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How to write a killer scholarship essay

A scholarship motivation letter can make or break your application. Whether you are applying for high school, post-secondary or continuing studies, this is your opportunity to showcase your knowledge before an in-person interview. Motivation letters are not required for every application. Yet when they are necessary, they are critical. A motivation letter is like a cover letter you may include with a job application and resume. It covers two things:

  • Why you are a good candidate for the scholarship
  • What you plan to do with the education you receive.

Motivation Letter for Scholarship Applications – General Guidelines

 Usually, the application will not specify how long your motivation letter should be. You will need to use your best judgement to write a concise motivation letter. The letter should include:

  • The most important elements of your resume
  • Your education
  • Your professional experiences and plans for the future.

Motivation letters are usually around 500-1,000 words. Like the standard 500-word essay, when writing, you should split them into paragraphs for easy reading.

Tailor Your Motivation Letter to Fit the Scholarship

Your motivation letter should link your future plans with the goals of the scholarship. How will you benefit from continued education in this field? How will you use this knowledge to support the mission of the scholarship provider?

Say that the scholarship is from an agency that supports wildlife preservation. Your letter should explain how you plan to apply your education towards a career in that field.

You also need to establish why you deserve this application more than other applicants. What specific experiences do you have now that set you apart from the rest? What specific plans do you have that will address a current issue in the world? Even if you currently have limited knowledge about the issue, use that to your advantage. Explain how you could thrive with more education and solve even more problems in the future.

The Structure of a Scholarship Motivation Letter

Scholarship motivation letters vary by award, but they usually consist of three elements:

  • An introduction
  • Three body paragraphs
  • A conclusion

Your introduction should include your name, level of education and the degree program.

Your first body paragraph should include any work-related experience you have. This can include both paid and unpaid internships. You should show the growth of your career in chronological order. Finally, suggest where your professional will go with continued education.

Your second body paragraph should explain what you hope to gain from your education. Think of which problems you aim to solve or uncover.

Your final body paragraph should explain your holistic plans for the future. Some ideas for inspiration:

  • You can include extra education you plan to pursue after education.
  • You can write about companies or agencies you’d like to work for after graduation.
  • You can talk about programs or organizations you would like to develop.

Finally, your conclusion should re-emphasize why you are a good candidate for the scholarship.

What NOT to Include When Writing a Scholarship Motivation Letter

Your scholarship motivation letter should be well-written with no grammar or spelling errors. Use a professional tone and advanced phrasing (no slang or colloquialisms). Provide specific examples about your past, present and future. Stay away from vague generalizations. Vagueness suggests a lack of care or knowledge, neither of which are impressive to a scholarship review committee.

Some Final Tips

Writing a motivation letter for scholarship applications takes time and commitment. Plan what you will say in advance, and allow at least three days to write the letter, review it, step away from it and edit it. This extra time will provide the best chance of success with your application.

This content was provided by ScholarshipOwl.

This article was originally published in the September 2018 edition of Rg Scholarships.

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