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Nasittuq Scholarship Essay

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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Sample Essays

Related Content:

Selected National Scholarships by Category

Leadership, Academics and Service (School and Community)

Canadian Association of Principals Leadership Award –one student per school, early March
Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Scholarship Program
Canadian Merit Scholarships – Loran Awards, mid-October
Canadian Sanitation Supply Association Scholarship Program – 5 general, 1 medical 1 education, early June
Loran Scholar –character, service, leadership, October
Miller Thompson Foundation, early March
Milton Chamber of Commerce Award – one per school includes business involvement, end of June
RBC Leading Change Scholarships, application available November on-line
Schulich Leader – one nomination per school, Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics, early February
TD Canada Trust Scholarship for Community Leadership, early December
Top 20 under 20, mid-January

Volunteerism, Leadership and Citizenship

Forester’s Scholarships, late February
Loblaw’s Scholarships – end of April
Future Aces Foundation – H.H. Carnegie Scholarships, early January
Horatio Alger Ontario Scholarship Program, financial need and perseverance, applications available in September for the next school year
Lincoln M. Alexander Award – eliminating racial discrimination, end of May
Michael Mutcheson Memorial Scholarship Foundation – success in sports, role-model, sense of humour, enthusiasm, mid-April
R.A.Y. Award, mid-March, see scholarship binder in Student Services
Stacey Levitt Memorial Award – nobility, courage, inclusiveness, living life to the fullest and helping others, end of February
Terry Fox Humanitarian Awards Program, early February
TD Canada Trust Scholarships For Community Leadership – Leadership and making a difference in the community, Spring
W.A.V.E. Youth Awards, early March
Harmony Scholarship – Diversity promotion focus, end of July
Young Scholar – Early October
Environmental Commitment Toyota Earth Day Scholarship Program, mid-February

Area of Study Based

Andrew Rok Foundation Scholarship – IT oriented student, end of March
Canadian Hospitality Foundation Scholarship, mid-May
Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Scholarship Program
Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship, end of June
Canadian Sanitation Supply Association Scholarship, Medical and Education, early June
Canadian War Museum Colonel Douglas H. Gunter History Award, early April
EFC Scholarship Foundation – Electrical, Electronics, Industrial Distribution or Business Administration, Early July
Orville Erickson Memorial Scholarship – Conservation, mid-May
Financial Management Institute of Canada – Accounting, Finance or Business related program, end of March
Gurupan and Winsor Scholarship Awards – Commerce/Finance/Business, parents did not attend post-secondary in Canada, end of April
Holmes Foundation Scholarship – Residential construction program at university or college, mid-June
Milton Chamber of Commerce Apprenticeship Scholarship – student enrolled in OYAP program, end of June
Milton Seniors Activity Centre – Health care, Gerontology, Social work, see Scholarship binder in Student Services, beginning of May
Monsanto Canada Scholarship – Agriculture, mid-May
Mon Sheong Foundation Silver Jubilee Awards of Excellence, early June
Ontario Hostelry Institute College Entrance Award – Culinary, Food and Beverage, Hotel, Hospitality, Tourism, Resort, end of April
Professional Engineers of Ontario, Oakville Chapter Scholarship – enrolled in accredited Ontario university Engineering Program for the following school year
RCGA Foundation Scholarship – Golf, end of June
Richard Murray Memorial Bursary, future power line technician
Rosemary Makhan Scholarship – for students pursuing a career in textile, fibre arts or textile design, see Scholarship Binder in Student Services, end of June
Schulich Leader – leadership, academic excellence, and/or financial need, Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics, 1 nomination per school, beginning of February
Transportation Association of Canada Entrance Scholarship, transportation related program at each of 10 selected institutions
McMaster University Reginald Bedford Piano Scholarship, deadline mid-May

Employment or Membership Based

Allan Simpson Educational Fund Awards, for full orphans, beginning of March
Burger King Scholars, early January
Cal Callahan Memorial bursary – members of Pipeline Industry Association, end of October
Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers National Scholarship Program, end of May
CIBC Youthvision Scholarship Program – member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, selected in grade10
Ken Dryden Scholarship – for students in care of the welfare system, early March
Future Shop Future Leaders Scholarships – for current and former members of Girl Guides and Boy Scouts Canada, early January
Girl Guides of Canada, early April
HPD Scholarship – For children of OPSEU members entering hospital related professions, beginning of September
Johnson Scholarship Program – for children or grandchildren of Johnson Insurance employees or clients of Johnson Insurance, early May
Kin Canada Bursaries – families of Kinsmen Club members, early February
Leonard Foundation Financial Assistance – sons/daughters of clergy, teachers, military or engineers, early March
McDonald’s Employee Scholarships – student is employee, application from restaurant managers
National Union of Public and General Employees Scholarship – child or foster child of NUPGE member, separate awards for aboriginal, visible minority, disabled, www.nupge.ca
Navy League Scholarships – for serving and former sea cadets, end of July
Ontario Hockey Federation Bursary Program – 3 years in OHF, late April
Ontario Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Dr. Albert Rose Bursary – resident of public housing, early July
OTIP Bursary – to families insured by OTIP, www.otip.ca
Pace Savings and Credit Union Bursary, late June
Project Hero – child of Canadian military killed in service, contact post-secondary institution you will be attending
Public Service Alliance – child of member, late June
RBC Royal Bank Scholarships, www.scholarships.rbc.com
Retail As A Career Scholarships – Pursuing a retail, business or marketing-related program in college or university,currently working part-time or full-time within the retail industry, end of March
Scouts Canada Scholarships, beginning of April
St. John Ambulance Bursary Program – volunteer of instructor usually going into a nursing program, mid-March
Storwell Bursary for Foster Children, mid-September
UFCW – Beggs/Dowling/Mathieu Scholarships dependant or member of UFCW, end of September
Wal-Mart Canada Community Scholarship Program – employees or sons and daughters of employees, end of May


Canadian Federation of University Women, Milton and District’s Awards of Merit – university or college, end of March
CN Diversity Scholarship – females, http://jobs.cn.ca/en/scholarship_diversity.sn
Soroptimist’s Women’s Opportunity Award, Violet Richardson Award, beginning of December
Wellington-Halton District Women’s Institute Scholarship – trade or college program, end of March
Dr. Ethel Chapman Scholarship – University bound, March 31st


Aamsa – Aboriginal Multi-media Society First Nations Education Steering Committee – various links
Aboriginal Bursaries – more than 600 available, see handbook in Student Services
Alliance of Jamaican Alumni – graduating students of Jamaican descent, early June
Basilicata Scholarship – Basilicata ties, beginning of September
BBPA National Scholarships – African Canadian student, beginning of June
CN Diversity Scholarships – Aboriginal, http://jobs.cn.ca/en/scholarship_diversity.sn
Federation of Portuguese Canadians – early January
First Nations Education Steering Committee – various links
HRCCA Scholarship Award Program – Chinese culture promotion, early April
Husky Oil Award for Native People, end of May
Icelandic Canadian Club, http://www.icct.info/scholarship
Nasittuq Corporation Aboriginal Student Scholarship Program, mid-August
National Aboriginal Awards – Indspire, June 1
Ontario Power, John Wesley Beaver Award – Aboriginal entering Engineering, Trades, Technology, Business, Environmental Studies or disciplines relevant to OPG’s business, beginning of May
RBC Aboriginal Student Awards Program, end of February
Sons of Norway, www.sofn.com
French Language – Canadian Official Language Fellowship – post-secondary course load delivered 80%+ French language. Call 807-343-7397 for additional information
Army, Navy, Canadian Armed Forces Plans – for those wanting a career in the armed forces. www.recruiting.dnd.ca


Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians Scholarship, end of March
AUCC Scholarship for Students with Disabilities – Mattison Endowment Fund, early May
Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, beginning of April
Canadian Paraplegic Association Scholarships, 613-723-1913
CCFC AbbVie IBD Scholarship Program – For students living with Crohn’s or Colitis, http://www.crohnsandcolitis.ca , end of June
CNIB Scholarships and Bursaries, numerous scholarships, end of May
1800 Wheelchair.ca – http://www.1800wheelchair.ca/scholarship/ , beginning of January
Disability Awards, various, http://disabilityawards.ca/
Easter Seals Scholarships – numerous for students with physical disabilities, most due early May
Lilly-MDAO Moving Lives Forward Scholarship – based on suffering mood disorders, end of April
Maurice Izzard Memorial Award – student with physical disability to any post-secondary education, through Easter Seals Ontario
Neads National Student Awards Program – based on having permanent disability, mid-March

Faith Based

Fireside Catholic Publishing Essay Scholarship – one person nominated by the Religion Department, early December
Knights of Columbus Bursary – financial need and church and community involvement, relationship to Knights of Columbus personally, parent/guardian connection, early December


Creative Writing – Sulewski/Curran Creative Writing Award, early May, see Ms. Scime for more details

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