How to Win Scholarships - 2.2 Capture Your Readers Attention
Capture Your Reader’s Attention. Statements and responses need to be concise, which means you cannot waste any words. You must capture the reader’s attention immediately. Keep in mind that they are often reading dozens of applications.
You simply cannot afford to say things that your competitors are writing. This means that you must stand out from the very first sentence. You can’t begin your application with a vague statement. Too often, applicants begin their text with something like: I am applying for the Community Success Award because I am passionate about community. This sentence doesn’t say anything that is not true for every applicant.
The reader knows what you are applying for. Based on the fact that you’re applying, they will infer that you care about making a difference in your community. These are wasted words. Instead, you want to say something unique that conveys your personality, and goals or experience. Write something that is interesting and gives the reader a hint of who you are. An example of a sentences that is likely to stand out is: I have participated in the STAR program at my local community centre since I was ten years old. An opening sentence like this tells the reader that you have personally benefited and been involved with your community.
You would need to follow this sentence up with something explaining what the STAR program is and what you have done as a participant. Don’t write more than one or two sentences explaining this. Another example of an intriguing opening sentence is: On September 18, 2012, I did not know that my life was about to change as I walked into the Sunnyvale Community Centre. This sentence is so interesting because it is written in a non-fiction narrative style, that is, it works like a form of storytelling. You’ve hooked the reader who now wants to know what happened on September 18, 2012 and how your life changed.
Their attention is focused as they continue reading a couple of sentences answering these questions. Now they know something about you and your motivations and your application stands out from the many that opened with “I am applying to the Community Success Award because I am passionate about community.”