Scholarship and Essay Tips

Here are some tips our reviewers have come up with to help you with your scholarship applications and essays. If you would like to have someone look over your scholarship applications and provide you feedback contact the BGSU Honors Recruiter, Katrina Heilmeier, and she would be happy to help you hone your scholarship applications!  

View Honors College and BGSU Scholarships here.

Tips for Honors application

  • Tell a Story with your application.  The Honors College Application, as well as any scholarship applications should tell a story about you that include your passions, interests, and personality.  Find ways to show your story through your activities, your essays, and the classes you have chosen to take.
  • Take your time on the application.  I can easily tell who has rushed in an application, and who has taken time and thought about prompts.
  • Try to find ways to show us your true self – don’t just say what you think we want to hear
  •  Find a unique perspective in your essay
  • Let us know what you are passionate about – what makes you want to get up in the morning?  Let us know about it even if it doesn’t fit into a specific box.
  • Explain any struggles that might be showing on your application.  We want to know the full story so we can make an informed decision.
  • Develop your ideas for the main essay.  A single-paragraph essay simply is not a sufficient response to the prompt that we have given you.

Scholarship Tips

  • Tell a Story with your application.  Scholarship applications should tell a story about you that include your passions, interests, and personality.  Find ways to show your story through your activities, your essays, and the classes you have chosen to take.
  •  Take your time on the application.  We can easily tell who has rushed in an application, and who has taken time and thought about prompts.
  •  Try to find ways to show us your true self – don’t just say what you think we want to hear.
  •  Find a unique perspective when approaching essays.
  • Let us know what you are passionate about – what makes you want to get up in the morning?  Let us know about it even if it doesn’t fit into a specific box.
  •  Explain any struggles that might be showing on your application.  We want to know the full story so we can make an informed decision.
  • Tip: apply early! Applying early for scholarships will give reviewers time to really look over your application and get to know you through your application.
  • Look at scholarships as a job rather than an activity; it pays well!  For example, if you spend 5 hours on a scholarship application, and get a $2,000 scholarship, that turns out to be $400 an hour!
  • Start your search early, you would hate to miss a deadline!  For example, we have over 30 full tuition scholarships we award through the Alumni Laureate Scholarship program and the Presidential Scholars Award competition.  To be eligible for these awards, you need to apply to BGSU and the Honors College by December 9rd at 11:59pm.
  • Apply for scholarships at ALL SCHOOLS you are considering.  You don’t have to accept any scholarships you win, and it doesn’t mean you are committing to the school to go through the scholarship process.
  • Apply to scholarships with essays.  Less people will take the time to fill them out, which means you have a higher probability to win.
  • Really think about who YOU are, and why you want the scholarship.  Try your best to show authenticity and your unique personality through the application.
  • Make sure you are explain everything in your scholarship application.  Don’t use abbreviations, and explain your involvement.  For example, don’t use S.A.D.D., use Students Against Destructive Decisions and explain that you were on the executive board which helped plan an entire school demonstration.
  •  The things you are most passionate about, put on the top of your application.  If you hide them within other activities you don’t invest much time in, it all gets lost to reviewers.

Essay Tips

Strong Honors applications are reflective and take time.  With that in mind, we would like to provide you with the essay prompts you will see in the application. Essays are a reflection of your dedication, effort, attention to detail, and commitment to the Honors College. In making this decision, reviewers will focus primarily on your critical thinking skills, your academic writing abilities, and the content of your essay.  Some specific pieces of advice that we would like you to keep in mind when writing prompts are:

  • Do not be afraid to take a risk in terms of content or form.  We are not looking for traditional, five-paragraph essays, or any specific answer.  Our hope is that the essay (again, both in form and in content) will give us insight into who you are as a person, as a scholar, and as a prospective member of the intellectual community of the Honors College.
  • Develop your ideas.  A single-paragraph essay simply is not a sufficient response to the prompt that we have given you.
  • Edit and proofread.  Sentence-level errors can significantly interfere with the clarity, coherence, and persuasive impact of your writing and can seriously damage your credibility as a writer.

“The best advice I can give about the Honors application is to try your best not to stress about being perfect and looking perfect on your application. The Honors College is looking for a diverse group of students who are interested in pursuing learning to a deeper level. A perfect student can be found in college, but this does not make them a "perfect" fit for honors.” – Cameron Friedman ’19

Qualities of Full Tuition Scholarship Recipients

Presidential Scholars Award (PSA)

  • Intellectual Curiosity
  • Self-Motivation
  • Academic Excellence
  • Reflection in Application
  • Open to New Ideas
  • Willingness to be Challenged
  • Engaged Learners

Alumni Laureate Scholars (ALS)

  • Excellent Communication Skills
  • Community and School Engagement
  • Dedication
  • Leadership and Involvement
  • Ability to Network
  • Create Relationships with a Wide Range of People
  • Willingness to Engage with Donors