How to craft your scholarship letter

Applying for a scholarship in Singapore is no doubt a nerve-wrecking process. With thousands of dollars in school fees on the line, a scholarship will mean the difference between going into school worry-free of financial costs and thinking of alternative ways to finance your education.

Therefore, it is of no surprise that when faced with the requirement to submit a scholarship letter, many students worry that they are not producing a piece of writing that aids them in being successful in their application.

Personally, I have written several scholarship letters and have received scholarships during both Junior College and University.

I believe that a scholarship letter is essential in enabling you to stand out from your competitors, demonstrating your personality and capabilities beyond pure academic results.

In order to craft a stellar letter that would definitely impress the organizations, simply follow these 4 steps.

Step One – Identifying the Scholarship Criteria

In order to craft a convincing scholarship letter, you have to first understand the type of individual the scholarship board is looking out for.

To do so, I recommend analysing the scholarship eligibility page, which can be found on the organisation’s web-page.

Take note that different organisations may have different requirements.

For instance, a university offering scholarships may look for individuals that not only have good academic results, but also a track record of giving back to the community as well as having a stellar Co-curricular activity record.

An example of scholarship criteria

A private company, on the other hand, may look for individuals that have demonstrated leadership and team skills while having a background in a particular field.

Once you have successfully analysed the requirements of the organisation, write them down in bullet points.

Eg:

Company A is looking for an individual that:

  • Has excellent academic results
  • Has a good CCA record
  • Has demonstrated leadership skills
  • Is Interested in helping others

Step Two – Listing out your personal qualifications

Next, you will need to list out all your qualifications and achievements.

The easiest way to do so is to retrieve your graduation certificates, which would have a list of academic and non-academic achievements.

Begin with your academics as they are the most straightforward. If you graduated with excellent scores, always leverage them by noting them down.

Next, determine any noteworthy non-academic achievements that you might have. For instance, if you were the leader or executive committee member of your CCA, you should record it down.

If you had participated in community service projects, write them down and reflect on what you had learnt during your participation, and how you felt while doing them.

Lastly, write down any personal hobbies or work that you might have.

For instance, if you enjoy photography, or have worked part-time jobs, add it to the list.

Upon completing these steps, you should have a comprehensive list of things that you can write about.

Eg:

Personal achievements:

  • Graduated with a score of : 4As and 2Bs
  • Chairperson of CCA from 2015-2016
  • Orientation leader from 2017-2018
  • Overseas Community Project in 2015 to Cambodia
  • Worked part-time as a tutor starting 2019
  • Enjoys cooking and editing videos

Step Three – putting it together

With the two lists you have created, match your achievements to the requirements of the scholarship.

For instance, if the scholarship requires excellent CCA record with leadership skills, you should link your past CCA experience to that bullet point.

Eg:

After drawing the connection between the two lists, think of 3 positive qualities that describe yourself (hardworking, honest, etc…)

Eg:

3 Qualities that describe me:

  • Hard working
  • Honest
  • Risk-taker

As you write your essay, constantly think of the qualities you are trying to demonstrate and craft your essay based on those qualities.

For instance, if you want to demonstrate that you are an individual that works hard, rather than writing:

“  I was the leader for videography club from 2015-2016. Though I had to take O Levels that year, I planned the schedules for my members and taught them on various techniques that can be applied to films.”

Write:

“ In 2015, I took up the role of leader of my videography club. As the leader, I had to juggle between both school work and CCA commitment.

 Despite my heavy workload, I worked for many hours coming up with lessons for my members to learn on various techniques applied in films. Though this meant less rest time, I found it fulfilling to lead others and pass on my knowledge to my juniors.”

Though the two statements describe the same experiences faced by the writer, they both convey a different message.

The first statement simply lists what the writer had on his plate, but it doesn’t show any personality.

The second statement, written with the quality of working hard in mind, demonstrates that the writer is able to manage several workloads while being a responsible leader at the same time.

Writing with your qualities in mind is essential to display your personal beliefs and mindsets. With the scholarship board needing to go through hundreds of essays, you definitely want to be the one to leave a good impression in the minds of your assessors.

Step Four – Writing your essay

Finally, it is time to begin writing.

As a general rule, I would recommend you break up your essay into paragraphs, with each paragraph addressing the requirements set by the scholarship board. As such, each paragraph strategically responds to each of the qualities they are looking for.

After completing your first draft, save it on your computer and review it. Highlight any components that sound repetitive or that could be improved.

Next, write up a second draft based on your first initial reading. Repeat this process until you are satisfied with the grammar and structure of your essay.

Lastly, you should seek a second opinion from your friends and family members to determine if your letter is satisfactory. If all goes well, you should be done with your letter!

Personally, when I was writing my own scholarship letter, my friends and I reviewed each other’s essay to highlight any points of improvement that can be made.

But what if you don’t know anyone who’s also applying for scholarships? Fret not, as google is your best friend.

With a countless number of platforms such as Reddit or Digital Senior online, many seniors have found ways to share their experiences online. By referencing their experiences or essays they may have posted, you can gain inspiration to improve your own essay.

All the best!

Eligibility criteria references from:
https://brightsparks.com.sg/profile/steng/ourscholarships.php?schid=7121
https://admissions.smu.edu.sg/scholarships/smu-merit-scholarship-programme.

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