Merit Scholarship Essay Guidelines

Essay Attachment

Create an essay based on ONE of the two 2018-2019 NEHS Common Readers, Gail Tsukiyama's The Samurai's Garden and Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You, as part of the scholarship application process (maximum of 850 words). Select one of the prompts suggested for the book as the basis of your essay. The essay should reflect an understanding of the text, meet the requirements of the prompt, and must be the independent work of the writer. Evidence of plagiarism will disqualify any applicant.

  • The audience reading your essay will know the novel; while you are expected to reference and quote from the text, a retelling of the story in a traditional "book report format" will disqualify the essay from consideration.
  • Essays must follow the Modern Language Association style guidelines as defined in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (latest edition).
  • Quotations and references to the novel are expected, with appropriate documentation.
  • If only the text being discussed is referenced in the essay, use internal documentation, citing the title and author; subsequent page references should be parenthetical. If other research is done and cited, then a Works Cited page should be included with the submitted essay. MLA format guidelines should be utilized.
  • Use 12 point Times Roman or Times New Roman font, and double space your essay.
  • Total word count should not exceed 850 words, including quotations and references.
  • Do not place your name, school name, or NEHS charter name on your essay pages. Save your word document as a doc or docx and label it as: prompt1, prompt2, prompt3, prompt4, or prompt5

Tips to Create a Winning Application

  • Revise and edit your essay before submitting.
  • Follow the specific instructions for online submission carefully.
  • Don't wait until the last minute!
  • Applications and essays must be submitted by January 14, 2019, noon CST.
  • Proofread all parts of your application, including your essay, thoroughly. You are, after all, applying for an "English" scholarship!
  • Write an essay that reflects your best work, is marked by your personal voice, and is a reflection of your understanding, critical analysis, and appreciation of the text. DO NOT SUBMIT A BOOK REPORT: the readers of the essay know The Samurai's Garden and Everything I Never Told You well, so a retelling of the text will result in a disqualification of the essay.