Many students in the U.S. rely on scholarships and other financial aid to pay for college. A high grade point average (GPA) and strong standardized test scores are important, but a great personal essay and letters of recommendation often determine which applicant finally “wins” the award. This is because many applicants may have excellent grades and a good GPA, so it’s important to stand out to the committee making the award. One way to achieve that is through the essay that every applicant must submit.

The essay should be an applicant’s best work and should respond to the writing prompt.

Many applications also ask for letters from the applicant’s guidance counselor, academic advisor, and/or work supervisor. Applicants should find someone who knows them well and is willing to put in the effort to write a compelling letter.The award committee looks for letters that attest to the applicant’s ability to complete a college degree.

When applying for a scholarship – like ProsperityME’s PROSPER scholarship – carefully review the scholarship application requirements and include all the required materials. Follow all guidelines. An academic advisor or guidance counselor can help. 

The PROSPER scholarship is awarded only to asylum seekers, and is an example of a competitive scholarship. We receive many applications, but can only award a scholarship to about one third of all applicants. The essay asks the applicant to tell us their story.

We are looking for these qualities: 

  • Industriousness
  • Resourcefulness
  • Perseverance in the face of adversity 
  • Academic achievement 
  • Leadership 
  • Commitment to community

Applicants for a PROSPER scholarship are allowed a maximum of two pages. We strongly encourage applicants to use the space available to them – essays of a paragraph or two rarely make it to the top of the review committee’s list of finalists.

For more information on the PROSPER Scholarship, which is open for associate’s degree program applications between December and March every year, contact ProsperityME at [email protected]. Applications for short-term certificate programs are accepted year-round, until funding runs out.