Applying for Scholarships
By EDge Staff
When applying for a scholarship you will often need to write a letter directly to the administrator to request more information, an application form, or simply tell them a bit about yourself. This is a great opportunity to show the administrator why you are the best candidate for their scholarship. Take some time to make this letter as clear, concise and informative as possible.
Before you start your letter, compile a list of all the activities you have taken an interest in, been involved with, lead or have been a member of. The following list will help you develop your ideas and create the most complete listing possible:
Awards: Have you ever been formally recognized for something? (i.e. honour roll, student of the year, an award for your extracurricular activities)
Clubs: What clubs at school were you involved in? Be sure to include school plays, school newspaper and yearbook committee contributions, as well as any religious youth groups where you are a member.
Co-op Jobs: Describe your co-op opportunity and be sure to list what you've learned from the experience.
International Exchanges: Did you travel abroad during school to study or volunteer? What did you learn about the culture?
Part-Time Jobs: Don't knock part-time jobs because you can explain your experiences and highlight your skills through these opportunities.
Projects: Did you work on any large projects you are particularly proud of?
Scholastic Achievement: It's not just about high marks when it comes to applications, but what you have done with the subjects you have excelled in.
School Associations: Were you involved with your school music council or athletic association? Were you a student representative for the parent-teachers association?
Sports: What was your position on the school team? Were you the captain, co-captain, or manager? What skills did you learn?
Student Government: Were you the president, secretary, treasurer, vice-president, class representative, or grade representative?
Volunteer work at school: Volunteer opportunities do not need to exist outside of your school. (i.e. tutor, coach's assistant, office helper, library assistant, teacher's assistant, technical support)
Volunteer work out of school: Describe your duties and state what you learned as a result of your experiences at a local hospital, local public school, local organization, government office, community newspaper, sports team, daycare centre, or nursing home.
After you have compiled your list, think about how your experiences during high school have contributed to your personal growth. Did they help you develop maturity, responsibility, teamwork skills, punctuality, or leadership skills? Introduce your involvement by assigning at least one skill or quality you gained from the experience to the activity.
Now you are ready to write your letter. Here is a sample letter to help get you started:
A Sample Letter
September 19, 2013
Dear Scholarship Coordinator, (Address the letter with a person's name if possible, using Dear Ms._________ or Dear Mr.__________)
First Paragraph: This is your chance to make a great first impression. Start by introducing yourself. Clearly state your main objective for writing the letter, i.e. 'I would like to receive more information about your _________ award.' Mention your current school and your future plans, i.e. 'I am currently in my last year at Applewood High School, and am interested in pursuing a career in ____________.' You may also include how you found out about the scholarship.
Second Paragraph: This is where you highlight your achievements, interests or activities that make you a great candidate for the scholarship. Mention your experience or future plans that complement the criteria of the award. Explain how this scholarship will help you pursue your goals. You need to strike a fine balance between a matter-of-fact list of your accomplishments and an overblown extravaganza of accolades.
Third Paragraph: As the last impression, this paragraph is also very important. Mention that you 'look forward to receiving a response' or 'hearing from you.' Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your letter for the administrator's convenience and mention that the envelope is enclosed. Thank them for their time and remember to sign the letter and stamp the envelope!
Last but not least, have the envelope weighed at the post office to ensure that the letter has sufficient postage. The letter might be heavier than you think!