Short Answer Questions

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General Information

The BC Foundation Scholarship application has an essay style format with seven short answer questions.

Your responses to these questions are your chance to share your story and give readers an opportunity to see how a scholarship would help you achieve your stated educational and professional goals. Your responses will provide evidence of your intellectual and creative achievements, and show your writing ability. This is how the reader of your application will gain the strongest feel for who you are as a person and see what sets you apart from other applicants.

Your responses should be treated as the equivalent of a face-to-face interview. A well-written response adds clarity, richness, and meaning to the information collected in other parts of your application. It is also an opportunity to explain how factors outside your school environment have enhanced or impeded your ability to maximize available academic and intellectual opportunities.

Returning Applicants

If you’re a returning applicant, you will need to provide answers to the short answer questions again.


While there is no one correct way to write a personal statement, here are some tips that are universally applicable:

Give yourself time to think about your topics, and carefully consider the rationale behind each question.

Make sure each response follows a logical structure. Try to think about how it may sound to an audience who doesn’t know you. Getting input from people you trust—teachers, friends, relatives—can help you get different perspectives on how your responses affect those who are reading it. Avoiding long, drawn-out essay responses will not only help keep your reader’s attention but will also show that you were thinking about your writing.

The readers want to get a sense of who you are, and the only way to do this is to share a bit. This is your chance to let the reader know what you think they should know about you so that they can make an informed decision.

Your responses should showcase who you are and what you care about, not what you believe the readers want to hear. Remember that those reading your application will be reading many other applications as well, and will be able to tell right away if what you are writing is honest and authentic.

What might seem funny or ironic to you might not seem that way to someone who doesn’t know you. Also, it can be difficult to distinguish humor and irony from the written word; it’s easier in conversation, when you can hear someone’s tone, along with their pauses and emphasis.

Remember that the personal statement is an opportunity for you to give a complete picture of yourself. Don’t allow clichés to speak for you.

Your responses aren’t effective simply because they chronicle difficult circumstances. Strong short answer responses should show that you have reflected upon and learned from your experiences and achievements. Ideally, you will be able to show progression towards a clear perspective of how you see the world, and what direction you are headed towards in the future.

An effective short answer response gives a clear sense of your personal qualities and how you have used and developed them in response to your opportunities and challenges.

Being too vague or writing too generally will not make your responses memorable. Many student responses discuss initiative, but only some use concrete examples of demonstrated motivation and leadership.

But examples are only one part of the equation. You also need to show how you have assigned meaning to your experiences and how you have grown from them. Prove that you have a sense of who you are, where you are going, and how you are going to use your education and your experiences to accomplish your goals. Although some events have long-term or even lifetime ramifications, it is usually better to focus on recent events because they shed more light on who you are right now.

Personal statements should go through several drafts before submission. Read your writing to others, and revise for clarity in content and in style. Pay attention to rules of correct grammar and punctuation, and don’t forget to spell-check. We also recommend that you make use of campus resources (such as professors, teaching assistants, advisors, the Student Success Center, classmates, or friends) to gain insight on how to improve your responses.

We recommend that you type out your responses to the short answer questions in a Word document to ensure safekeeping if you need to abandon the application before submission.

Learn More About BC Foundation Scholarships

We want to make the application process as easy for you as possible. Learn about how to write about extracurricular activities, and what happens if your scholarship application is successful. Also, get answers to frequently asked questions, and review the list of important dates to remember.

Good Luck

We hope these tips will help you get organized and will inspire you. Your short answer responses are the best tool you have to show us the individual gifts you have to offer.

Last Updated February 20, 2024