Writing a CFA® Scholarship Essay: Securing Your Exam ‘Discount Coupon’

Finance graduates discussing on how to write CFA scholarship essay

One concern for any individual applying for scholarships is writing an essay that is compelling and ultimately makes the case. While the process can be intimidating, it is essential to recognize that the essay is critical to the scholarship application. The quality of your essay can significantly affect your chances of being selected for the scholarship. Apart from letting you showcase your relevant skills and abilities, your essay also functions as a launchpad to reduced fees and additional stipends. So, you know it is a critical component of your scholarship application, thus the importance of crafting a well-written and thoughtful essay that sets you apart from other applicants. 

But don’t worry; we have some tips to help you write a CFA scholarship essay that leaves a strong impression and helps to secure the funding you need to achieve your goals.

Start with a Strong Introduction

Your introduction is the first thing the scholarship committee will see, so making a solid first impression is essential. Start with a hook that grabs readers and makes them want to keep reading. This could be a relevant quote, an interesting statistic, or a brief personal story highlighting your passion for finance. Your introduction should also include a quick overview of your background, including any relevant education, work experience, and achievements in finance.

Outline Your Goals and Career Path

In the body of your essay, it’s essential to outline your goals and career path clearly. This will help the scholarship committee understand why you seek financial support and what you hope to accomplish with your CFA charter. Start by discussing your short-term and long-term career goals. Be specific and use concrete examples to demonstrate your passion for finance and commitment to pursuing a career. Next, discuss your career path and show how obtaining a CFA designation will help you achieve your goals. Mention any relevant internships, volunteer experience, or job responsibilities that have helped you develop your skills and experience in finance.

Demonstrate Your Commitment to Professional Development

The scholarship committee wants to see that you’re committed to professional development and growth. Demonstrate this by discussing relevant training, continuing education courses, or financial certifications you’ve earned. In addition, talk about your involvement in professional organizations, such as the CFA Institute or the Financial Analysts Society. This will show that you’re invested in staying up-to-date on industry trends and developments and committed to contributing to the finance community.

Showcase Your Skills and Qualifications

In the body of your essay, showcasing your skills and qualifications is vital. This will help the scholarship committee see why you’re a good fit for the scholarship and deserve financial support.

Some skills and qualifications you should highlight include:

  1. Financial analysis and modeling
  2. Investment research and analysis
  3. Financial reporting and accounting
  4. Risk management and portfolio optimization
  5. Financial market knowledge and expertise

Use real-world examples to show how you’ve used these skills in the past, either at work or in school. This will help bring your qualifications to life and make them more compelling to the scholarship committee.

Conclude with a Strong Call to Action

In your conclusion, summarize the key points from your essay and reiterate why you’re the best candidate for the scholarship. End with a solid call to action, encouraging the scholarship committee to consider your application and supporting your pursuit of a CFA charter. Your conclusion should also include a statement of gratitude, thanking the scholarship committee for considering your application and for the opportunity to further your education and career in finance.

Proofread and Edit Your Essay

The final tip for writing a successful scholarship essay is to take the time to proofread and edit it for errors and clarity. You should proofread the essay at least once and possibly multiple times, depending on the time available. Be sure to review the essay’s content, flow, grammar, and spelling.

As a helpful tip, reading the essay aloud can help identify many grammar and spelling errors. 

Also, have someone else, such as a family member, teacher, or friend, review the essay after producing a second draft. Sometimes, we are just too close to our own work. Having someone else review the essay can provide an external perspective and helpful feedback.

A Well-Written Scholarship Essay is Key in Determining Your Chances of Winning
Take a look at our essay samples to kickstart your writing process.
A man standing next to a blackboard with “Whats your plan” written on it

Take a Deep Breath and Stay Positive

Once you’ve sent in your scholarship application, the best way to stay calm while you wait is to keep a positive attitude. Then accept whatever the outcome is. In case you don’t make the cut, there are many other CFA exam scholarships that you can keep an eye out for. Just take a deep breath and trust the process.

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