Posts Tagged ‘money’

How to write a scholarship essay

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

As one of the judges for the RMHC/HACER national scholarship I have the opportunity to read a lot of student essays. Considering that we are talking about 4 scholarships of a $100,000 each, you would expect students to put their best efforts into writing a fantastic essay. Well, unfortunately this is not always the case and students who would be perfect to win this huge award miss out on the opportunity.

I’m not going to focus here on what you need to do during high school to actually qualify for a scholarship, (I’ve written plenty about that in other posts) but on how to write your essay once you have what it takes.

  • Consider each scholarship application separately from others so you can understand what the goal of the scholarship is. Does it focus on a specific area of study? Does it focus on leadership skills? Or on community involvement? Once you identify what aspect the scholarship donors wish to reward, you’ll be better able to choose the topic and focus of your essay.
  • Think about a topic that corresponds to what the scholarship is interested in. In the RMHC/HACER case, the emphasis is on community involvement, so in your essay you should talk about how you have been involved in your community and how you plan to continue having an impact in the future.
  • Write the essay and re-write it until it sounds good to you. It should be a compelling story about you that lets readers know what kind of person you are, where you want to go in life, what kind of impact others had on you, what kind of leader you will be, how you have overcame adversity, etc. Judges don’t want to read “a list” of things you’ve accomplished but how those things define you as a person; they don’t want to read a sad story but how that sad story has made you stronger or has helped you make a certain decision for the future. They don’t want to read your ramblings about your heritage but how that heritage has helped you commit to do something for your community in the future.
  • Ask your English teacher, or an English speaker who is a professional to review your essay and give you feedback. Ask them to help you with your grammar and spelling. It is inadmissible that having time to have someone review an essay that could help you get money for college, you don’t so.
  • Re-write your essay until is perfect. Make sure that if you are using this essay again for another scholarship application, you go through step one again: carefully read the requirements for that award so that you adapt the essay to the program.

    These simple steps should substantially increase your chances of getting lots of money for school!

  • Money and Children

    Friday, March 28th, 2008


      I was at CS 92 in the Bronx, NY, today taping a segment for Bloomberg TV about children and money.

      Ms. Cunningham’s fourth grade class of eighteen English learners (in the picture with Ms. Ana Celia Delgado, Assistant Principal), had been preparing all week for this event. They had learned about credit cards, checking accounts, savings accounts, and making change.

        I had them at the library for half an hour where I asked them about the value of money and what they did with what they received as gifts and allowances. It surprised me to hear that a few of them were saving to go to college!! Others were incredibly generous: they were saving to help their parents in case of an emergency.

        During the past week they had also conducted some interesting research: they asked third, fourth and fifth graders around the school a few questions: 1) who received an allowance, 2) who saved, 3) who spent it, and 4) who shared it.

          Their discovery may be something for the adults in the family to pay attention to: the younger ones are saving at a much higher rate than the older kids who seem to already be caught in our consumerist society. Given the current economic situation of this country where savings levels per capita are close to 0, wouldn’t it be a great time to start teaching our kids about the value of money early on?

            The students in CS 92 have surely learned very important lessons about saving money this week, and I hope you can catch them on TV soon.