Winning a scholarship is no easy task. When you receive that scholarship check, you may think that the journey is over and everything you needed to do is done. But that’s not quite the case.
Most scholarships do not require anything from students in return for the money provided, so a follow-up letter to acknowledge the funds that have been gifted to you and to show your gratitude is an important task.
It shows the funding organization that you are appreciative of their support and is likely to reinforce to the committee that they made the right choice! Also, this simple act of gratitude is likely to encourage them to continue to secure this funding for students in the future.
Remember, a scholarship is more than just financial aid – it is a gift from an individual or organization to help a student (or students) succeed in their studies. It allows you to avoid taking out hefty loans and can keep you debt free throughout your studies. So, it is vital that it is appropriately acknowledged.
Scholarship donors highly appreciate this expression of gratitude. It also allows you to maintain a good relationship with the funding organization in case you wish to reapply for another scholarship at a later date.
Finding the right words for a thank you letter of this kind is not always easy. In this guide, and the sample scholarship letters page, we hope to provide you with structures, ideas and templates to help make the process of writing a formal letter of thanks a little bit easier for you.
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Features of Scholarship Thank You Letters
Unlike the scholarship application essay, the thank you letter should not take you hours to write, but you do need to ensure that it is of a high writing standard and aligned with the writing ability of a top-level student who would receive a scholarship!
To write a good quality letter, follow these tips:
- Keep the message of the letter clear and concise – explain to the sponsor who you are, the impact of the funds on your education, and your future goals that this funding is supporting you to achieve.
- Submit a paper – not electronic – copy of the letter. An email lacks the effort and personal touch of a paper letter. If, however, your primary method of communication with the organization has been emailed, and this is how you are informed of your success in winning the scholarship, it is crucial to respond as soon as possible with a professional and gracious response. However, a separate thank you letter should also be sent.
- Carefully proofread the letter, checking specifically that the letter makes sense, and for any errors with spelling and grammar. Not only do mistakes show a lack of care in the writing of the letter, but the award they have given you is for educational purposes – so you don’t want to look sloppy and make the sponsor regret their decision!
- Use a formal tone but be sincere in the thanks that you give. Try to be specific about its use and how it is, personally, helping you. A letter that is too generic will lack authenticity.
- Use a formal salutation to open the letter, e.g. Dear Dr/Mr/Mrs/Ms. DO NOT use first names.
- Reference the name of the scholarship that you have been awarded but avoid mentioning the amount of money.
- Include some personality. Your relationship with the sponsor has now changed – instead of trying to get them to see value in you, you are now in the position of them recognizing that value. Show some excitement and enthusiasm for the award!
- Ensure the layout of the letter is professional. It is better to type the letter and print it out using good quality paper.
- Some students prefer a more ‘personal’ approach to the thank you and send a handwritten card, as they feel this has a more positive impact on the receiver(s). This is a personal choice. If you do decide to write a card, remember the tips given above.
What Should I Include in a Scholarship Thank You Letter?
The following four areas need to be covered in a scholarship thank you letter:
1. Gratitude to the funding organization for awarding you with the scholarship.
2. Talk about yourself. Explain why this scholarship means so much to you. You may wish to include details about your hometown, your family background, and the experiences you have had that have led you to want to pursue this degree at this university.
3. What you have done or what you will do with the money that has been awarded to you to show the organization how their money has helped your situation. Talk about your dreams for the future and the things you hope to accomplish during your time at university and beyond.
4. When closing the letter it is important to reiterate your gratitude for this help that you have received and share any future plans or aspirations that you have.
Taking the time to write a thoughtful thank you letter for the scholarship you have been awarded may seem like a waste of time at this stage. However, sending a well-crafted letter of gratitude is, in fact, an essential part of the process.
It should take roughly an hour to prepare the letter, which is a minimal effort in return for a sum of money that can keep you debt free, or at least in less debt, during your years of university study.
Once you are done, print the letter out, slip it into an envelope, write the recipient’s name and address on the front, and pop it in the post. The pleasure the recipient will feel in receiving such note should make the effort of writing it very much worth it!