SCPS Scholarships: Tips for Success

What is the most important piece in a scholarship application? Your transcript and GPA say a lot about you as a student. Your background and job history say a lot about you as a professional. But everyone is more than just who they are at work and, who they are at school.

If you have written a Statement of Purpose for any of the SCPS scholarship applications, you hopefully realize that an essay is your chance to express yourself as an individual. Even when it’s only 300-350 words, the Statement of Purpose is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and make your unique case as the most deserving candidate for financial assistance. When you make that case as clearly as possible, your odds in the applicant pool only get better.

When I started as the BA in Management Program Manager in July, scholarships took up a lot of my time. And with good reason—the fall deadline for applications was two weeks away. That time wasn’t just spent reading applications however; there was also a push to get as many applications as possible by reminding students of the deadline by any means possible. So before I suggest some ways to write as powerful a Statement of Purpose as possible, let me remind everyone that the spring deadline is right around the corner on December 1. But that’s plenty of time to write a brilliant Statement of Purpose—if you keep these tips in mind:

Know what you’re writing for. All the scholarships offered to SCPS students have brief summaries of their eligibility criteria, found on the school’s website. This includes a brief paragraph on what exactly a “Statement of Purpose” is, and what’s expected. This is the first part of the roadmap to a strong essay.

Remember the “purpose.” Reading that brief paragraph is only the start. This is a chance to express yourself, to say why you’re at Loyola and why you deserve financial assistance. That’s your purpose and the heart of your entire application. An essay like that is going to take some thought. And that leads me to…

Think about the future. You know why you are at Loyola and what you want to get out of completing your degree. Once you’ve painted a picture of why you’re in school, use that to explain the kind of impact completing your degree is going to have on your goals and why Loyola should want to make someone like you an alum. Really drive home the impact finishing your degree is going to have.

Write to your audience. Remember who is going to be reading your Statement of Purpose. They might not know anything about you, except for what you have on paper. This is a chance to make as positive an impression as possible. You’ve already painted that picture—now make sure everyone can see it.

And then, do it again. Those first four points will hopefully help you get started on your own statement. But when you do, it’s a good idea to write more than one draft, and to take a day or two between revisions. Start early, and give someone else a chance to read it if you have time. It never hurts to have a second pair of eyes on your essay.

Finally, say thank you. A formal thank you is required when a scholarship is awarded. However, if you are a previous scholarship recipient, you may want to add a “thank you” in your Statement of Purpose as a reminder to your audience that you’ve already passed scrutiny once, and are grateful for the support you’ve already earned. And with your great Statement of Purpose, that’s no surprise.