Nursing student Marissa Freedman wins New England Regional Black Nurses Association scholarship award for 2019.
Writing a strong essay is one of the best ways to put yourself in the running to land a nursing scholarship.
But what does a strong essay look like? What does it include?
Continue reading to learn how to write a scholarship essay your reader won't be able to put down!
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Essential tips for writing your essay
The dos and don'ts of essay writing
A foolproof essay template you can have for free
Essential tips for writing your nursing essay
1. Fully understand the requirements and criteria
Before you write a single word, you must examine the application requirements and criteria.
First, you need to make sure that you meet all of the minimum requirements to avoid wasting any time.
If you do meet all of the requirements, you should go through the application with a fine tooth comb, making a note of the experience, skills, and qualifications required. Doing so will ensure you know what to focus on in your essay.
2. Create a solid essay outline
Armed with your notes, the next step is creating a working essay outline. Studies show that stories resonate well with humans and tend to be more impactful than facts or statistics alone in writing.
So, when you’re creating your outline, you should mark out a definitive beginning, middle, and end to keep your essay readers engaged and invested throughout. Here’s a basic outline structure for your reference:
- Beginning: Summarize why you’re applying for the scholarship and what you’re going to cover in your essay.
- Middle: Explain exactly why you want to be a nurse, and why you’re the ideal candidate. Cover the skills and experience requirements from the application brief and back them up with real-life examples.
- End: Finish strong by communicating why the institution offering the scholarship is the right fit for you, reiterate your passion for nursing, and finish with an impactful line that sticks in the memory.
3. Study the essays of past scholarship winners
Want to know the most overlooked, yet impactful, piece of advice for writing a great scholarship essay?
Read the essays of past scholarship winners if you can!
Doing so will give you an idea of what your reader is looking for in the essay.
Do they talk about their future nursing plans a lot? Do they share a very specific and personal story that led them to choose this career path?
Identifying the trends in previous winners’ essays will provide you with invaluable insight that you can use to write your own. In addition, pay attention to the following:
- How the essay is formatted
- How the essay is structured
- How the winning applicant communicated their skills and experience
- How the winning applicant approached their writing style in terms of language and sentence structure.
While you want to make sure you write your essay in your own words and your own voice, taking note of the elements other writers have included can help you craft your essay.
4. Be clear and concise
While you probably have a lot to write about, there is (generally) a word limit, typically 500 to 1000 words. This means that you must be extremely clear and concise with the words you choose.
To create the biggest possible impact with the fewest words, you should aim to use the active tense as much as possible. Not only will this make you sound confident but it will also prevent you from going off course and rambling.
Use action words where appropriate and be as ruthless as possible with your edits, chopping out any words, information or phrases that seem like fluff and filler words.
"One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple."—Jack Kerouac
5. Describe why you want to become a nurse
In the middle—or heart—of your essay, you will need to explain precisely why you want to become a nurse.
To get this essential element of your nursing scholarship essay just right, you will need to:
- Dig deep and consider your personal motivations for becoming a nurse
- Communicate which aspects of the job or vocation appeal to you most
- State the professional & personal challenges you want to overcome
- Offer a brief insight into your ultimate aims, goals or dreams as a nurse
Condensing this level of personal detail and passion into a paragraph or two is no easy feat, but by working through the above four exercises and leaving yourself enough time to create, arrange, and edit, you can do it.
Looking for scholarship examples online for inspiration is a good idea, but remember, this is about you and your motivations. If you simply copy & paste a template from the web, you will fail to make an impact. Don’t do it.
6. Share your plans for the future
Following on from your ‘why I want to become a nurse statement’, you should offer a deeper insight into your plans for the future.
Sharing your future plans and aspirations will showcase your passion as well as your long term commitment—so including this information in your nursing scholarship essay is essential.
Do you want to become head of a hospital department? Do you want to ultimately specialize in a particular area of nursing? Do you want to serve your local area and create community-driven nursing initiatives? Perhaps you want to make your mark in the education sector?
Only you know what your ultimate aspirations are, but the point is—make sure you include them in your essay.
7. Have a friend proofread your essay
Last but certainly not least in our nursing essay writing tips is proofreading.
A fresh set of eyes is always helpful when it comes to proofreading your essay, because you want it to be near perfect from start to finish. Having a trusted friend or mentor proofread your essay provides an opportunity to get feedback on your content and any potential errors or typos you may have missed.
Nursing scholarships essays: the dos and don’ts
To summarize our essential nursing scholarship essay writing tips, here some definitive dos and don’ts for your reference:
- Check the requirements and brief before you start writing.
- Make logical notes and create a working outline.
- Be clear, concise, and confident.
- Explain why you want to become a nurse and share your future aspirations.
- Carefully proof and edit your work. Have a trusted friend proofread your essay for you.
- Start writing until you’ve taken the time to absorb every piece of relevant information.
- Rush the process and submit your application without editing, redrafting and proofing.
- Forget that the essay is about your specific skills and experience. Don’t be too generic.
- Copy or plagiarize word for word. Using examples for inspiration is fine, copying is not.
A Basic template for nursing scholarship essays
For your guidance and inspiration, here’s a basic nursing scholarship essay template/outline to follow:
Summarize your intent for your application and what attracts you to the nursing profession.
Talk about your existing skills and experience based on the application brief, backing up your statements with an example or two.
Talk about activities or events you’ve participated in as well as practical skills that make you an excellent candidate. Again, use examples here.
Move onto your ‘why I want to become a nurse’ statement, followed by an insight into your career-based goals, aims, and aspirations.
State why you have the personal attributes to be a successful candidate, explain why you make an excellent fit for this particular scholarship and end with an impactful, emotive line that showcases your passion for nursing.
Best of luck…
Follow these guidelines and you’ll no doubt write an amazing essay that lands you the perfect nursing scholarship. If you need some more tips, feel free to reach out to our admission team at Labouré College.
We wish you the very best of luck and if you’re looking for more inspiration, read all about the 30 types of nurses employers are hiring right now.