Don’t write or ask the committee or granting institution for advice on how to write your essay.

About once a day, someone calls our office asking about our scholarships. “What do you mean by this question?” they ask. “How should I write this? What are you looking for me to say here?”

The answer is always the same: Write it however you like. The company or institution giving the scholarship is going to lay down some guidelines for you in the instructions, but beyond that, it’s up to you. Often, there will be some intentional vagueness or, as we prefer to say, “room for interpretation” in those instructions. That’s because we want to see how you interpret the question and what road you take to answer it. We can’t tell you exactly what to write – it’s your job to come up with that on your own.

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