How to Write a Scholarship Motivation Letter

How to Write a Scholarship Motivation Letter in 2023

Got No Time? A Quick Answer for you

The key to writing an effective scholarship motivation letter is to tailor your letter to the specific scholarship, highlight your most relevant qualifications, and explain how the scholarship will help you achieve your academic and career goals. Make sure to follow proper letter formatting, open with an introduction stating your background and interests, use the body paragraphs to make your case for why you deserve the scholarship, and close with a summary statement. Proofread carefully and have others review before submitting.

Key Steps for Writing a Winning Scholarship Motivation Letter:

  • Research the scholarship provider to understand their mission and values.
  • How to Write a Scholarship Motivation Letter your skills, experience, and goals to the scholarship’s purpose.
  • Follow proper business letter formatting with date/address blocks and a formal salutation.
  • Introduce yourself and your academic background and interests in the opening paragraph.
  • Use the body of the letter to highlight your qualifications, achievements, and passion. Provide specific examples.
  • Explain how receiving this scholarship will enable you to pursue your academic and career ambitions.
  • Close the letter with a summary statement and offer to provide more information.
  • Proofread carefully and have others review before submitting.

Applying for college scholarships can be a long and challenging process. You have to find scholarships you qualify for, put together an application, submit transcripts and letters of recommendation, and sometimes write essays. 📝 One key part of many scholarship applications is the motivation letter, also called a personal statement or letter of intent. This letter allows you to introduce yourself and make your case for why you deserve the scholarship money.

Crafting a compelling motivation letter is vital for standing out from the competition. According to scholarship expert Jennifer Finetti, “This may be the only chance you have to wow the review committee.” So it’s important to put thought and effort into writing an effective letter tailored to each scholarship. 📬

This comprehensive guide will explain what a scholarship motivation letter is, provide tips for writing an outstanding letter, and include a sample you can use for inspiration. With these best practices, you’ll be able to produce personalized motivation letters that impress reviewers and improve your chances of earning scholarships. 🏆

What is a Scholarship Motivation Letter?

A motivation letter is a formal letter you submit as part of a scholarship application to explain why you are an ideal candidate to receive the award. It highlights your background, achievements, interests, and future goals and how they align with the values and purpose of the scholarship program.

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Scholarship providers want to determine how giving you financial support will be a wise investment to further their mission. Your motivation letter needs to convince them that you have the right qualifications, passion, and ambitions to make a difference in the field or cause the scholarship focuses on.

Motivation letters are often required for graduate school scholarship applications but may also be requested for specialized undergraduate awards. They tend to range from 500 – 1000 words. Treat them like a professional cover letter you would submit with a resume when applying for a job.

Tailor Your Letter to Each Scholarship

A motivation letter shouldn’t be a generic form letter you tweak slightly for each application. Take time to research each scholarship provider to understand their history, values, and mission. 🕵️‍♀️ Then write your motivation letter content specifically to show how your background, skills, and goals align with the priorities of that particular scholarship program.

For example, if the scholarship supports students going into environmental science careers, highlight any relevant work or academic experience you have in that field. Explain how receiving this scholarship will empower you to pursue solutions to environmental challenges we face.

Making this effort to customize your letter proves your interest in the scholarship is genuine and you have the requisite passion and commitment to meaningfully contribute to their mission.

💡Pro Tip: Avoid vague general statements about how the scholarship will help you achieve your goals. Provide specific examples of how your goals and values directly connect with the scholarship provider’s purpose.

How to Format Your Motivation Letter

Though motivation letters have a more conversational tone than formal essays, it’s still important to follow proper professional business letter formatting. This creates a polished look and prevents you from losing points for sloppy presentation.

Here are key formatting guidelines:

  • Include the date at the top left and your address block aligned left on the next line.
  • Skip a line and add the scholarship committee’s address aligned left below your address.
  • Open with a formal salutation line – e.g. Dear Scholarship Selection Committee.
  • Use standard 1-inch margins and single or 1.15 line spacing.
  • Choose a professional looking font – Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, etc.
  • Break the letter into paragraphs for easier readability.
  • Close with Sincerely or Regards and your name.

💡Editor Note: Avoid fonts that are overly stylized or hard to read. And don’t get too creative with margins or spacing – keep it simple.

How to Structure Your Motivation Letter

While you want your letter to flow naturally, having an organized structure helps ensure you cover all the key points. Aim to include these elements:

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  • State your name, education level, field of study, and the degree/program you are pursuing. E.g. “My name is Julie Moore and I am a third year student at XYZ University pursuing a Bachelor of Architecture degree.”
  • Provide 1-2 sentences summarizing your background, interests, and achievements to date.

Body Paragraphs

  • Use the first body paragraph to highlight your relevant experience. Discuss academic coursework, internships, jobs, volunteer work, or extracurricular activities that demonstrate your abilities and passion for your field of study.
  • Use the second paragraph to explain what you hope to gain from pursuing further education in your field. Share details on the knowledge and skills you aim to develop and how they will benefit your career.
  • Use the final paragraph to expand on your future goals and plans. How do you envision using your degree after graduation? Do you plan to attend graduate school or work for certain companies or organizations?


  • Summarize why you are well qualified for the scholarship and deserving of their support.
  • Thank the committee for their consideration.
  • Offer to provide any additional information needed.

💡Pro Tip: Don’t repeat your entire resume in the letter. Select highlights that are most relevant to the scholarship provider’s mission.

Key Dos and Don’ts

Follow these motivation letter best practices:


  • Stick to 500-1000 words in total length.
  • Use a professional but personable tone.
  • Proofread thoroughly for errors.
  • Ask others to review your letter and provide feedback.


  • Use a generic letter for all scholarships.
  • Include vague, general statements.
  • Use informal language or slang.
  • Ramble on beyond the recommended length.
  • Submit your letter without proofreading.

Sample Scholarship Motivation Letter

Here is an example motivation letter based on the guidelines provided above. You can use this for inspiration but make sure to tailor your own letter so it reflects your unique background and qualifications.

Example 1:

April 15, 2023

John Smith 123 Main St. Springfield, IL 62701

Scholarship Committee Illinois State Natural History Society 456 Oak Rd. Chicago, IL 60605

Dear Scholarship Selection Committee:

I am a sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign majoring in Environmental Science. I am passionate about conservation and sustainability and hope to pursue a career conducting field research on at-risk ecosystems.

In high school, I volunteered trail maintenance at a state park near my hometown. This experience sparked my interest in environmental protection. At university, I assist a professor studying the decline of native prairie habitats. Analyzing soil and plant samples has expanded my research skills. I also joined the Environmental Club and am arranging campus cleanup projects.

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Receiving your scholarship would assist tremendously in covering my tuition costs. This would allow me to take additional biology and ecology electives to expand my scientific knowledge. My goal is to earn my PhD in Conservation Biology and conduct studies assessing environmental impacts and protection strategies. I aim to publish findings to influence policymakers in enacting stronger conservation laws.

With your support, I will have the means to complete my environment-focused education. Thank you for considering my application. Please contact me if you need any other information.


John Smith

Example 2:

May 5, 2023

Lauren Robinson 789 Oak St. Austin, TX 78704

Health Education Scholarship Committee Austin Community Foundation 123 Grant Rd. Austin, TX 78701

Dear Scholarship Selection Committee:

I am a first-year Master of Public Health student at the University of Texas at Austin, concentrating in Community Health and Prevention. I am dedicated to promoting wellness and access to care, especially for underserved populations.

As an undergraduate, I interned with the Austin Public Health Department on health outreach programs. This experience cemented my commitment to improving community education and resources. I also volunteered at a free clinic which exposed me to the healthcare access challenges the uninsured face.

With an MPH degree, I will be equipped to assess community needs and shape programs addressing chronic disease, opioid misuse, teen pregnancy, and other issues. My goal is to work for a nonprofit that connects vulnerable groups to care. I plan to develop Spanish-language materials and outreach efforts to increase engagement.

Your scholarship will facilitate the completion of my degree and launch my public health career. I am passionate about elevating health equity across diverse Austin neighborhoods. Thank you for your time and consideration. Please contact me for any additional information needed.


Lauren Robinson


Writing a winning scholarship motivation letter takes time and strategic thought. But it provides a fantastic opportunity to highlight your passions and make a case for how you will use the scholarship opportunity to create positive change.

Follow the steps in this comprehensive guide to understand what committees look for in an ideal letter. Then customize your content to show you are a worthy scholarship investment based on your alignment with the provider’s values and your future potential.

With sharp attention to detail and a persuasive personal statement, you can craft motivation letters that impress reviewers and bring you one step closer to earning scholarships for your academic pursuits.

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