Each day scholarship evaluation boards receive thousands of applications from students. How do they decide who to award the scholarship to? Figuring out that one seemingly simple thing, may significantly better your chances of being chosen as the beneficiary.
The fact is that the evaluation committee takes a lot of different factors into consideration while considering the applications. Academic profile and the economic background usually hold paramount importance and the next, but equally vital part of the application process is the scholarship application cover letter.
The cover letter is your presentation to the committee explaining why you are more deserving than the others who have applied. And that’s where it is easy to go wrong. You may have the most fluent dialect, and flair with language, but it guarantees nothing.
Contrary to what most people think, there is no formula to follow either. That’s what you will notice when you download ‘winning scholarship application examples’ from the internet. No two samples look identical. Each has their unique way of presenting the application to the committee.
Having said that, there are a few ground rules or ‘best policies’ (if we can call them that) that you can follow while creating your application that can help you make your application a success. Here are some of them.
The gist of the scholarship application letter is to outline your career goals, your plans to achieve them and your strengths that will help you get there. It should also explain clearly why you should be selected and how you will benefit from it. But even before you begin to type the letter out, you need to keep one word in mind, ‘Identity.’ The letter is about you, your story and how passionate you are about the subject. There is no better way to explain this than being yourself. You can use scholarship application examples as a reference, but never imitate or copy anything.
Adherence to deadlines and organizational skills are highly valued in any educational program. So, you must ensure that you read the requirements in detail and construct the application in a way that it makes it easy for the committee to evaluate it. Attach any items that were requested, in the exact specific order that they were listed. If there were instructions not to add anything extra, do not do it. This makes it appear that you cannot follow instructions. If no such directives were mentioned, then feel free to add extra items. But don’t overdo it.
A scholarship application letter must have a formal tone with a very natural and well-structured flow. It goes without saying that there must not be any grammatical or typographical errors. One of the best ways to ensure that the letter is concise and crisp is to make someone else read it. It helps to spot small errors and remove redundant information that is unnecessary.
The Thank You Cover Letter
The Thank You Cover Letter is an expression of gratitude that lets the donor know that you appreciate the chance to be considered for the scholarship, irrespective of the outcome. It is usually very well received by the donors.
Dear Ms. Johnson,
I am writing this letter to introduce myself (Your name) and also express my gratitude to be able to participate in the scholarship program (Name of Scholarship). I have been inducted in the College in the Fall 2016 term.
I would like to thank you for granting other college-bound students and me this financial assistance through the scholarship program that will allow me to concentrate on my studies without worrying about the financial burden. Enclosed herewith, you will find my application details, academic transcript, recommendation letters and other relevant information.
Once again, I would take this opportunity to thank you for this generosity and continued support. I promise to work to the best of my ability.
As we mentioned before, if there are no restrictions on adding extra items to the application, then this can be an excellent tool where you can add weight to the application and be creative with it. You can start with a Scholarship Essay on your career goals or your educational goals. A lot of people spend an enormous amount of time perfecting their scholarship essays. To an extent, it is entirely justified because a well-written essay can have a huge impact on the chances of being awarded the scholarship. But you must ensure that you limit it to one or two pages at the most.
Additional documents that show your skills and aptitude for the subject are always a welcome addition. For example, a letter that congratulates you for displaying leadership skills and impacting the local communities through an awareness program that you conducted. Or, just a congratulations letter for being one of the top 3 students in the class. Both these attachments reveal a side of you that the original application cannot cover.
One of the most useful extra attachments that you can make to a scholarship application is acceptance letters to colleges. Unless the scholarship is meant for one particular college, you can use it at any college of your choice, if awarded. Attaching the acceptance letters shows that you are serious about this. It does not, however, limit your choice of a college. All you need to do is inform the scholarship about the college that they need to send the award to.
The Letters of recommendation
Personalizing the letter of recommendation to the recipient is a very effective way to show that you went the extra mile to address this directly to them. The person writing the letter for you may not be too keen to write ten or twenty letters if you have to submit multiple applications. So, volunteer to write it for them and personalize it so that they only have to sign on it. As a rule of thumb, do not attach more than three to four letters of recommendation with an application.
Last but not the least, do not send out the application without proofing it. It must be formatted, neat and proofread.
That’s all that there is to it. With some effort and after reading a few scholarship application examples, you should be able to draft a great one. Good luck!
Scholarship Application Examples