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Lynne Curry, '93

Characteristics of Successful Essays

  • Deeply personal. Show how defining experiences influenced your development. Thus, what is important is your reflections, growth, not the experience itself. Reveal experiences especially traumatic or rewarding; how did you learn from them?
  • Link personal experience, academic knowledge, plans for the future. In other words, you reflected on a personal experience from a conceptual perspective, and look forward to dealing with similar problems in from a position of leadership.
  • Essays must be interesting, make you sound interesting enough to merit an interview.
  • Essays reveal doubts, contradictions, ambiguities; you don't have all the answers, but appreciate the complexity of a problem.
  • Essays suggest you understand the broader context of yourself and your experiences.
  • You appreciate other persons, circumstances, opportunities that contributed to your successes.
  • Demonstrate values you consider important by referring to another you admire, wish to emulate.


  • Half academic, half from other experiences, including individuals in the past that had a special impact on you.
  • Recommendation s should be brief, to the point, concrete. Demonstrate qualities with specific concrete examples.
  • Recommendations as a package should demonstrate diverse talents, achievements.

Search Scholarships and Awards

In addition to examining the grants listed in our database, please check out the links to more exhaustive lists of funding. Also be sure to read our Finding Funding page as a guide. Most importantly, talk with your professors for continual advisement and support. They will by far be your most insightful and helpful resources throughout the entire resource process. Furthermore, our office own several reference books listing thousands of grants for your reading pleasure...come on in and check them out.

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