This can be tough, since just about every scholarship essay you’ll ever write is asking you to trumpet all the qualities that make you deserving of free money. But think about it – you’ve known lots of people who were very, very good at certain things. Some you hated, and some you admired – probably because of how they balanced pride with humility. We can find some easy examples in the world of sports.
While Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens has a lot of fans in Dallas, he’s easily the most reviled player in the NFL by players and fans alike. Is it because he’s great, and everyone is just jealous of his greatness? No – he’s definitely great, but so was Jerry Rice, who was beloved and respected by nearly everyone. The difference is this: Owens does everything he can to embarrass his opponents while he’s dominating them. But Rice, who understands his own greatness just as well as Owens understands his, respects his opponents and does not “rub it in.” It isn’t that Rice doesn’t know how good he is, and it isn’t that he’s not proud — he just balances that pride with humility.
Using another example, when did you last see Mia Hamm taunt a goalie after scoring? Never. She’s the most prolific scorer in the history of women’s soccer and never once has let her pride trump the fact that she was just happy to be there. In your essay, you’ve got a much better chance at winning if you temper your pride in your achievements with some humility. Bragging turns off more people than it impresses.