There are many opportunities to apply for a nursing scholarship online from commercial sources, from educational institutions and nursing organizations. Practically all scholarships require applicants to write an essay to prove themselves to the scholarship judges; after all scholarship money is effectively free money that does not have to be given back. The majority of scholarships are given based on academic merit and not financial need. It is imperative therefore that an interested nursing student learns how to write an effective and captivating essay.

An essay contest is most often looking to know what inspires you to follow a nursing career and help others realize why they might benefit from the scholarship being offered too. The essay is a way to introduce yourself and your dreams and aspirations. Perhaps there was a certain person in your life who inspired you to apply for nursing training. You can also tell others why the scholarship offered has influenced your choice to train as a nurse. The word count of an essay varies. Some ask for only 500 words while others ask for a much longer piece of work. Some encourage photos to be included in the essay and others ask that they not be included.

The Sharps Compliance Scholarship Essay Program, sponsored by Johnson and Johnson, ask for 1250 to 1500 words. The New Careers in nursing scholarship sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation asks for just 500 words. Check the requirements of each scholarship before considering submitting an essay. Some scholarships will require you to be an American or Canadian citizen enrolled in an accredited nursing course. There are of course scholarships directed towards foreign students who wish to study in the US.

There are some basics to writing an essay that should be learned which apply to writing any essay, whether it is about nursing or not. Essays need a strong structure, for example an introduction, pro argument, anti-argument then a conclusion. If you are talking about what inspires you to nursing you might like to separate the content into different topics relating to why you want to nurse. Or, you could do a linear structure based on your life, starting with early events and finishing with later events. Whichever structure you choose to use, you must remember the essay has to be easy to read and logical.

Check for spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes with not just computer software but ask someone you know who is knowledgeable about the English language to go over your work. This could be a friend, teacher or lecturer. Asking for a second opinion anyway about all aspects of your work is often a good idea, but make sure you know exactly what you want to say. After all, this essay is about you and why you deserve a scholarship.

Gather all the information you need from your life and research before you start writing. Think about all the experiences in your life that are relevant to nursing and the things in your life you are most proud of. Make sure your statements are backed up by facts. There are examples of nursing scholarship essays online to browse through to help you but above all you must be original. A good scholarship essay will make you stand out from the rest of your competitors. Perhaps you can show how your experiences like volunteering or work experience have given you the edge over other applicants and made you more knowledgeable about the field. Perhaps you can communicate a passion for the nursing field that other applicants cannot, or you might show yourself to be a superbly rounded individual through your life experiences and demonstrate leadership qualities. Any awards, prior scholarships and leadership roles should be mentioned. If you have contributed to your local community then detail it down, talking about a club, group or society that you contributed your time to. Any special academic projects or special research you undertook can make you shine out from other competitors. A mature personality developed through perhaps difficult or challenging life experiences is a bonus, so don’t skip over these areas thinking the judges won’t want to hear about them. They ultimately want to know who is the real you and just who they are awarding this money to.

Your personality traits have been given to you at birth and have been developed over time throughout your life. Dedicating a paragraph to why you are suited to be a nurse can be very relevant. There are some general traits that everyone needs to succeed in the nursing career, including compassion, being a good communicator, being detailed, organized and observant. On top of this you must really want to be a nurse and have the persistence to last throughout training. Motivation, creativity, emotional stability, self-reliance, responsibility and volunteerism are other traits you may like to highlight.

Setting the right tone for the essay is important. You do not want to sound pompous or make exaggerated claims. Back your statements up with facts and maintain a confident but realistic tone. Try not to use humour to stand out as winning a scholarship is a serious issue. Use short simple sentences that are not too complex. Adopting a professional tone is a good idea.

Knowing just who is offering the scholarship to you is a very important thing. They want to embody their values through you if you are awarded a scholarship. The organization’s history, ethos or philosophy should be researched before you begin to write the essay. You should know as much about them as possible. Then, you can more effectively assure the judges that you are a possible right candidate for representing the organization through a scholarship. Do not feel that you have to show an advanced knowledge of the medical side to nursing. You are not expected to know this yet as you have not trained yet! It is however useful to show how certain character traits useful to the career have been demonstrated by you in the past. Finally, check the deadline date for essay submissions as you don’t want to miss it.

General Guidelines

Prepare a clear outline for your essay. Nursing scholarship programs are looking for essays that present a clear thought pattern. You can make sure that your scholarship essay is presented in a clear manner by creating a simple outline. Your outline should include three main parts, the introduction, body and conclusion.

The introduction should capture your readers’ attention and introduce the main points you will discuss in your essay. The body of your essay should be broken out into several paragraphs that present the main points of the essay. The main points should be supported with facts, thoughts, ideas, quotes and other material which will hold your readers’ interest. The conclusion of your essay should restate the main idea of your essay. It is also effective to refer to the future in the conclusion of a scholarship essay. You can do this by discussing your future career goals in the nursing field, or by stating a specific aspiration which you hope to achieve during your nursing career.

Use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. It is always important to use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation in writing a scholarship essay. Although the nursing profession may not require you to study grammar and spelling, it is essential that you avoid any simple errors in your essay. Ensuring that your essay is free of mistakes will make you look professional and leave a positive impression on the judges.

Write in response to the scholarship requirements and purpose. Be sure that your essay responds to the scholarship requirements. Some scholarships may require that you intend to practice in a certain field of nursing, that you work in a certain area, or that you attend a certain nursing program or school. Your essay should clearly identify how you meet these requirements.

Do as much research as you can about the scholarship program and the organization that is offering the scholarship. Organizations typically give away scholarships to promote certain interests or purposes. Make sure that you highlight the ways in which your career goals will fit with the scholarship program’s purpose.

Answer any questions thoroughly. If the scholarship program has requested that your essay address certain questions, make sure you answer these questions clearly and thoroughly. This is often an easy way to for judges to weed out applications that don’t fit the award criteria. Your essay must respond to any questions which are asked, or it is likely that it will not be given consideration.

Be original. Your essay will be among hundreds or even thousands of others, all from other nursing students who have the desire and ability to succeed in the nursing profession. If your essay does not stand out, it will be overlooked. To be original, you can either find a unique essay topic, or you can write about an ordinary topic and approach it in an original way. When you are trying to come up with original ideas for your essay, think about your own unique personality and experiences. What is it that made you decide to enter the field of nursing? What life experiences will you contribute to the nursing field? Spend some time thinking about what makes you unique as a nursing student and future nurse. This will help you to think of an original topic or approach.

Be cautious when recycling essays. In your scholarship application process, it is likely that you will be able to use parts and pieces of essays for more than one scholarship application. However, you should not merely write one or two general essays and send them out with every scholarship application. Remember, the judges who choose the scholarship winners are looking for an essay that is original and responds to the purpose and goals of the scholarship program. If you tailor each of your essays to the particular nursing scholarship you are applying for, you will have a much greater likelihood of success.

Get a second (or even third or fourth) opinion. After you have finished writing your essay, be sure to review it with at least one more person. You can ask your friends, family members, teachers, or professors to be your editors. When others review your essay, they can find errors and suggest possible improvements. You should review your essay with at least one other person, but it is even better if you can find three or more people to review your essay.

Follow these guidelines, and you will be able to write an original, professional and effective essay that gives you an edge over the competition.