I'm not an expert by any means, but I've written my share of essays for school and scholarships.
These are my tips to increase your chances of standing out and possibly winning a scholarship.
Apply for them.
You can't win if you don't apply. Was it Einstein who said, "common sense isn't always common practice" or was it another intelligent human being? Either way, the point stands.
You need to write about something. So having a couple topics to explore can't hurt. Obviously, you'll want to pick the best one and run with it.
Cut the unoriginal.
Be different, interesting. After all, sometimes you're judged on creativity or originality.
Don't repeat the essay prompt.
I'm not keen on telling people what not to do, but imagine reading 999 entries that started off by restating the prompt.
Easy reading means hard editing.
Give yourself enough time to edit your essay. At the very least, put it aside for a few days, so when you come back to your work, you see the words with fresher eyes. Even several hours between writing and editing can do wonders.
Follow the rules.
Do what's asked. Provide any necessary documentation. You might be disqualified otherwise.
Grind through it.
At times, you may feel tempted to give up. Keep going. You'll better than you think.
You want to avoid sabotaging your own entry in any way. Never overlook a small detail or do something that's the opposite of smart. Answer what's asked. Fill out your contact information accurately. Review your submission for grammar and spelling mistakes.
I'm realizing this post isn't all that helpful. Go figure.
Maybe one day Herminia Chow will create useful content that isn't just spewing common sense. Today is not that day.