Make sure your name is on the essay.

Go ahead and laugh, but our committees tell us that about 1 out of every 20-25 essays that we receive has no name on it. And some of them are pretty darn good essays. In fact, I know of at least two times in which committees that I actually served on would’ve selected no-name essays as winners; obviously, however, we couldn’t, since we had no idea who wrote them. Was it you? Probably not, but maybe. You never know.

Even if your essay belongs in the Scholarship Essay Hall of Fame (there should be one of these, shouldn’t there? We should start one.), no committee will put any work into tracking down the writer, retracing the envelopes to look for a return address, or anything like that. Your prize-winning words will just get tossed aside and the runner-up will get the money that should’ve been yours! Ouch! So heed the warning of your third-grade teacher: if your paper has no name, it’ll end up in “File 13” – the trash.

4 thoughts on “Make sure your name is on the essay.”

  1. Hi Josh
    I have a couple of questions for you today.
    When sending an essay through a web site is it redundant to put your name on the essay when you have filled in the contact information?
    When a site asks for you to respond to a question and does not place limits, high or low, is there a safe paragraph and sentence count? I had been told by a professor, for her, when writing an essay to use the five-five rule. The five-five rule translation is five paragraphs and five sentences in each paragraph when writing an essay. The example I am thinking of is for the scholarship in your grandfather’s name.
    Irish Girl

  2. Hi Josh
    I am still awaiting your reply to my question above, maybe I missed the information and if this is the case could you please re-direct me to the place I need be. I did read your write up on if a word count is specified but some sites are not specific on the word count. Am I confused about essay and extended paragraphs?
    Irish Girl

  3. Hi, Irish Girl — sorry for the delay there. I don’t think there is a magic safe number for paragraph and sentence count. The five-five rule you mention is not something I can endorse — that sounds pretty arbitrary to me. I do have an answer, though — cover the subject thoroughly, and then be done. I had a politically incorrect journalism professor in undergrad school who summed it up like this (in private, and certainly not in front of any female students): A good article, he said, “should be just like a lady’s skirt — long enough to cover everything but short enough to make it interesting.” You get the point.

    Regarding the name: well, if the app and the essay are separate, and could conceivably be separated at any point during the judging process, then yes, I’d definitely put my name on it anyway.

    Does that help? If I’ve left anything out, let me know. Thanks for your comments and questions!

  4. Hello Josh
    It is really good to know that someone out there is helping us out to get scholarships. Thank you for your kind heart.
    Well my question is what are the criterias that should be in my essay?
    Can I mention my family hardships. For example, finacial problems and single parent issues?
    How detail should be my essay?
    Does my citizenship, religion and race will affect my application?
    I really hope Busy Josh would feel free to reply because it will be very helpful not only for me but many out there. Thank you.

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