Expert tips for writing a successful scholarship essay

As your Scout eyes higher education, he or she will likely want some help figuring out how to finance their future endeavors. Scholarships make higher education more accessible as they reduce the burden of educational expenses.

But how can your Scout stand out on a scholarship application?

Listing that you’re a Scout (or Eagle Scout) definitely can help. Writing an outstanding essay can also prove beneficial.

Spencer Long, an Eagle Scout and founder of the BSA Alumni Educators affinity group, shared with us how to write an essay that’ll catch scholarship reviewers’ attention. Some tips he recommends include:

  • Research the organization rewarding the scholarship. As you write, align your responses to the values or purpose of the organization.
  • Answer the essay prompt being asked. Take time to reflect on the prompt and its intent.
  • Use the “STAR” method. The essay tells your story. Use this method to tell a complete story by sharing a situation, task, action and result you encountered and took.

Two recent NESA scholarship winners, Eden Tillotson and John Andrew Segebarth, also shared their advice on applying. You can watch the broadcast here:

NESA scholarships available soon

Beginning Dec. 1, the National Eagle Scout Association will be accepting applications for multiple scholarships of varying amounts. Applicants must have completed an Eagle Scout board of review before Jan. 24, 2024; must be members of NESA (click here to join); and must submit their application through the NESA scholarship portal between Dec. 1, 2023, and Jan. 31, 2024. Full requirements and conditions are listed here.

Other eligibility requirements include:

  • Eagle Scouts may apply beginning in their senior year of high school through their junior year in an undergraduate program or by the halfway point of their associate degree program or skilled trade program.
  • Recipients may receive a NESA scholarship one time only.
  • NESA scholarships are available to Eagle Scouts currently enrolled in or accepted by an accredited educational institution as a full-time student (at least 12 credit hours) in a program leading to an academic degree (including associate degrees) or a skilled trade program.
  • Cooke four-year scholarship awardees must be enrolled in an accredited four-year college or university as a full-time student (at least 12 credit hours) in a program leading to a bachelor’s degree.
  • NESA scholarships are not available to students attending any of the U.S. military academies.
  • NESA scholarships are not available to graduate students pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree.

Recent awardees

Last year, 69 Eagle Scouts received a total of $524,000 from NESA to aid in their educational endeavors. These scholarships are made possible by generous donors and NESA members that help the alumni organization.

Some of the institutes and universities these outstanding Eagle Scouts have enrolled in include:

  • Appalachian State University
  • Arizona State University – Polytechnic
  • Auburn University
  • Babson College
  • Baldwin Wallace University
  • Blinn College
  • Brigham Young University
  • California Polytechnic State University
  • College of the Holy Cross
  • College of William and Mary
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit
  • Fordham University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Illinois State University
  • Iona College
  • James Madison University
  • Kansas State University
  • Liberty University
  • Mars Hill
  • Miami University
  • Missouri S&T
  • Montclair State University
  • North Carolina State University
  • North Dakota State University
  • Northeastern University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Purdue University
  • Regis University
  • Rhodes College
  • Ringling College of Art & Design
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
  • Siena College
  • Southern Methodist University
  • St. Vincent College
  • Stanford University
  • State University of New York at Courtland
  • The University of Southern Mississippi
  • University of California – Davis
  • University of California – Riverside
  • University of California – San Diego
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Memphis
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Nebraska
  • University of North Carolina – Greensboro
  • University of Northern Colorado
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of San Diego
  • University of Texas
  • University of Utah
  • University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse
  • University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh
  • Valencia College
  • Western Carolina College
  • Westmont College

About Michael Freeman 442 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.