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Cover Letter for Scholarship Application: Sample and 20+ Tips

Cover Letter for Scholarship Application: Sample and 20+ Tips

Scholarships and grants change lives. Whether you’re an aspiring undergrad or postgrad, here you’ll learn how to write a cover letter for scholarship that will win you this money.

Jacques Buffett
Jacques Buffett
Career Expert

$100,000+.

 

That’s the average price of a four-year college degree.

 

Looking at going to grad school? That’s at least another $30k on top. But there are ways you can ease that pain.

 

Scholarships, grants, and research grants offer incredible opportunities and freedom from debt.

 

But to land a scholarship you have to prove yourself to the committee through a convincing scholarship cover letter.

 

And we’ll help you get it written.

 

This guide will show you:

  • A best-in-class scholarship cover letter example.
  • Scholarship cover letter samples that prove your worth to the committee with relevant goals and achievements.
  • A full guide to writing a cover letter to help you get that life-changing scholarship.

 

Scholarship Cover Letter Sample

 

Armando Gutierrez

4215 Duval St

Austin, TX, 78751

(512) 522-6167

gutarmando@gmail.com

 

10/11/2019

 

Adrian Clark

ULN Coordinator

2304 Whitis Ave

Austin, TX, 78712

 

Dear Mr Clark,

 

Having been accepted to UT Austin for the 2019 fall term to pursue a Bachelor’s in Architecture, I am writing to express my desire to participate in the University Leadership Scholarship Program. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a strong passion for architecture, my favorite Texas landmark being the pink granite edifice of the State Capitol. I’m particularly excited by the opportunity to join a network of leaders who help to maintain UT Austin’s reputation as a world-leading public research university.

 

My parents came to Texas as immigrants and have worked tirelessly in low paid jobs to provide for our family. If I am accepted to the program, I would be the first member of my family to benefit from a college education. My goal is to use my education to give back to the community. I want to specialize in designing affordable and environmentally sustainable housing. My passion for this field was inspired by my winning virtual city design for the National Future City competition, and I am all too aware of the impact of high housing costs and environmental destruction on underprivileged communities. 

 

Servant leadership is the philosophy I intend to follow as a program participant and alumni. I want society to benefit from my education and UT Austin to gain prestige as an institution providing innovation for the greater good. This scholarship would enable me to achieve these aims. In fact, my high school principal is an alumnus of the program. She has been a huge inspiration to me and many others, and I hope to follow her example should I be accepted.

 

Please get in touch to arrange a meeting with me. I’d love to tell you more about my upbringing and my desire to give back to my community through my further education.

 

Best Regards,

Armando Gutierrez

 

P.S. I’d also love to discuss how my experience in volunteer mentoring and academic coaching of younger students could contribute to the program’s leadership aims.

 

When the review committee sees that, you’re already winning.

 

Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that match your resume. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.

 

sample resume and cover letter set

Sample Cover Letter for a Resume—See more cover letter templates and create your cover letter here.

 

Looking for tips on how to make your scholarship resume pass pass the litmus test? See this guide: Scholarship Resume Sample: Template and Complete Guide

 

Now, here’s how to write a cover letter for a scholarship application, step-by-step:

 

1

Use The Best Scholarship Cover Letter Template & Format

 

Getting a college scholarship isn’t easy but the formula for a successful scholarship cover letter is. Just follow this checklist and your letter will be as well structured as the best degree programs out there.

 

Scholarship Cover Letter Sample—Checklist

 

  • Your contact info
  • The scholarship organization’s contact info
  • Dear (addressee’s name)
  • Paragraph 1: introduction and a big achievement fitting the scholarship
  • Paragraph 2: key information about you and why you fit the scholarship
  • Paragraph 3: show your passion + why you want it
  • Paragraph 4: your call to action (CTA)
  • Best regards + your name + title
  • P.S.—add value

 

Apart from the right section order, there’s one more thing that all best scholarship cover letters need. 

 

This is good formatting.

Here’s how to make it right: 

 

Cover Letter For Scholarship—Formatting Basics

 

  • Set one-inch margins for an eyeball friendly frame of white space.
  • Left-align your letter, it’s easy on the eye, too. Don’t use justification, it’s against the rules of business letter formatting.
  • Use the correct spacing: 1 or 1.15. 
  • Double-space between paragraphs. More eyeball friendly white space.
  • Go pro. Use a digital copy of your handwritten signature in your sign-off.
  • Save your job application documents in PDF format. It’s the best file format for cover letters because it keeps the layout intact. Keep a copy in another format though because some institutions won’t accept PDF.

 

That’s the theory section dealt with, let’s put it into practice. The very first part you’ll write is a header and a scholarship cover letter header is a bit like taking attendance in class.

 

Boring but necessary. 

 

You’ll need your name, address, phone number and email address first. Then the date, and the name and address of the person you’re writing to.

 

Here’s how to get it right:

 

Scholarship Cover Letter Example—Header

 

Armando Gutierrez

4215 Duval St

Austin, TX, 78751

(512) 522-6167

gutarmando@gmail.com

 

10/11/2019

 

Adrian Clark

ULN Coordinator

2304 Whitis Ave

Austin, TX, 78712

 

What about salutation? 

 

For a formal document like a scholarship cover letter stick with [Dear Title Surname]. Like “Dear Mr Clark” in the example above.

 

Warning! Do not use “To Whom It May Concern.” It’s more old-fashioned than your creepy Uncle’s mullet. Worse, it puts you at a disadvantage.

 

Personalization is powerful.

 

That’s because using a person’s name actually activates their brain and makes them pay more attention. So make sure you flip that switch.

 

Get more formatting tips in our expert guide: Cover Letter Format: Complete Guide to Cover Letter Layout

 

2

Start Your Scholarship Application Cover Letter Right

 

Think of your scholarship cover letter as your elevator pitch

 

You have two minutes to impress and make the committee genuinely interested in your application.

 

Here’s how to get them hooked faster than you can say “school’s out for summer.” Show passion and understanding for the scholarship program plus a real insight into the benefits you’ll bring to society after completing your area of study. Come in strong.

 

Let’s see how to put it to good use with an example.

 

Scholarship Cover Letter Sample First Paragraph—Undergraduate Scholarship

 

RIGHT

Having been accepted to UT Austin for the 2019 fall term to pursue a Bachelor’s in Architecture, I am writing to express my desire to participate in the University Leadership Scholarship Program. You will see that these speak for themselves. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a strong passion for architecture, my favorite Texas landmark being the pink granite edifice of the State Capitol. I’m particularly excited by the opportunity to join a network of leaders who help to maintain UT Austin’s reputation as a world-leading public research university.

 

That’s not just good, it’s great.

 

Passion, dedication and insight work together to create a powerful first paragraph. And a nice little humblebrag helps, too.

 

WRONG

I want to participate in the University Leadership Scholarship Program to help support my study of a B.Arch at UT Austin. As you can see from my application, my GPA and academic record are near flawless. I’ve wanted to study architecture for years and this scholarship would help me do that.

 

That’s all brag with no humble. No understanding of the scholarship and no passion. All achievements and no heart.

 

The board won’t even bother reading the application. Now for a sample suitable for a postgrad research grant.

 

Scholarship Cover Letter Sample First Paragraph—Research Grant

 

RIGHT

Having been accepted into the Masters in Education program at Northwestern University, I am writing to express my interest in participating in the Gates Millennium Foundation Program. I have overcome the disadvantages of an underprivileged background to obtain a B. Ed. graduating summa cum laude. As you will see, the research I intend to pursue is focused on the program’s aims of academic excellence and the empowerment of the underprivileged. This scholarship would help me pursue those aims and directly benefit the lives of others.

 

This is a great introduction that zones in on the aims of the program. There’s useful info about the applicant and it whets the appetite for more detail to follow.

 

WRONG

I am writing to apply to participate in the Gates Millennium Foundation Program. My undergraduate academic record is high achieving and I graduated in the top 1% of my cohort. I have been accepted into the Masters in Education program at Northwestern but I will struggle to fund this myself, so being accepted for this grant would be a life-changer for me.

 

All about me. No understanding of the program either. It sounds like a generic scholarship cover letter template.

 

Whatever sort of scholarship you apply for, make the introduction passionate and focused. Show from the outset that you’re a good fit for the program’s ethos.

 

We’ve got more great advice on cover letter openings in our guide: How to Start a Cover Letter 

 

Next, the main event.

 

3

Write a Sensational Middle for Your Scholarship Covering Letter

 

You’ve got a compelling introduction, but you’ve got to keep the review committee reading. Model yourself on the great teachers you’ve had. They keep you entertained for the whole lesson.

 

You have to keep your readers entertained for the whole letter. To do that, you need two middle paragraphs. 

 

The first details why you’re the best candidate for the scholarship and what you hope to achieve. The other shows your motivation and passion for the scholarship program.

 

Undergraduate Scholarship Cover Letter Example—Middle

 

RIGHT

My parents came to Texas as immigrants and have worked tirelessly in low paid jobs to provide for our family. If I am accepted to the program, I would be the first member of my family to benefit from a college education. My goal is to use my education to give back to the community. I want to specialize in designing affordable and environmentally sustainable housing. My passion for this field was inspired by my winning virtual city design for the National Future City competition, and I am all too aware of the impact of high housing costs and environmental destruction on underprivileged communities. 

 

Servant leadership is the philosophy I intend to follow as a program participant and alumni. I want society to benefit from my education and UT Austin to gain prestige as an institution providing innovation for the greater good. This scholarship would enable me to achieve these aims. In fact, my high school principal is an alumnus of the program. She has been a huge inspiration to me and many others, and I hope to follow her example should I be accepted.

 

The committee is convinced!

 

This just works. It covers the applicant’s needs and personal circumstances perfectly. 

 

It also mentions what they hope to achieve and reinforcement of understanding the program’s philosophy.

 

WRONG

I come from a family with limited financial resources. It would be incredibly difficult for me to cover the expense of tuition fees without assistance. I am incredibly passionate about pursuing a career in architecture, I just need some help to make it happen. I am committed to using my education to help others too so the committee can be confident it is making the right choice in awarding the scholarship to me.

 

Next candidate, please. 

 

It’s eager, but where’s the detail? Where’s the understanding of the scholarship program?

 

Let’s take another look at our postgrad research grant candidate.

 

Research Grant Scholarship Cover Letter Example—Middle

 

RIGHT

My underprivileged background has given me a unique perspective on the power of education to provide opportunities and empowerment. My aim is to complete a thesis focusing on inclusive practice in the classroom to ensure that no child is left behind or discriminated against due to the circumstances of their home life and upbringing. This would enable more students to reach the goals I have already had the privilege of achieving.

 

Ensuring that every child achieves their maximum potential is my chief inspiration as an educator. I intend to ensure that the committee’s confidence in me is “paid forward” to spread the benefits to future generations.

 

That’s powerful. It shows a deep personal understanding of the scholarship and a personal affinity with the intended area of study that shows the committee the money will be well spent.

 

They’re ready to sign on the dotted line.

 

WRONG

Completing my undergraduate studies has been an immense financial burden. I am committed to advancing my potential as an educator even further but I need assistance to do that. If I am successful in being given this grant, I fully intend to use my further studies to improve the provision of education.

 

Lackluster and no detail. Next.

 

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When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.

 

Tempted to write a longer cover letter? Don’t be. Find out why in our guide: Cover Letter Length: How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

 

4

End Your Cover Letter for Scholarship with a Call to Action

 

Your cover letter is almost perfect.

 

But there’s one last thing before you can graduate top of the cover letter class. You need to beat the competition and get in front of the committee for a scholarship interview. 

 

How? You’ve just got to ask.

 

Use a CTA to do it right. Give them a reason to want to meet you.

 

Undergraduate Scholarship Cover Letter Sample—CTA

 

RIGHT

Can we arrange a meeting, so I can tell the committee how my experience in volunteer mentoring and academic coaching of younger students could contribute to the program’s leadership aims?

 

Best Regards,

Armando Gutierrez

 

P.S. I’d also love to discuss how my winning virtual city design for the national Future City Competition inspired my drive to create affordable and sustainable housing.

 

That sample asks for an interview and delivers even more focus on the program's aims. It’s relevant and compelling. Worthy of an honors degree in itself!

 

This is the spot where you can really make use of your achievements. For a scholarship it means showing what you’ve done that really goes beyond the call of duty.

 

Good grades are great, but cast your net wider. Volunteer work, extra-curricular activities, hobbies, sports. Any area you excel in that demonstrates your abilities is a good bet here.

 

In fact good grades really aren’t the final word. Only 55% of scholarships are won by straight-A students.

 

WRONG
I thank the committee sincerely for taking the time to review my application. I confirm that all of the required documents are enclosed and I look forward to meeting you in person to discuss my application further.

 

 

Low-energy, old-fashioned, all ask, and no give. There’s a place scholarship cover letters ending like this end up.

 

The trash.

Pro Tip: The P.S. is your secret weapon. It makes the committee sit up and pay attention. Use it to add another relevant achievement and get them sold on interviewing you.

This closing strategy is the most effective. It works equally well for grants and postgrad research, too.

 

Just follow the formula of adding value to your invitation and you’ll be set.

 

One last thing.

 

For all types of scholarship cover letters use the right formal closing. “Sincerely” is always a good go-to, but there are alternatives.

 

Try these for a finishing touch as classic as a mortarboard on graduation day.

 

Top 5 Scholarship Cover Letter Closing Salutations

 

  • Thank you,
  • Best regards,
  • Kind regards,
  • Sincerely,
  • With best regards,

 

Can’t think of a great offer to finish your scholarship covering letter? Get inspired. Read our guide: How to End a Cover Letter

 

Key Takeaways

 

Let’s summarize how to write the perfect cover letter for scholarships:

  • Use the right format. It makes your letter more readable and sets you up as an A+ candidate.
  • Start by showing an understanding of the program’s ethos and passion for the field of study. Prove your relevancy to the committee.
  • Cement your worth in the middle of your cover letter for scholarship. Show off your personal attributes and end goals. Stay relevant to the program and show the committee the impact you’ll make.
  • Finish with a CTA. Ask the question and offer something in return. Get your application read and get that interview.
  • Put in a P.S. for the cherry on top.

 

Scholarships can change lives. If you want more advice on how to get the scholarship covering letter right then please ask in the comments section. We’d love to help.

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Jacques Buffett
Jacques Buffett
Jacques is a career expert committed to delivering top-notch job hunting advice. His guides will empower you to craft winning resumes and cover letters.

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