Scholarships Cover Letters

Guest post: Isabel Ara López

When deciding who to grant a scholarship to, scholarship evaluation boards have a lot of information to take into consideration. In some cases, the decision will be based on academic excellence (high grades, language skills, good overall academic skills and record) or on economic factors (low income, family difficulties).

In many cases, you are required to attach a scholarship application cover letter, in which you should explain why you are applying for this specific scholarship and how it could help you achieve your education and career objectives. This is one of the best tools you can use to make your scholarship application a success, together with the correct submission of any other required documents. Here are some tips on how to write a compelling scholarship application cover letter.

1. Explain why you’re a good match for the scholarship

The scholarship application cover letter is an opportunity to outline your main strengths from an educational and professional perspective, your plans for future career growth, why you would be suitable for this scholarship, and how you would benefit if selected. Make sure you cover all of these points, using specific examples where possible.

2. Establish a formal tone, use a clear structure and check spellings

The cover letter should be written in a formal tone, and have a clear, concise, structured flow. Each applicant should also make sure to check for and correct any accidental spelling or grammar mistakes. To make sure you submit a successful cover letter, ask another person, with an objective eye, to read it before sending. This will minimize the risk of any spelling or grammatical errors, and can also help you eliminate any information that is unclear, redundant or irrelevant to what you are asking for.

3. Match your cover letter to the context

There are various situations of scholarship applications in which you would be requested to attach a cover letter. You may, at the same time, be applying for admission to an institution or a program. Or you may be requesting a grant or scholarship to cover tuition fees or other costs for a program you have already been admitted to.

If your letter is intended for the initial case, you should start with a formal address and greeting, followed by a short paragraph presenting your academic skills, achievements and strengths. The following paragraph should explain the reasons you would need a scholarship to fund your studies. The third paragraph should talk about how the specific program, course or project you are applying for will help you achieve your objectives, and how you can contribute during your studies. Do not forget to close with a formal, polite farewell.

If the letter is requesting funding for a program you have already been accepted to, there are a few aspects you should consider. The introduction should be similar to the structure above, emphasizing your academic skills. In the second paragraph you should emphasize your financial condition, and the reasons why you need the funding. In a third paragraph you can explain your interest in studying at that specific institution and how much you will be able to benefit from it.

In such cases, the institution may actually provide you with guidelines for the information to be included in the scholarship application cover letter, such as income data, career background etc.

To conclude the scholarship application cover letter is meant to highlight your strengths, academic skills and goals, and you should ensure you fully communicate all of these in order to ensure your success.

Get more tips on how to write a winning scholarship essay here.

You can browse our various scholarship listings here, and QS also offers its own scholarships. 

Isabel Ara López is a Spanish journalist, graduate of the University of Navarra in 2002, and currently working with the team at BecasEstudio, a website dedicated to providing information about scholarships for bachelor’s, master’s and MBA programs. The portal also provides information on how to apply for scholarships, how to improve your studies,and how to prepare for job interviews after graduation.

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Free Scholarship and Financial Aid Request Templates

Our Sample Templates

The first step in your college career doesn’t begin with enrollment, or with financial aid applications. Rather, it begins with the gathering of materials needed to make your application to schools and financial aid organizations. Requests for information and materials regarding enrollment in a particular college, or application to a specific scholarship program, must be made formally. And it is important that they be made properly and professionally.

Today, most colleges and universities, and indeed most scholarship sponsors, handle requests for information online. However, there are still those organizations that require students to send formal letters of request through the mail. The process of requesting information on a specific scholarship program, or from a prospective college, may seem fairly straightforward. But whether by mail or email, it is important that any formal request for information be handled in a professional manner. To this end, we have compiled some tips, and some templates, to help students compose the letters of request they will need to begin their college journey.

Formatting and Proofreading

Before we look at the templates we have provided for your letters of request, we should talk about formatting and the importance of proofreading. Your letter of request for information, to either a school or a scholarship sponsor, will be the first contact you have with that organization. It may be a cliché, but first impressions do count.

When composting your letters, you will want to choose a professional format. Remember, you are not jotting off a note to a friend, but are making a serious request for information on what will be one of the most important experiences of your life. Your college education. Choose a professional format, stick to a businesslike font, and avoid being overly informal in your content. Any correspondence you have with a college, or scholarship sponsor, should be taken as seriously as your application essay.

Once your letter has been written, take the time to make revisions. Check for spelling errors, and proofread the letter for any inaccuracies. You may also wish to have a parent, respected teacher, or guidance counselor proofread your letter before you send it off. For requests made by regular mail, it is customary to include a self-addressed-stamped-envelope (SASE) to cover the cost of return postage for the materials you have requested. This is a small thing that many students forget, but a request without an SASE goes to the bottom of the pile.

Now, let’s look at our two templates.

Sample College Information Request Letter

When requesting information from a college or university, you will want to keep your letter concise and to the point. While you will want to include some information on your educational background, this is not the time to expound on your personal career goals. Stay on point, and make your request in a businesslike tone. Use the sample letter below as a template for your request for information from the colleges and universities which you are interested in attending.

Date

Jane Doe [if you know the name of the college official you are writing to]
Office of Admissions
College Name
Street Address
City, State Zip-code

Dear Ms. Doe, [sir or madam if you do not have the name of the individual who will be handling your request]

I am very interested in [insert the name of the college or university to which you are writing] and would appreciate you sending me the following information: [this list will vary according to your needs]

• Course Catalog
• Athletic Program Catalog
• Scholarship Information
• Financial Aid Application
• Residency Information, On-Campus and Off-Campus
• [any other information you feel you need]

Briefly, my academic career has been focused on [Subject area, or General College Preparatory] and I have consistently maintained a GPA of [?]. I have also successfully balanced my academic interests with the following activities: [athletics, hobbies, community service, volunteer organizations, etc].

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Your Name
Address
Phone Number
Email Address

Sample Scholarship Information Request Application

Your request for information to a scholarship or grant program will take much the same form as your letter to a prospective college or university. Professionalism is the key. When requesting information on a financial aid program, however, you will want to use the body of your letter to briefly outline why you feel you are qualified for the award in question. Now, this is not the time to submit a full essay on the subject, but it is a chance to give a brief accounting of your background. Briefly discuss your academic successes, your community service involvement, your plans for the future, and why you believe you are an excellent candidate for the scholarship.

Date

Jane Doe [if you know the name of the college official you are writing to]
Organization Name
Street Address
City, State Zip-code

Dear Ms. Doe: [sir or madam if you do not have the name of the individual who will be handling your request]

I am very interested in [insert the name of the scholarship or grant in which you are interested, be precise] or any other financial assistance opportunities available for [undergraduate, graduate] students.

[Briefly, craft a few statements that offer information about your academic and extracurricular activities, and your plans for the future. Explain why you believe you are a suitable candidate for the organization's scholarship or grant. Try to be concise, but hit your points solidly.]

Please send me the appropriate application forms, submission deadlines, and any other information necessary to completing a proper application with/for [name of the organization/title of scholarship or grant].

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Your Name
Address
Phone Number
Email Address

These letters of request for information are the first step on your college journey, and it is important to give them the attention they deserve. Before sending your letters, remember to proofread them and to double check for errors. Make certain your return address, and all other contact information, is accurate and up to date. Any delay in receiving your information packets will mean a delay in your final application. That could mean missing the deadline for application to your preferred college or university, or missing out on a valuable scholarship or grant.

 

 

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