5 Essay Writing Tips for your CSF Application

Summertime submissions are due Saturday, July 31! Applications for financial aid are accepted on an ongoing basis, but there are cutoff dates for each award cycle. Applicants can apply again if they wish to join a new organization and an award wasn’t granted in a previous award cycle. In addition to other requirements, like letters of recommendation, an essay written by the applicant is also required. Each applicant must submit a one-page essay about what sports means to them and why they’re deserving of financial aid. This essay is challenging, because we ask applicants to talk about themselves, so here are five essay writing tips for your Caris Sports Foundation application.

  1. Your essay should be three to five paragraphs and include an introduction and a closing paragraph. Prepare an outline to ensure you cover the topics required. If you’re a visual writer, a diagram might be more helpful. With each, either list or branch off the three to five ideas you want to cover under each topic.


  1. Write the body first, the introduction second, and the conclusion last. Introductions can be tough because they should summarize your essay, so don’t start their first. Take a significant amount of time writing and editing the body of your essay before you attempt writing an introduction, so your introduction sounds less like a robot and more like you. Remember, Caris Sports Foundation wants to learn more about YOU when they’re making financial aid award decisions.


  1. According to the Write Practice Community, most essays answer the “What?” question; good essays answer the “Why,” but the best essays answer the “How.” For this specific essay, the “Why” and the “How” are the most important. Dig deep. Why are you deserving of this financial aid award? What does it mean to you? How could it potentially impact your life?


  1. Proofread your essay several times. Read it out loud in front of the mirror. Speak slowly. Once you feel like it’s in a good place, ask Mom and Dad, your teacher, or your coach for help with proofreading and editing. Essay writing isn’t only about punctuation and grammar, your essay should flow from one idea to the next.


  1. Be concise and meaningful in your writing. Do your best to stay away from the following:
  • Contractions
  • Idioms
  • To-be verbs
  • Clichés
  • Slang or jargon
  • Words that weaken your writing like “very,” “totally,” “really,” “already,” “fairly,” “actually,” and “just.”
  • Words that are vague like “thing,” “stuff,” “good,” “bad,” or “big.”

These five essay writing tips will put your essay over the top. Remember, have fun writing your essay! Reading applicants’ essays is one of our founders’ favorite parts about this process – it gives them the opportunity to learn more about the athletes in their community, their hopes, and their dreams. Learn more about our application process here. If you’re ready to submit your application, find the Competitive Application here and the Recreational Application here. Good luck!

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