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The basics
Study abroad : Student Finances

How to write a scholarship application letter

Scholarships are one way to fund your studies abroad. We tell you everything you need to know about writing an application letter for a scholarship to study abroad.



Applying for a scholarship is one way to fund your studies. While many students are approached with a scholarship offer, most students apply themselves. The majority of these applications require a letter to be written, detailing why that particular student may meet the criteria of a certain scholarship.


A well-written scholarship application letter can be the deciding factor as to whether or not you get a place at your dream university. We explore how to structure a scholarship letter and what to include.


Plan the structure of your letter


The good news is that your covering letter doesn’t have to be very long, just three or four paragraphs is enough.


The organisation will usually ask you to state why you should be considered for a scholarship. The answer can depend on exactly how the question is worded, but as a general guide, it can be broken down into the following sections:


  • Introduce yourself. Tell the reader about yourself and why you are applying for this particular scholarship. Use simple and direct statements. Tell them about yourself, your family, your background and anything else that may be of interest about your circumstances


  • Academic qualifications. Mention the different clubs or events that you participated in during your school years. Mention your hobbies, outside interests and any work experience that you may have. You may also want to mention any valuable experience you have gained from a particular volunteer effort.


  • Your plans. Use this paragraph to tell the reader about your plans for university and beyond. Mention the school that you plan to attend and what you will study. Are you going to go to work and school at the same time? What are your plans after university? What career will you pursue? How will this scholarship help you? Most importantly, state why the scholarship might benefit you. 


  • Thank you. Finally, thank the reader for taking the time to read your letter


Do your research


Before writing your letter, you should research the scholarship organisation to which you are applying as thoroughly as possible. The organisation’s statement on its website is a good place to start.


You should also research the question they ask for the essay, which may require you to carry out additional research to prove your interest in and merit for the scholarship.


While researching, you can decide whether or not you are the best candidate for this particular scholarship, or whether you would better be suited to an alternative one. The more you know about the organisation that is funding the scholarship, the more tangible and practical information you can add to your essay to prove your commitment to the assessors.


Use formal language and check your spelling


Throughout your letter you should maintain a polite, formal tone, and have a clear, concise, structured flow.


Bad spelling, punctuation and grammar could see your application rejected at the first stage of application. Spell check can be a useful tool when proofreading your letter, but it won’t find every mistake.


To make sure you submit a successful cover letter, ask another person, preferably a native English speaker, to read it before sending. As well as help minimise the risk of any spelling or grammatical errors, they may also be able to reword parts of your work to help you eliminate any information that is unclear, redundant or irrelevant to what you are asking for.


A scholarship is a great option for a number of students looking to finance their studies. If you want to know more about what scholarships might be available to you, take a look at our scholarship page.