While applying for scholarships, you may often come across essay prompts or questions like the one in the title. “Why do you deserve this scholarship?”, “Why should you receive a scholarship?” and “Why are you applying for this scholarship?” are common prompts that could seem pretty challenging to answer. But fear not, we’ve got you covered with a few helpful tips to tackle this and similar questions.

A great way to answer any question/prompt you may encounter while applying for scholarships is to gauge what exactly the scholarship committee is looking for from your answer. With prompts like the titular “Why do you deserve this scholarship?” and its variants, here’s what they’re usually aiming to understand:

  • Your strengths/motivations – What drives you to pursue your desired field of study? What sets you apart from other applicants?
  • If you are a “good fit” for the scholarship being offered – What makes you suitable for that particular scholarship? What makes you a suitable candidate for the scholarship being offered? As an example, your answer to the present question should differ when applying for a subject-specific scholarship v/s a scholarship for athletics.
  • Your future goals – What will you do if you are awarded the scholarship? How will you make use of the financial resources it provides you with?

Now that you know the purpose of the question, here’s how to actually answer the question and draft the best essay. 

Before framing any scholarship essays, you should consider the criteria of each scholarship you wish to apply for. There are often varied word-limits – some scholarships may ask for a 500-word essay on why you deserve that scholarship, while others may have a 500-word limit.

Additionally, knowing what makes the ideal candidate can help you write the ideal essay.

Related: What are College Scholarships?

In most other situations, “just be yourself” can prove to be crappy advice; but while applying for scholarships, staying true to yourself can give your essay a unique personality. Most scholarships don’t take into consideration your penmanship (unless specifically included in the criteria). Instead of aiming to impress the scholarship committee with a cumbersome farrago of fancy words, focus on getting your points across in the simplest way possible. 

Self-confidence is a great quality to portray through your essay and can only be displayed once you’re sure about yourself. Picking the right course and the right college can help you gain the required confidence. We can also help you with that in just a few clicks through our free college match tool.

To prove that you are indeed fit to receive the scholarship you’re applying for, you should definitely include personal experiences wherever relevant. For instance, if you’re applying for a military scholarship, be sure to mention your learnings from active duty. If it’s a need-based scholarship, talk about how the scholarship can help you achieve your academic or career goals. 

Thousands of students apply for scholarships every year. Personalization can add life to your application as a whole and help you stand out from the crowd. 

Here are some quick DOs and DON’Ts to keep in mind while writing your scholarship essay or answer.

Treat the application as you would a résumé. Be professional and concise. Don’t be Shakespeare. Aim for simplicity and brevity. 
Research, and then even more research. You will find that the scholarship application process is way easier when you have all the information you need.Don’t overuse words too often. The usual suspects include words like “actually”, “very”, “basically”, etc. Make sure to use suitable alternatives for them wherever possible.
Take occasional breaks between writing. You may often find that returning to your essay after a day or two can bring fresh new ideas.Don’t rush. Submitting your application months before the deadline won’t give you any brownie points. 
Ask others for feedback. Having another person look at your work can help you see your essay from a different perspective.Don’t attempt to garner sympathy/pity. While mentioning the challenges you’ve faced in your academic journey, focus on how you persevered, not on how you may have suffered. 

NOTE: Some scholarships may have the following question/prompt:

“Why do you NEED this scholarship?”

This prompt is NOT the same as “Why do you DESERVE this scholarship?” 
Need-based questions are typically designed for scholarships awarded to students with financial or related needs. They aim to determine applicants’ level of requirement for scholarship funds.

Writing a good “Why you?” essay for your scholarship application is easier than you may think. Remember, this one essay could help take a lot of stress away from your academic journey. 

So make sure to follow the tips listed above and give it your best shot! 

How can you tailor your answer to the specific scholarship you are applying for?

Tailoring your answer to the specific scholarship you are applying for is vital for crafting a valid response to the question, “Why do you deserve a scholarship?” Some common factors to keep in mind include:

– Learning about your scholarship provider
– Reading the essay prompt carefully to understand the specific requirements and expectations for the essay. 
– Using relevant and specific examples 
– Highlighting how you fit with the scholarship criteria
– Showcasing your passion for the field of study or the goals of the scholarship provider

What are some common mistakes to avoid when answering this question?

Some common mistakes that you should avoid include:

– Being too general. Instead, you could use specific examples to illustrate your points
– Focusing only on financial need. Instead, highlight your achievements, goals, and unique qualities
– Copying and pasting from other essays
– Being too negative. Instead, focus on your strengths and accomplishments
– Not following some specific instructions
– Not proofreading. Ask a friend to read it over as well
– Not showing enthusiasm. Remember to highlight that you’re passionate about your field of study and are excited about the scholarship opportunity