The Best Way of Writing a Scholarship Application Letter


How do you write a scholarship application letter?

Before I get into the nitty-gritty, let us take the time to discuss what a scholarship is and what they really want from applicants. Once we find out, we will actually know the answer.

 I am talking about a scholarship in the sense of a programme of study.

 

Usually scholarships are given to students with good academic performance. Considering that the institution pays for all the students expenses, it is essential to them to pick students of high quality, so that they do not waste the funds, so to speak.

Scholarships are usually open to students from all parts of the world and for the most part, they involve going overseas to pursue these studies.

Institutions usually require that students apply for themselves for these scholarships. Oftentimes, you will not need to do much writing but filling a couple of forms and sending other necessary documentation such as a statement of results along with such forms. Even so, it is still a good idea to write a covering letter, which in this case I am calling a Scholarship application letter.

Advertisements for application are often seen in newspapers, or the internet. Some institutions make it very plain that they want you to write a letter of application. They will often tell you what you should mention in your letter, as well as the necessary documentation you ought to send. If you are responding to such an ad, you do well to pay close attention to the requirements. Yes, get it right!

Having discussed this, how do you write a scholarship application letter? These letters usually involve the following:

  • Information about your current academic performance

  • Details about your personality

  • Reasons why you want to apply for the scholarship

  • Your qualifications (what qualifies you for the scholarship)

  • Mention of character references

  • Mention of what you hope to achieve from the studies

  • Any concerns or inquiries that you may have

  • Enclosures of things live resumes that might prove useful.

But as I have already mentioned, information of what is really required is often mentioned. So the advert itself will give you the framework on which you must build your letter.

For example, you may come across the following advert:

Would you like to study in Zambia?

 The Copperbelt University is offering scholarships to students from all over the World.
To qualify for this scholarship, you must have studied A-Levels from any recognized institution. Tuition fees, and accommodation are covered by the University.

Apply in writing to:

The Registrar,
The Copperbelt University,
P.O. Box 26192,
Kitwe,
ZAMBIA

Remember to enclose a statement of results in your letter. Also, mention which specific area of study you are interested in pursuing.

Though perhaps a bit too simplistic, adverts usually come in this way. But most institutions will at least supply you with:

  • The minimum requirements for entrance

  • How you ought to apply

  • The address you should write to

  • What documentation to include in your letter

  • The courses available for study

Having been given this information, and having been convinced that you are qualified for the scholarship, you are ready to start writing your letter. Let’s get started. Bear in mind that to minimize error, it is always a good idea to make a draft first, or to plan before you get to the actual writing. The following tips will help you to do so.

Who are You Writing To?

Often, this is not mentioned in the ad, but at other times it is, as in the Example above.  But even then, the name of the exact person you are writing to will remain a mystery to you. That is why your salutation will be:

Dear Sir/Madam

That is the right way of going about it.

The First Paragraph

Yes, the first paragraph is important. What do you mention in this paragraph? Basically, the reason why you are writing the letter.

Here is an example:

With reference to the ad which appeared in the Post Newspaper of October 2, I am applying for a Scholarship at the Copperbelt University. I am interested in pursuing Computer Studies being offered at the institution, as well as studying and Staying in Zambia.   

Fair enough. Let us move on.

 The Body

The body of your letter will typically consist of two to three paragraphs that elaborate your qualifications and the reasons why you are interested in studying in Zambia.

When you are not told exactly what to include in the letter as in the example above, you can take certain liberties to mention certain necessary things.

Structure each paragraph so that if focuses on one specific area. Determine before hand what each paragraph will talk about and how many paragraphs you will actually write.

You can do it like this:

Par2: Academic qualifications

  • Obtained A-levels at University of Zimbabwe

Par3: Details about My personality

  • Hard working
  • Works well with others

 Par4: Concerns/inquiries

  • Accommodation/lodging
  • How academic calendar is organised

 

Limit the number of paragraphs to three at most. Remember, write only the important details. A hundred other students will probably have applied as well so try your best to keep it brief and straight to the point.

In the body, pay attention to the chief areas pertinent to your being accepted. In our example, it is specifically mentioned that the applicant should have studied A levels at a recognized instiution, so you definitely have to mention this.

Often structure your letter so that you begin with the most important information first. In our example, paragraph two should definitely talk about what qualifies you for this scholarship:

Last year, I studied A-Levels at the University of Zimbabwe and obtained very good results. I was waiting for admittance into my second year of my studies when I came across the advertisement and presumed that it would be more advantageous for me to continue my studies in Zambia because of the high quality of education administered in Zambian Universities. Please find enclosed my statement of results.

Notice that the applicant directs attention to the enclosed documentation. It is always a good idea to do so.

Sometimes, to lend authority to your qualifications, you may decide to include a letter of reference from a teacher or lecturer at your school. If you do so, please make mention of them.

Take a look at the other two paragraphs:

Here is a little information about myself. I am a hardworking individual who pays very serious attention to her studies. In addition, I also work very well with others. In fact, what helped me to pull through school and get such good grades was my willingness to work along with others.

There are a few things though that I would like to find out. To what extent do you provide financial assistance to students? You did not mention anything about travel costs. Do I have to find my own transportation? Also, I want to find out how the academic calendar is arranged at the university. I will really appreciate this information.

 You will notice that it is certainly a good idea to talk about good aspects of your personality. And if you have some concerns or inquiries to make, write them down so that they are answered in the reply.

Let’s move on.

The Conclusion

In the conclusion, you state that you are looking forward to their reply. Let them know how they can get in touch with you. Tell them that you are also available for interview should they prefer it.

I look forward to your reply. You can reach me on the address in the letter head above or the following number: +230940482902. I am also available for interview at any time.

***

The example above should surely give you an idea of what and how to write.

There are certain things that cannot be overemphasized.

Always write a draft before you start your actual letter. Yes, plan your work.

Secondly, always remember to proofread your work.

If there is anything that you feel I have not tackled in this letter, Please feel free to let me know and I will follow up with your suggestion.

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