AAF NEPA is proud to announce our inaugural scholarship contest! Starting this year, we are offering a $1,000 scholarship to a college student chosen by our board based on his or her application. (Click here for a full list of criteria.)

A major part of the application depends on a 500-word essay that outlines the applicant’s career goals in advertising, marketing, graphic design, communications, or public relations, as well as his or her achievements in media through education and/or volunteer and work activities. We’re also asking that the essay include the steps the applicant is actively taking and plans to take to position him/herself for a career in advertising, marketing, graphic design, communications, or public relations.

We get it, writing can be hard—especially when writing about yourself! To help you out, we’ve developed the following list of tips and tricks for writing your essay so that you and your accomplishments can shine!

  1. DO make sure you take your time when writing your essay. No one likes a rush job and our board can tell when a project has been thrown together instead of being well thought out. Our application deadline is December 1, so be sure you allow ample time to write and revise your draft several times.
  2. DO have a friend read your essay. Sometimes that second set of eyes makes all the difference—while a typo can happen to the best of us, you want to try to avoid them when the stakes are high. Plus, another person can tell you if your thoughts make sense and if your essay isn’t hitting the points you want to make.
  3. DON’T exceed the word limit. We gave a limit of 500 words so that you have ample space to get your thoughts out before getting wordy. Try to avoid overuse of adjectives, which eat up precious word space, and be as declarative as possible with your sentences. Also try to avoid the passive voice as much as possible—it weakens your message!
  4. DON’T rely on spell check. PLEASE BE CAREFUL! Spell check, while useful in many ways, can’t pick up if you accidentally write “your” instead of “you’re” or any other accidental misusage of words. One helpful tip is to read your work aloud when you’re done with your first draft—it helps you notice errors in syntax and structure that spell check does not.
  5. DON’T stress out. We want you to have fun with your essay because it is YOU telling us about YOUR passion! Remember what got you into this field and why you want to make it your life’s work. Passion translates to the page… and that’s what makes a winning essay!