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Essay Tips for Nursing Scholarship Applications

Special Student Issue

Nursing school provides students with the education, skills and experiences necessary to join one of the most rewarding professions out there. For many student nurses, paying for that education can remain a challenge. The good news is that there are many scholarships available for aspiring nurses to help lessen the burden. Once you locate the right scholarships, the next step is explaining why you are the right person to receive the awards. One common method that scholarship reviewers use to judge is the essay response. Here are a few tips to help set your scholarship essay apart from the crowd.


  • Carefully read the scholarship requirements and criteria. Scholarships are typically awarded to very specific types of students, so make sure that you share the information that the reviewers will be looking for. “If a scholarship is provided for individuals involved in service, then service is exactly what your essay should convey,” said Carol Weingarten, Ph.D., RN, ANEF, associate professor at Villanova College of Nursing in Villanova, Penn., and scholarship reviewer for the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA). “Skipping out on questions that the application specifically asks is a quick way to have yours tossed to the side.”
  • Write concisely with a clear thought pattern. Begin your essay with an outline to avoid rambling and remain on topic. Present your points with an introduction, body of supporting facts and conclusion.
  • Use relevant personal experiences to stand out. Scholarship reviewers must go through hundreds – sometimes thousands – of applications and essays. Avoid writing a generic essay that could have been written by any number of students. What unique experiences do you have that make you stand apart? Answer the scholarship’s questions in a way that attracts the reader’s attention to you as a person.
  • Cast a wide net. Apply for as many scholarships as you can, but be sure to tailor your essays accordingly for each application. There are several scholarships available all across the country, and has a comprehensive scholarship search to help you locate appropriate scholarships in your state.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. Put a heavy focus on proper spelling and grammar while writing your essay. When you’re finished, proofread for errors. Then, proofread it again. Ask a friend or even a professor to look over it for you to make sure you are communicating clearly and have corrected all mistakes.

The Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association (FNSNA) awards scholarships annually to nursing students based on academic achievement, financial need, and involvement with nursing student organizations and community healthcare activities. To learn more about the FNSNA scholarship, visit To search for more scholarships, be sure to check out our comprehensive scholarship search at

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