How to Write a Letter to Receive a Grant or Scholarship for College

by Barbie Carpenter ; Updated July 27, 2017

Successfully earning a scholarship or grant to pay for college takes more than good grades. While a strong academic record certainly helps your case, it is also important that you present well-written application materials to the scholarship or grant committee. Many committees want applicants to submit a letter to inform them about themselves and explain why they are deserving of the scholarship or grant. Make sure your letter is persuasive so that you can land the monetary award.

Step 1

Craft a captivating introduction to your letter. Do not simply state your name and school; instead, offer a brief personal story to grab the readers' attention. Relate your story to the scholarship or grant's purpose. For example, if you're applying for a scholarship for band members, talk about the impact that being in the band had on your life. Keep this anecdote to three to five sentences.

Step 2

State the intent of your letter in the second paragraph. You are writing the letter to express your interest in the scholarship or grant or, in many cases, apply for the scholarship or grant. Include the full name of the scholarship or grant in case the committee offers a variety of monetary awards; you want to ensure you are considered for the right scholarship or grant.

Step 3

Discuss your qualifications for the scholarship or grant in the third paragraph. This is your opportunity to highlight your greatest achievements, whether they are academic or extracurricular. Do not simply restate your school transcripts or resume. Instead, point out those achievements that are particularly notable, and explain how they have prepared you to put the scholarship or grant to good use.

Step 4

Talk about your academic and career goals in the fourth paragraph. Many scholarships and grants go to students with a specific field of study in mind, so it is important that the scholarship or grant committee understands that you are eligible to earn the award. Here, you can discuss what you plan to major in -- or are currently majoring in -- as well as what you hope to do when you graduate.

Step 5

Reaffirm your interest in the scholarship or grant in the final paragraph. Do not restate information from the letter but offer a brief summary of your qualifications and interest. If you are submitting the letter as a part of a larger application, note any enclosures that you have, such as "My high school transcripts, resume and letters of recommendation are enclosed for your review." Thank the committee for considering you.

About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.