User's Guide

This section provides practical advice on different aspects of the university and scholarship application process.

Expand Collapse Planning to Apply

Preparing to apply to university needs some planning on your part. It is something that you should spend some time on to ensure it is done correctly. This is the only impression that a university of your choice will have about your skills, abilities, and university readiness. Guidelines on how to plan to apply are given below:

  1. Make a list of universities where you want to apply. If you don’t know where to apply, you can choose from universities listed in directories like the TOEFL Destinations Directory at
  2. For each university in the list, acquaint yourself with the application deadlines and requirements. Research application deadlines and score requirements for each of your university or college destinations. You can start your university requirement research with universities listed in directories similar to the TOEFL Destinations Directory and then contact the institution for more specific requirements. If you’re applying for postgraduate studies, find out if your institution requires other standardized tests, such as the GRE or other tests.
  3. Decide when and where to take the required application tests. Plan to take the required tests three to six months before your institution’s application deadline.
  4. Register for the application tests three to four months before your test dates.
  5. Prepare and practice for the tests. Use material available on the internet. Make test preparation plans for yourself at least eight weeks leading up to your test before your test dates.
Expand Collapse Personal Information Section

The personal information section of a university application typically asks you about your personal information such as your name and address, place of birth and citizenship, and about your family, such as your parents, brothers and sisters and your legal guardian. Some applications ask you about your future plans regarding whether you intend to apply for scholarships and financial aid, the highest educational level you intend to reach and whether you intend to live in university housing. You may also be asked about you ethnic background.

Expand Collapse General Information Section

In this section, you are typically asked you about your classes, grades, standardized exam scores like SAT or ACT, sports, community service activities and jobs. You can make several copies of your application to use as practice before filling out the real document. This can help you avoid using Wite-Out to cover up mistakes. All the information you put on this application should be accurate and honest.

Expand Collapse Personal Statement

Another important aspect of your admissions application is your personal statement, which is usually an essay about your aspirations, an important mentor or a formative life experience. It is better to be specific in your essay because essays that try to be too comprehensive end up sounding vague. Using a lot of details can make your story come alive. Try to avoid generalities and instead use specifics to help your audience better understand what you're saying. Your topic doesn't have to be extraordinary - if it has meaning for you, then it'll probably be easier to make your audience care about it also.

Expand Collapse Letters of Recommendation

Some universities require students to send letters of recommendation to supplement the other portions of their applications. Needless to say, these letters should not be written by parents or favorite aunts. Regardless of whom you ask, make sure you give the person enough time to write a good letter - recommenders have prior obligations of their own, after all. You might want to give a potential letter writer at least two week's notice in advance of the application deadline.

The university application process can be an exciting experience for you. You have taken your tests, obtained your scores, and decided where you wish to apply. When you sit down to fill out the applications, there are certain important factors to understand that will help you accurately complete them. It is important to include the necessary information and leave out certain aspects that may actually hurt your chances of being accepted.

Expand Collapse Obtain References

Before you begin filling out the applications, you need to obtain teacher and guidance counselor references. You also need to obtain your transcripts or copies of your grades for each application you plan to submit. You need to give the proper individuals enough notice to gather the needed information. You should also make sure that you have enough time to fill out the applications, which can take some time. By allowing yourself enough time, you can fill out the forms neatly and completely and decrease the risk of entering wrong information.

Expand Collapse Take Your Time Filling Out Each Application

The first portion of an application will be simple. You will include basic personal information that is pretty straightforward. You will also need to include information about your parents and siblings on the application. The next portion includes your past and present education. However, simply writing down your grades is not sufficient. Instead, you will need to obtain the certified documents from your school. It is important to take your time and provide accurate information in legible handwriting.

Expand Collapse Provide Information That Distinguishes You from Other Applicants

When you begin listing your extracurricular activities, this is the point where you will set yourself apart from other applicants. Typically, you should only include activities, awards, and other notable achievements since grade nine. However, you can list other achievements if they are extremely prestigious. In addition to grades, universities will be evaluating the type of person that you are. The more well-rounded your achievements, the higher favor you will receive.

Expand Collapse Write Your Essay with Confidence

Many university applications require you to write two essays. Typically, you will create a shorter essay of 150 words and a longer one of 250 words or more, which will be your personal statement. When you are completing your essays, you should ensure that your writing reflects you, instead of what you think the universities want to read. It is important to show your style in both writing and personality through the essays you complete. Letting your voice shine through your essays will give you a better chance of being accepted. Also, take your time while writing and have a teacher or parent proofread for any errors that may be present.

Use the tips below to craft your own powerful essay questions so that universities can learn more about what makes stand out.

  • Make it personal and be original: Be honest and authentic in your responses, and don't be afraid to discuss struggles or hardships that have led you to this point. Remember, this is your opportunity to show universities who you are outside of your test score.
  • Demonstrate passion: Tell what excites you. Universities love that students are passionate about a variety of subjects and interests.
  • Don't rush: It's important to take your time completing your essay responses.
  • Edit and spell check: After you've written your essay responses, make sure to reread and review with a fresh set of eyes to make sure you're presenting yourself in the best manner possible for admission and scholarship consideration.

Here are some excerpts from essays in which the students have shown their personality and character. Remember, universities are not looking for the standard response; they want to hear your real stories!

Something to consider: Your own cultural experiences

Example Question: Music spans time and culture. Explain how the lyrics of one of your favorite songs define you or your cultural experience.

Example Response: ...This song ("Jitterbug" by WHAM!) is definitive of my culture because so much of my generation revolves around finding love and having fun, entertaining experiences. In the chorus “Wake me up before you go-go, cause I'm not planning on going solo” details the insatiable fear each of us in my generation have of missing out, also known as FOMO (Fear of missing out). With all the social media at our fingertips, staying connected has never been easy or caused more anxiety. No one wants to miss out on what their friends are doing and so this song encapsulates that fear. Overall, this song is one full of joy and that, in essence, is the definition of my life and cultural experience.

Phillip Spaulding
Yukon, Oklahoma

Something to consider: What experiences have shaped you?

Example Question: At age 60, you have just completed an autobiography detailing your life journey to date. Write the summary that would appear on the back cover. What parts would draw in readers?

Example Response: Jansen Patterson is a very silly and loveable character who has worked hard and fought through adversity at a young age to become a very active and optimistic person. At age nine Jansen was diagnosed with Leg Calve Perthes disease and required two hip surgeries to help fix the lack of bone growth in his hips. Using his past as his inspiration he double majored in Physical Therapy so he could one day help kids recover from surgeries and find their own passions…

Jansen Patterson
Lewisville, Texas

As an adult who's made the decision to return to university in pursuit of graduate studies, you can be assured of one thing: your life will certainly change. Going back to school is hard. For adults who have begun a career, married or settled down in a steady relationship, or maybe even had children (or grandchildren) since college graduation, returning to academia can be daunting. Doubts may seem overwhelming at times - will you be able to keep up with the work? How will you handle work and school, if you've decided to attend part-time? How will you manage financially if you go full-time in a graduate program? Fully exploring each of these issues of going back to school could fill an entire book but there are some simple steps you can take now to address your concerns and help you succeed in graduate school

Start planning early

Spend some time thinking about how your daily routine would change as a returning graduate student. What sort of class schedule can you anticipate? What will that mean to the family schedule? Will you need someone to fill-in for you as chauffeur for the kids, for instance? It's easier to find someone like that if you've given yourself plenty of time.

Talk to your family and make sure you have their support

Graduate school is hard work under the least demanding of circumstances, so you can expect greater difficulty when you have family obligations and responsibilities as an employee. Let your children and spouse know what this will mean for them, and be as specific as possible. Instead of saying, "I'm going to need you guys to be quiet in the evenings," be more specific by telling them, "I need quiet time from 7 to 9 PM, three nights a week, and I'll go to the library on the weekends for four hours each day." Be equally specific when delegating house duties like laundry and dishes.

Don't underestimate your study skills

Most adults worry about their ability to handle the heavy coursework when returning to graduate school, but this is largely a groundless fear. You'll quickly get the hang of it again. If you're really concerned, check out the web for material to improve study skills.

Ensure you have adequate financing for graduate school - and then add a little more for a cushion.

It's far better to postpone graduate school for a year or two than to try to manage it on a meager budget. Graduate school will be stressful enough without worrying about who's going to pay the rent this month. Don't give yourself any added stress.

See if your employer will help pay the cost

Many companies will assist employees with their plans for seeking graduate degrees, since more highly trained employees can only help their bottom line. If you're staying in your field, or seeking a higher-paying position within the same company, talk to your employer about offering a scholarship or tuition assistance.

Conserve your loan funds

If you take on loans to finance your graduate studies, do everything in your power to use them minimally. Don't start eating lunch at a fancy steak house, for instance, instead of the campus cafeteria. The less you have to pay back, the better.

Seek scholarships, teaching and research assistantships, work study opportunities and any other non-loan funds - and do it early

Competition for these types of non-debt sources of funding can be incredibly steep. Beat all deadlines, and be aggressive (but polite).

Be prepared for a bit of culture shock.

Don't let generational differences stop you from socializing with your classmates. Most graduate programs take at least a year, and you'll need support from one another when the time comes to study for exams.

Finally, don't feel intimidated or unworthy just because you're a bit older than your classmates

Recognize the great value of your life experience. Realize that you're setting an example for younger people, whether or not they realize it. Your ability to remain flexible and adapt to new circumstances may help them develop a more mature perception of the world.

Expand Collapse Filling a Scholarship Application

Scholarship forms vary according to the awarding organization but in general, there are a few common sections to a scholarship form such as bio-data, contact details, schools attended, examinations taken, grades obtained, extracurricular activities you've participated in, and increasingly, an essay component. This might seem like any other application form you have filled in before but don’t rush into it. Stop and read the following tips below:

  1. Read the scholarship applications. Read each of your applications at least once, so as to:
    • Ensure that you are eligible for funding, as many times the scholarships are meant for specific groups or populations. You can save yourself time by reading about the scholarships beforehand, making sure that you meet the minimum eligibility criteria.
    • Identify the requirements for filling each application, as each scholarship application is different.
    Find out what the different sections are and which documents you need to submit together with your form. Gather such documents beforehand, like passport photos, records, certificates, referee reports, and so on, to avoid searching for them frantically at the last minute. This is especially important for online forms where you cannot save your work for future changes. Take your time but start the process well before the deadline to avoid last minute rush.
  2. Research into the background, history, and goals of the scholarship; doing so may aid you in completing the scholarship application in a way that will make you more likely to be granted funding.
  3. Write legibly. Some forms are available online or in a soft-copy version. If so, use these forms and type in all the necessary information. This will save you the trouble of filling in endless pages of increasingly illegible scrawls. However, if this option is not available, then use a (preferably blue) ball-point pen to fill in the form. Use block letters rather than cursive script, so that your writing is clearly readable. Take a few minutes rest if you find yourself getting tired, or if your handwriting starts deteriorating. It will be really too much of a heart break if the reviewing officer could not inform you that you’ve been short-listed because he could not read your telephone number, or wrongly addressed your letters!
  4. Don't leave any spaces blank. Fill out the entire scholarship application and write "not applicable" where appropriate.
  5. Make sure your responses truly answer the questions. Focus on exactly what you are being asked, and keep your responses clear and concise. Back up your answers with specific examples. For instance, if the application asks you to describe your personality, don't just list personality traits; provide concrete examples that reveal your personality.
  6. Detail your academic achievements where asked. Boast things like your GPA, any academic honors, and other scholarly accomplishments.
  7. List your other hobbies, volunteer work, and relevant successes on your scholarship application. Good examples are experiences that are inline with the training that you're trying to get a scholarship for; such as volunteering at a medical center when applying for a nursing scholarship.
  8. Practice writing your personal statement or the essay. Stay as close to the essay guidelines as possible. If minimum or maximum word counts are required, make sure your essay meets them. Read more on how to better write your personal statement / essay in the following section.
  9. Be truthful and check for accuracy. Ensure that all your information is correct and up-to-date. It might be tempting to add interesting items like scuba-diving as a hobby, or that you won international writing competitions. The organizations will conduct background checks, and when they find that you have not been entirely honest, it will not help your case! Worse, should they ask you questions related to these ‘details’ during the interview, it will become very obvious that you’ve lied.
  10. Make sure that there are no typos, grammatical or spelling mistakes on your scholarship application; ask a friend to proofread. Do not rely on computer spell check as it will miss mistakes like these: “My best fried in the word is form Indonesia.” Ask a friend, parent or teacher to help spot the errors. Mistakes can be seen as carelessness, bad writing or even worse, as a lack of motivation in applying for the scholarship.
  11. Make a copy of all of your application pages and personal statement. If your application is lost in the mail, having an extra copy will come in handy; otherwise, you may have to rewrite everything.
  12. Mail your scholarship applications long before they are due. If possible, add delivery confirmation to your shipping so you can verify when your application was received.
Expand Collapse Writing the scholarship essay / personal statement

Increasingly, many application forms contain a short essay component. This is the one part of the form over which you have complete control, so seize this opportunity to stand out from the competition. Use the essay to explain your motivations for applying to the scholarship. You can also use it to highlight examples of your leadership ability or other achievements. Follow the tips below to make the best use of this section:

Expand Collapse Tell me about yourself

The essay component is basically there for the organization to get to know you better. Therefore, take some time first to learn about yourself. Try to answer questions like these: What accomplishments are you most proud of? What motivates you? How would this scholarship help further your dreams? Create an outline first and don’t be afraid to do it all over again if one idea does not work out. The essay may very well lead to that crucial first interview, so it really needs to be well thought out.

Expand Collapse Be focused

Do not repeat information that can be found elsewhere in the application form. Do not talk about too many things which will only dilute the message. “I took physics, chemistry and mathematics in junior college where I was president of the student council, a track-and-field athlete and I also volunteered for the SPCA.” All this information can be found elsewhere in the form so repeating them here is just a waste of space and it does not reveal anything more about you.

Expand Collapse Show them who you are

Be original and avoid saying things you think they want to hear. The people reading the applications will probably have heard them all already and saying the same things will not persuade them to pick you. If you show them who you really are –what makes you tick and what you want to achieve – you will stand out from the hundreds and thousands of other applicants.

Expand Collapse Prove it

Don’t just tell them, prove it. For example, instead of writing: “I love to work with children”, write this instead: “I volunteered to teach English to primary school children from low-income families”. It makes much more impact, because it shows that you took positive action and followed up on your own interests. This is a useful point to remember even in your interviews.

Expand Collapse Keep to the word limit

Make full use of the word limit, but don’t exceed it either. Aim to communicate as much as possible without being long-winded. Remember, yours will not be the only essay that the reviewing officer will have to read – don’t make his job harder by telling him every mundane detail of your life story.

Expand Collapse Be creative

The aim of the scholarship form is to get you short-listed for the interview. Therefore, try to express your uniqueness, your creativity and how you are the best fit for the organization that you’re applying to. Don’t be afraid to express your true self. That’s who they are looking for!

Expand Collapse Preparing Your CV

You may be required to supply a CV with your scholarship application. A scholarship CV should be purpose written. It should demonstrate your suitability for the scholarship by including relevant information. Note that the competition to win scholarships is very tough and you should be better prepared to present your case in such a manner that it makes you stand out among the hordes of other CVs for the same scholarship

You can find out what the selection panel members are looking for by reading through the regulations of the scholarship you are applying for. The scholarship regulations will usually tell you what the selection criteria are. If possible, your CV should demonstrate your qualities in all the areas listed in the regulations.

If you are including a covering letter or personal statement, your CV should complement this. Your CV will provide the facts and background information, your covering letter/ personal statement will let you introduce yourself and emphasize the most relevant aspects of your CV.

Below are listed some steps that will help you compose professional looking CV for scholarship:

Expand Collapse Gather All The Relevant Information:

Don’t just start writing scholarship CV, it would be wise to gather all the necessary relevant and important information before starting. Make a list of all your educational qualifications, honors and awards (if any), achievements, extracurricular activities and information that you think might help. Afterwards critically analyze your list and categorize which information is worth featuring on your scholarship CV and which can be left behind.

Expand Collapse University- / Research-related Activities:

When writing a CV with an academic focus, it should not look as though you are applying for a job. Do not make the main focus of your CV a list of your current and past employment. You should still list your employment history, but it will normally appear later in the CV. However, if you have undertaken employment or other activities with an academic focus you should make this fact clear. It would also then be a good idea to place the employment section earlier in the CV. Relevant employment or other activities may include working as a tutor, lab technician, or research assistant, being a class or course representative, or attending or presenting at a conference, etc. Including relevant employment history will also allow you to demonstrate transferable skills, such as organizational, communication, computer, and research skills.

Expand Collapse Community / Cultural Involvement / Leadership :

Some scholarships will ask you to demonstrate community or cultural involvement or leadership. This should be more than just a list of pastimes. Your CV should describe your current and recent community or cultural involvement or leadership. Your involvement might be campus, community or family based; it may be voluntary or paid, or related to your research in some way. Information about community or cultural involvement should come under a clear heading in your CV and you should use the wording used in the regulations. For instance, the scholarship regulations may be looking for applicants who can demonstrate leadership. You would then include ‘Leadership’ as a heading in your CV and bullet point your leadership experience, followed by a brief description. As always, you should list your most recent involvement first.

Expand Collapse Organizing Scholarship CV in Right Order:

After finalizing your list, it's time to organizing it in a manner that will seem objective, professional and leaves good impression of you. You should list your achievements in descending order, meaning you should feature your current achievements foremost and then others.

Expand Collapse Information on CV:

Mention all the required information such as your name, phone number, address, email, date of birth, nationality, education qualifications, marks or percentage scored, school activities, languages known, computer skills, extracurricular activities, hobbies (only those that matters) or job experience or internship etc. You could also mention the objective and how attainment of scholarship will help you achieve your goal. If you are thinking about simply stating you are applying for so and so scholarship then better not mention it. Don’t provide personal information such as marital status, religious affiliation, political views, gender or sexual orientation etc.

Expand Collapse Be Truthful, Honest and Specific:

Temptation to write a CV, embellished with achievements that will instantly stand out is usually great. However, just to make your CV stand out you should never add information that you can’t back with facts or actions. Be honest and truthful when mentioning your skills; don’t write down skills you don’t process. Also, refrain from blowing your own trumpet. Yes you want the scholarship committee to consider you but over embellishing facts, going on and on about your minor irrelevant achievements and not presenting an objective view of your achievements will not help you win that scholarship.

Expand Collapse Checking for Mistakes:

Before sending your scholarship CV to its destinations, make sure you have included all the relevant information and have edited it to make it error free. Small grammatical or spelling mistakes will reflect poorly on you.

Expand Collapse Useful Tips
  • Most importantly, refrain from asking someone else to write it for you, even if you think you are no good at it. Do research on scholarship CV online, get some examples, re-write your copy until you get it right and finally have someone check it for mistakes.
  • Also, remember, CV isn’t a place to show your drawing skills, Do not use colored paper or special binding for your CV. All applications, including CVs, are photocopied before being sent to the scholarship selection panel members. Use plain white paper fastened with a paper clip or bulldog clip.
  • Keep it short – preferably one and usually no more than three A4 pages. It is best to use white paper and an easy-to-read font like Arial or Times New Roman.
  • Start off with your name and contact information. Your email address should sound reasonably sensible – while ‘’ might have been a good idea when you were 11, it won’t look too smart on a scholarship application. It’s simple to register an email address with a free web mail service for this purpose. Make sure you check the account regularly in case the scholarship provider uses it to contact you.
  • Start with a concise summary of your educational and career goals – what you hope to study in university and what you want to do for a living.
  • Your educational record should be listed first, in reverse chronological order – i.e. starting with your most current school and exam results.
  • Then list your school organizations and extra-curricular activities. Note any leadership roles, such as team captain.
  • Following this, list your awards, honors and certificates earned in activities pursued in and outside school.
  • Note any part-time jobs or work experience, charity work and so on.
  • List your skills, especially any foreign languages that you are fluent in.
  • Lastly, provide the names and contact information of at least two people not related to you who have agreed to attest to your personal character and academic ability, such as teachers or current or former employers. It’s good to have one academic reference and one character reference.
  • It can be easy to add pages when you consider what goes into a CV. The CV lists your education, work experience, research background and interests, teaching history, publications, and more. There is a lot of information to work with, but can you include too much information? Is there anything that you should not include on you CV?
  • Don't Include Personal Information. It was once common for people to include personal information on their CVs. Never include any of the following:
    • Social security number
    • Marital status
    • Height, weight, hair color, or other personal attributes
    • Number of children
  • Allow yourself to be judged only on your professional merits and not on your personal characteristics.
  • Don't Include Photos. Given the ban on personal information it should go without saying that applicants should not send photographs of themselves. Unless you are an actor, dancer, or other performer,. Scholarship application is an academic endeavor. You're being evaluated on your academic merit. Your appearance doesn't matter. In fact, it is inappropriate to include a photo in your application.
  • Don't Add Irrelevant Information. Hobbies and interests should not appear on your CV. Include only extracurricular activities that are directly related to your work. Remember that your goal is to portray yourself as serious and an expert in your discipline. Hobbies can suggest that you're not working hard enough or that you are not serious about your career. Leave them out.
  • Don't Include Too Much Detail. It's an odd paradox: Your CV presents detailed information about your career, but you must take care not to go into too much depth in describing the content of your work. Your CV will be accompanied by a research statement in which you walk readers through your research, explaining its development and your goals., explaining your perspective on teaching. Given these documents, there is no need to go into minute detail describing your research and teaching other than the facts: where, when, what, awards granted, etc.
  • Don't Include Ancient Information. Do not discuss anything from high school. Period. Unless you discovered a super nova, that is. Your curriculum vita describes your qualifications for a professional academic career. It is unlikely that experiences from university are relevant to this. From university, list only you major, graduation year, scholarships, awards, and honors. Do not list any extracurricular activities from high school or university.
  • Not List References. Your CV is a statement about YOU. There is no need to include references. Undoubtedly you'll be asked to provide references but your references do not belong on your CV. Don't list that your "references are available upon request." Surely the employer will request references if you're a potential candidate. Wait until you are asked and then remind your references and tell them to expect a call or email.
  • Not Lie. It should be obvious but many applicants make the mistake of including items that are not entirely true. For example, they might list a poster presentation that they were invited to give, but didn't. Or list a paper as under review that is still being drafted. There are no harmless lies. Don't exaggerate or lie about anything. It will come back to haunt you and ruin your career.
  • Criminal Record. Although you should never lie, don't give employers a reason to dump your CV in the trash-pile. That means don't spill the beans unless you are asked. If they're interested and you're offered the job you may be asked to consent to a background check. If so, that's when you discuss your record - when you know that they are interested, Discuss it too soon and you may lose an opportunity. Don't Write in Solid Blocks of Text
  • Remember that employers scan CVs. Make yours easy to read by using bold headings and short descriptions of items. Do not include big blocks of text. No paragraphs.
  • Don't Include Errors. What's the fastest way to get your CV and application tossed? Spelling mistakes. Bad grammar. Typos. Do you prefer to be known as careless or poorly educated? Neither will help you advance in your career.
  • Don't Include a Touch of Flair. Fancy paper. Unusual font. Colored font. Scented paper. Although you want your CV to stand out, be sure that it stands out for the right reasons, such as its quality. Do not make your CV look different in color, shape, or format unless you want it passed around as a source of humor.
Expand Collapse Writing Your Cover Letter

When you apply for a scholarship, in most cases you will need to supply detailed information such as a completed application, transcripts, and an essay. In addition, though, you may also want to include a brief scholarship cover letter or to introduce yourself and state why you are applying for the scholarship. It may or may not be required, but this little bit of extra effort can set you apart from other applicants and make it more likely that you will be the chosen recipient

Before you write your letter, make a list that answers these important questions. Choose words that are useful to describe yourself in the best possible light.

  1. What are my academic strengths? Some phrases to consider:
    • Honor Roll and/or Principal's List
    • Maintaining an "A" average in core subjects
    • Contribute to class discussions in a meaningful way
    • Manage my time effectively
    • Model exemplary academic behavior
    • Work well with others and independently
  2. What are my short and long range academic plans?
    • Short range - outline area of study as far as you know it
    • Long range - possible career choices
    E.g. Criminologist - Short-term goal - I am taking a variety of general arts courses with a focus on anthropology, sociology and psychology courses with the long-term goal of obtaining a B.A. with a major in psychology before pursuing a graduate degree in psychology.
  3. What are my major accomplishments?
    This can be as "major" as captain of the basketball team or a winner of a writing award or it may be something that may seem insignificant at the time but has been crucial in your development such as overcoming your fear of public speaking.
  4. What have I done to make my community a better place? What have I done outside of the classroom that demonstrates qualities that universities might be looking for?
    HINT: Many applicants have very good marks, but have not had much community involvement.
    • This is the time to "spin" what you have done.
    • Helping others with school work is also a plus
    • You can even rely on the "good old" - "I have participated in a wide range of valuable volunteer experiences ....
  5. Why do you need this money? Is your family able to pay for your education? Do you work?
    It is common knowledge that post-secondary education is expensive and it is perfectly okay to mention that you need financial assistance.
  6. Further Tips:
    • Many scholarship donors will ask a question or give a topic to which they want a response. Try to answer this effectively while highlighting your qualities.
    • Take your time with this letter.
    • It gives the scholarship officers their first look at your writing ability.
    • Be original
    • Type your letter
    • Have someone read your essay for clarity.
    • Edit carefully and use spell-check during and after writing.
    • Use vivid and precise vocabulary
    • Use transition words
    • Create a strong conclusion - this is your last chance to make a good impression!
    • Scholarships have deadlines and these are NOT flexible - don't procrastinate.

Now you have a clear vision about what the cover letter contains and how to present yourself as an excellent candidate for the scholarship, but what about the structural formatting or how to list the most important information in a good form??

The following pieces of advice can help you write an effective and interesting letter that encourages the person reading it to move on to reviewing your CV

  • DO try to limit your cover letter to a single page – short, simple and to the point!
  • DO use correct English, spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.
  • DO address your cover letter to the correct person or award committee by name
  • DON’T use contractions (I’d, didn’t, it’s )
  • DO be sure to sign your letter (in ink) before you send it.

And remember:

  • The purpose of a scholarship application letter is to summarize your academic, social and personal attributes.
  • Most scholarship officers spend 1-2 minutes reading your letter, so it is important to grab their interest in the first two sentences.
  • Include Future Plans. Because donors often look upon their scholarships as investments in the future, they like to hear of plans beyond the four years of university and evidence that their candidates have the ability and tenacity to make their dreams a reality. Scholarship candidates should write cover letters that offer career goals that include benchmarks they will use along the way to assure their success. For example, a student hoping to become an architect might first speak of appropriately rigorous course work in high school, then to academic clubs he intends to join in college or internships he hopes to attain.
Expand Collapse Preparing Your Recommendation Letters

When a student applies for a scholarship, recommendations from university faculty often factor into the sponsor’s decision of whether or not to award the scholarship. If you want to have a scholarship recommendation letter, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. The writer must be familiar enough with the student ability and achievement to write an evaluation.
  2. You might be asked for your CV or resume
  3. Individuals who are asked to write recommendation letters may ask you some questions before writing your recommendation such as:
    • To whom should the letter be directed?
    • Where should the letter be sent?
    • How should it be transmitted?
    • For what position or scholarship are you applying? (description of the position, scholarship …etc).
    • By when will the letter be needed?
    • What specific skills and abilities should be emphasized in the letter?
    • What makes you a good candidate?
  4. The writer should write the letter in formal way and be in a suitable position to recommend you; never ask your mom to write it.