There are many Internet websites offering to assist students in preparing college and scholarship essays. Subsequently, there is a great deal of advice as to what college admissions officers and scholarship providers are looking for in compelling student essays. University of Pennsylvania Professor, Angela Lee Duckworth, has been engaging in research regarding the qualities of successful students, which she refers to as, “Grit.” Many colleges and universities are considering her research as a component of how they assess student essays, particularly students from lower-income backgrounds who have to overcome uncommonly difficulty obstacles. See Professor Duckworth’s comments about “Grit,” which she describes as, “passion and perseverance for very long-term goals, having stamina, sticking with your future— day in or day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years.”

Professor Duckworth also comments on the attributes of high achievement in any field.

Click here for a link is to an essay of a student who expressed such grit in their college essay.

In addition to demonstrating “Grit” in your essays, in my book,Show Me the Money: Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Making the Right College Choice,” I talk about the importance of reflecting the noncognitive variables used by readers of the Gates Millennium Scholars essays:

  • Self-Concept
  • Realistic Self-Appraisal
  • Handling System/Racism
  • Long-Range Goals
  • Leadership
  • Strong Support Person
  • Community
  • Nontraditional Learning

It is important to allow yourself sufficient time to write, review, and re-write your essays many times to ensure that you tell your story in a very compelling way.