How to Write a Scholarship Thank You Letter
I have a confession: I was only recently made aware of how important thank you letters are to show appreciation for the individuals and companies funding your scholarships. I am ashamed to say that in the past, I have been awarded scholarships where I completely neglected this important follow-up.
But no more! Going forward, I vow that anybody supporting my education will know how much I appreciate their financial support. If you have recently received a scholarship or any kind of financial award, follow the advice below to compose a winning thank you letter.
Address your letter appropriately
This information, who your donor is, is absolutely crucial. Just like how you do not want to address a cover letter with “To whom this may concern,” you also do not want to address a scholarship thank you letter with something generic like, “Dear X Scholarship Donor.”
Show your donor the respect they deserve by researching who they are and addressing the letter appropriately. If it is one person, make sure you are using the correct honorific: for example, if they have a PhD, use Dr. If it is a group or a committee, you may choose to write something like, “Dear Trustees of the Y Scholarship,” or “Dear Members of the Z Scholarship Selection Committee.”
Share what winning this scholarship means to you
Cover letters tend to follow a formula: start by indicating which position you are applying for, then discuss your most recent and/or most relevant experiences, then end with how pleased you will be working in that position. A scholarship thank you letter, on the other hand, does not really have a template. That is part of what makes writing a good thank you letter challenging.
What I will advise you to include is what winning this scholarship means to you. I do not mean you should brag about how good this scholarship will look on your resume. Rather, consider how this scholarship is helping you achieve your goals. Donors are people who have generously chosen to support struggling students and they will very likely appreciate knowing how their financial support is being used. Describe your goals, your passions, what drives you to get up in the morning and reach for success.
If you’re still unsure, let me share with you an example from my life. I recently won a scholarship and in my thank you letter, I described how a few years ago, I was in a personal crisis. I was—simply put—lost. I was struggling both personally and academically. The scholarship meant more to me than just the financial aid, it was a clear signal that I was recovering. This way, I clearly communicated to my donors how much their support means to me.
Edit before sending
My last piece of advice is this: edit before sending! Make sure your grammar, punctuation, and spelling are all perfect. If you have the time, set the letter aside for a couple of days then go back to it with fresher eyes. Revise any confusing or convoluted wording. Once you are satisfied, send it off!