How to Write Motivational Letters for Scholarships

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Although going to college can be a rewarding and worthwhile experience, the cost of doing so can be quite high.One way of reducing this cost is by applying for scholarships. To apply for scholarships, many organizations will require you to write a motivational letter -- or a cover letter as it is also known. This is a simple document that highlights your background and experiences as well as your qualifications for the scholarship.

  • Write the header for your motivational letter. This should include your name, address, phone number and email address.

  • Skip a line and write the date.

  • Skip another line and enter the contact information for the person to whom the letter is addressed. Include the person's name, her title if you know it and the address of the organization. In some cases your letter may not be addressed to a specific person, but to a group of people such as a selection committee.

  • Skip a line and write your salutation. Address the person using his title, if available. For example, you would write "Dear Dr. John Smith" if he has a doctorate. If the letter is to a group of people, address it to the group, such as "Dear Selection Panel" or "Dear Awards Committee."

  • Review your resume. A motivational letter should include all of the details of your resume because often the organization will not ask for a resume per se. Even if it does, the resume may not be studied extensively.

  • Divide your motivational letter into relevant sections, such as education, work experience and volunteer activities. The structure should be similar to your resume, but you should not use headings as you would in a resume.

  • Write a topic sentence to begin each section. Your topic sentence should serve the same purpose as a heading in a resume, that is, to give the reader an overview of what will be discussed in the paragraph. For example, you could begin your volunteer-experience section by writing, "I have volunteered with multiple nonprofit organizations in a managerial capacity."

  • Flesh out each section by providing details about your experiences. Focus on tangible achievements and relate them to the criteria for the scholarship.

  • Write a concluding paragraph that briefly summarizes your letter and emphasizes why you are deserving of the scholarship. Specifically, you should highlight how your background and experiences qualify you for the scholarship.

  • Skip a line and write a formal closing such as "Sincerely" or "Yours Truly." Skip four lines and write your name.

  • Sign your name above where your name is written.

Tips & Warnings

  • Have someone else read over your motivational letter to catch any errors and to highlight any parts that are unclear.
  • Be aware that certain scholarships may require you to write your motivational letter according to a specific format. Review the organization's information about applications and be sure to follow its specific instructions.

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