Career > College & University > Scholarship Essay Sample – How to Get Money for College

Scholarship Essay Sample – How to Get Money for College

How do you get a scholarship for college or university? By writing an excellent personal essay! This sample of an essay for a scholarship application is what I wrote for the Abbott IBD Scholarship, offered in part by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada.

The Abbott IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease) Scholarship Committee gave this criteria for writing a one-page essay: “Write a one (1) page essay outlining how you demonstrate academic aspiration and sustain an optimal level of wellness allowing you to excel to reach your personal and academic goals and inspire those around you to do the same in the face of their challenges. You may want to incorporate why you strive for academic success, how you sustain an optimal level of wellness, your personal and academic goals, how you inspire others through community and school involvement.”

When I didn’t get the scholarship, I wrote 10 Highest Paying Jobs for College Students.

If you want to apply for a scholarship for college or university but don’t know what you’re eligible for, read Scholarship Handbook – College Board Scholarship Handbook. It’ll help you figure out what scholarships to apply for, how to write the essays, who to ask for academic and professional references, and how to get a scholarship.

You may also want to read Should You Go to Grad School for a Master of Social Work (MSW)?

Scholarship Essay Sample – How to Get a Bursary for College

I’m applying for this scholarship because I need money to pay for my Master of Social Work at UBC! I don’t think I’ll be working during this two year program, and thus need financial support.

If you’re doing a field placement while you’re in university (like I am), check out my Sample Field Placement Request. It’ll help you get the best practicum or internship you can.

And, here’s my scholarship essay…

IBD Scholarship Essay

Laurie Kienlen

Two weeks after I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, I went toIsraelfor a month. I wanted to meet my father and his family for the first time. My gastroenterologist advised me not to go, as we didn’t know how fast the medication would put me into remission or how long remission would last. But I figured it’d be more exciting to die on an adventure in Israel than at home! One of my coworkers had colitis and colon cancer, and I thought I’d been given the kiss of death.

My diagnosis was actually the kiss of life. It pushed me to make my life more meaningful and positively impact the lives of others. I earned my Education degree at the U of A (my first degree is a BA in Psych). I taught Language Arts and Journalism for three years at a school inAfrica. And I learned that while living with IBD isn’t fun, it’s not a death sentence.

How I Inspire Others – and Stay Healthy and Motivated

I created a series of “Quips and Tips” websites, to encourage readers to live meaningful, fulfilling lives. I’m not a traditional blogger; I write tips-based articles to answer my readers’ questions. One of my websites is Quips and Tips for Couples Coping With Infertility, which I created when my husband and I discovered he has azoospermia. My most popular blog is Quips and Tips for Love and Relationships; my favourite is Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals.

Scholarship Essay SampleI also work full-time as a Mentoring Coordinator with Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, and I may work part-time when I’m in grad school. With this scholarship, I won’t have to work as many hours, which will help me stay healthy and productive.

My colitis is often in remission, because of my lifestyle. I strive to get eight hours’ of sleep a night, do yoga or Pilates five times a week, walk my dog at least twice a day, eat nutritious fresh foods, and stay connected spiritually. When I feel the colitis about to flare, I take enemas. Mostly I can control it by living healthy, but I’m very, very grateful for the medication.

Why I Need This Scholarship

This scholarship will reduce my financial worries so I can focus on grad school. The MSW program at UBC is excellent, but demanding. For my thesis, I plan to research the most effective ways for kids in foster care to overcome internalized oppression – I actually lived in three different foster homes as a child.

I’ve always gravitated towards low-paying but rewarding jobs, and will struggle to pay for tuition and books. My decision to go back to school was not made lightly, especially since I won’t be earning much after I graduate. My long-term goal is to become a social worker in a hospital or clinic – I want to help patients cope with diagnoses of chronic, terminal illnesses.

My diagnosis and flare-ups have never stopped me from living an adventurous life and inspiring others. I will keep pursuing my dreams – which now include grad school and a scholarship!

Thank you for this opportunity, and for encouraging students with Irritable Bowel Disease.

How the Scholarship Committee Evaluates Applications

The essay is scored on the following criteria:

  • Degree of Empowerment
  • Personal Impact/Example to Others
  • Level of Personal Achievement
  • Originality and Creativity
  • Spelling, Grammar, and Ease of Read
  • Economic Need

The rating scale is 1 to 10, with 10 being excellent.

To learn more about choosing a career path, read How to Find a Career – Tips for Introverts.


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2 thoughts on “Scholarship Essay Sample – How to Get Money for College”

  1. Hello Kanchan,

    Yes, I have several tips for getting into the Foundation MSW program at UBC (the University of British Columbia)! I share them here:

    5 Secrets for Getting Into Grad School – Master or PhD Programs

    I do think it’s a tough program to get into, so you’ll have to come back here and I’ll celebrate with you when you get your acceptance email! Try not to let your nervousness affect you, for your path is already laid out. The best is coming to you….and all you need to do is open your arms and receive it.

    If you do your best on your application, then your future will unfold the way it’s meant to.

    As I mention in the article about getting into graduate school (the Master of Social Work program at UBC, specifically), the best thing you can do is get into contact with Marjorie Paulkner. I don’t know if she’s still the Admissions Administrative Officer, but she helped me SO much when I was applying for the MSW program! Of course, she couldn’t guaranteed that I’d get into UBC, but she was so helpful and encouraging. Contact the Social Work School at UBC, and get in touch with the Admissions person. She (or he) is the best person to get advice and tips from.

    You may also find this article helpful:

    10 Ways to Know What to Do With Your Life

    Prepare for the worst, expect the best, and learn how to flow with whatever comes your way!


  2. HI Laurie:
    I am applying to Foundation MSW to UBC. I was wondering if you could kindly suggest me on how to make my application strong. I have heard the school prefers students who have graduated from UBC and it is a tough program to get into. I am also working on my two pre requisites. I am really nervous. if you have any insights, kindly let me know. I live in surrey