What's your instructional text for scholarship essay questions?

We're making some revisions to our scholarship applications and wondered if anyone would be willing to share their instructional text for essay questions. Specifically, instructions about grammar, punctuation, proofreading, answering questions thoroughly, formatting in paragraphs, etc. No matter what instructions we give, students don't seem to follow our directions. We'd love to see samples from others. Thanks!



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    JackieLawJackieLaw Posts: 10 ✭✭
    First Compass Anniversary Combo Breaker CSuite U.S.A.

    I came to compass today looking for something else entirely, but this was helpful to me for two reasons.

    1. "No matter what instructions we give, students don't seem to follow our directions" Thank you @KristinAspin you made me smile :)
    2. GREAT reminder of why we are really looking to accomplish @TomWickersham
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    JoAnnaDardaJoAnnaDarda Posts: 24 ✭✭✭
    5 Up Votes 5 Likes First Compass Anniversary First Comment

    This is a great question, and I would love to see other organizations' scholarship essay instructions. We currently don't provide any specific instructions regarding grammar, punctuation, etc., but we might benefit from doing so! We've noticed a trend in the last few years of essays being less-than-impactful overall. One of our teammates attributes this to the fact that they way writing is taught has changed a lot over the years. Our scholarship essays the last few years seem to be mostly factual summaries of students' experience, and our scholarship committee members like to see essays that provide more narrative and personal expression. I'm curious to hear if others have noticed this trend in their organizations.

    Here are our scholarship essay prompts/instructions from our universal scholarship application:

    College & Career Goals*

    In 250 words or less, please describe your college and career goals and plans for the future. How do you plan to achieve these goals and plans? Discuss why you made these choices.

    Activity Essay*

    In 500 words or less, please elaborate on an important activity, community service, internship or work experience. How has this experience prepared you for life after high school?

    Additional Information

    Is there any additional information that you would like to share with the scholarship committee? This section is where you can wrap up your application and provide additional support for why you should receive a scholarship.

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    JackieLawJackieLaw Posts: 10 ✭✭
    First Compass Anniversary Combo Breaker CSuite U.S.A.

    We have a wide range of scholarships, so the essay prompts vary greatly - and this was our first year using the universal application.

    Here are a couple of examples: " In the space below, write an essay of at least 500 word about the significance of Black Point in your life. The essay is meant to be blind; therefore, please do not use your own or any other names or other identifying information. The essay must be your original work." <-- committee is considering a change before next year's scholarships go live

    "Discuss your interest in obtaining a medical degree and your future goals. If applicable, discuss your interest in primary care, women's health and/or your desire to practice in southeastern Connecticut."

    "Describe the way or ways is your educational experience unique, such as an unconventional course of studies or attendance at an educational institution that is unusual among your peers."

    "Describe your hometown and how you are a product of that environment; and, if you had the power to change one thing your community or the world, what would you change and why?"

    "Describe your interest in pursuing studies/a career in international relations or human rights. "

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    LeeONeilLeeONeil Posts: 34 ✭✭✭
    5 Up Votes First Comment First Compass Anniversary 5 Likes

    Several of our programs use unique essay/personal statement prompts, but this is the general instruction we give to all applicants:

    Things to think about when you create your essay or personal statement:

    1. You will want to put your best self forward, so be sure your essay is well-organized and your spelling and grammar are correct.
    2. Make sure you have answered the question.
    3. Be original. And of course, DO NOT plagiarize. 

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