How to write a financial need statement for your scholarship application (with examples!)

So you’re applying for a scholarship that asks you about your financial need. What do you say? How honest or specific should you be? What is TMI? In this article, we break down how to pen an awesome financial need scholarship essay or statement.

What to include in a financial need scholarship essay

Template to structure your financial need scholarship essay, introduction: your basic profile, body: your financial situation and hardships, conclusion: how you would benefit from this scholarship, was this financial need essay for a college financial aid application , now, reuse that same essay to apply for more scholarships, additional resources to help you write your financial need scholarship essay.

Writing a financial need scholarship essay

Many scholarships and college financial aid awards are “need-based,” given to students whose financial situation requires additional support. That’s why one of the most common college scholarship essays is a statement of financial need. This might be very explicit (“Explain your financial need”), somewhat explicit (“Describe your financial situation”), or quite open-ended (“Explain why you need this scholarship”).

In all cases, scholarship providers want to get a sense of your family’s financial picture: what your family income is, if you personally contribute to it (do you have a job?), and how much additional money you need to attend your target college (your “financial gap”).

If the essay prompt is a bit more open-ended (“Explain how this scholarship would help you”), your essay should probably be a combination of a financial need statement and a career goals / academic goals essay.  That’s because you want to show how the award will help you financially and in your academic or career goals.

Usually this statement of financial need is a pretty short scholarship essay (150-300 words), so unlike a college essay or personal statement where you have ample word count to tell anecdotes, you’ll likely need to get right to the point. 

Be sure to include: 

  • If you are an underrepresented group at college, for instance, part of an ethnic minority or the first in your family to go to college
  • Any relevant family circumstances, like if your parents are immigrants or refugees, as well as your parents’ occupation and how many children/family members they support financially
  • How you are currently paying for college, including what you personally are doing to contribute financially (like working student jobs)
  • What financial challenges/difficulties your family is facing, for instance, if a parent recently lost their job
  • How you would benefit from the scholarship–including your academic and career goals (if word count allows)

Also remember to write in an optimistic tone. Writing about your financial situation or hardships might not be the most positive thing to share. But you can turn it around with an optimistic tone by writing about how these challenges have taught you resiliency and grit.

Student writing a financial need scholarship essay

Give a short introduction to who you are, highlighting any family characteristics that might make you part of an underrepresented group at college. 

“I am a first-generation American and the first in my family to go to college. My family moved from El Salvador to New York when I was seven years old, to escape the violence there.”

Example 2: 

“I am from a working-class family in Minnesota. My family never had a lot, but we pooled our efforts together to make ends meet. My parents both worked full-time (my father as a mechanic, my mother as a receptionist at the local gym), while my siblings and I all worked weekend jobs to contribute to the family income.”

Dive into the details. How are you currently planning to pay for college? The idea here is to show that you and your family have made a good-faith effort to earn enough money to pay your tuition, but that it has simply not been enough. 

Make sure you describe your parents’ occupation, any savings (like a 529 College Savings Account), and any student jobs. You might also discuss any sudden changes in fortune (e.g. parent fell ill or lost their job) that have ruined your original financial plans. 


As immigrants with limited English, my parents have had to accept low-paying jobs. My father is an Uber driver, and my mother is a housekeeper. They earn just enough to pay our rent and put food on the table, so I’ve always known they could not help me pay for college.  So I’ve been proactive about earning and saving my own money. Since age 11, I’ve worked odd jobs (like mowing my neighbors’ lawns). At age 16, I started working at the mall after school and on weekends. Through all these jobs, I’ve saved about $3000. But even with my financial aid grants, I need to pay $8000 more per year to go to college. 

Bring it home by wrapping up your story.  Explain how you plan to use the financial aid if you’re awarded this scholarship. How will you benefit from this award? What will you put the money toward, and how will it help you achieve your academic and/or career goals?

Scholarship review boards want to know that their money will be put to good use, supporting a student who has clear plans for the future, and the motivation and determination to make those plans a reality. This is like a shortened, one-paragraph version of the “Why do you deserve this scholarship?” essay . 

Winning $5000 would help me close the financial gap and take less in student loans. This is particularly important for me because I plan to study social work and eventually work in a role to support my community. However, since these jobs are not well paid, repaying significant student loans would be difficult. Your scholarship would allow me to continue down this path, to eventually support my community, without incurring debt I can’t afford.
My plan is to study human biology at UC San Diego, where I have been admitted, and eventually pursue a career as a Nurse-Practitioner. I know that being pre-med will be a real academic challenge, and this scholarship would help me focus on those tough classes, rather than worrying about how to pay for them. The $2000 award would be equivalent to about 150 hours of working at a student job. That’s 150 hours I can instead focus on studying, graduating, and achieving my goals. 

Sometimes this financial need statement isn’t for an external scholarship. Instead, it’s for your college financial aid office.

In that case, you’re usually writing this statement for one of two reasons:

  • You’re writing an appeal letter , to request additional financial aid, after your original financial aid offer wasn’t enough. In this case, you’ll want to make sure you’re being extra specific about your finances.
  • You’re applying for a specific endowed scholarship that considers financial need. In this case, your financial need essay can be quite similar to what we’ve outlined above.

Now that you’ve written a killer financial need scholarship essay, you have one of the most common scholarship essays ready on hand, to submit to other scholarships too.

You can sign up for a free Going Merry account today to get a personalized list of hundreds of scholarships matched to your profile. You can even save essays (like this one!) to reuse in more than one application.  

Writing a financial need scholarship essay

You might also be interested in these other blog posts related to essay writing:

  • What’s the right scholarship essay format and structure?
  • How to write a winning scholarship essay about your academic goals
  • How to write an awesome essay about your career goals
  • Recent Posts

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  • Counselor Starter Guide: How to Use Going Merry’s Scholarship Platform - September 9, 2020
  • How to write a financial need statement for your scholarship application (with examples!) - August 13, 2020

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How to Write a Personal Statement for a Scholarship + Examples

What’s covered:, what is the purpose of the scholarship personal statement, what to include in your personal statement, personal statement example: breakdown + analysis, how to make sure your writing is effective.

Either before or after you’ve gotten into your dream school, you’ll have to figure out how to pay for it. For most students, this involves a combination of financial aid, parent contributions, self-contributions, student loans, and scholarships/grants. Because scholarships are money out of someone else’s pocket that you never have to pay back, they are a great place to start!

Scholarships come in two forms: merit-based and need-based. Need-based scholarships are also often called grants. These designations tell you whether an organization looks at your financial situation when deciding about your scholarship.

Additionally, different scholarships fall under different categories based on the mission of the organization or person providing the scholarship’s financing. These missions typically emphasize different things like academic achievement, specific career goals, community service, leadership, family background, skill in the arts, or having overcome hardship. As you select scholarships to apply for and complete your applications, you should keep these missions in mind.

No matter what type of scholarship you are applying for, you will be asked to provide the review committee with standard materials. This includes your transcript, GPA, and resume/extracurriculars, but also, importantly, your personal statement. A scholarship personal statement is a bit different from your normal college essay, so we’ve put together this guide and some examples to help you get started!

The purpose of your personal statement is to help a review committee learn more about your personality, values, goals, and what makes you special. Ultimately, like with your college essays, you are trying to humanize your profile beyond your transcript, GPA, and test scores.

College essays all have one goal in mind (which is why you can apply to multiple schools at once through applications like the Common App or Coalition App): convince admissions officers that you would be a valuable addition to the university environment. The goal of your scholarship personal statement is different and differs more from one scholarship to the next. Rather than convincing various review committees that you are a generally good candidate for extra funding for college, you need to convince each review committee that your values have historically aligned with their organization’s mission and will continue to align with their organization’s mission.

Common missions amongst those who give scholarships include:

  • Providing opportunities for students with career ambitions in a particular field
  • Helping students who have experienced unexpected hardship
  • Supporting students who show outstanding academic achievement
  • Funding the arts through investing in young artists with strong technical skill
  • Supporting the development of civic-minded community service leaders of the future
  • Providing opportunities for historically underrepresented ethnic communities 

If a specific mission like this is outlined on an organization’s website or in the promotional material for its scholarship, the purpose of your personal statement is to show how you exemplify that mission.

Some scholarships ask for your personal statement to be guided by a prompt, while others leave things open for interpretation. When you are provided a prompt, it is obvious what you must do: answer the prompt. When you are not provided a prompt, you want to write a personal statement that is essentially a small-scale autobiography where you position yourself as a good investment. In either case, you should identify a focus or theme for what you are trying to say about yourself so that your application does not get lost in the shuffle.

Prompts include questions like:

  • Why do you deserve this scholarship?
  • How have you shown your commitment to (leadership/community service/diversity) in your community?
  • When did you overcome adversity?
  • Why is attending college important to you?

If you are provided a prompt, develop a theme for your response that showcases both your values and your achievements. This will help your essay feel focused and will subsequently help the review committee to remember which candidate you were as they deliberate.

Themes include things like:

  • I deserve this community service scholarship because my compassion for intergenerational trauma has inspired me to volunteer with a local after-school program. I didn’t just sympathize. I did something about my sympathy because that’s the type of person I am. Within the program, I have identified avenues for improvement and worked alongside full-time staff to develop new strategies for increasing attendance.
  • I overcame adversity when my mother had to have a major surgery two months after giving birth to my younger brother. I was just a kid but was thrown into a situation where I had to raise another kid. It was hard, but I’m the kind of person who tries to grow from hard times and, through my experience taking care of a baby, I learned the importance of listening to body language and nonverbal cues to understand the needs of others (baby and nonbaby, alike).

Without a prompt, clarity can be harder to achieve. That said, it is of the utmost importance that you find a focus. First, think about both your goals and your values.

Types of goals include:

  • Career goals
  • Goals for personal growth
  • The type of friend you want to be
  • The change you want to make in the world

Values could include:

  • Authenticity
  • And many more!

After you write out your goals/values, write out your achievements to see what goals/values you have “proof” of your commitment to. Your essay will ultimately be an exploration of your goal/value, what you have done about your goal/value in the past, and what you aspire to in the future.

You might be tempted to reflect on areas for improvement, but scholarships care about you living out your values. It is not enough to aspire to be exemplary in leadership, community service, or your academic field. For scholarships, you have to already be exemplary.

Finally, keep in mind that the review committee likely already has a copy of your extracurricular activities and involvement. Pick one or two accomplishments, then strive for depth, not breadth as you explore them.

My interest in the field of neuroscience began at a young age.  When I was twelve years old, my sister developed a condition called Pseudotumor Cerebri following multiple concussions during a basketball game.  It took the doctors over six months to make a proper diagnosis, followed by three years of treatment before she recovered.  During this time, my love for neuroscience was sparked as I began to research her condition and, then, other neurocognitive conditions.  Later, my love of neuroscience was amplified when my mother began to suffer from brain-related health issues.  My mother had been a practicing attorney in Dallas for over twenty years.  She was a determined litigator who relentlessly tried difficult cases that changed people’s lives.  Now, she suffers from a cognitive impairment and is no longer able to practice law.  Oftentimes, she has headaches, she gets “cloudy,” her executive functioning slows down, she feels overwhelmed, and she forgets things.  My mother has gone from being the strong, confident, emotional and financial caretaker of our family to needing significant help on a daily basis. Once again, with this illness came a lot of research on my part — research that encouraged me to pursue my dreams of exploring neuroscience.

Due to my experiences with my mother and sister when I was in middle school, I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the field of neuroscience.  I also knew that, to obtain this goal, I needed to maintain superior grades in school while also pursuing opportunities outside of school to further my education.  In school, I was able to maintain superior grades to the point where I am currently valedictorian in a class of 567 students.  In addition, in school, I challenged myself by taking 16 Advanced Placement classes and 19 Honors classes.  Two of the most beneficial classes were AP Capstone Seminar and AP Capstone Research.  AP Capstone Seminar and AP Capstone Research are research-oriented classes where students are given the opportunity to pursue whatever track their research takes them down.  As a junior in AP Capstone Seminar, I researched the effects of harmful pesticide use on the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children.  This year, as a senior in AP Capstone Research, I am learning about the effects of medical marijuana on the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  

Outside of school, I furthered my education through taking advantage of the Duke TiP summer program. Duke TiP is a summer program run by Duke University where students who score extremely well on the SAT as middle schoolers are able to take college classes at different universities throughout the summers of their middle school and high school years.  I took advantage of this opportunity twice.  First, I went to Trinity University in San Antonio to expand my horizons and learn more about debate.  However, once I was done exploring, I decided I wanted to go into neuroscience.  This led me to take an Abnormal Psychology class at Duke University’s West Campus.  This class opened my eyes to the interaction between neuroscience and mental health, mental illness, and personality.  Years later, I am currently continuing my education outside of school as an intern at the University of Texas Dallas Center for Brain Health.  Through this internship, I have been able to see different aspects of neuroscience including brain pattern testing, virtual reality therapy, and longitudinal research studies.  With this background, I have positioned myself to be accepted by top neuroscience programs throughout the nation.  So far, I have been accepted to the neuroscience department of University of Southern California, the University of Virginia, the University of Texas, and Southern Methodist University, as well as the chemistry department at University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.  

It is with this passion for neuroscience driven by my family and passion for education driven by internal motivation that I will set out to conquer my career objectives.  My educational aspirations consist of acquiring a bachelor’s degree in a biological or health science that would assist me in pursuing a medical career as a neuroscience researcher.  I decided to attain a career as a researcher since my passion has always been assisting others and trying to improve their quality of life.  After obtaining my Masters and my PhD, I plan to become a professor at a prestigious university and continue performing lab research on cognitive disorders.  I am particularly interested in disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  In the lab, I hope to find different therapies and medications to help treat the 3.5 million people around the world suffering from ASD.  Furthermore, I want to contribute back to underserved populations that struggle because they do not have as much access to medical assistance as other privileged groups.  As such, I hope to do a part of my research in less developed or developing Spanish-speaking countries. This will also allow me to pursue my love of Spanish while pursuing my love of neuroscience.  I think that following such a career path will provide me the opportunity to learn about the medical needs of the autistic community and improve their quality of health.  Furthermore, I hope to train a new generation of students to strive to research and make comparable discoveries.  Whether it be through virtual reality labs or new drug discoveries, I believe that research leads to innovation which leads to a brighter future. 

This student does a great job of making themself appear competent and dedicated to the field of neuroscience. This is primarily because they provided tangible evidence of how they have pursued their dedication in the past—through their AP Capstone courses, their Abnormal Psychology class at Duke TiP, and their internship at UTD. There is no doubt in the mind of a reader that this student is high-achieving. 

This student also engages successfully with a past-future trajectory, where they end with a vision of how they will continue to use neuroscience in the future. This helps the review committee see what they are investing in and the ways that their money will go to good use.

This student has two major areas for improvement. As we have said, the purpose of a personal statement is for a student to humanize themself to a review committee. This student struggles to depict themself separately from their academic achievements. A solution to this would be for the student to establish a theme towards the beginning of their essay that relates to both their values as a human and their achievements.

At the beginning of the essay, the student explores how their interest in neuroscience began. They explain their interest through the following sentences: “During this time, my love for neuroscience was sparked as I began to research her condition and, then, other neurocognitive conditions” and “Once again, with this illness came a lot of research on my part — research that encouraged me to pursue my dreams of exploring neuroscience.” The student made the great decision to tell the backstory of their interest, but they described their research in very mundane and redundant terms. Instead, they could have focused on their value of intellectual curiosity as a magnetic force that encouraged them to research their mother and sister’s ailments. Curiosity, then, could serve as a value-related thematic throughline to taking AP Capstone classes, taking college courses during the summer that weren’t required, and interning before even graduating high school.

A second area for improvement would be avoiding statistics. As the student identifies their valedictorian status and the number of AP classes they have taken, they might turn away certain personalities on a review committee by appearing braggy. Even further, these statistics are a waste of space. The review committee already has access to this information. These words distract from the major theme of the essay and would have been better used to humanize the student.

Throughout my academic career, I have been an avid scholar, constantly pushing myself towards ambitious goals. I held and continue to hold myself to a high standard, enrolling myself in rigorous curriculum, including Honors and Advanced Placement courses to stretch my mental potential. During my junior year of high school, I took four AP tests, two on the same day, and earned the AP Scholar with Honor Award. Additionally, I received the Letter of Commendation for the PSAT/NMSQT, and qualified for Rotary Top 100 Students both my freshman and senior year, a sign of my commitment to my studies. However, school has not been all about having the best GPA for me; beyond the numbers, I have a deep drive to learn which motivates me to do well academically. I truly enjoy learning new things, whether it be a new essay style or a math theorem. I always give each class my best effort and try my hardest on every assignment. My teachers have noticed this as well, and I have received school Lancer Awards and Student of the Month recognitions as a result. It is a major goal of mine to continue to aspire towards a high level of achievement regarding future educational and occupational endeavors; I plan on continuing this level of dedication throughout my educational career and implementing the skills I have learned and will learn into my college experience and beyond.

This fall, I will begin attending the University of California Los Angeles as an English major. I chose this major because I am fascinated by written language, especially its ability to convey powerful messages and emotions. I also enjoy delving into the works of other authors to analyze specific components of their writing to discover the meaning behind their words. In particular, I cannot wait to begin in-depth literary criticism and learn new stylistic techniques to add more depth to my writing. Furthermore, I recently went to UCLA’s Bruin Day, an event for incoming freshmen, where I was exposed to many different extracurriculars, some of which really piqued my interest. I plan on joining the Writing Success Program, where I can help students receive free writing help, and Mock Trial, where I can debate issues with peers in front of a real judge. The latter, combined with a strong writing background from my undergraduate English studies will be extremely beneficial because I plan to apply to law school after my undergraduate degree. As of now, my career goal is to become a civil rights lawyer, to stand up for those who are discriminated against and protect minority groups to proliferate equality.

As a lawyer, I wish to utilize legislation to ameliorate the plight of the millions of Americans who feel prejudice and help them receive equity in the workplace, society, and so on. Though this seems a daunting task, I feel that my work ethic and past experience will give me the jumpstart I need to establish myself as a successful lawyer and give a voice to those who are often unheard in today’s legal system. I have been a Girl Scout for over a decade and continually participate in community service for the homeless, elderly, veterans, and more. My most recent project was the Gold Award, which I conducted in the Fullerton School District. I facilitated over ten workshops where junior high students taught elementary pupils STEM principles such as density and aerodynamics via creative activities like building aluminum boats and paper airplanes. I also work at Kumon, a tutoring center, where I teach students to advance their academic success. I love my job, and helping students from local schools reach their potential fills me with much pride.

Both being a Girl Scout and working at Kumon have inspired me to help those in need, contributing significantly to my desire to become a lawyer and aid others. My extracurriculars have allowed me to gain a new perspective on both learning and teaching, and have solidified my will to help the less fortunate. In college, I hope to continue to gain knowledge and further develop my leadership skills, amassing qualities that will help me assist others. I plan to join multiple community service clubs, such as UCLA’s local outreach programs that directly aid residents of Los Angeles. I want to help my fellow pupils as well, and plan on volunteering at peer tutoring and peer editing programs on campus. After college, during my career, I want to use legal tactics to assist the underdog and take a chance on those who are often overlooked for opportunities. I wish to represent those that are scared to seek out help or cannot afford it. Rather than battling conflict with additional conflict, I want to implement peaceful but strong, efficient tactics that will help make my state, country, and eventually the world more welcoming to people of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. These goals are close to my heart and therefore I will be as diligent as I am passionate about them. My perseverance and love for learning and community service drive my ambition in both education and life as a whole, and the drive to make the world a better place is one that I will carry with me for my entire life.

This student emphasizes two values in this essay: hard work and community service. These are values that go together nicely, and definitely make sense with this student’s end goal of becoming a civil rights lawyer! That said, some changes could be made to the way the student presents their values that would make their personal statement more convincing and engaging.

Structurally, instead of using a past-future trajectory, this student starts by explaining their academic achievements, then explains their career goals, then explains their history of community service, then explains their future desires for community service. This structure loses the reader. Instead, the student should have started with either the past or the future. 

This could look like 1) identifying their career goals, 2) explaining that hard work and a commitment to community service are necessary to get there, and 3) explaining that they aren’t worried because of their past commitment to hard work and community service. Or it could look like 1) providing examples of their hard work and community service in the past, then 2) explaining how those values will help them achieve their career goals.

Additionally, like with our other example, this student shows a heavy investment in statistics and spouting off accomplishments. This can be unappealing. Unfortunately, even when the student recognizes that they are doing this, writing “beyond the numbers, I have a deep drive to learn which motivates me to do well academically. I truly enjoy learning new things, whether it be a new essay style or a math theorem,” they continue on to cite their achievements, writing “My teachers have noticed this as well, and I have received school Lancer Awards and Student of the Month recognitions as a result.” They say they are going beyond the numbers, but they don’t go beyond the awards. They don’t look inward. One way to fix this would be to make community service the theme around which the essay operates, supplementing with statistics in ways that advance the image of the student as dedicated to community service.

Finally, this student would be more successful if they varied their sentence structure. While a small-scale autobiography can be good, if organized, every sentence should not begin with ‘I.’ The essay still needs to be engaging or the review committee might stop reading.

Feedback is ultimately any writer’s best source of improvement! To get your personal statement edited for free, use our Peer Review Essay Tool . With this tool, other students can tell you if your scholarship essay is effective and help you improve your essay so that you can have the best chances of gaining those extra funds!

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examples of personal statement for hardship fund

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Personal Statement

Your 500-800 word Personal Statement is critical!


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Personal Statement 

The personal statement is by far the most important of the four main parts of your application to a charity. We talk all about it in this section! As well as going through the key basics, this section also contains: 1. A Model Personal Statement , and key Dos and Don'ts

2. Advanced Application Techniques for different student groups (e.g. international students, mature students, students, fourth year PhD students).

3.   Our Personal Statement Assistant which will help you write your statement paragraph by paragraph (See link at top right of screen)!

Your statement should be between 500-800 words in length, and will vary depending on what you need the money for : i.e. fees, maintenance, conference costs, travel, field work etc. In the statement, you need to make your case con­vincingly and tell your potential funder why you are a deserving applicant, why you have a shortage of funds, and how your course or proposed research/conference visit will benefit you, and society in general. You may also need to explain how you meet the charity's eligibility criteria.

examples of personal statement for hardship fund

If you are doing a research Masters or PhD, it can be hard to gauge how much you should talk about your research. It is important to remember that charities are usually not run by academics but well-informed and intelligent members of the public, and you must take this into account when you describe your studies. Generally, if it is a non-educational charity, a paragraph ought to be sufficient. Describe your research simply, avoid jargon, and highlight the parts which are of the most ‘general interest’, just as you would if you were describing it to a fellow graduate from a different discipline. If you can envisage any potential wider societal benefit or scholarly contribution from your work beyond your field, be sure to mention it.

examples of personal statement for hardship fund

Charities also like it if you say you have made applications to other bodies, and are not simply extending your cap to them. They like to be seen as a potential partner in funding you, rather than your sole provider. Charities dislike being the only funder of something, and many may be emboldened by the presence of other sponsors. As a rule, the more bodies you get to support you, the easier it will be to persuade others to do the same. Even if you are only thinking about applications to other charities, you should give the impression that your application is part of a bigger plan. If you won, awards from internal university competitions (departmental or school monies for conferences, for example) you should also note these down, as it also gives the impression that you have other backers. Finally, if you have won at least one award f rom an alternative funding source, be sure to let us know as you will be entered into our annual Prize Draw , which features a top prize of £500 and three prizes of £100!

  Model Personal Statement: Key Dos and Don'ts

examples of personal statement for hardship fund

Personal Statements: Advanced Techniques

Most of what makes a good personal statement is generic and covered in the Basics section above: i.e. the above advice applies whoever you are, and whatever you want the money for. However, for those who want to take their application to the next level, we've got some extra tailored techniques for seven key student groups:   1. Students applying for Research, Travel, and Conference Costs 2. Fourth Year PhD Students 3. Masters Students 4. PhD Students 5. Part-Time Students 6. International Students (EU and non-EU) 7. Mature Students 8. Students attempting Crowdfunding Personal Statement Assistant

Of course we can't write your personal statement for you, but you may find our Personal Statement Assistant to be a useful way of organising your ideas and arguments, paragraph by paragraph. You can actually work on your statement right here, save it to work on later, or download it to your computer as a text file! You can find the link to it at the top right of this page.

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Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, personal statement for financial aid: what are some good examples.

Hey everyone, I'm currently working on my financial aid application and I'm stuck at writing a personal statement. Can anyone share some examples of personal statements that have worked for them? I could really use some guidance. Thanks!

Hi! Writing a personal statement for a financial aid application can be challenging, but it's a great opportunity to share your story and explain your financial circumstances. Here are some general tips and examples to help you get started:

1. Start by providing an introduction that outlines your personal background and family situation. You can mention any specific hardships your family has faced, such as job loss, medical expenses, or other challenges that have impacted your ability to afford college.

Example: "I come from a hardworking family of five. My parents have always done their best to provide for us, but over the years, financial hardships have made it difficult to meet all our needs. Two years ago, my father lost his job, which forced my mother to work longer hours at her minimum-wage job."

2. Describe your educational journey and how a lack of financial resources has affected it. This is your opportunity to show your commitment to education and explain how financial aid will be instrumental in helping you achieve your goals.

Example: "Despite the financial challenges my family has faced, I have remained dedicated to my education. I am a first-generation college student and have worked hard throughout high school, maintaining a 3.8 GPA and participating in extracurricular activities. However, I've often had to sacrifice important opportunities, such as attending college prep programs or participating in school trips, due to financial constraints. Receiving financial aid will allow me to fully commit to my college education without these limitations."

3. Emphasize your achievements and the obstacles you've overcome. This can include academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, or any personal triumphs that demonstrate your determination and resilience.

Example: "To help support my family, I've taken on a part-time job while maintaining my academic and extracurricular commitments. I have also volunteered at a local food bank and found new ways to give back to my community despite limited resources. These experiences have taught me the true value of perseverance and hard work."

4. Conclude by expressing your gratitude for the opportunity to apply for financial aid and reiterate how it will impact your future. Explain how receiving financial assistance will not only benefit you but also contribute to your long-term goals and aspirations.

Example: "Receiving financial aid will not only allow me to attend college but will also lessen the burden on my family and provide me the chance to focus on my studies and future career. My goal is to major in computer science and use my education to create innovative solutions that address pressing issues in my community and the wider world. I am grateful for any support that will help me achieve this dream."

Remember to make your personal statement unique to your story and circumstances. Use your own voice, stay authentic, and don't be afraid to showcase your accomplishments and challenges. Best of luck with your financial aid application!

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examples of personal statement for hardship fund

March 9, 2006

Personal Statement Tip: Dealing with Hardship

A friend of mine was recently going through a hard time. Things were going wrong, seriously wrong in her life. She wryly labeled these experiences "character building."

It is a sad truth that tragedy and trial build character strength and develop wisdom. Most of us would rather be weaker and stupider than have character building experiences, but we can see the additional muscle in ourselves after adversity has left its footprint.

It is that imprint that you want to highlight when writing about obstacles overcome in essays. Recently on my thread in the Businessweek Forum a poster reminded me of an earlier post I had written on this topic. I am going to post her question and my response here:

QUESTION: If you come from a “disadvantaged” background, how do you not make it seem whiney and trying to evoke sympathy from the Ad Comm. I tried to focus my essays on what I have learned from my background and how it has shaped me (really motivated me, huge reason for me getting into community service, etc.), rather than rambling about potential issues. OK, that’s more than one question. J RESPONSE: That sounds like an excellent approach. You have to balance the need to show what you have overcome with showing that you have definitely overcome it. You don’t want to come across as "damaged goods"; to the contrary you want to come across as stronger for your past experiences. We once had this double-stroller for our kids. We used it — a lot — with all of them, and we had it for roughly ten years, before we finally gave it away. For several years, the thing appeared indestructible. At one point (when #6 was a baby) something in the metal frame broke. I had it soldered back together and the workman told me that the solder should be stronger than the original metal. Your essay should show that you are stronger by virtue of your experiences. You don’t want to come across as whiny, but as confident and strong. You don’t want to evoke pity, but admiration.

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Scholarship Story

Personal Statement for Scholarship: How to Write and Examples

Table of Contents

A substantial part of the applications are personal statement for scholarship. Writing a stunning personal statement is vital if you’re hoping to win a scholarship. The personal statement is your chance to convince the board that you deserve the scholarship. While your curriculum vitae may be remarkable, hundreds, perhaps even thousands of students are likely to be just as remarkable. A personal statement is an excellent way of setting yourself apart.

Personal Statement for Scholarship

There’s no right way to write a personal statement for a scholarship, but here are some tips on how you can write a killer personal statement that can help you to elevate your pitch.

What is a personal statement for scholarship?

A personal statement is an overview of your accomplishments, talents, interests and objectives that are often included in applications for universities or scholarships or on resumes. It is a sample of writing (often about 2 pages) that describes you to the best of your abilities, your reasons for choosing the course you have chosen, your research interests, your goals and the creative ways you can add value to the program you are applying to.

The purpose of the personal statement is to provide an opportunity for those reviewing applications to learn more about you, your education goals, and how the scholarship will help you to continue your education.

How do you write a personal statement?

To guide you in composing your scholarship personal statement, here are some tips on how to get started.

Be concise, be organized, be focused

Make sure that your personal declaration follows a coherent order. Try to ponder how it might sound to an audience that doesn’t know you. Getting input from people you trust can help you get different points of view on how those who read it actually impact your personal statement. Avoiding long, drawn-out essay responses will not only help keep the attention of your reader, but will also show you’ve been thoughtful about your writing.

Be reflective

A personal statement, just because it narrates challenging times, is not always impactful. Strong personal statements should show that the writer has reflected on their past experiences and achievements and learnt from them. Ideally, the writer will be able to show progress towards a clear outlook on how he or she sees the world and the direction he or she is heading in the future. An effective personal statement gives a clear sense of your personal qualities and how you used and developed them to respond to your challenges and opportunities.

Get personal

The readers want to get an understanding of who you are, and the only way to do that is by sharing a little about who you are. That’s why it is called a personal statement after all. This is your opportunity to share what you feel they should know about you for making an informed decision with the reader.

Make it authentic

A personal statement for scholarship should show you who you really are and what you support about, not what you assume the readers want to hear. Remember that those who read your application will also be able to read many other applications, and will be able to tell you immediately if what you write is honest and genuine. It’s also worth remembering that some programs require a finalist interview where it’ll be easy to spot those who haven’t been authentic in their personal statements.

Give yourself plenty of time for revisions

Before submission, personal statements need to go through several revisions. Read your writing to others, and rewrite the content and style for accuracy. Pay attention to proper grammar and punctuation rules, and don’t forget spell checking. It’s also strongly advised that you make use of campus resources to gain valuable insight into how to improve your personal statement for scholarship.

A short personal statement, a strong personal statement

“My love of astronomy started when I looked up as a child at the darkness of space and found it captivating and awe-inspiring at the same time.” “From seeing my first production on stage I have been passionate about William Shakespeare’s works. I am fascinated by the way in which Shakespeare is still relevant today.

Can you see why these two examples are inaccurate?

While they are very favorable and well-worded statements about why a student might want to study astronomy, or Shakespearean literature, both of these examples of Personal Statement lead to clichés and generalization very rapidly.

We are not suggesting that when writing a personal statement for scholarship you should not use positive words, but this positive language needs to be supported up with solid, specific examples and thorough analyses. Remember: Showing, not telling, is the key to an excellent personal statement.

Why, then, is Shakespeare relevant to today? What specific examples could you use of an author from the 16th century to demonstrate its relevance to the modern age? Similarly, proclaiming a love for night sky wonders is all well and good, but why did it make you want to study astronomy?

Impose a limit on how many adjectives or descriptive sentences you use in your writing. It is important to remember that a personal statement in a relatively short number of words has to accomplish a lot. If you over-use words such as ‘ambitious,’ ‘astonishing,’ and ‘awe-inspiring,’ you’ll end up repeating yourself.

Structure of a personal statement

Structuring your statement is important to ensure it reads well. Write your personal statement as an ongoing prose piece, just like an essay. You might want to follow this structure:


Your introduction should be brief, explaining why you’re excited about applying for the scholarship. The strongest introductions often have an academic focus, so think about the reading of the background that you did.

Avoid such phrases as ‘I always have’ or ‘from a young age’ or anything like that. Focus on one particular thing about the offered field that interests you. If you have a hardship, leave your introduction to the end. Once the main body of your personal statement has been written, it will be clear what your strongest motivations for applying are. Then you can integrate that into your introduction.

The main body of your personal statement should include examples that show your preparedness.

Start by choosing between three or four examples. For an idea of what examples you could include here, refer back to step one. Try to have at least one example related to your course which focuses on academic reading. Just avoid listing skills or qualities, and explain in detail your skills and experiences. Make sure you show when writing about skills or qualities that they are relevant to your future studies.

Try to think academically, as well. Imagine you are an admissions tutor when choosing your examples: are you demonstrating your knowledge of the subject through detailed examples? Are you showcasing the skills you need to apply the scholarship successfully?

Your conclusion should summarize your statement’s key points and remind the granting committee of your strengths. This is a good opportunity to write about your future plans, too. How does the scholarship that you apply for fit into your larger picture?

Examples of personal statement for scholarship

Whether it’s a scholarship essay about yourself, a creative writing scholarship, or an essay on why you deserve the scholarship, the personal statement for scholarship examples below can help you better understand what may result from following a good format.

Personal statement for scholarship: Example #1

As a child of immigrant parents, I learned to take responsibilities for my family and myself at a very young age. Although my parents spoke English, they constantly worked in order to financially support my little brother and me. Meanwhile, my grandparents barely knew English so I became their translator for medical appointments and in every single interaction with English speakers. Even until now, I still translate for them and I teach my grandparents conversational English. The more involved I became with my family, the more I knew what I wanted to be in the future.

Since I was five, my parents pushed me to value education because they were born in Vietnam and had limited education. Because of this disadvantage, I learned to take everything I do seriously and to put in all of my effort to complete tasks such as becoming the founder of my school’s Badminton Club in my sophomore year and Red Cross Club this year. Before creating these clubs, I created a vision for these clubs so I can organize my responsibilities better as a leader. The more involved I became, the more I learned as a leader and as a person. As a leader, I carried the same behavior I portrayed towards my younger cousins and sibling. My family members stressed the importance of being a good influence; as I adapted this behavior, I utilized this in my leadership positions. I learned to become a good role model by teaching my younger family members proper manners and guiding them in their academics so that they can do well. In school, I guide my peers in organizing team uniform designs and in networking with a nonprofit organization for service events.

Asides from my values, I’m truly passionate in the medical field. I always wanted to be a pediatrician since I was fourteen. My strong interest in the medical field allowed me to open up my shell in certain situations: when I became sociable to patients in the hospital as a volunteer, when I became friendly and approachable to children in my job at Kumon Math and Reading Center, and when I portrayed compassion and empathy towards my teammates in the badminton team. However, when I participated in the 2017 Kaiser Summer Volunteer Program at Richmond Medical Center, I realized that I didn’t only want to be a pediatrician. This program opened my eye to numerous opportunities in different fields of medicine and in different approaches in working in the medicine industry. While I may have a strong love for the medical field, my interest in business immensely grew as I soon discovered that I didn’t only have to take the practical approach in the medical field. With this interest, I plan to also become a part of a medical facility management team.

In the future, I hope to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor by attaining an MD, and to double major in Managerial Economics. I intend to study at UC Davis as a Biological Sciences major, where I anticipate to become extremely involved with the student community. After graduation, I plan to develop a strong network relationship with Kaiser Permanente as I’ve started last year in my internship. By developing a network with them, I hope to work in one of their facilities someday. Based on my values, interests, and planned future, I’m applying for the NCS Foundation scholarship because not only will it financially help me, but it can give motivation for me to academically push myself. I hope to use this scholarship in applying for a study abroad program, where I can learn about other cultures’ customs while conducting research there.

Personal statement for scholarship: Example #2

Nothing is more important to me than ending racial inequality and discrimination in America, as I do not want my younger siblings to face the discrimination Black people continue to face in our present society. After winning our fight to freedom and provoking the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, why do Black teens face higher poverty rates than Whites and are still four times more likely to be incarcerated? “That was such a long time ago. You really need to get over it,” my White peers say when referring to racial inequalities. But, why then, in 7th grade, after winning Nazareth Academy’s Spelling Bee competition, did my fellow White classmate state with a heavy dose of surprise, “You know…when I first saw you, I didn’t think you were going to be smart?”

I hope to contribute to ending racial discrimination by utilizing our present interconnectivity and running a social media campaign titled #It’sNotOver. #It’sNotOver aims to oppose the widespread misconception that, because racial inequality was legally outlawed, de facto racial inequality does not still persist in our society. Our recent presidential election may have brought life to a ‘Divided America’, but it also exposed how influential social media is. By raising awareness of racial disparities that occur everywhere, I might encourage a new wave of change in our country like that of the present Time’s Up movement. Furthermore, if I can access the influence of celebrities in my #It’sNotOver campaign, like that of Time’s Up, I might similarly capture the attention of millions of people and inspire action against this issue across the globe.

I know that social media can only do so much in addressing these issues as not everyone can afford the luxury of having internet access. However, I hope that my campaign can inspire all those who do have access to take it upon themselves to be the change by being inspired by the fact that we are globally united in this issue. Although I expect negativity and criticism from people who either do not believe that this issue exists or do not believe in our cause, I am willing to encounter it if it means our society as a whole irrevocably can grow to accept each other’s differences.

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Image of multiple people helping to design a website. Text above the image says: The Employee Hardship Relief Fund Application Process: Assistance for Employees in Need

Mary Thomforde

  • June 29, 2023

In times of financial hardship, employees often face significant challenges that can impact their overall well-being, which can impact their job performance. Recognizing the importance of supporting employees during such difficult circumstances, many organizations have established employee hardship funds. These funds provide crucial assistance to employees facing financial difficulties. As a full-service provider of hardship relief funds , Philanthropi is here to assist your employees with their application process. We want to ensure that employees understand the employee hardship fund application process in full.

Understanding Employee Hardship Funds

Employee hardship funds are dedicated programs established by employers to assist employees who are experiencing financial hardships. These funds temporarily relieve employees facing unexpected expenses, medical bills, or other financial burdens due to a qualified disaster or qualifying personal hardship event . These funds are sometimes referred to as qualified disaster relief payments.

The fund is typically supported by employer contributions, voluntary contributions from employees, or a combination of both.

Eligibility Criteria

Before applying for an employee hardship fund, or for a qualified relief payment, it is essential to understand the eligibility criteria. Each organization may have its own specific guidelines for the hardships covered after a qualified disaster. However, common criteria may include events such as serious illness or injury, impact to a primary residence, or victim of a violent crime. Hardships stemming from these events might consist of financial assistance for rent and bills or financial assistance for repairs to damaged property. Every hardship relief fund with Philanthropi will follow different criteria or guidelines set out by the organization’s wants and needs for their specific fund. We are here to help you customize your solution .

Charitable Class: 

The charitable class must be large enough or sufficiently indefinite that the community, rather than a pre-selected group, benefits when a charity assists. For example, a charitable class could include all the individuals in a city, county, or state. This charitable class is large enough that the potential beneficiaries cannot be individually identified, and providing benefits to this group would benefit the entire community. 

Employers may select who is part of their charitable class, such as full-time or part-time employees. Typically, you must be an active employee of the organization to be eligible for the fund. 

Financial Need: 

Generally, a disaster relief or emergency hardship organization must make a specific assessment that a recipient of aid is financially or otherwise in need . Individuals do not have to be destitute to be financially needy; they may lack the resources to obtain basic necessities. Under established rules, charitable funds cannot be distributed to individuals merely because they are victims of a disaster. Therefore, an organization’s decision about how its funds will be distributed must be based on an objective evaluation of the victims’ needs at the time the grant is made. The scope of the assessment required to support the need for assistance may vary depending on the circumstances.

You must demonstrate your financial need by providing supporting documentation, such as proof of income, outstanding bills, or medical expenses. Hardship relief funds are not intended to assist those whose funds are held in savings accounts; they are available to those experiencing true financial hardship.

Hardship Circumstances:

Employee hardship funds are available to individuals facing unforeseen circumstances, such as sudden illness, natural disasters, or significant personal emergencies, including but not solely limited to: 

  •  temporarily in need of food or shelter when stranded, injured, or lost because of a disaster
  • Such as victims of violent crimes or physical abuse
  •  in need of long-term assistance with housing, childcare, or educational expenses because of a disaster
  • in need of counseling because of trauma experienced as a result of a disaster or a violent crime

A few examples of a qualified disaster are:

  • results from terrorist or military actions
  • results from an accident involving a common carrier
  • is a Presidentially declared disaster
  • is an event that the Secretary of the Treasury determines is catastrophic

A few examples of a qualifying personal hardship are:

  • Non-routine medical expense
  • Serious illness or injury
  • Fire, flood, or natural disaster (not a Qualified Disaster)
  • Domestic violence
  • Military deployment
  • Unemployment issues with family
  • Housing – Extraordinary expenses not covered by insurance

Review your organization’s guidelines to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria before proceeding with the application.

Application Process

Applying for an employee hardship fund usually involves the following steps:

1. Review Application Requirements: 

Carefully read through the fund’s application requirements, guidelines, and supporting documents needed for your submission. Please note that there may be a limited timeline for how long you have after a qualified hardship to apply. Additionally, there may be limitations on how many times you can receive a hardship relief grant per year.

2. Gather Supporting Documentation: 

Collect the necessary documents to support your application , such as pay stubs, medical bills, or any relevant financial statements. Ensure that these documents are up-to-date and accurately reflect your current financial situation. These documents will likely need to be printed on the company’s letterhead to ensure their validity.

3. Complete the Application Form: 

Fill out the employee hardship fund application form accurately and provide all the requested information. Be honest and thorough in explaining your financial hardship circumstances. While the selection committee may be empathetic to your circumstances, it is important that they review your claim by only the information you provide in the application. Always ensure that your documentation is submitted in full. 

4. Submit the Application: 

Once you have completed the application form and gathered all the required documentation, submit your application through the designated channel. This may include submitting it electronically via an online portal or delivering it to the HR department.

Confidentiality and Privacy

Employee hardship fund applications are typically handled with utmost confidentiality and privacy. Understand that the information you provide in your application will be treated as sensitive and protected. With Philanthropi, we take your privacy seriously. Our online form for submissions feeds all information into the Philanthropi system directly. Your organization and its staff are not involved in the decision-making process. Additionally, only relevant individuals from the Philanthropi team are involved in the review process.

Application Review and Assistance

After submitting your application, the employee hardship fund administrators will review your case based on the eligibility criteria and the available funds. The review process may take some time as the administrators carefully assess each application. At Philanthropi, we review applications on an ongoing basis to ensure that funds are processed for approval as soon as possible. Additionally, if an application does not include all of the information required with the first submission, Philanthropi will work with the employee directly to solidify all information before making an unbiased final decision.

 If approved, you will receive assistance based on the amount allocated by the fund and the nature of your financial hardship.

If denied, consider contacting the fund administrators to understand the reasons behind the decision. They may provide guidance on alternative resources or suggest steps you can take to improve your financial situation. Philanthropi prides itself on communication and transparency, so know that we are here to assist you in any way possible. While it is impossible to approve all application submissions, we are committed to working with you to find the best solution possible.

Employee hardship relief funds or qualified disaster relief funds offer valuable assistance to employees facing financial difficulties. However, the employee hardship relief fund application process can sometimes be confusing or overwhelming. By understanding the eligibility criteria, carefully completing the application process, and ensuring the confidentiality of your information, you can maximize your chances of receiving the support you need. If your organization provides an employee hardship fund, take advantage .

If your organization does not currently have an employee hardship relief fund, contact Philanthropi . We can assist you with customizing a solution for your organization.

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How to Write a Hardship Letter: The Ultimate Guide

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examples of personal statement for hardship fund

Writing Hardship Letters Made Easy: A Practical How-To Manual

Despite your best efforts, you might face obstacles that prevent you from fulfilling financial obligations and other promises. Suffering from an injury, losing a key source of income, or making an emergency payment can throw a wrench in your carefully thought-out budget.

If you’re struggling to resolve outstanding debts, consider writing a hardship letter.  Examples of hardship letters will include an explanation of financial situations to credit card issuers, banks, or lenders and a proposal of some way they can help you resume regular loan repayment.

Hardship letters can be a crucial part of your  debt resolution . If you have bills to pay or need a payment plan to catch up, a letter may be the right nudge you need to convince lenders to work with you.

[Get help today]

What Does Financial Hardship Mean?

A financial hardship occurs when a person cannot make payments toward their debt.

A financial hardship letter is the best way to explain why your account is behind schedule. Lenders may use them to determine whether to offer relief through reduced, deferred, or suspended payments.

Hardship Examples

There are a variety of situations that may qualify as hardship. Some reasons might be purely financial, while others may center around major life events. The most common examples of financial hardship include:

  • Illness or injury
  • Change of employment status
  • Job Loss or loss of income
  • Natural disasters
  • Military deployment

No matter what your reason is, it is important to be open and honest with your lenders about your financial hardship with relevant details. Show that you have a proposed solution with a reasonable payment extension and a commitment to repay what you owe, with a mutually beneficial solution.

What Is the Purpose of a Financial Hardship Letter?

Before you begin drafting your financial hardship letter, you need to decide on the goal of the letter. What financial assistance are you going to ask for specifically? There are several requests you can make to a creditor, collections agency, lender, or mortgage lender, including:

  • Suspending past-due amounts
  • Bringing your account's financial situation current
  • Adjusting your interest rate
  • Lower payment for minimum due
  • Loan modification
  • Agreeing to a short sale of a home
  • Considering a settlement option

If you’re not sure about your options, you can always work with a  personal financial counselor  who can help you explore your options. Our credit counselors are experienced in writing letters to creditors for multiple types of hardships, including life events, credit card, and debt.

Tips for Writing a Hardship Letter

1. keep it original.

The purpose of a financial hardship letter is to convey a sense of sincerity, honesty, and commitment to your lender. Directly copying a letter found online may not convey the right amount of integrity your lender is looking for.

Find a hardship letter template to use as a baseline for your own letter. Be sure to include information that is unique to your situation.

2. Be honest

If you say anything in the letter that seems false or is obviously untrue, be prepared to get rejected. Include current and accurate documentation to support any claims you make in the letter. You should also be prepared to dive into your situation at a greater length in person or on the phone.

3. Keep it concise

Although it’s tempting to give a full backstory, it’s important to be as brief and straightforward in the letter as possible. Do not go into unnecessary details and try to keep your letter to one page. Creditors are busy, and handing them a novel does not show that you are respectful of their time.

4. Don’t cast blame or shirk responsibility

A financial hardship letter is designed to explain circumstances, not point fingers. No matter how unfair your situation might be, an effort to deflect blame or a scapegoat in your hardship letter will be a red flag for the lender.

Instead, focus on describing the exact financial situation, your proposed solution, and why you need the creditor’s help to succeed.

5. Don’t use jargon or fancy words

A great way to keep your letter short and direct is by using simple language. Aim to write your letter at a sixth-grade level and don’t go overboard trying to impress the reader. Don’t forget to re-read your letter aloud for smoothness and clarity.

6. Keep your objectives in mind

Remember to focus on the reasons you are writing this financial hardship letter. You’re in a tricky situation; you need help, and you want to convince the creditor to help you. You must make it clear that you will only succeed with their help.

7. Provide the creditor an action plan

Telling the creditor exactly what you want from them makes it easier to help you. You’ve already done the hard work of coming up with a solution – now all they have to do is say yes.

Be specific with your direction and tell the creditor exactly what you want them to do. This could mean a simple “Contact me at your earliest convenience” to discuss your options further or asking them, “Please place my monthly payments on hold for the next 3 months.”

Whatever action you ask them to take,  you need to make it clear to them that this action is necessary for you to save the loan.

8. Talk to a Financial Counselor

A  financial counselor  can help you explore all of your options and ask for the right kind of help. The financial counselor will also review your letter before you send it to make sure you’ve communicated effectively and haven’t made any serious errors.

The writing process and content of a hardship letter can be personal. Our trained, certified financial counselors are committed to protecting your personal information, providing you with privacy and peace of mind.

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Financial Hardship Letters: Specific Writing Steps

Every hardship letter should be personalized, original, and direct. However, there are several different ways to format or plan the letter’s contents. Here is a quick breakdown of a common four-paragraph outline that can guide you in writing a hardship of your own.

How to Describe Your Financial Situation

The first paragraph should focus on introducing yourself and your particular situation. This will be the section that explains exactly what your hardship is and establishes your desire to work with the lender to continue paying off your financial obligation.

Here’s an example of a  medical hardship letter :

“I’m writing to you because I was unable to work for several months due to an injury. During this time, our emergency savings were exhausted by medical bills and we fell behind on our debts. Now that I am healed from my injury and ready to return to work, I believe I could resume regular payments if you would make adjustments to our loan.”

This paragraph works because it is brief. With only four lines, it doesn’t drag on and clearly explains the situation without too many unnecessary details. It also mentions that the borrower would be ready to resume payments if given a modification.

Of course, not every situation will be resolved. For example, you might not have an injury that has fully healed. If your hardship was permanent, you’ll have to explain that your financial circumstances have changed, but still intend to continue making payments with the creditor’s help.

Here’s an example of a  divorce hardship letter :

“Due to my recent divorce, my household has been reduced from two incomes to one. Because of this unforeseen circumstance and loss of income, I have fallen behind on my mortgage payments and sunk into credit card debt to stay afloat. I’m working with a debt counselor to come up with a budget plan to repay my monthly payments, which I think I can do with your help.”

Again, the focus is on explaining quickly what happened and why the borrower has fallen behind on your payments. It also mentioned that they believe they can resume making payments if the creditor agrees to work with them.

This paragraph is a great example of mentioning two types of adversities – a life event hardship and a mortgage hardship. If you have multiple hardships that contribute to your situation, you should list them all. Of course, try to avoid too many paragraphs and long, unbroken narratives.

Your Response to the Hardship

After you describe your hardship, it’s time to go into more specific details about what you are doing to resolve the situation. The second paragraph will focus on what you have done or are currently doing to resolve your hardship and keep up with your obligations.

Be clear and honest when describing the steps you have taken so far to provide a full picture of your situation. Ultimately, your actions alone will not be enough for you to resolve the situation, and the letter should support the idea that you need the creditor’s help. Avoid holding back and minimizing your situation.

For example:

“Since my divorce, I have worked hard to live under a restricted budget, but I have cut and reduced everything I can from my current financial situation and still don’t have enough to meet all of my obligations. Now that my divorce is final, my income and expenses have stabilized. While I don’t have enough to make ends meet under my current budget, I believe a reduction in payment amount for the next six months from you will enable me to resume making regular payments going forward.”

Remember, the goal of the financial hardship letter explains to your creditor that you need help from them. The letter has to establish that you need financial assistance if you are going to succeed.

What is the Goal of the Hardship Letter?

Now that you’ve stated your financial strain and discussed what you have done so far, you need to write more specific details of what you want from your creditor. This is the paragraph where you can directly ask what you expect the lender to do.

“I believe a lower interest rate would allow me to afford to make my payments going forward. I’d like to discuss this with you as soon as possible so we can work together to find a solution.”

Short and to-the point, this message tells the lender exactly what you expect, and what they should consider. By providing a mutually beneficial solution and the lender’s problems, you can prove that you are willing to do the work you are proposing.

The last paragraph is your conclusion. This is your chance to sincerely thank the lender for their time and express your hopes of working with them in the future to resolve circumstances.

You’ll also want to include supporting documentation to back up everything you have said so far. Be sure to include copies of relevant living expenses, medical bills, orders, letters, and any other paperwork to substantiate your hardship claims and mention their inclusion

I truly hope that you will consider working with me. I’ve enclosed copies of the accident report and medical records as documentation of my claims. Please reach back out at your earliest convenience so that I may begin to settle my outstanding loans.

A quick-end, signature, and date are all you need to wrap up your debt hardship letter. Remember to follow up once the letter has been sent by phone or in person.

Sample hardship letter:

Your Address

Your Credit Card Issuer and/or Lending Institution

Loan/Account Number: #

Dear [Get the name of the person in your creditor’s loss mitigation department and address it to that person directly],

[Paragraph 1-explain your situation, including any bona fide financial hardships that have resulted in your current delinquency.]

[Paragraph 2- discuss what you have done so far to correct your situation, and why you are unable to manage the situation on your own.]

[State what you want the creditor to do to help you succeed, and say why you think success will be guaranteed if you gain the creditor’s assistance.]

[Mention enclosures or attachments that you are including to corroborate everything you’ve said above. Sincerely thank the creditor for their consideration, and invite them to contact you by your preferred method.]

Your Contact Info

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Sample Hardship Letter

Writing A Hardship Fund Application Letter

There are numerous situations in which you may need to write a hardship letter. Depending on your situation and which fund you are writing to, the things that have to be included in the letter will vary substantially. In the vast majority of cases, the letter is designed to appeal for funds to pay for an unexpected expense, such as a funeral, or to ask a creditor for an extension on costs. Either way, there are a number of key things that you have to include in your hardship letter.

How to Write a Hardship Fund Application Letter

The key thing to remember is that you need to be open and honest about your situation. If you have waited for a very long time with writing your letter, particularly if it is in relation to a loan or a mortgage, you also have to outline why you did not consider communicating with your creditor sooner. The letter should not be one in which you beg, but rather one in which you explain what is wrong, why you need help, how long you will need help, and what you aim to do in order to get back on track.

Checklist of Requirements

There are a few things that you have to remember to include in your hardship letter. It doesn’t matter whom you are writing it to. There are a number of criteria that you have to meet. Usually, you also have to follow a specific format. Hence, find out those requirements first. Your letter should, at the very least, include:

  • Your personal details
  • The date it was written
  • Your case or customer number, if you have one
  • The type of hardship request you want to make
  • Why you are in hardship
  • How you have tried avoiding being in hardship, and why this was unsuccessful
  • How you intend to improve your situation
  • Your gratefulness for the consideration given to you
  • Details of any documents that you have included to support your letter

Overall, your letter should be just one page long. Make sure that you ask someone to proofread it for you. You have to make sure that there are no mistakes in the letter.

When Can You Not Write a Hardship Letter

Hardship describes a situation in which you are truly not able to meet certain responsibilities due to situations beyond your control. You are not, for instance, in hardship if you spent your savings on a five star all inclusive vacation and then found that your mortgage monthly amortization cannot be paid. If you have voluntarily left your job or reduced your hours, if you chose not to have certain forms of common insurance in place, or if you are unwilling to remove certain unnecessary expenses from your budget, then it is unlikely that you will be accepted for a hardship grant.

Nobody wants to be in a situation where they need to write a hardship letter. However, certain situations do happen and it is important to know that help is out there for you. Writing a letter is not overly complicated if you follow the tips provided above.

Hardship Fund Application Letter Example

{Name} {Address} {Phone #}

Dear {Hardship Fund board/administrator}:

I would like to apply for financial relief under the {name of hardship fund}. As an {employee/union member}, I realize the {strike/work stoppage/temporary layoff} was necessary. However, our family just doesn’t have the financial cushion to weather the time without a paycheck.

Our savings and monetary resources are limited due to {reason}. Therefore, we can only go without salary for {time period} before {we face eviction/utilities are shut off/etc.}. A grant of just {amount} would be enough to stave off disaster.

Thank you for considering offering relief. The generosity of {donors/union members/etc.} is much appreciated.

{Sender Name}

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examples of personal statement for hardship fund

examples of personal statement for hardship fund

The Student Hardship Fund

The Aberystwyth University Student Hardship Fund is a discretionary fund that provides support to students who may be at risk of leaving University due to financial difficulties.

The Fund is open to both home and international students successfully progressing at a minimum of 50% (60 credits) of a full-time degree course in Aberystwyth. If you are a Postgraduate student you are eligible to apply up to 12 months after your registration period. The Fund is not open to you if you are studying on a distance learning course or YES Placement.

What the fund can help with

  • Hardship arising from genuine, unforeseen or unexpected circumstances for which you have not been able to plan
  • Financial difficulties resulting from a genuine shortfall of your income and essential expenditure
  • Short term financial hardship. For example, delays with Student Finance.
  • Assistance with covering the cost of your study needs report

What the fund cannot help with

  • If you have insufficient arrangements to fund your studies at point of entry.
  • If you are temporary withdrawn or not currently registered
  • If you need financial assistance with your research and/or fieldwork. These are not considered unexpected.
  • Assistance with any debts you may have

Making an application

  • You can complete an online application form here
  • You may be asked to meet with a Student Adviser to discuss your application. This meeting will be informal and will provide you with an opportunity to discuss your individual circumstances in detail.
  • Make sure that your bank details are up to date on your student record otherwise we will not be able to pay you an award.
  • Ensure all relevant supporting evidence has been uploaded with your application. A Student Adviser will be in touch if anything is missing but this can delay the process.

What happens next

  • You will be notified of the outcome by email within 10 working days and any award will be paid within a further 5 working days.
  • If you have no money for food during this time please get in touch with one of the Advice and Money team to let them know as we can potentially offer emergency support.
  • You can only apply to the fund once per term (Unless your previous application was rejected)
  • If you need to reapply to the fund you will need meet with an Adviser to discuss your financial circumstances.
  • Reapplications will only be considered if there has been a significant change in your circumstances.
  • Please be aware you may be referred to a food bank for further support.

Supporting Evidence

  • Please Highlight any transactions over £100 and note what they were for.
  • The evidence needs to clearly show what overdraft facility you have.
  • You will need to upload evidence for all accounts, including savings accounts, international accounts and any currency vaults or pots within those.
  • When downloading your transactions from your online account you will need to select the dates 'From' and 'To' - then download as a PDF document.
  • The Tenancy agreement or 'Contract' needs to be for where you are currently living.
  • It will need to have your name clearly shown and the dates of your tenancy.
  • If the amount of rent is not on your contract then you will need to provide proof of this separately.
  • If you are in University residences then you do not need to upload any evidence of this.
  • If you are getting funding from Student Finance then you will need to upload your 'Letter of entitlement' confirming your funding.
  • It needs to be confirmation for the current academic year.
  • If you get your funding from anywhere else you will need to upload evidence of this.
  • If you have not received the full amount of funding you are entitled to please state this on your application.
  • You will be asked to provide a personal statement in the application.
  • This will need to explain the reasons why you are in financial difficulty and the steps you have already taken to address them.
  • Please be as honest as possible in your personal statement.
  • You may be asked for additional evidence depending on your situation.
  • Evidence of your EPA
  • Evidence of debt repayments you have
  • Evidence of any benefits you receive

Assessments and Awards

  • We will calculate your income and essential expenditure to see if there is a shortfall
  • We will assume that students have made adequate provision to come to University
  • We will use a figure for calculating essential outgoings
  • If you have a shortfall we will award 50% of this shortfall
  • If there is no shortfall over the year then we will award a 'Short term' award
  • This award is for basic living for 4 weeks and will be £260
  • This basic living award is to help you with food whilst you find alternative income
  • You will be notified of any award to your University email
  • Payments will be made into your UK bank account which is outlined on your student record
  • If you're not happy with the award you can discuss this with a member of the team
  • If you are unhappy with the award decision then an initial appointment should be made with a Student Adviser to discuss the outcome. You can request representation and advice from the Students Union if required.
  • In this meeting the Student Adviser will explain to you how the application was assessed and how the decision was determined.
  • Guidelines for assessing applications may be explained to you and if you have further evidence your application may be reviewed.
  • If you remain unhappy with the decision after this review then you are still able to make a formal appeal.
  • Evidence, not available at the time of your application.
  • Evidence of procedural irregularities.
  • Appeals should be made in writing to Student Support and Careers Services. We will aim to give a decision in writing within 14 working days. If an appeal is submitted, all parties will be notified in writing of the date, time, location etc. of the appeal hearing.
  • A Senior Manager from Student Support and Careers Services
  • Assistant Director of the Finance Department


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How to Write a Winning Scholarship Personal Statement With Examples

In this article, we’ll talk you through why a scholarship personal statement is important and questions to brainstorm before you get started.

We have great tips for how to adapt your statement depending on what the prompt question is, what to include and three examples of winning scholarship personal statements.

Our favourite statements use life experiences as a metaphor for success. One makes a connection between high jumping and medical school!

We also loved hearing about an aspiring party planner who spotted a niche in the market which led to a scholarship and a computer science star helping his local community online.

Table of Contents

What is a scholarship personal statement.

  • Tips for writing an Effective Scholarship Personal Statement – what should you include?

Scholarship Personal Statement Example #1

How to adapt your scholarship personal statement.

  • Scholarship Personal Statement Example #2
  • Scholarship Personal Statement Example #3

Brainstorming questions for your personal statement

Why is writing a winning scholarship personal statement important.

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

scholarship personal statement

It’s a short essay or paragraph about yourself, written for the purpose of applying for scholarships.

It should focus on your strengths and explain why you deserve the money being offered by the scholarship provider.

Remember that a scholarship might be money that can pay for school fees, accommodation or living expenses, or take the form of a portion of your school fees being paid for you so you should be clear about what you are applying for and make sure your statement mentions this.

A personal statement should sound honest and genuine in order to stand out from the competition.

Show them what makes you unique, such as your interests and achievements, and explain you deserve financial support from the scholarship provider.

A good way to do this is by sharing stories that showcase your passion for certain causes or topics related to your field of study or career goals.

Additionally, make sure that your language is appropriate; avoid using slang words or phrases that may not be understood by those reading your application materials.

Finally, keep in mind that shorter sentences tend to be more effective than longer ones when it comes to writing personal statements and stick to the word count!

Tips for writing an Effective Scholarship Personal Statement- what should you include?

1. identify your motivation for seeking a scholarship.

Explain the reasons why you need a scholarship.

Commonly, these can include financial hardship in your family, not having any close family support, coming from a single-parent or foster-parent home, parents who are disabled or out of work, coming from a low-income family or neighbourhood, and receiving government assistance like food stamps and housing aid.

List all of these reasons in your scholarship personal statement along with any other relevant information that might help the committee understand why you need their help paying for college tuition fees.

Make it clear that these challenges have made you stronger!

Explain why you deserve the scholarship by listing all of your achievements and successes that have led up to this point in time – be sure to emphasize anything that shows off your intellectual abilities as well as any awards or recognition related to these achievements such as being an honour roll student or National Merit Scholar designation.

Talk about your future goals and make it clear how obtaining a degree will help further those goals – this could include anything from pursuing an advanced degree in medicine to becoming an entrepreneur who needs business knowledge to create jobs in your hometown.

2. Write about a challenge you have faced and how you overcame it

Writing about a challenge you have faced and how you overcame it can make a great personal statement for scholarships.

You will show potential scholarship providers that you have the determination, perseverance, and resilience to overcome obstacles in order to achieve success – in other words, the challenge is a metaphor.

Additionally, sharing what lessons you learned from the experience will demonstrate your maturity, flexibility and ability to learn from difficult situations.

Colleges and scholarship awarding bodies are looking for positive people who are hard workers.

Explaining how this challenge helped make you stronger will make your application stand out from others in a positive way.

3. Talk about an interest or passion of yours

Talking about an interest or passion can help you write an effective personal statement for scholarships because it gives you the opportunity to share your motivation, achievement, leadership, and commitment.

By discussing these topics in your statement, you will be able to showcase why this particular field is important to you and how it has impacted your life.

This will help scholarship selection committees understand why they should award you with a scholarship and recognize your potential contributions as a future leader in the field.

In example #2 above, Sara wrote a fantastic personal statement about her passion for making parties affordable and personalised for ordinary people.

Volunteering at a retirement community, I was able to use my party planning skills for completely unique parties – ‘grandma’ baby showers!

So many of the residents were excited about becoming grandparents or great-parents but were far from family.

I created personalised party kits with cakes, balloons and banners for a relatively low cost and it was a wonderful way for residents to share baby photos and feel that they were included in the celebrations.

In the future, I intend to use my degree in event planning to set up my career as a party planner, specialising in events for seniors.

She went on to explain that she had made enough money from this unique service to put herself through 2 years of community college and intended to continue on a smaller scale while studying full-time.

4. Explain how a scholarship will help you achieve your goals

Your statement needs to give the awarding committee a clear understanding of what the scholarship will provide and how it will help you achieve your goals.

• ‘I would like to study X because it will help me achieve my career goals’ doesn’t really give enough information.

• ‘ I plan on transferring to School X after receiving my Associate degree from College Y in order to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in Z field of study’ is better – but it doesn’t really make your application stand out.

• ‘My long-term career goal is to become an ABC practitioner/specialist with a Master’s Degree in XYZ field of study from University ABC by 2025, in order to help disadvantaged youth in the region reach their full potential.’ tells them how helping you to achieve your goals might help other people.

5. Provide details about your education so far

There’s no need to talk in too much detail, but remember that the committee will have a huge stack of applications to look at and it’s helpful for them not to have to keep flipping between your CV/resume and your personal statement.

Mentioning that you graduated High School with a 3.8 GPA and have been accepted to XYZ university to study Social Sciences with the aim of becoming a social worker will help them stay focused on the big picture.

6. Add any other information that will strengthen your application

When writing a personal statement for scholarships, it is essential to include information that can’t be found in your resume or transcript. This includes

  • painting a picture of who you are
  • sharing something about yourself that isn’t already known
  • showcasing your strengths.

Additionally, it should complement the other parts of your application and relate to the scholarship provider’s goals.

Finally, it can acknowledge any weaknesses but focus primarily on positive aspects and how any setbacks have made you stronger and more resilient.

7. Conclude with a statement of determination

A statement of determination reinforces your strengths and shows the granting committee that you are determined to succeed.

By ending with a brief summary of why you are the best candidate, right after stating how this scholarship will fund your degree, it will impress the readers and make them more likely to award you with the scholarship.

8. Proofread and revise your work carefully

  • Take a break from the computer: Give yourself at least a 12-hour break before you start editing your work to give your brain and eyes time to relax.
  • Read your essay from top to bottom: Read your essay several times from beginning to end, paying extra close attention to spelling, grammar, punctuation, capital letters and sentence structure.
  • Have someone else read it over for a fresh perspective and help catch anything you missed during the reading process.

9. Include a relevant essay title

Why is this point 9 and not point 1? You never know how the direction of your essay might change during the writing process!

A relevant essay title can help provide a clear focus and direction for an effective personal statement for scholarship but be prepared to be flexible. Jessie’s essay, which we looked at earlier, ended up having the title ‘Setting the bar high’ which was a great play on words and referred both to high-jumping and the goal of achieving a medical degree.

By including a relevant essay title, you are able to write an opening paragraph that is both engaging and persuasive, thus increasing your chances of winning a scholarship.

10. Follow the instructions given by the scholarship provider

Research the scholarship you are applying for and familiarize yourself with its requirements and criteria.

Make sure that all documents required by the scholarship provider (including transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) are included with your application package when submitting it.

Then proofread again!

When writing a personal statement for a scholarship, it is important to focus on why you deserve the award and how it will benefit your future.

The statement should be concise and interesting, while still providing enough information about yourself to demonstrate why you are deserving of the scholarship.

It is also important to include relevant details such as volunteer work, academic achievements, or extracurricular activities that have helped shape who you are today.

A good example of a scholarship personal statement can be found below:

(Free topic) – Setting the bar high

Every Saturday morning I spend three hours throwing myself backwards over a high jump bar in a feat that seems impossible. If you flinch or hesitate, you will crash into the bar and be out of the competition. When I was younger, and dreaming of being a doctor, some teachers thought I was setting the bar too high and advised me to aim lower. I approached my academic studies with the same determination as the high jump and have been offered a place at medical school.

I grew up in a very conservative small town in the south, where there are a lot of team sports for boys but few for girls past the age of 12. I came to high jumping quite late compared to other sports, when I was 13. I came 4 th in the under-14 state championship the following year and took 3 rd in the under-15s. What was interesting was that several of my teachers were very encouraging about me going to college and playing sports but nobody took me seriously when I told them I wanted to study medicine.

As I got stronger and started attempting higher and higher jumps in competition, my grades went up too. The confidence I got from winning medals and being a role model to other young athletes was reflected in my success in the classroom. The motto of the college I will attend is Vim Promovet Insitam, or ‘learning promotes one’s innate power’. The more I learn, in class and on the sports field, the stronger I feel, and more able to achieve my dreams and help others.

My family have always encouraged me to be the best I can be. My parents have raised me and my 4 siblings with good values, to rise to a challenge and to understand the importance of teamwork and supporting our community. I hope that one day I can come back here to practice medicine at the local hospital – and coach high jump at the weekends!

If you have written a good statement for a free topic (meaning you choose what to write about) it’s possible to adapt that essay and use it to answer other questions, so you can apply for several scholarships at the same time!

Common topics to prepare essays for:

1.      A challenge you overcame

2.      an important life event.

3.      An important community issue

4.      How you want to change the world

5.      how you are from an under-represented group in this program, 6.      what values are important to you.

Look again at the essay above and you can see how with some small changes, particularly in the introduction and conclusion, the essay could be adapted to suit all these questions.

Jessie is talking about not being considered ‘smart’ enough to be a future medical student in the context of the challenge of high jumping.

Using the word challenge, with synonyms such as ‘difficulty’, also changing the form of the word and using common collocations (challenging, challenged, rise to the challenge, greatest challenge) really ties the statement to the question.

Jessie could focus more on how being selected for the regional team and winning 1 st place in the regional competition showed her that she was capable of academic excellence and succeeding at anything she put her mind to.

3.      An important community issue to you

This would be a challenging angle for this essay, but we would suggest focusing on the lack of female role models encouraging young women to join sports teams in her neighbourhood.

There are usually many more sports teams for boys but girls are under-represented. Perhaps Jessie could also talk about the privilege of mentoring younger teammates and encouraging academic excellence as well.

Jessie might talk more about the importance of affordable, accessible health care to all and make the link between children being healthy and being able to attend school.

Not all students will be from an under-represented group. However, if you are, there are different ways to approach this question.

If Jessie felt comfortable discussing identifying as queer, then writing about the challenges of being an LGBTQ+ student in her small, conservative town would be appropriate.

Jessie could also talk about her racial or cultural heritage as a child of minority parents who immigrated to the USA when she was young.

If she had a physical disability, that would also be an appropriate topic to discuss. What’s important in this type of question is honesty and candour.

Jessie could focus on the importance of focus and determination.

Remembering the motto of the school she was accepted to, she can talk about the importance of helping empower young people to believe in themselves and their potential for success.

She could also talk about the importance of compassion – trying to move past being hurt by the lack of encouragement from her teachers in the early stages of her education.

Even better she could talk about gratitude for their help later on when she blew past all their expectations for her, as a role model for other young women.

Scholarship Personal Statement: Example #2

‘A creative way to solve a problem’

Volunteering at a retirement community, I thought of the perfect way to help pay my way through Junior College. I was able to use my party planning skills for completely unique parties – ‘grandma’ baby showers!

Growing up, I was raised by a single mom my who always encouraged me to study hard and aim for college. I got babysitting jobs as soon as I could and started earning a little extra money helping some of the parents throw birthday parties for their children. This was the beginning of a love of helping plan unique and special events and working towards my dream job of becoming an events coordinator. I needed to find a way to put myself through school to get an event management degree.

As well as babysitting and a few waitressing shifts that fit with my classes, I volunteered once a week to run a crafts class for local seniors. I realized that many of the residents were excited about becoming grandparents or great-parents but were often far from family or couldn’t travel easily. With the support of the care workers, I threw a ‘grandma baby shower’ for one of my favourite ladies there and was inundated with requests for more.

I created personalised party kits with cakes, balloons and banners for a relatively low cost and it was a wonderful way for residents to share baby photos and feel that they were included in the celebrations. The money I earned was enough to pay my share of the rent and bills at home and I am starting to save for state college. A scholarship to help pay tuition costs will mean I can continue my party business at the weekends to pay my other expenses and otherwise focus on my studies.

In the future, I intend to use my degree in event planning and my love of creative problem solving to set up my own business as a party planner, hire community college students to work part-time for me and specialise in events for seniors.

Scholarship Personal Statement: Example #3

Prompt – Why do you deserve this scholarship?

My name is John Abrams and by helping me, you’ll be indirectly helping many other students in the future. I am a student, a leader, a tutor and a future employer.

I am currently pursuing my undergraduate degree in Computer Science at XYZ State College. I maintain a 4.0 GPA and am an active member of several student organizations on campus including the Coding Club and the local Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer team.

I have tutored classmates in IT, science and math throughout my own high school years and now coordinate a group tutoring middle school and Junior High school students online. I’ve been able to procure tutoring jobs for several of my fellow students in this way, thanks to parents recommending me to their friends and asking me to introduce them to reliable tutors for their children. It made me realize that I am good at finding the right people for the right jobs and will put this skill to excellent use in the future.

During the pandemic, I volunteered with the ABC online Coding Club, helping kids from lower-income families learn to code, interact with other students online in a safe environment and encourage them to consider studying computer science in the future. As well as working on coding through popular games, we worked on some community projects as well, with the kids designing some interactive features for our local animal shelter’s website. Everybody loved it and the shelter got a lot of extra traffic on social media leading to increased adoptions. I believe that volunteering is the best way to appreciate what we already have and a few hours a week can make all the difference in the community.

My goal is to one day use my skills to set up an outstanding online tutoring business with a focus on IT and coding for kids and teens, doing projects to learn new skills that can also benefit worthy causes in the students’ own communities.

Before you start – use these questions to brainstorm ideas then go through the tips step by step to make sure you have covered all the important information.

  • What do you want to do professionally when you graduate? Why do you want to do it?
  • What kinds of things do you need to learn in order to get where you want to go? How will the things you need to learn help you?
  • Does the school have a reputable program? (How did you hear about it?)
  • Does it have a well-known faculty? • Does it have state-of-the art facilities ? • Does it have a great network of graduates who could be mentors?
  • Emotional barriers or challenges you have faced and how they have helped shape you into the person you are today.
  • Key events or key people from your life that have influenced and inspired you.
  • Accomplishments, events, and realizations that sparked periods of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  • Volunteer work or community service activities that have shaped who you are today and what they have taught you.
  • What is your best quality?
  • What makes you unique?
  • How could winning this scholarship benefit other people?

1. It gives you the opportunity to showcase your strengths and qualifications

You are giving the reader an in-depth look at who you are as a person as well as your qualifications.

A well-written personal statement adds meaning to the information collected in other parts of your application and gives readers an opportunity to get a better sense of who you are as an individual.

Additionally, it shows how factors outside of your school environment have enhanced or impeded your ability to maximize available academic opportunities.

A strong personal statement can help ensure that you receive the scholarship or program that best fits your needs while showcasing the qualities that make you worthy of financial support.

2. Helps the awarding body understand why you are deserving of their scholarship

Writing a winning scholarship personal statement helps the awarding body understand why you are deserving of their scholarship by providing them with the necessary information to make an informed decision.

By including anecdotes, examples, and personal stories in your essay, you can highlight your strengths and accomplishments while also showing them why you need the money.

Additionally, providing specific reasons as to why you deserve the scholarship will help them see that you are truly deserving of their support.

Ultimately, writing a stand-out essay will help win over their hearts and minds so that they know they’re giving it to someone who truly needs it and deserves it.

If the scholarship is for a small amount (every little helps) such as $500, make it clear what you will spend it on – books, or software – and it’s a great idea to say how you could share these or pass them on to other students later.

3. Allows you to focus on your own personal story and goals

Writing a winning scholarship personal statement helps you focus on your own personal story and goals by giving you the opportunity to tell your story in a unique way that highlights the lessons you have learned, the changes you have made, and the goals you are working towards.

If possible, make your experiences a metaphor for success.

For example, we were very impressed by the story of Jessie, who received a scholarship to help pay for medical school following her success as a high school regional high-jumping champion. She wrote,

‘Every Saturday morning I spend three hours throwing myself backwards over a high-jump bar in a feat that seems impossible. If you flinch, or hesitate, you will crash into the bar and be out of the competition. When I was younger, and dreaming of being a doctor, some teachers thought I was setting the bar too high and advised me to aim lower. I approached my academic studies with the same determination as the high-jump bar and have been offered a place at medical school. ‘

The motto of the university she would attend is Vim Promovet Insitam, or ‘learning promotes one’s innate power’. Later in her statement, she used this motto to make the point that the more success she had academically, the more confidence she gained in high-jumping, and vice-versa. This a great way to connect her chosen school and her suitability for both the course and a scholarship!’

4. Allows you to showcase your writing skills

Writing a winning scholarship personal statement requires you to be concise, authentic, and grammatically correct.

You need varied sentence structure and a logical movement from point to point.

Avoiding clichés such as “from a young age” or inspirational quotes will help make your statement feel unique without sounding like everyone else’s.

You will be able to impress scholarship committees with an impressive, unique piece of work that stands out from the rest.

5. Helps you prepare for other scholarship applications

Writing a scholarship personal statement helps you prepare for other scholarship applications by giving you practice in crafting a compelling narrative that showcases your potential.

You will ‘tweak’ every statement to make it fit the application but you won’t need to start from the beginning every time, so it’s important to keep all your applications organised.

Each one you write gives you valuable experience in presenting yourself as an attractive candidate while also gaining insight into what types of narratives are most effective in winning over judges.

This knowledge can then be applied when preparing for other scholarship applications.

6. Provides you with an opportunity to reflect and be proud of your accomplishments

As Jessie said, the more we learn the more inner power we have. Sometimes we can get caught up in academic work and can forget our goals or motivation.

Writing scholarship personal statements helps you reflect on your past experiences and achievements and learn from them.

It gives you the opportunity to showcase your strengths, such as resilience, determination, leadership skills, teamwork ability and more.

It also allows you to show progress from where you are and where you are headed in the future.

7. Helps you connect with the awarding body

Scholarship personal statements can help you connect with the awarding body by providing an insight into your background, experiences, and achievements that is not available by just looking at your GPA or letters of recommendation.

By sharing your story and highlighting what makes you special, you can create a connection with the awarding body that will make them more likely to choose you over other candidates.

It’s so important to research the awarding body – do any of them work on non-profit or community projects that connect to your experience and what you want to study?

Sara’s experience, detailed below, is a great example of an innovative idea tailored to an application, that helped her get both a place at a prestigious college and a substantial scholarship.

8. Could lead to a valuable monetary prize

The value of writing a winning scholarship personal statement is immense.

Writing a strong personal statement can help you stand out from the competition and give you the opportunity to earn multiple scholarships that could potentially cover all or part of your college expenses.

The more you practice, the better you get.

Keep and organise all your applications to save time in the future.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the purpose of a scholarship personal statement.

It’s to provide an opportunity for applicants to humanize their profile beyond their transcript, GPA, and test scores by highlighting their personality, values, goals, and what makes them special.

The specific goal of the personal statement depends on the scholarship on offer. For example, for scholarships that aim to provide opportunities for students with career ambitions in the non-profit field may be looking for applicants with strong technical skills or civic-minded community service leaders of the future.

By reading your personal statement along with your academic record and other application materials such as the achievements/activities list, scholarship review committees can make decisions about who they think are the best candidates to receive a scholarship.

What should the format of a scholarship personal statement look like?

If there are no specific instructions regarding font and layout, we recommend that you have one-inch margins on all sides, double-spaced lines, no additional line spaces between paragraphs, and 12-point Times New Roman font.

Write out an outline for your essay, making sure it flows smoothly from topic to topic and makes sense as written.

How can I make sure my scholarship personal statement stands out?

  • Be organized and gather all necessary materials correctly, including correct grammar, professional writing style and any necessary documents such as letters of recommendation and transcripts.
  • Ensure that your personal statement honestly depicts who you are by using anecdotes to illustrate your unique personality and portraying who you really are overall. People remember stories so choose your best story!
  • Make sure that your personal statement follows a logical structure and is well organized; think about how it may sound to an audience who doesn’t know you and revise for clarity in content and style accordingly.
  • Read over your writing with others for feedback on grammar rules, punctuation use/mistakes and clarity in content/style before submitting it to prestigious scholarship advisors if applicable for editing help with rewrites if necessary

How can I ensure that my scholarship personal statement is really original?

  • Stay away from cliches! Brainstorm and outline your personal statement using the questions above. This will help ensure that your statement is organized, concise, and free of clichés.
  • Use correct grammar and language skills: Make sure that you have excellent grammar and language skills when writing your personal statement; this will make it easier for the scholarship committee to understand what you are trying to say without getting distracted by mistakes.
  • Ensure variety in sentence structure. The shortest sentences can be used for making the most important point for added impact.

How can I incorporate my experiences in my scholarship personal statement?

  • As above – Brainstorm: Think about your life story thus far, including notable personality traits, skills, accomplishments, passions, difficulties and obstacles, goals, extracurricular activities and inspirational people.
  • Be authentic: Make sure that every personal statement for scholarship applications talks honestly and truthfully about your experiences.
  • Choose examples: Select between three or four examples that demonstrate your preparedness for future studies, your determination to succeed and your flexibility in the face of challenges.
  • Try to mention an experience or quality that is important to the awarding body. For example, the Lions Club Scholarships are awarded by a group that values good citizenship and community involvement above all else. Make sure there is a clear link between your story, your qualities, your financial needs and the organisation to which you are applying.

Related Articles

  • Guide to Writing a Winning Personal Statement for University
  • Personal Statement versus Statement of Purpose
  • Staff & students

Writing a postgraduate personal statement

The personal statement is your chance to differentiate yourself from the other applicants applying for your programme, and to describe why we should offer you a place to study with us.

Primary page content

Your personal statement should be unique to you and tailored to the programme you're applying for - make sure you include the title of the programme. Lengthwise, it should be around 2 sides of A4 and written in formal English.

Before you upload your personal statement, get someone you trust to check it over. Be especially careful to check the spelling and grammar. The statement is supposed to demonstrate your writing skills and so there should be no mistakes.

Normally applications are read by an Admissions Tutor. They will more than likely be reading lots of applications from people with similar qualifications, which is why your personal statement really needs to stand out.

David Winstanley, former Head of Recruitment and Admissions, explains how to write a postgraduate personal statement

What should I include? 

Make sure your personal statement includes the following things:

Why have you chosen this particular programme?

Because the Admissions Tutor will probably teach on the programme you're applying for, they will be particularly interested in hearing about your passion for the course.

Take a look at the programme content carefully and work out what interests you about it. You can then make sure that your statement outlines how your interests match what's taught within the programme. You should discuss what you've studied in the past, including any relevant research or programme work you might have done, and show how the studying you've done is relevant to the course you're applying for. If you can, try and include subject-specific language that shows you have a grasp of the topic.

Also think about why you particularly want to study at Goldsmiths, for example, particular academic staff. It is useful to look at the staff profile of the programme leader on the relevant departmental webpage to find out about their interests. 

Your experience

As well as discussing your studies, you could also mention extracurricular activities, membership of clubs or societies, or relevant work experience that you have undertaken.

Focus on the skills that this experience has given you and how they are relevant to the programme you want to study.

If you are applying to a practical programme then discuss your relevant background in this area. Similarly, if you are applying for a theoretical programme, it would be helpful to demonstrate your knowledge in this area.

Future plans  

How could studying this programme help you in the future? Highlight any career aspirations that you might have and how studying this programme will help you achieve them.

  • Remember to use the title of the programme you’re applying for
  • Check your spelling and grammar: The statement demonstrates your writing skills and so there should be no mistakes
  • Be positive: The statement should present your most positive aspects, so avoid statements like ‘I have no knowledge of’
  • Be concise: Your statement should be 1-2 pages long
  • Get the document checked by someone you trust

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