Sonoma State University Scholarship Guidelines and Tips

In no more than two typed pages, explain why you deserve a Sonoma State University academic scholarship. The essay should address your academic record and achievements, any academic honors received, and your academic ability and potential. You should also discuss your educational goals and career objectives. Your work experience, leadership roles, and community service may also be included but the ability to relate these to your academic interests and potential is important. Financial need should not be addressed. This essay will be judged for style as well as content and should be double spaced, utilize 12 point font and have 1 inch margins. The essay must be in Word or PDF format ONLY for it to be read by the evaluators.

Essay Writing Pointers for Applicants

Your essay should explain why you are a good candidate for an academic scholarship. Your essay will be judged in all three of the following areas: the writing quality, the evidence of academic achievements, and the record and promise of community contributions. Remember, this is an academic essay, not an autobiography.

Writing quality (40%):

  • Is the essay effectively written?
  • Are spelling, punctuation, and grammar acceptable? Is vocabulary appropriately used?
  • Is the essay well-organized, clear and convincing?
  • Does the essay provide evidence to support its claims?
  • Does the essay show intellectual, expressive or creative power?

Evidence of academic achievement (30%):

  • Does the essay speak convincingly of success in academic pursuits?
  • Does the essay offer concrete evidence of academic excellence in the form of praise, distinction, honors, awards, prizes, etc.?
  • Does it give convincing evidence of intellectual curiosity and creativity?

Record & promise of contributions outside the classroom (30%):

  • Does the essay contain evidence of extracurricular and community activities, innovative contributions to the work place, or life relevant experience, which indicate analytical or creative accomplishment?
  • Does the essay give evidence that the applicant has or will likely develop a specific plan for a productive career?