Stella Gitelman Willoughby, an incoming freshman at Berklee College of Music, received the Opp U Achievers Scholarship in May 2018. I stumble daily—literally from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and seizures, metaphorically from autism, dyslexia, and a mood disorder.
Every moment is unpredictable; I balance precariously.
At each performance and with every award, I recall my unsteady journey to this blissful moment. My goal is to be a professional classical music composer. Tomorrow I may wake up feeling physically or emotionally insecure. Through my music I hope to bring beauty and joy to others, and inspire strength in them to confront their challenges.
My joints or ligaments might feel particularly tight or abnormally loose, I may be overwhelmed by assignments, struggle with hearing loss I experience with seizures, or simply be over-stimulated by fluorescent lighting. I will start anew, equipped with blank staff paper and a pencil. My dream is that one day a child will be so moved by my music that she will say, “I too want to write music!
This is the wrong approach, and it’s unlikely to produce good results.
A scholarship review committee might read thousands of essays to choose a single recipient.
No matter what the essay topic is, scholarship committees want to get to know you—and decide whether you’re the person they want to award the scholarship to. If you feel like what the review committee is looking for isn’t what you have to offer, consider finding a scholarship that better matches your qualifications.3. Once you actually start writing, it’s important to follow the formal rules of essay composition. If you don’t, you’re wasting opportunities to convince the review committee that you’re the right person to receive the award.
Remember the class you took on how to structure an essay? (And make no mistake, other candidates will be using all of that space to make the case for themselves.)Because scholarships are so competitive, it’s important to do everything you can to distinguish yourself.
At Opp U, we carefully review hundreds of essays to choose the next recipient of our scholarship.
For the applicants, there’s a lot on the line—,500 to be exact.