7 steps to write an effective scholarship motivation letter

Hello, scholarship hunters! 

You might have noticed that many scholarships require you to submit a motivation letter. 

But what exactly is a scholarship motivation letter?

Simply put, your motivation letter sets you apart from the rest of the applicants! 

You might have a really good academic record. That, of course, is an accomplishment that you should be proud of. However, the truth is, most other applicants probably also have superb academic records. 

So, your motivation letter might be the final push that the scholarship provider needs to award you the scholarship! 

A well-written scholarship motivation letter shows a glimpse into your personality, background, and future goals. 

It should also showcase your skills, achievements, and other experiences that sets you apart from the other applicants. 

In essence, your motivation letter helps the scholarship provider understand who you are, what drives you, and why you deserve to receive the scholarship. 

Therefore, it’s essential that you take time to craft a compelling motivation letter. So, let’s learn how to do that together! 

1. Research the scholarship 

Seems obvious, right?

But what we are saying is, actually do thorough research on the scholarship(s) you intend to apply for! 

It’s not enough to only know the name of the scholarship or which university or organization provides it. 

Make a point of researching the university’s or organization’s objectives for awarding the scholarship  so that you can tailor your motivation letter to meet their expectations. 

It can also be beneficial to research the scholarship or grants history and past recipients so you can get an idea of the kind of people who receive the scholarship. 

Different scholarships prioritize different things. Some scholarships may prioritize academic excellence while others might prioritize community service or relevant work experiences. So, that’s also another thing that you should keep in mind! 

Finally, researching the scholarship helps you avoid “small” but nonetheless fatal mistakes that might cost you the scholarship of your dreams! 

For instance, some scholarships have strict formatting requirements. They may have strict word limits or other guidelines that you have to follow. 

By researching the scholarships before you write your motivation letter, you can make sure that you follow all of the guidelines provided and avoid any errors that could disqualify you from consideration! 

2. Introduce yourself 

The introduction of your scholarship motivation letter sets the tone for the rest of the letter. So, make sure to make it count! 

Start with a strong opening sentence that captures the reader’s attention and makes them want to read on. You can start with a quote, an anecdote, or a personal story that relates to the scholarship or your field of study. 

In your introduction section, you should also introduce yourself and explain why you are applying for that scholarship. You can give a brief overview of your academic background and future aspirations. 

3. Highlight your achievements 

In the next part of your letter, you should highlight your achievements. 

Remember, you shouldn’t limit yourself to only highlighting your academic achievements. You can also talk about your extracurricular activities, organisational and community service experiences, work experiences, and any other relevant accomplishments. 

Remember to be specific! 

For example, instead of saying “I have good grades”, you could say, “I have consistently maintained a 4.0 GPA for the past three semesters.” 

This section of the letter can be a double edged sword. Essentially, this is where you should brag! However, don’t go overboard! You should still acknowledge the support of others and express gratitude for the opportunities that have helped you achieve your accomplishments. 

4. Explain your financial situation (for need-based scholarships) 

If the scholarship you are applying for is need-based, explain your financial situation and why you need financial assistance. 

Be honest and transparent about your circumstances and emphasise on how the scholarship can help you achieve your potential. 

If you come from a disadvantaged background, be honest about it. It can put your achievements into context and show that you are a resilient person who has overcome significant obstacles to get to where you are today. This can demonstrate your perseverance and determination.

To sum up, scholarship providers are often looking for candidates who would benefit the most from financial assistance. So, by explaining your financial situation, you can show that you are one of those candidates. 

5. Emphasize your goals 

Next, you should explain your future goals and how the scholarship will help you achieve them. 

Explaining your goals and aspirations shows that you are serious about your education and that you have a clear plan for your future. 

Talking about your goals can also help the scholarship committee understand your fit for the scholarship. Scholarship providers often look for candidates who share the organization’s or academic institution’s values and goals. 

By explaining your goals and aspirations, you can help the selection committee see how your goals align with the scholarship’s objectives and how you could contribute to the organization’s missions. 

6. Write your conclusion 

The conclusion is definitely an important part of your scholarship motivation letter!

Your conclusion would be the final impression that the reader is left with so make it count! 

Begin your conclusion by briefly summarizing the key points that you’ve made. 

Then, reiterate your interest in the scholarship. Clearly state that you are interested in the scholarship and briefly re-explain why you are a good candidate for it by emphasizing on your strengths, achievements, and how the scholarship will help you achieve your goal. 

Don’t forget to show appreciation for the opportunity to apply for the scholarship and express gratitude towards the scholarship committee for their time and consideration. 

7. Edit and proofread 

This is a step you should NEVER skip! 

After writing the letter, proofread it for any spelling and grammatical errors. 

Errors in your letter can reflect poorly on your attention to details and might dissuade the scholarship committee from progressing you to the next step of the scholarship selection process. 

You should also make sure that the letter flows nicely and is easy to read. 

A well-written scholarship motivation letter is clear and concise. By proofreading and editing your letter, you can identify areas where your message might be unclear or confusing and make the necessary revisions.

You can also ask someone else to read your letter and ask them whether they have any suggestions for things that need to be edited, added, or removed. 

So, again, don’t skip this step! 

Taking the time to review and revise your letter can greatly increase your chances of being awarded the scholarship. 


Writing a scholarship motivation letter might be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be!

By following the steps outlined above, you can craft a convincing letter that highlight your strengths and demonstrates why you are the best candidate for the scholarship. 

Remember to be sincere and authentic in your writing and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. After all, the scholarship committee wants to get to know you as a person, not just a list of achievements and qualifications. 

So, take some deep breaths, gather your thoughts, and start writing! 

Next steps 

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