The basics
Study abroad : Student Finances

Writing an application letter for a scholarship: what you need to know

We tell you everything you need to know about writing an application letter for a scholarship to study abroad


A well-written scholarship application letter can be the deciding factor as to whether or not you get a place at your dream university.


Here we provide a few tips to help maximise your chances, as well as links to the best scholarships on offer for Filipino students.


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 state why 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:

  1. 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
  2. Tell the reader about your 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
  3. 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 you need scholarship money
  4. 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 mission 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 out of hand. 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.


Useful links:

Find a scholarship abroad
Scholarships, bursaries and grants: guide to types of financial aid

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About Author


Stephen Palmer graduated from the University of Sunderland with a degree in Film and Media. Since then he has worked as a copywriter, proofreader and web editor. In his spare time he enjoys keeping fit, reading, playing video games and improving his Norwegian.