Baden Sports Scholarship Essay

The lights dimmed. Darkness. The room settled. Silence. Then, the distant whirring of...something. What was it? Suddenly, brightness and sound and images launched me into a magical world. At age 6, my first movie experience made an indelible impression. Now, twelve years later, I embrace the formal steps toward becoming a unique storyteller. A visual artist. A filmmaker.

And that's just one example of...

How to Start a Scholarship Essay

So, look: who doesn't want free money? Scholarships are abundant; so are applicants. Your essay's first few sentences need to distinguish you. They must grab the attention--or imagination--to make your reader want to continue. There isn't one sure-fire way to write an essay, but here are some universal tips to help elevate each of your submissions.

Before Your Write
Get a pen and paper--not your computer, not yet--and brainstorm. Think about the question or topic you'll be addressing and write down everything that comes to mind, no matter how random or unrelated your thoughts may seem. Try to fill a page. Once you have that, sift through them. Rearrange the most relevant ideas into your outline.

As You Write
Make your intro short and sweet. Don't simply restate the question or say how you'll be answering it. Get right into it. Whatever the overall tone of your writing--whether scholarly or casual--you can engage the reader with either a pertinent story or a personal anecdote. As humans, we're more likely to identify with and remember a story, as opposed to just facts and figures.

Is there a quotation that might work as a lead for your essay? Almost certainly, but use caution here: many other essay writers will have the same idea, and they'll likely mine the same books and websites as you to find that quote. Other people's quotes don't reveal anything about you, which is really what the reader wants to know. Who you are should imbue your prose.

Another opening option: you could kick off with a question, just not the one you're trying to answer. If you're responding to "Why Does Recycling Matter?" then you could start with something like:

When was the last time you had to wade through three feet of garbage to cross the street? For me it was when I visited New York City one summer during a trash strike. The smell and filth were overwhelming. Today, though, citizens of Gotham are less likely to encounter that for one reason: recycling.

Be clear in your language: word selection matters. Use a thesaurus sparingly. Better to stick with the words you know--it keeps your writing more natural, more you.

Finally, keep in mind the school or organization sponsoring the scholarship. Let their values guide what you write. This doesn't mean that you should merely say what they want to hear; stick to your ideas, but express them in a way that your reader will appreciate. An essay for an athletic scholarship should read differently than one for a faith-based scholarship. Each of your application essays should be unique. One size will not fit all.

After You Write
These tips may seem obvious because they are. And that's usually where scholarship applicants trip up. So, take heed!

  • Rewrite. First drafts are just that, and they don't win anything. Good writing requires review and revision.
  • Use spellcheck but don't rely on it solely. Read your writing thoroughly and eliminate silly mistakes such as confusing our with are, or their with there. Same rule for an automated grammarcheck--let it be your starting point.
  • Proofread multiple times. Does your writing flow? Is your premise supported by subsequent paragraphs? Have you addressed the topic thoroughly? Is your copy lean and mean? Are you observing the correct style for the application?
  • Get a second opinion. Ask someone you trust for an honest appraisal of your essay before you submit it. If any feedback rings true, rewrite as needed.
  • Follow instructions regarding word count, format, or other formal guidelines. You don't want your essay rejected on technicalities.


Nitro and Other Options
We're more than just your source of the knowledge to pay for college. Our quarterly Nitro College Scholarship will award someone $5,000. All you need to do is provide brief answers to just three questions. (While you're at it, tell your friends. If someone you refer wins, we'll give you $1,000!)

There are four factors we consider in assessing each submission: quality, completeness, creativity of ideas, and creativity of the social media element. So tell us about yourself. It only takes a few moments and who knows? You might just be starting the next semester with a nice Nitro check in hand.

If you're essayed-out or just not that into writing, you can still have a shot at some free dough. Check out these no-essay scholarships.

 

When Will Sports Play a Significant Role in College Admissions?

Even when sports are not the single determining factor in your college admissions, they can still play a significant role in your college acceptance. In order for sports to be significantly weighed on your college applications, a few factors will need to be considered.

 

First, you will still need to be a top athlete, often at the state or even national level. While you may not need to be the single top-ranked player in your sport, you will need to be competitive at the highest levels in order for sports to play a significant role in your college admissions decisions.

 

Next, you need to be interested in attending schools that are actively seeking athletes in your sport. Sometimes, a school is in the position of actively trying to build a stronger football or golf team. If you are a highly competitive and successful football player or golfer, these skills might be considered particularly important to your college admissions.

 

Finally, you will generally need to be at least minimally qualified to attend the school academically. This means that while your test scores and grades don’t necessarily have to be in the top 50% of admitted students, they shouldn’t be ridiculously below the school’s average either. Schools will often be willing to give you some leeway, but they won’t completely bend the rules to accommodate you.

 

When Will Sports Be An Advantage on My College Application?

Even if sports don’t play a significant role on your college applications, they may still work to your advantage. Ultimately, participation in sports will be an advantage similar to any other extracurricular activity on your application.

 

If you participate regularly in sports over a prolonged period of time, you’ll exemplify dedication, passion, and commitment. In addition, you may be able to build up to a leadership role or win other recognition in the form of coach’s awards or all-star team status. Any of these achievements is an advantage on your application the same way that any other extracurricular achievement can be.

 

In addition, sports can act like a hook the same way that other highly specialized skills and talents do. Hooks are essentially niche skills or characteristics that fulfill some type of institutional need during any particular application cycle. For example, if the very successful tennis team is graduating all of their top doubles teams, they may be more likely to look for tennis players during the next application cycle.

 

A hooked applicant isn’t given automatic preference for admissions, but if you are comparable to many other applicants and are otherwise completely qualified for admissions, you may have an edge over other qualified applicants who do not fill one of the institution’s specific needs at that time.

 

Playing sports is unlikely to be the single determining factor that gets you into college, but it’s not completely impossible. If you are a top athlete in your sport, competing at state and national levels, you might be recruited by Division I schools or even offered scholarships. These are the most likely circumstances in which playing sports can get you into college.

 

Of course, sports can play other, less significant roles in your college admissions as well. Often, the weight it is given varies, depending on how successful and competitive you’ve been and the priorities and needs of the specific colleges and universities to which you’re applying.

 

Even if athletics don’t get you into a college, they can still be an important factor in your college admissions. If you are otherwise qualified for a school and also are a highly successful athlete, your sports participation may be a determining factor that sets you apart from others. Finally, even if you are not a particularly standout athlete, if you participate consistently and set yourself apart through leadership or dedication, your participation will still play an advantageous role in your admission, much the same as any other extracurricular.

 

If you’re a high school athlete pondering how your participation in athletics will affect your college admissions, or you’re interested in learning more about how you can present your participation in the most favorable light possible, consider the benefits of the CollegeVine Near Peer Mentorship Program, which provides access to practical advice on topics from college admissions to career aspirations, all from successful college students.

 

For more information about extracurriculars or sports participation in high school or college, check out these posts:

 

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