Scholarships for high-achieving students that require financial aid.

  • Amount: Up to $40,000 per year (renewable)
  • Deadline: December 1

Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Competition

Scholarships focused on leadership and need.

  • Amount: Up to $50,000
  • Deadline: November 30

The Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology

Individuals or teams research and develop projects in Math, Science, and Technology fields and compete for large scholarship awards.

  • Amount: $100,000 grand prize, $50,000 second place, all other finalists receive $25,000
  • Deadline: September 19

The Dream.us Scholarship Program

For highly motivated DREAMers who want to get a college education. Must have significant financial need, academic promise, as well as determination and perseverance. Must attend a partner college.

  • Amount: Can cover up to 100% of tuition fees and books at partner colleges
  • Deadline: March 8

Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway Contest

Submit a video that describes how you want to make an impact with your degree — also have to throw a football as a finalist.

  • Amount: $100,000 (grand prize), also $20,000 runner up prizes and $2,500 consolation prizes
  • Deadline: October 19

Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest

Write a no more than 1,200-word essay using one of the three prompts given on the website.

  • Amount: Up to $20,000
  • Deadline: May 10

Voice of America Scholarship

Applicants must write or record an essay on an annual patriotic theme.

  • Amount: Up to $30,000
  • Deadline: November 1

Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation

Scholarships based on students’ capacity to lead, succeed in school, and make an impact on their schools and communities.

  • Amount: $20,000
  • Deadline: October 31

AXA Achievement Scholarship

Demonstrate long-term achievement outside the classroom like a project at school, in their community, etc.

  • Amount: Up to $25,000
  • Deadline: December 15

CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program

Full-time students can spend their summer breaks working with the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C., doing meaningful work related to their major. Requires 3.0 GPA, 1000 SAT/21 ACT, and sufficient financial need.

  • Amount: Salary up to $38,701 and tuition assistance up to $18,000
    Deadline: August 14

Last-Minute Scholarships

Students can apply to these even in July and August (or later!) for the coming academic year.

Once Upon a Poem Scholarship

Submit your own creative interpretation of a classic fairy tale for a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: August 30

iVein Health and Wellness Scholarship

Write an 800- to 1,000-word essay about how to approach living a healthy lifestyle as a college student, and how to sustain healthy habits over a lifetime.

  • Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: August 31 for fall semester, December 31 for winter/spring

#MyFutureSelfie Entrepreneurial Scholarship

Envision yourself as a future business owner and snap a selfie of what you think that would look like. Post the selfie to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn with the hashtag #MyFutureSelfie to be considered for a $10,000 scholarship.

  • Amount: $10,000
  • Deadline: September 4

Olshan Foundation Scholarship

Write a 500-word essay describing your motivation to pursue a degree in your chosen field of study, and submit a 30-second video describing your essay. Requires a minimum 3.0 GPA.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: August 12

Redfin Scholarship

Write a 300- to 500-word essay describing how the community you grew up in influenced who you are today. Requires a minimum 3.5 GPA.

  • Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: July 31

Avomeen Science Student Award

Scholarship for college students pursuing a career in science. Complete the application form and write a 450-word essay describing the moment when you realized you wanted to pursue a scientific degree.

  • Amount: $1,000 grand prize, $500 second place
  • Deadline: August 31

Bud Siegfried Scholarship

Scholarship for currently enrolled college students pursuing a degree. To apply, write a 500- to 700-word essay about how injury attorneys can make a difference in the case of an accident, and a 400-word essay about an act of service you have performed in the last three weeks.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: July 31

Student Transportation Video Scholarship

Submit a two-to-four minute video that examines any aspect of transportation in the United States.

  • Amount: $500
  • Deadline: August 15

Spokeo Connections Scholarship

Scholarship for students who write a 300-500 word essay on how they use the internet to strengthen communities or human connection.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: Fall 2017

AFSA Second Chance Scholarship

Students can take a quick quiz to be entered into a drawing for scholarships.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: August 30

Scholarships That Don’t Require You to Demonstrate Financial Need

Richard and Elizabeth Dean Scholarship

Scholarships based on academic merit, with an initial minimum GPA of 4.0 and renewal conditional upon maintenance of a 3.25 GPA.

  • Amount: $5,000 renewable each year for a total of $20,000
  • Deadline: February 10

DAR Scholarships for Political Science, History, Government and Economics

Scholarships for students interested in studying political science, history or economics.

  • Amount: Up to $5,000
  • Deadline: February 10

Spirit of Anne Frank Scholarship

Write an essay describing contributions you have made to your community and how their goals are inspired by Anne Frank with a focus on commitment to social justice.

  • Amount: Up to $10,000
  • Deadline: March 17

Brower Youth Awards

Scholarships for outstanding leaders working to alleviate and find solutions to environmental problems.

  • Amount: $3,000, a professionally produced short film about their work from an Emmy award winning film crew, and flight and accommodations for a week-long trip to the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Deadline: May 15

Helen Brett Scholarship

Scholarship for currently enrolled college students that are interested in exploring the study of exhibition management.

  • Amount: Up to $5,000
  • Deadline: June 1

Inverters R Us Power Scholarships

Write an essay answering the prompt: “How are DC to AC power inverters used in the world today?”

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: June 30

Delete Cyberbullying Scholarship Award

Write an essay of 500 words or less about cyberbullying.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: June 30

Essay.ws Writing Contest

Write a 900-1,000 word essay on one of the topics provided on the site.

  • Amount: $500
  • Deadline: September 1

Scholarships That Don’t Require an Essay

US Bank Scholarship

Students enter for a chance to win a $20,000 scholarship.

  • Amount: $20,000
  • Deadline: October 27

Vectorworks Design Scholarship

Students submit an original design product to be considered for tuition awards and media recognition.

  • Amount: Up to $7,000
  • Deadline: July 15

“No Essay” Scholarship

Create an account with Niche for a chance to win a $2,000 scholarship.

  • Amount: $2,000
  • Deadline: May 31

Courageous Persuaders Scholarships

Make a 30-second TV commercial about the dangers of underage drinking or texting while driving. Grand prize winner will be seen on television.

  • Amount: $3,000
  • Deadline: February 9

Disaster Preparation Scholarship

Students create a video that shows how proper planning for a hurricane or other flood disaster can be valuable.

  • Amount: $1,500
  • Deadline: November 1

Young Arts Scholarship

Scholarships for student artists in film, design, music, dance, photography, visual arts, theater, and writing.

  • Amount: Up to $10,000 and a master class in your artistic discipline
  • Deadline: October 13

Student Transportation Video Contest

Students create an original two- to four-minute video examining any aspect of either of the two categories: general transportation or safety.

  • Amount: $500
  • Deadline: August 15

AFSA Second Chance Scholarship

Students take a quick quiz to be entered into a drawing for scholarships.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: August 30

Stuck At Prom Scholarship Contest

Scholarship awarded to students who make the best prom-wear (suits, dresses, belts, corsages, etc.) out of duct tape.

  • Amount: Up to $10,000 to each individual entrant ($20,000 per couple)
  • Deadline: May 31

Parry and Pfau Left-Handed Scholarship

Students submit a one- to two-minute YouTube video on why it is better to left-handed than right-handed and will be judged on creativity, humor and overall quality. You do not have to be left-handed in order to apply for this award.

  • Amount: $1,500
  • Deadline: July 31

Scholarships for Women

Beyoncé Formation Scholarship

Scholarship for the 2017-18 academic year to encourage and support young women who are bold, creative, confident, and unafraid to think outside the box. For students attending Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design, and Spelman College.

  • Amount: Up to cost of tuition
  • Deadline: May 12

Distinguished Young Women Scholarship

Scholarship for female students who have participated in a Distinguished Young Women program.

  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: Continuous

Society for Women Engineers

Scholarships for women who plan to pursue a career in engineering, engineering technology, and computer science.

  • Amount: Range from $1,000 to $20,000
  • Deadline: February 15

ESA Foundation Scholarship Program

Scholarships for women and minority students pursuing degrees leading to careers in computer and video game arts.

  • Amount: $3,000
  • Deadline: May 4

BHW Scholarship

Scholarships for women who are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in STEM.

  • Amount: $3,000
  • Deadline: April 15

Advancement of Women in Sports and Entertainment Scholarship

Scholarships for women pursuing a degree in Communication Studies, Marketing, Public Relations, Media Studies or Journalism.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: June 15

Ford Empowering America Scholarship

Scholarships for a current college student who makes a short video profiling an influential or inspirational woman in their community.

  • Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: May 1

Women in Public Finance Scholarship

Scholarships for women who have an interest in public finance.

  • Amount: $3,000
  • Deadline: July 14

Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation Support Awards

Scholarships for low-income women with children who are pursuing higher education or career training.

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: August 1

Asian Women in Business Scholarship

Scholarships for Asian female undergrads who have demonstrated scholarship, leadership, community service, or entrepreneurship.

  • Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: 2018

Women in Aviation Scholarships

Scholarships for members of the Women in Aviation association who have a passion for aviation.

  • Amount: Up to $5,000
  • Deadline: November 16

Scholarships for Artsy Kids

Houzz Scholarship Program

Scholarships for students enrolled in architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture programs at the undergraduate or graduate level.

  • Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: June 30

Gabriel Prize Competition

Students pursuing a career in architecture submit illustrations of personal work to the competition. Winners receive a three-month trip to France to study classical architecture and the landscape.

  • Amount: $20,000
  • Deadline: June 1

John F. and Anna Lee Stacey Scholarship Fund

Scholarships for students who practice classical/traditional art in the mediums of painting, drawing from figure, landscape, and composition.

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: February 1

Nellie Love Butcher Music Scholarship

Scholars for female music students undertaking a degree in piano or voice.

  • Amount: $20,000
  • Deadline: February 10

Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest

Scholarship for artists who paint or draw an entry that expresses patriotism.

  • Amount: Up to $21,000
  • Deadline: March 31

Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship Fund

For students pursuing a degree in a discipline related to the performing arts (e.g., music, dance, theater, etc.)

  • Amount: $10,000 (renewable)
  • Deadline: March 16

Krylon Clear Choice Art Scholarship

Scholarship for students planning to major in visual arts. To apply, submit a portfolio of three to six works of art/images on CD.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: May 31

Kodak Student Scholarship Program

Submit a completed film that communicates a story or theme in some fashion. Submissions can be no longer than 30 minutes.

  • Amount: $5,000 scholarship tuition award + $5,000 KODAK motion picture grant
  • Deadline: May 18

Scholarships for Members of Ethnic Groups

APIASF/NASA Scholarship

Scholarship for an Asian/Pacific Islander student interested in studying engineering or computer science.

  • Amount: $2,900
  • Deadline: January 2018

Against the Grain Artistic Scholarship

Scholarships for students with at least 50% Asian/Pacific Islander ethnicity who are pursuing a major in the performing, visual arts, journalism, or mass communications.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: May 31

Adelante! Fund Scholarships

Multiple scholarships to inspire Latino students to graduate and lead, along with internships and leadership training.

  • Amount: Up to $3,000
  • Deadline: June 5

Carole Simpson Scholarship

Scholarship to encourage and help minority students to overcome hurdles along their career path in electronic journalism.

  • Amount: $2,000
  • Deadline: May 31

Davis Scholarship for Women in STEM

Scholarship to encourage minority female college students attending a UNCF member institution to pursue a career in the STEM fields.

  • Amount: Up to $5,000
  • Deadline: June 9, 2017

American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholarship

Scholarships for Native American students attending non-tribal colleges.

  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: May 31

American Indian College Fund TCU Scholarship

Scholarships for Native American students attending a tribal college.

  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: Deadline is decided by your college

Blacks at Microsoft Scholarships

Scholarships for students of African descent who have a passion for technology and plan to pursue a degree in engineering, computer science, or select business programs.

  • Amount: $5,000 (renewable)
  • Deadline: April 15

Fontana Transport Scholars Program

Scholarships for low-income underrepresented and first-generation college prospects who are passionate about furthering their education as a means to help their family, community and themselves.

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: March 15

HSF Scholarship

Scholarships for students of Hispanic heritage.

  • Amount: Up to $5,000
  • Deadline: April 6

CBC Spouses Education Scholarship

Scholarship for African-American students with leadership ability and a desire to participate in community service.

  • Amount: Up to $8,200
  • Deadline: May 1

Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarship

Scholarship for Asian-American students interested in pursuing a career in entrepreneurship.

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: May 15

Walmart Foundation First-Generation Scholarship Program

Scholarship for first-generation college students attending one of 47 publicly supported HBCUs.

  • Amount: Up to $6,200
  • Deadline: June 4

Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards

Scholarships for Hispanic youth who demonstrate leadership and dedication to service in their communities.

  • Amount: Up to $3,000
  • Deadline: October 2

Scholarships for LGBT Students

Out to Innovate Scholarships

Scholarships for LGBTQ students interested in pursuing a STEM career.

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: June 2

League Foundation LGBTQ Scholarships

Scholarships for graduating seniors with special consideration given to those with activities and leadership roles relating to LGBTQ communities.

  • Amount: Up to $2,500
  • Deadline: April 30

Out to Protect Scholarship

Scholarships for LGBT students who are currently enrolled in a basic law enforcement training program.

  • Amount: Up to $1,000
  • Deadline: May 26

Pedro Zamora Public Policy Fellowship

Scholarship for students and young professionals seeking experience in HIV-related public policy and government affairs.

  • Amount: $4,000 ($1,000/month stipend paid over the four-month fellowship)
  • Deadline: July 15

Gay Asian Pacific Alliance Foundation Scholarship

Financial assistance to students who express activism in the Asian and Pacific Islander LGBT communities.

  • Amount: Up to $5,000
  • Deadline: June 30

LGBT Liberation Scholarship

Scholarships honoring students who have done impactful activism work to improve or inspire the lives of LGBTQ people and the LGBTQ community.

  • Amount: Up to $1,500
  • Deadline: June 30

American Atheists Gay/Lesbian College Scholarship

Scholarships for LGBT students who combine activism for gay rights with activism for the rights of atheists

  • Amount: $500
  • Deadline: February 1

Bill Caspare Memorial Fund Diversity Scholarship

Scholarships for LGBTQ students interested in careers in new media, digital advertising, or data science. Also open to African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic, and Native American students.

  • Amount: Up to $10,000
  • Deadline: July 14

NGPA Pilot Scholarship

Scholarships for aspiring aviators that support, or are members of, the LGBT community. Scholarship to be used for advanced flight training.

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: August 1

Military Family Scholarships

ThanksUSA Scholarship Program

Scholarships for dependents and spouses of military personnel.

  • Amount: $3,000
  • Deadline: May 15

Scholarships for Military Children Program

Scholarships for children of an active duty, reserve/guard, or retired military commissary customers.

  • Amount: $2,000
  • Deadline: February 12

American Legion Legacy Scholarship

Support the children of fallen post-9/11 service members and/or children of post-9/11 veterans with a disability of 50% or higher.

  • Amount: Up to $20,000
  • Deadline: April 20

Samsung American Legion Scholarship

Available to high school juniors who attend an American Legion state program and are a direct descendent of a wartime veteran who was on active duty during one of the periods of war.

  • Amount: Up to $20,000
  • Deadline: Varies

Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund

Must be a dependent of a military service member who has been disabled, killed in action, or is a prisoner of war.

  • Amount: Varies based on need; average award will be a “significant portion of the student’s tuition”
  • Deadline: July 31

The Military Commanders’ Scholarship Fund

Must be a dependent of activity duty, reserve/guard, or retired service members.

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: November 2017

Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship

Scholarships for women who have served in the Army or are the child of a woman who has served.

  • Amount: Up to $2,500
  • Deadline: January 15

The OpLove Scholarship

Scholarships for currently active, honorably discharged, or retired military members, and their spouses and children.

  • Amount: $300
  • Deadline: July 15

Francis P Matthews and John E Swift Educational Trust Scholarships

Scholars for children of a member of the Knights of Columbus who was killed while serving in the military, or a police officer or firefighter killed in the line of duty. Recipient must attend a Catholic college.

  • Amount: Up to $25,000
  • Deadline: March 1

70th Infantry Division Association Scholarship

Scholarship for the relatives and spouses of those who have served, or are currently serving, under the colors of the 70th Infantry Division.

  • Amount: $500
  • Deadline: August 30

Scholarships for Students with Community Service Experience

Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship

Scholarship for young volunteers who have dedicated 100+ hours to serving veterans.

  • Amount: Up to $20,000
  • Deadline: February 29

Bruce Lee Foundation Scholarship

Scholarships for students who understand, appreciate and exemplify Bruce Lee’s passion for education, and play an active role in their community.

  • Amount: Up to $10,000
  • Deadline: June 9

Youth Forward Scholarship

Scholarships for students who write an essay describing their commitment to volunteering.

  • Amount: $1,500
  • Deadline: August 1

Ajia Matthews Educational Scholarship Fund

Sample Scholarship Essays


If you’re applying for a scholarship, chances are you are going to need to write an essay. Very few scholarship programs are based solely on an application form or transcript. The essay is often the most important part of your application; it gives the scholarship committee a sense of who you are and your dedication to your goals. You’ll want to make sure that your scholarship essay is the best it can possibly be.

Unless specified otherwise, scholarship essays should always use the following formatting:

  • Double spaced
  • Times New Roman font
  • 12 point font
  • One-inch top, bottom, and side margins

Other useful tips to keep in mind include:

  1. Read the instructions thoroughly and make sure you completely understand them before you start writing.
  2. Think about what you are going to write and organize your thoughts into an outline.
  3. Write your essay by elaborating on each point you included in your outline.
  4. Use clear, concise, and simple language throughout your essay.
  5. When you are finished, read the question again and then read your essay to make sure that the essay addresses every point.

For more tips on writing a scholarship essay, check out our Eight Steps Towards a Better Scholarship Essay .


The Book that Made Me a Journalist

Prompt: Describe a book that made a lasting impression on you and your life and why.

It is 6 am on a hot day in July and I’ve already showered and eaten breakfast. I know that my classmates are all sleeping in and enjoying their summer break, but I don’t envy them; I’m excited to start my day interning with a local newspaper doing investigative journalism. I work a typical 8-5 day during my summer vacation and despite the early mornings, nothing has made me happier. Although it wasn't clear to me then, looking back on my high school experiences and everything that led to me to this internship, I believe this path began with a particularly savvy teacher and a little book she gave me to read outside of class.

I was taking a composition class, and we were learning how to write persuasive essays. Up until that point, I had had average grades, but I was always a good writer and my teacher immediately recognized this. The first paper I wrote for the class was about my experience going to an Indian reservation located near my uncle's ranch in southwest Colorado. I wrote of the severe poverty experienced by the people on the reservation, and the lack of access to voting booths during the most recent election. After reading this short story, my teacher approached me and asked about my future plans. No one had ever asked me this, and I wasn't sure how to answer. I said I liked writing and I liked thinking about people who are different from myself. She gave me a book and told me that if I had time to read it, she thought it would be something I would enjoy. I was actually quite surprised that a high school teacher was giving me a book titled Lies My Teacher Told Me. It had never occurred to me that teachers would lie to students. The title intrigued me so much that on Friday night I found myself staying up almost all night reading, instead of going out with friends.

In short, the book discusses several instances in which typical American history classes do not tell the whole story. For example, the author addresses the way that American history classes do not usually address about the Vietnam War, even though it happened only a short time ago. This made me realize that we hadn't discussed the Vietnam War in my own history class! The book taught me that, like my story of the Indian reservation, there are always more stories beyond what we see on the surface and what we’re taught in school. I was inspired to continue to tell these stories and to make that my career.

For my next article for the class, I wrote about the practice of my own high school suspending students, sometimes indefinitely, for seemingly minor offenses such as tardiness and smoking. I found that the number of suspensions had increased by 200% at my school in just three years, and also discovered that students who are suspended after only one offense often drop out and some later end up in prison. The article caused quite a stir. The administration of my school dismissed it, but it caught the attention of my local newspaper. A local journalist worked with me to publish an updated and more thoroughly researched version of my article in the local newspaper. The article forced the school board to revisit their “zero tolerance” policy as well as reinstate some indefinitely suspended students.I won no favors with the administration and it was a difficult time for me, but it was also thrilling to see how one article can have such a direct effect on people’s lives. It reaffirmed my commitment to a career in journalism.

This is why I’m applying for this scholarship. Your organization has been providing young aspiring journalists with funds to further their skills and work to uncover the untold stories in our communities that need to be reported. I share your organization’s vision of working towards a more just and equitable world by uncovering stories of abuse of power. I have already demonstrated this commitment through my writing in high school and I look forward to pursuing a BA in this field at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. With your help, I will hone my natural instincts and inherent writing skills. I will become a better and more persuasive writer and I will learn the ethics of professional journalism.

I sincerely appreciate the committee’s time in evaluating my application and giving me the opportunity to tell my story. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts

Do:Follow the prompt and other instructions exactly. You might write a great essay but it may get your application rejected if you don’t follow the word count guidelines or other formatting requirements.
DON'T:Open your essay with a quote. This is a well-worn strategy that is mostly used ineffectively. Instead of using someone else’s words, use your own.
DON'T:Use perfunctory sentences such as, “In this essay, I will…”
DO:Be clear and concise. Make sure each paragraph discusses only one central thought or argument.
DON'T:Use words from a thesaurus that are new to you. You may end up using the word incorrectly and that will make your writing awkward. Keep it simple and straightforward. The point of the essay is to tell your story, not to demonstrate how many words you know.

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Planners and Searchers

Prompt: In 600 words or less, please tell us about yourself and why you are applying for this scholarship. Please be clear about how this scholarship will help you achieve your personal and professional goals.

Being African, I recognize Africa’s need for home- grown talent in the form of “planners” (assistants with possible solutions) and “searchers” (those with desperate need) working towards international development. I represent both. Coming from Zimbabwe my greatest challenge is in helping to improve the livelihoods of developing nations through sustainable development and good governance principles. The need for policy-makers capable of employing cross-jurisdictional, and cross- disciplinary strategies to solve complex challenges cannot be under-emphasized; hence my application to this scholarship program.

After graduating from Africa University with an Honors degree in Sociology and Psychology, I am now seeking scholarship support to study in the United States at the Master’s level. My interest in democracy, elections, constitutionalism and development stems from my lasting interest in public policy issues. Accordingly, my current research interests in democracy and ethnic diversity require a deeper understanding of legal processes of constitutionalism and governance. As a Master’s student in the US, I intend to write articles on these subjects from the perspective of someone born, raised, and educated in Africa. I will bring a unique and much-needed perspective to my graduate program in the United States, and I will take the technical and theoretical knowledge from my graduate program back with me to Africa to further my career goals as a practitioner of good governance and community development.

To augment my theoretical understanding of governance and democratic practices, I worked with the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) as a Programs Assistant in the Monitoring and Observation department. This not only enhanced my project management skills, but also developed my skills in research and producing communication materials. ZESN is Zimbabwe’s biggest election observation organization, and I had the responsibility of monitoring the political environment and producing monthly publications on human rights issues and electoral processes. These publications were disseminated to various civil society organizations, donors and other stakeholders. Now I intend to develop my career in order to enhance Africa’s capacity to advocate, write and vote for representative constitutions.

I also participated in a fellowship program at Africa University, where I gained greater insight into social development by teaching courses on entrepreneurship, free market economics, and development in needy communities. I worked with women in rural areas of Zimbabwe to setup income-generating projects such as the jatropha soap-making project. Managing such a project gave me great insight into how many simple initiatives can transform lives.

Your organization has a history of awarding scholarships to promising young students from the developing world in order to bring knowledge, skills and leadership abilities to their home communities. I have already done some of this work but I want to continue, and with your assistance, I can. The multidisciplinary focus of the development programs I am applying to in the US will provide me with the necessary skills to creatively address the economic and social development challenges and develop sound public policies for Third World countries. I thank you for your time and consideration for this prestigious award.

Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts

DO:Research the organization and make sure you understand their mission and values and incorporate them into your essay.
DO:Focus on your strengths and turn in any problems or weaknesses into a success story.
DO:Use actual, detailed examples from your own life to backup your claims and arguments as to why you should receive the scholarship.
DO:Proofread several times before finally submitting your essay.
DON'T:Rehash what is already stated on your resume. Choose additional, unique stories to tell sell yourself to the scholarship committee.
DON'T:Simply state that you need the money. Even if you have severe financial need, it won’t help to simply ask for the money and it may come off as tacky.

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Saving the Manatees

Prompt: Please give the committee an idea of who you are and why you are the perfect candidate for the scholarship.

It is a cliché to say that I’ve always known what I want to do with my life, but in my case it happens to be true. When I first visited Sea World as a young child, I fell in love with marine animals in general. Specifically, I felt drawn to manatees. I was compelled by their placid and friendly nature. I knew then and there that I wanted to dedicate my life to protecting these beautiful creatures.

Since that day in Orlando, I have spent much of my spare time learning everything there is to know about manatees. As a junior high and high school student, I attempted to read scholarly articles on manatees from scientific journals. I annoyed my friends and family with scientific facts about manatees-- such as that they are close relatives of elephants--at the dinner table. I watched documentaries, and even mapped their migration pattern on a wall map my sister gave me for my birthday.

When I was chosen from hundreds of applicants to take part in a summer internship with Sea World, I fell even more in love with these gentle giants. I also learned a very important and valuable lesson: prior to this internship, I had imagined becoming a marine biologist, working directly with the animals in their care both in captivity and in the wild. However, during the internship, I discovered that this is not where my strengths lie. Unfortunately, I am not a strong student in science or math, which are required skills to become a marine biologist. Although this was a disheartening realization, I found that I possess other strengths can still be of great value to manatees and other endangered marine mammals: my skills as a public relations manager and communicator. During the internship, I helped write new lessons and presentations for elementary school groups visiting the park and developed a series of fun activities for children to help them learn more about manatees as well as conservation of endangered species in general. I also worked directly with the park’s conservation and communication director, and helped develop a new local outreach program designed to educate Floridians on how to avoid hitting a manatee when boating. My supervisor recommended me to the Save the Manatee Foundation so in addition to my full-time internship at Sea World, I interned with the Save the Manatee Foundation part-time. It was there that I witnessed the manatee rescue and conservation effort first hand, and worked directly with the marine biologists in developing fund-raising and awareness-raising campaigns. I found that the foundation’s social media presence was lacking, and, using skills I learned from Sea World, I helped them raise over $5,000 through a Twitter challenge, which we linked to the various social media outlets of the World Wildlife Federation.

While I know that your organization typically awards scholarships to students planning to major in disciplines directly related to conservation such as environmental studies or zoology, I feel that the public relations side of conservation is just as important as the actual work done on the ground. Whether it is reducing one’s carbon footprint, or saving the manatees, these are efforts that, in order to be successful, must involve the larger public. In fact, the relative success of the environmental movement today is largely due to a massive global public relations campaign that turned environmentalism from something scientific and obscure into something that is both fashionable and accessible to just about anyone. However, that success is being challenged more than ever before--especially here in the US, where an equally strong anti-environmental public relations campaign has taken hold. Therefore, conservationists need to start getting more creative.

I want to be a part of this renewed effort and use my natural abilities as a communicator to push back against the rather formidable forces behind the anti-environmentalist movement. I sincerely hope you will consider supporting this non-traditional avenue towards global sustainability and conservation. I have already been accepted to one of the most prestigious communications undergraduate programs in the country and I plan to minor in environmental studies. In addition, I maintain a relationship with my former supervisors at Save the Manatee and Sea World, who will be invaluable resources for finding employment upon graduation. I thank the committee for thinking outside the box in considering my application.

Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts

DO:Tell a story. Discuss your personal history and why those experiences have led you to apply for these scholarships.
DO:Write an outline. If you’ve already started writing or have a first draft, make an outline based on what you’ve written so far. This will help you see whether your paragraphs flow and connect with one another.
DON'T:Write a generic essay for every application. Adapt your personal statement for each individual scholarship application.
DO:Run spellcheck and grammar check on your computer but also do your own personal check. Spellcheck isn’t perfect and you shouldn't rely on technology to make your essay perfect.

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