Given the high costs associated with going to college, help is always welcome, especially help that doesn’t involve repayment. Receiving scholarships is a great way to reduce your out-of-pocket costs when paying for an education, and there are often many students competing for the same dollars.Being awarded a scholarship is a mark of distinction, based on your track record of work and accomplishments, which the donors are honoring. Even so, when you receive a financial award, the group that offered it to you has given you a gift, one that has the potential to make a huge difference in your life, and have done it without asking much in return.
The donors have chosen you from among all the students who have applied for their scholarship program, and that deserves acknowledgment. That’s why it’s so important to write thank you letters when you’ve been awarded scholarship money.
There are certain guidelines involved in writing thank you letters in this context, and knowing them will help make writing them much easier. Use these general tips:
- Be prompt – Write your letter in a timely way after you’ve been notified of your award.
- Be as personal as you can – In this increasingly technological age typed letters have become widely accepted, but you might also want to think about writing your letter by hand. Hand-written letters on nice (not lined) paper are a more personal touch, implying additional time and effort in the composition. They have the added benefit of not needing to be quite as formal as typed letters.
- Be professional – If you choose to type your letter, you should use a business format. Many universities and websites offer templates and samples that can be found in short internet search.
- Avoid excess – Donors are busy people. Express you’re your thoughts clearly, simply, and concisely. Tell them a little bit about yourself, a bit about what you hope to accomplish in school, and a bit about your future plans. Tell them about how the honor they’ve given you will help make that possible. Just keep it brief.
- Express your happiness and sincerity – The donors have done something great for you, it’s nice for them to know you’re excited and appreciative.
- Do it right – Regardless of whether you choose to hand-write your letter or type it, make sure it’s well-written. Check it carefully for grammar mistakes and misspellings. Not only does it look more polished, but you want the recipient of your letter to feel like they made a good investment in you. If you are handwriting your letter, make sure that your writing is clear and legible. If it isn’t, then typing is probably the better option.
- Don’t send it through email – E-mail is the least personal and least labor-intensive way to send your letter, and as a result, it’s not looked on with as much favor. If you’ve received an award from a group that’s local, you might consider delivering it in person. If that’s not feasible, then using the regular mail is the next, best option. The donor’s contact information may very well be in your award letter. If it’s not you may be able to look up their contact information online. If that also proves impossible, then you can get the necessary information from the scholarship office of the university you’ve been accepted to. The scholarship office may even address and mail your letter to you.
- Keep it looking simple – When you are writing your letter, do it on white or off-white paper, only. Avoid using colored paper or inks. Make a test copy to make sure that the ink doesn’t bleed through the paper or smear when it gets folded.
- If you’re typing your letter, use a business format to the layout, if you’re handwriting it, you can skip it.
- If you can address it to a specific person, it’s a nice touch. If you can’t, address it as ‘Dear _____ Scholarship donor’, putting in the name of the specific scholarship.
- Start your letter by telling them why you are writing to them.
- Write a paragraph or two about why this is important to you. This is where you put in the information about your goals and how the scholarship will help you attain them.
- End by expressing your thanks again.
- Sign your name in ink, whether you’ve typed the letter or hand-written it. Type or print the name of your school underneath your signature.
- If you have been the recipient of more than one scholarship, write a letter for each one, individually.
Following these simple guidelines will help you create a prompt, polished, and professional letter to express your gratitude for the honor you’ve received.We all learn the importance of having good manners when we’re young. Using those manners can open doors in all areas of life, and help make you stand out from the crowd. Expressing thanks for gifts received is an integral part of that. Not only will reflect on you well, generally, it will also help the donor feel like they’ve made a good choice in investing in your education.
It may also help your later applications stand out if the scholarship is one that you need to re-apply for periodically, or if the same group offers other scholarships you may be eligible for, as well. In any event, mastering the art of writing letters like this is an extremely useful skill to have.