How To Write a Scholarship Cover Letter (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published December 14, 2021

If you're interested in applying for a scholarship, you may consider including a cover letter in addition to your other application documents. While a review committee may ask for your academic transcripts or portfolio, you can use a cover letter to discuss your goals and the potential impact that receiving funding may have on your education and career. Understanding what to include can help you highlight your skills, passions and aspirations. In this article, we review why you may decide to write a cover letter for a scholarship, steps that describe how to create one, an example and helpful tips.

Related: Tips for Writing a Modern Cover Letter

Why write a cover letter for a scholarship?

A cover letter for a scholarship, also called a scholarship motivation letter, can help you showcase the skills, knowledge and interests that make you the right candidate for receiving funding from an organization. This document can allow you to discuss what you plan to do with your post-secondary education, and highlight how a scholarship could help you reach your academic and professional goals.

Scholarship review committees may use candidates' cover letters to learn more about students' accomplishments and aspirations. They can then use this information to decide who to interview or select as recipients, so writing one may help you increase the likelihood that the committee chooses you.

Related: Writing an Internship Cover Letter (With Examples)

How to write a cover letter for a scholarship

Here's a list of steps you can follow to write a cover letter for a scholarship:

1. Review the scholarship qualifications

There are a variety of scholarships you can apply for, and their designating organizations may all have different expectations, requirements and preferences, so it's important to review the scholarship qualifications before you write your cover letter.

This can help you ensure that you're a strong candidate for the scholarship and understand what to include in your application to capture the attention of the reviewing committee. It can also allow you to review whether there are skills or experiences not included in your resume or transcript so you can discuss them in your cover letter and illustrate that you understand the committee's expectations.

2. Write an introduction

Begin your cover letter by writing an introductory paragraph that describes who you are and why you're interested in earning a scholarship from the designating organization. You may discuss how receiving this funding could provide you with educational opportunities you may not have access to otherwise, or how the organization relates to your academic and professional interests.

Include information about yourself, such as the school you attend or program you're interested in, your major and the degree you're earning. You can use the introductory paragraph to share your enthusiasm for your academic career and the subject you're studying. This allows members of the reviewing committee to learn more about your personality and interests.

3. Discuss internships or professional experience

In your first body paragraph, discuss your professional experience or any internships that you've completed and highlight how they relate to the scholarship or your academic major. For example, if the scholarship is for students interested in entering the STEM field, you may discuss your experience as a laboratory intern and review how this program allowed you to develop skills and acquire knowledge related to earning a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.

Reviewing committees may look for candidates who commit to their professional growth and development. Describing your work experience can help you demonstrate that you continue to challenge yourself and seek learning opportunities related to your field of study.

4. Describe your academic interests and goals

Consider using the next body paragraph to highlight your academic interests and goals. Scholarships typically assist students with educational funding, so reviewing committees may be interested in candidates who have academic aspirations and desires. You can use this paragraph to describe the degree you're interested in pursuing or discuss why a particular program or university may support your plans.

You may apply for a scholarship alongside your college acceptance application and ask an academic institution for additional funding, or you may apply for a scholarship from an external organization. If you're unable to achieve or qualify for particular educational goals due to a lack of finances, consider adding this to your scholarship cover letter, and highlight the positive impact that the funding could have on your education.

5. Review your post-graduation aspirations

Besides your professional experience and short-term academic goals, consider discussing your post-graduation aspirations. Whether you're interested in pursuing a graduate degree, earning a particular professional license or entering the workforce, discussing these goals can help members of the scholarship committee gain a better understanding of your plans and desires. An organization that designates scholarships may view the funding they provide as an investment in students and their futures, so you may benefit from highlighting the long-term impact that receiving financial assistance could have on your academic and professional career following graduation.

6. Write a concluding paragraph

After completing your three body paragraphs, you can end your cover letter with a concluding paragraph that summarizes your goals and credentials. You can also use this section to thank the reviewing committee for their consideration and express your gratitude for the opportunity to apply for this particular scholarship. Include your contact information and offer it to members of the reviewing committee if they want to follow up about the status of your application or have questions about your information and credentials.

7. Proofread and revise

Once you've completed a draft of your scholarship cover letter, proofread the document for any spelling or grammar mistakes and make revisions when necessary. You may read the document aloud to yourself to assess your tone and ensure that it aligns with the organization that awards the scholarship you're pursuing.

Consider asking an objective friend, mentor or professor to review it and provide you with their insights and feedback. They may be able to help you evaluate your writing style and identify any errors that you may not notice. They may also highlight any redundancies or irrelevant details to remove from the document. Submitting an error-free cover letter can help you show a reviewing committee that you take the application process seriously.

Related: How To Write a Cover Letter Outline

Examples of cover letters for a scholarship

Consider these examples of cover letter for a scholarship to help guide you as you write:

Example 1:

Dear Mr. Adams,

My name is Eloise Barone, and I'm writing to submit my application for the Ridge Hills University financial aid program for the spring 2022 semester. I'm currently a first-year student enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences pursuing a bachelor's degree in psychology. I am passionate about my academic development and am proud to be a student at Ridge Hills University. As a student on the Dean's List with a 3.89 GPA, I feel confident that I can represent the university positively and continue to succeed.

As a senior in high school, I had the opportunity to shadow and assist a psychologist and learn about therapeutic methods and techniques from a licensed professional. This allowed me to explore my passion for helping others and witness the impact that licensed mental health professionals can have on their patients. Although this was an unpaid position, it helped me understand the value of a career in this field and solidified my interest in earning a bachelor's degree in psychology.

I have several academic interests, and in addition to pursuing a degree in psychology, I hope to minor in Spanish so I can work with a larger number of clients and have a positive impact on a variety of individuals in my community. I also hope to remain on the Dean's List throughout my academic career, which requires me to maintain a GPA of 3.8 or higher. After graduation, I plan on earning a master's degree and eventually becoming a licensed therapist.

I hope to continue pursuing my education at this institution, and receiving funding from the financial aid program would allow me to do so with ease. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to speaking with you about this incredible scholarship opportunity. Please email me at Eloise.Barone@email.com or call me at 555-555-5555 if you have any questions regarding my application.

Sincerely,

Eloise Barone

Example 2:

Dear members of the Hartford Foundation reviewing committee,

My name is Benjamin Shetty and I am a high school senior at Flower County Academy interested in applying for the Hartford Foundation Creative Arts Scholarship. Next year, I plan to attend the Mile High Institute of the Arts and earn a bachelor's degree in graphic design. This funding would cover my first semester of college tuition and allow me to focus on my studies without worrying about my financial situation. As an honors student and first place winner of a nationwide visual arts award, I feel confident that I am a strong candidate for this scholarship.

Although I have limited professional experience related to my interest in graphic design, I am currently the president of the Art Club at my high school and handle a variety of administrative and leadership tasks. In college, I hope to take courses that expand my skill set and understanding of design software, and apply for professional internships that help me gain experience before entering the workforce. I hope to find a position with a large marketing firm and create innovative visual content that captivates a large audience and engages a wide variety of viewers.

I would use the financial support to advance my academic and professional career, and it would allow me to explore my interests and develop graphic design skills by focusing solely on my studies. I am so excited to earn a degree that prepares me for my ideal career. Thank you for your consideration. Please contact me via phone by calling 555-555-5555 or emailing Benjamin.Shetty@email.com if you have any follow-up questions or concerns.

Best regards,

Benjamin Shetty

Related: How To Write a College Application Cover Letter

Tips to write a cover letter for a scholarship

Here's a list of tips that may help you when writing a cover letter for a scholarship:

  • Include quantifiable accomplishments: Scholarship review committees may compare a variety of criteria related to candidates' skills and accomplishments. Adding quantifiable achievements can help reviewers easily understand the impact of your personal or academic milestones and easily compare them to other students who apply for the same scholarship.

  • **Discuss information that differs from your other application documents:** A cover letter offers you an opportunity to discuss your qualities, interests and abilities, in addition to those featured on other application documents. Instead of transforming your resume into a multiple-paragraph document, use your cover letter to showcase your personality and goals.

  • ****Tailor it to the scholarship you're interested in:**** Consider researching the designating organization and tailor your cover letter to their preferences, values or goals. For example, if you know that the reviewing committee may look for candidates who are passionate about volunteering because it aligns with the organization, discuss your volunteering experience.

  • ****Align your writing style with the designating organization:**** Scholarship designation organizations may have varying levels of professionalism or prioritize different attributes in candidates. Consider aligning your writing style with the organization and using a formal tone if they're interested in your academic performance or a casual tone to share personal stories.

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