When in essay writing contest or in scholarship selection there will be hundreds or maybe thousands of paper of essays to be read by committee / jury. To choose best one among hundreds or thousands of essays is not an essay job but who already familiar with this job then they will know which one is good since they read the first paragraph. One of the things you can do to make your essay different is the way to show, not tell to the reader about your topic. Focus on a specific thing so that you can avoid the ambiguities and you'll be able to make a strong impression as a whole.
Another way to make your essay different is to be creative is writing a completely different like has never been written by someone else. There are many examples you can find on the internet that the winning paper in a scientific paper or essay contest their work certainly looks different, fresh and creative though the topic might be a normal and a common things.
There is a quote that I got from other authors,
"I've never parachuted from the plane, I had never been on a boat in the canals of Venice. I have never seen the light shining through the snow of mountains of Russia. I also have never won a scholarship. "
If you read the quote, you must realize that the author not bring the reader directly to the main story but the author invite the reader to imagine first, it makes the reader becomes curious about what will be told by the author. Creative is the main thing to make everything different, as writing an essay you also need to be creative.