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How to Write a Winning Cover Letter for a Scholarship

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Many people overlook the importance of the cover letter when putting together a scholarship application

They work hard to get good grades, pull together convincing recommendation letters, write a strong CV, and then throw the cover letter together at the last minute. 

This can be a big mistake: in the highly competitive world of scholarships, a persuasive cover letter can help you stand out from hundreds or even thousands of other applications, and convince the selection committee to look at you more closely.

You may have the skills, abilities, and passion that the committee is looking for, but this will be useless if you can’t write a good cover letter that conveys this clearly. Keep reading to learn how to write a killer cover letter for a scholarship that’s sure to impress the selection committee.


28 JULY 2022 How to Write a Winning Cover Letter for a Scholarship


Tips for Writing a Killer Scholarship Cover Letter

You don’t have to be an experienced writer to write an impressive cover letter, just take the time to follow a few effective tips that will make your cover letter stand out.

Start with a Compelling Intro

A busy selection committee may only read the first few lines of your cover letter – so this could be your only opportunity to impress them. They will most likely skim through each letter so you need to make sure you have a short, compelling intro that will draw them in and read the rest of your application more closely.

To write a compelling intro, be sure to show your passion for the program you want to study. Introduce yourself and share a little about your current studies, education history, or goals for the future. There is no ideal length for a cover letter intro, but keep it short, concise, and free from fluff.

Don’t Brag

There’s nothing wrong with mentioning your achievements — after all, you need to sell yourself — but don’t make the entire cover letter about you. Remember, your goal is to convince the committee that you can contribute to the program and the community in general. Your cover letter should reflect passion and dedication. 

Don’t underestimate the persuasiveness of being humble.

Keep it Concise

The scholarship committee wants to know where you’ve studied and why you are applying for the programme. This doesn’t mean they need to know absolutely everything about you. People often go into too much detail and end up with a two- or three-page letter filled with irrelevant information.

Here’s how to write a relevant, engaging cover letter:

  • Briefly share a little about yourself: keep this to two or three lines
  • Mention your most relevant qualifications
  • Talk about why you are the ideal candidate for the scholarship
  • Explain how you plan on using the scholarship to meet your future goals

A cover letter should be short, simple, and to the point. Don’t add unnecessary information.

Follow the Right Structure

It can be difficult to know how to please a committee you have never met. How do you write a cover letter that will convince them to read the entire application? It can be helpful to start with the outline and work from there.

A good cover letter should start with a compelling intro, the lead into an opening paragraph, followed by the body of a few paragraphs, a closing paragraph, and a call to action. Of course, you can tweak the structure to suit your preferred writing style.

Keep the Tone Formal

Your cover letter should have a formal tone and use simple yet professional vocabulary. That being said, the letter shouldn’t sound like it’s written by a robot. You should keep the tone formal, but engaging and readable.

Pay Close Attention to Formatting

Formatting is important, as it speaks volumes about your professionalism and how serious you are about getting the scholarship.

Keep these tips in mind when formatting your cover letter:

  • Use 1 or 1.15 spacing
  • Use double-spaces between paragraphs
  • Use left alignment
  • Keep a one-inch margin
  • Use your digital signature

Once you have formatted your document correctly, save it in PDF format.

Check Spelling and Grammar

Lastly, double-check your cover letter for spelling and grammar mistakes. You can use tools like Grammarly to find and fix grammar errors. 

It’s also a good idea to have a second pair of eyes look over your cover letter. Ask a friend or family member to take a look, or hire a proofreader to edit the document.


Write a Winning Cover Letter

A cover letter for a scholarship should highlight your strengths and your motivations. A short, simple, and concise letter that’s relevant to the scholarship programme is all that the scholarship committee wants to see. 

Structure your cover letter properly, start with a compelling intro, and pay attention to important details like spelling, grammar, and formatting.

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