Scholarship Cover Letter & Writing Guide

Master the art of scholarship cover letter writing, formatting, and best practices with this step-by-step guide we created for you!
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Securing a scholarship can be a game-changer for many students, offering them the financial freedom to focus on their studies without the burden of tuition fees. However, with numerous candidates applying for the same scholarship, it’s crucial to stand out from the crowd. One effective way to do this is by crafting a compelling scholarship cover letter. 

This document allows you to showcase your achievements, dedication, and future aspirations in a personalized manner, making a strong case for why you deserve the scholarship. So, in this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to create a scholarship cover letter that leaves a lasting impression on the selection committee. 

Key Takeaways

  • You should properly format your scholarship cover letter to make it visually appealing and easier for recruiters to go through it. 

  • The essential sections you must include in your scholarship cover letter would be the header, greeting, introduction, academic showcase, and a compelling call to action. 

  • It’s always a good idea to highlight your academic and extracurricular achievements in order to show your dedication and suitability for the scholarship you’re applying for. 

  • Proofreading, tailoring your cover letter to specific scholarship guidelines, and focusing only on relevant strengths can help you make your application stand out from the crowd. 

How to Format Your Scholarship Cover Letter

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about creating your scholarship cover letter and don’t know how to organize it, you’re not alone. This is what every student struggles with, especially if they’re writing such a document for the first time. 

Luckily, there’s a structured cover letter format you can follow to ensure your letter is both compelling and organized. Here’s a breakdown of the format to guide you: 

Scholarship Cover Letter Format

  • Contact information section, which includes your personal details and the date of writing 

  • Recipient’s details, as you should always address the scholarship committee or the specific person if known 

  • Formal greeting, which is supposed to set the tone of the letter 

  • Engaging introduction that highlights your primary qualifications or reasons for seeking the scholarship

  • Letter body, where you want to focus on your achievements, experiences, and aspirations, showcasing why you’re an ideal candidate for the scholarship

  • Conclusion, where you can summarize the main points and express gratitude for the consideration, coupled with a subtle call to action 

Now that we’ve outlined the entire scholarship cover letter, here is what you need to know about the cover letter layout:

Cover Letter Layout

  • Length & content: You should aim for a one-page cover letter. The body should comprise 3-5 paragraphs, totaling 250-400 words. 

  • Font & font size: Opt for professional fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri, sized between 10-12 pt. 

  • Margins & spacing: Set a 1-inch margin on all sides and a 1.0 line spacing for enhanced readability. 

To help you out, here is a scholarship cover letter template you can follow when crafting your own:

retail cover letter

What to Include in a Cover Letter For a Scholarship

To help readers easily navigate your scholarship cover letter, you should break it down into specific sections. Each of these segments plays its own role in painting a comprehensive picture of your qualifications and dedication, and here’s what they include:  

#1. Heading

The start of your scholarship cover letter sets the formal tone and provides essential contact details. Therefore, you should ensure you incorporate the following in it:

Mandatory Details

  • Name 

  • Phone number 

  • Email address 

  • (Optional) Full mailing address

Subsequently, taking the extra step to identify and address the appropriate individual or committee head in the cover letter heading can make a significant difference. In fact, it will demonstrate your genuine interest and commitment to the scholarship opportunity.  

Here is an example of what this section should look like:

Header Example

Sophia Martinez (213) 555-1234 1234 Elm Street Los Angeles, CA, 90001 11/04/2023 Dr. James Thompson Scholarship Committee Chair University of California 5678 Oak Avenue Los Angeles, CA, 90095

#2. Greeting

Following the detailed contact information, you should greet the scholarship committee or specific individual formally, setting a respectful tone for your cover letter. A simple “Dear Dr. Thompson” will do—there’s no need for any extra details. 

The best way to figure out who is on the committee is to do some research. However, if the specific name of the committee chair or member is unknown, you can address the entire committee, such as Dear Scholarship Committee. That being said, it’s best to avoid the impersonal To whom it may concern, as it lacks the personal touch that can make your letter stand out. 

#3. Opening Statement

The opening statement of your scholarship cover letter is your first opportunity to make an impression. It should introduce who you are, summarize your academic background, and provide a brief overview of your goals and achievements

Additionally, this section also specifies the particular type of scholarship you’re applying for, especially if the university offers multiple options. 

With all that in mind, here is an example of what this section should look like: 

Opening Statement Example

Dear Dr. James Thompson, 

As an incoming student at UCLA’s renowned School of Medicine for the 2023 fall term, I am reaching out to express my profound interest in the UCLA Regents Scholarship Program. My journey toward medicine has always been driven by a deep-seated desire to innovate in healthcare and make a lasting impact on community health. I believe that with the support of this scholarship, I can further develop my goal of advancing medical research and patient care, upholding the esteemed reputation of UCLA’s School of Medicine. 

#4. Academic and Extracurricular Showcase

In the heart of your scholarship cover letter lies the section where you get to shine the brightest: the academic and extracurricular showcase. This segment illustrates your academic prowess, extracurricular engagements, hard and soft skills, as well as the experiences that make you an ideal candidate for the scholarship.

The following is an example of what a solid showcase of academic and extracurricular achievements for an application letter for a scholarship in college should look like:

Academic and Extracurricular Showcase Example

Growing up in a humble neighborhood in Los Angeles, I’ve witnessed firsthand the disparities in healthcare access and quality. My parents, both immigrants, often struggled to find adequate medical care, instilling in me a profound desire to make a difference. 

As the potential first college attendee in my family, I aim to specialize in community medicine to serve underrepresented populations. This passion was further fueled when I spearheaded the “Community Health Awareness” campaign at Jefferson High School in collaboration with the American Medical Association. 

My dedication also led me to volunteer at the local community clinic, gaining insights into patient care. Winning the regional “Young Medics Challenge” for a community health project showcased my commitment to bridging healthcare gaps. Therefore, receiving the UCLA medical scholarship would not only be a testament to my dedication but also a step toward my goal of serving the community. 

#5. Call to Action

This section invites the scholarship committee to get in touch with you in order to further discuss your potential contributions and how they align with the scholarship’s objectives

By providing a call to action, you’re encouraging the committee to reach out, be it to schedule an interview, view your portfolio, or explore other relevant materials you’ve provided.  

Here is an example of how to feature this section in a scholarship letter for a student:

Call to Action Example

I welcome the opportunity to discuss my aspirations and qualifications further. Please find attached my academic portfolio for a deeper insight. I’m hopeful for a chance to contribute to UCLA’s esteemed medical community. 

#6. Final Touches

To end your cover letter, opt for a classic and universally accepted closing such as Sincerely, Kind regards, or Warm regards. Avoid overly casual or informal sign-offs, as they might not convey the seriousness and respect the application process demands. 

After your chosen sign-off, leave a space for a signature (if sending a hard copy), and then type your full name. 

For inspiration, take a look at our complete scholarship cover letter example.

4 Tips for Composing a Perfect Scholarship Cover Letter

Here are a few cover letter tips that will help you polish your document to perfection:

Scholarship Cover Letter Writing Tips

  • Mention only relevant strengths and achievements. Your cover letter is supposed to showcase relevant accomplishments and strengths. Whether it’s an academic achievement or a specific role you’ve taken on, make sure these highlights align with the scholarship’s criteria. 

  • Follow the submission guidelines. Each scholarship may have its own set of submission guidelines, and adhering to these is a must. Whether it’s the format, word count, or the method of submission, ensure you follow the instructions to a T.

  • Edit and proofread: A well-written scholarship cover letter free of grammatical errors and typos reflects your dedication and professionalism. After drafting it, take the time to review it and eliminate all potential mistakes. 

  • Personalize your scholarship cover letter. Tailor your letter to the specific scholarship and organization offering it. Demonstrating that you’ve researched the scholarship and understood its objectives can set your application apart from the rest. 

Final Thoughts

Crafting a compelling scholarship cover letter is an important step in securing the financial support you need for your academic journey. This guide has provided a comprehensive roadmap of the process, starting from the formatting to the final touches, all of which should make your letter stand out in a sea of applications. 

Remember, your scholarship cover letter is more than just a formality—it’s a reflection of your dedication, achievements, and aspirations. By personalizing it, showcasing your most significant accomplishments, and adhering to the scholarship’s guidelines, you position yourself as a deserving candidate!

Isabelle Dupont
Isabelle Dupont
Content Writer & Editor
Isabelle Dupont is from Portland, but she now lives and works in sunny San Diego. She is a content writer and editor for She loves casual Fridays and carefree days spent on the beach and has been writing for several years now. Whether it’s creating content or fixing it up, she’s always on point and makes sure no stone is left unturned. In her free time, Isa loves to immerse herself in fantasy novels, go on long hikes, and spend time with her friends and family.

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