Scholarship Essays 2016-2017


Washington and Lee Application Essay Prompts

All items on Washington and Lee’s writing supplement are optional. However, applicants who wish to be considered for W&L’s merit-based aid must submit a Johnson Scholarship Application essay. We won’t go into detail about how to tackle those specific questions here, but if you are interested in pursuing the scholarship, schedule a free consultation with one of our admissions specialists and find out how our College Essay Editing Services can help you accomplish your goals.


Even though the writing supplements (if you are not applying for a Johnson scholarship) are optional, writing answers to these questions can only benefit you, as admissions officers will see your dedication to the school.




Please elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or meaningful life experiences. (250 words maximum)


There are two main purposes of this essay. The first is to give you a chance to elaborate on an activity you wrote about briefly in the extracurricular section of the Common App. If there is an activity you are particularly passionate about, but did not have the chance to write about it in your regular Common app essay, this is a chance to further elaborate the extent of your role and the impact the activity had on your high school experience.


If you were the president of an a cappella group, go into detail about what you did for the group and how being president of that particular group shaped you — for example, perhaps it taught you how to resolve conflicts among group members or how to accept failure gracefully. To highlight personal passion or growth, choose an activity that has a particularly deep significance to you, such as volunteering at the local hospital after going through treatment there.


To highlight your capacity in a certain field, you can also choose to discuss research or internship experiences. As long as you focus on how you grew as a person and learned more about a field, these can set you apart from applicants who have not had a chance to work in a professional context.


However, always tie the internship or research job with work you would like to do at Washington and Lee (for example, working with a specific professor on a project that is related to one you did at the lab at which you interned). It would be to your advantage to do some research on W&L’s specific academic departments if you plan to follow this route; don’t be afraid to name drop lab projects that you’ve researched to show your interest in this particular school.


Another purpose of this essay is to give students who held a part-time job an opportunity to provide more details about their situation. Sometimes students write off work experiences as different from and not as “credible” as typical extracurricular activities, like clubs or academic teams, but they can actually set you apart from other applicants, particularly if your work experience offered you a chance to try something new, provided you with some sort of obstacle that you were able to overcome, or shaped the way you think about the world.


For example, if you had a math-tutoring job and found you greatly enjoyed explaining abstract concepts to kids, you may now have a budding interest in studying both education and math. In turn, this could have inspired you to want to create an interdisciplinary math and education major, which you could do with Washington and Lee’s flexible curriculum.


You can also take this opportunity to briefly explain the circumstances that caused you to take a part-time job (such as if money was tight at home, you are saved up for a medical mission trip, etc.), and then paint that circumstance in a light that will reflect positive character traits.


For example, if you took a job to save money so that you could go on a medical mission trip over the summer, you can talk about what led you to make that decision, and how the dedication and patience you developed in the process might affect how you want to spend your undergraduate career at Washington and Lee University. Oftentimes, holding a job and being a student at the same time is complicated, and whatever characteristics you developed through the experience (selflessness, humility, maturity) can be highlighted in your essay.


You can also take this opportunity to highlight aspects of yourself that you feel were not mentioned in your Common App. If it is clear in your application that you enjoy music and theater, but there is not much about your love for robotics, write about the time you made your first robot or entered your first robotics competition.





Please elaborate on how you have familiarized yourself with Washington and Lee University and what led to your decision to apply. (250 words maximum)


This is a standard “Why X School?” prompt, and although it is not given as much weight as other essays or different parts of your application, an extremely well-written response (or one that is obviously not your best piece of writing) may be what determines your admission status to Washington and Lee.


The key to this type of essay is to avoid generic statements such as “the campus is beautiful,” or the “students have a tight knit community,” that apply to literally hundreds of schools around the country. Admission officers want to see that you want to attend Washington and Lee University because it has appealing aspects other than the fact that it is a top-notch institution.


Accordingly in your essay, you want to refer to factors that are specific and unique to Washington and Lee. Consultants at CollegeVine have provided a brief list of unique characteristics of W&L, but strongly suggest you personally research the school to come up with more personal and tailored reasons for wanting to attend the university.


  • The front campus was designated a National Historic Landmark by the Department of the Interior in 1972 (one of three college campuses to be so designated), highlighting the historical importance of the University.
  • Within a two-hour drive from campus is access to over four million acres of national and state forests, including Shenandoah National Park and the Appalachian Trial.
  • W&L’s campus dining facilities offer fresh products including pizza that’s made from scratch and hand stretched, entrée meats that are roasted in-house, hand-cut French fries using local potatoes, and plentiful vegan/vegetarian options.
  • Washington and Lee houses several secret societies including the Mongolian Minks, the Cadaver Society and the Sigma Society.
  • Students in the Williams Investment Society manage one million dollars of the University’s endowment, primarily in equity securities.


There are many more reasons to love Washington and Lee University beyond those mentioned in this list. If you find yourself seeking additional help as you continue researching this exceptional institution, CollegeVine’s highly trained essay consultants from the nation’s top schools can help you ensure your W&L application is the strongest it can be.


Best of luck in getting to Lexington!


If you’re a skilled writer, a few hundred (or even a thousand) words is no biggie.

Students that can easily express themselves through writing flock toward scholarships with interesting essays and the scholarships on this list are just that.

All of the below scholarships require an essay entry – some as short as only 250 words – with interesting essay topics that range from safe driving and technology to America heroes and animal activism.

To help better organize your scholarship and internship search, please note that the following scholarships for writers are listed according to deadline, with the earliest deadline appearing at the top of the page. Deadlines that vary will appear at the bottom of each list.

If you enjoy expressing your opinions through writing, the scholarships on this list await your entries.

Scholars Helping Collars

Deadline: 2/15/18
Available to: High School Seniors
Award Amount: $1,000

The Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship is open to current high school seniors. You must submit an essay of between 500 and 1000 words with two to three photos of your volunteer efforts to help animals in need and how that involvement has changed your lives or shaped your perceptions on the importance of animal welfare in order to be considered for this award.

Learn more about the Scholars Helping Collars.

Live Deliberately Essay Contest

Deadline: 3/15/18
Available to: Ages 13-21 Years
Award Amount: 3 Awards of $250

The Live Deliberately Essay Contest is open to all students aged 14 – 21. You must submit an essay of no more than 750 words based on the prompts listed on the sponsor’s website. This year’s prompts will ask you to consider a time in your life when you pursued a path that was “narrow and crooked,” but felt like it was the right path for you. In what ways are/were you able to, as Thoreau advises, walk that path with “love and reverence?” How has navigating that path shaped you into the person you are becoming?

Learn more about the Live Deliberately Essay Contest .

AFSA High School Essay Contest

Deadline: 3/15/2018
Available to: High School Freshmen through High School Seniors
Award Amount: $2,500

The AFSA High School Essay Contest is open to high school students. To be considered, in a 1,000 – to 1250 – word essay, you must identify two cases – one you deem successful and one you deem unsuccessful – where the U.S. pursued an integrated approach to build peace in a conflict – affected country.

Learn more about the AFSA High School Essay Contest .

Brighter Future Scholarship

Deadline: 3/31/2018
Available to: College Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: $500

The Brighter Future Scholarship is available to undergraduate, graduate or law students enrolled at an accredited college or university. You must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit 500 word letter of intent that identifies a problem and explains how you intend to use your education as a way to begin solving that problem, thus creating a brighter future.

Learn more about the Brighter Future Scholarship.

NPG 2018 Scholarship Contest

Deadline: 4/20/2018
Available to: High School Seniors through College Juniors
Award Amount: Awards from $750-$2,000

The NPG 2018 Essay Scholarship Contest is open to high school seniors and college freshmen, sophomores and juniors. You must submit an essay of between 500 and 750 words on one environmental issue from the sponsor’s chosen list and explain how it is made worse by population growth and describe what measures you would recommend our nation’s leaders take to ensure we protect our fragile environment for generations to come. You must also be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident to qualify for this award.

Learn more about the NPG 2018 Scholarship Contest.

E-Waste Scholarship

Deadline: 4/30/2018
Available to: High School Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: $1,000

The E-waste Scholarship is available to high school, undergraduate or graduate students. You must submit a short statement that completes the sentence “The most important reason to care about e-waste is…” and be U.S. citizen or legal resident to qualify for this award.

Learn more about the E-Waste Scholarship.

Feldco Scholarship

Deadline: 6/15/2018
Available to: College Freshmen through College Seniors
Award Amount: $1,000

The Feldco Scholarship is available to current and prospective college students. To be considered, you must submit a 700 – to 1000 – word essay on the following topic: “How has your family contributed to who you are today?”

Learn more about the Feldco Scholarship.

Immigration Scholarship Essay Contest

Deadline: 7/01/2018
Available to: High School Seniors through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: $1,500

The Immigration Scholarship Essay Contest is open to U.S. citizens attending or planning to attend an accredited college or university. You must submit an essay of between 800 and 1000 words on one of the five topics related to immigration listed on the sponsor’s website in order to qualify for this award.

Learn more about the Immigration Scholarship Essay Contest.

Love Your Career Scholarship

Deadline: 9/10/2018
Available to: College Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: $1,000

The Love Your Career Scholarship is available to students attending an accredited college or university. You must submit an essay of at least 1,000 words describing at least three steps that you plan to take in the next year to start a path towards having a career that you love in order to qualify for this award. Topics may include: What are your passions that could be turned into a career? What are some ideas you have for a business based on things that you love and are skilled at? You must also interview a professional in your chosen field that has at least three years of experience.

Learn more about the Love Your Career Scholarship.

MajGen Harold W. Chase Prize Essay Contest

Deadline: Varies
Available to: College Freshmen through College Seniors
Award Amount: $3,000

Sponsored by the Marine Corps Gazette, the MajGen Harold W. Chase Prize Essay Contest is open to all Marines on active duty and to members of the Selected Marine Corps Reserve.

The contest honors the essay that proposes and argues for a new and better way of “doing business” in the Marine Corps.

Learn more information about the MajGen Harold W. Chase Prize Essay Contest.

Mary Grant Charles Prize Scholarship

Deadline: Varies
Available to: College Freshmen through College Seniors
Award Amount: Varies

The Mary Grant Charles Prize Scholarship is open to undergraduate students at Tufts University.

You must possess the same creative qualities in the writing of prose and poetry to qualify for this award.

Preference is given to students whose writing reflects an interest in ancestry and genealogy.

Get more information on the Mary Grant Charles Prize Scholarship.

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