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How does one address and balance both strengths and weaknesses in an essay?

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Monica Matthews
Monica Matthews  replied:

Hi John, that's a great question.  In the scholarship essay, students need to align themselves as closely as possible to what they think the judges are looking for in their winner.  They can find this out by reading the mission statement of the company or organization offering the scholarship and reading the essays of previous winners, if shared online.  Judges love to hear true, detailed stories of how students have overcome obstacles in their lives, so sharing a weakness and then writing about how that weakness was overcome is one way to share both strengths and weaknesses in an essay.  There is no rule that weakness has to be shared however, so students needs to decide if they even want to let the judges see what they struggled with in the past, or even currently.  If the essay question directly asks students to write about both weakness and strength, students need to make sure they start off their essay with a hook (an eye-catching first few words that draw the reader in), write from their hearts, and end with a positive, uplifting tone.  I share a lot more about writing a memorable and effective scholarship essay in my ebook, How to Win College Scholarships, so I encourage you to request a call with me to get your copy and learn my unique scholarship strategies that have helped so many parents and their students win college scholarships.  You can also find more scholarship information and tips on my website at how2winscholarships.com.

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