The application deadline to your top-choice school is approaching, and you haven’t even started writing your scholarship application yet. Should you wait until the last minute? Definitely not! It’s important to give yourself plenty of time to create an awesome motivation letter for scholarship applications that will get you accepted to the school of your dreams. These 10 tips will help you in Writing A Killer Motivation Letter, the best motivation letter possible. With these strategies, writing your motivation letter won’t be a chore; it will be fun and easy! Good luck!
1) Write from the heart
Don’t ever think that you have to resort to a formal tone or overly flowery language in order to be taken seriously. There are a lot of people out there who are way more excited about your accomplishments than you are, and if you’re looking for someone to help boost your confidence and carry that positive energy into your application, I am here for you. Start by taking a minute to envision exactly how great it will feel when someone hands you an acceptance letter. Now, take another minute to remember every single awesome thing about yourself. If anyone asked me why I thought I deserved a scholarship, here’s what I would say
2) Create a formal (but still personal) document
It’s easier to apply for a scholarship when you have a formal-looking document that explains why you’re qualified. The document could include your grades, standardized test scores, job history and any other accomplishments. Remember, though: While an essay competition is usually open to anyone who applies, scholarships are typically limited to a specific group of people—for example, students from your school or with similar interests as you. To get scholarship money based on merit alone, be sure your application clearly states how you meet their eligibility requirements.
3) Be specific about what you want to study
Many applicants are too general when they write about their academic interests. Don’t get me wrong—having broad academic interests is not a bad thing! But keep in mind that you will likely be writing your motivation letter several years before you actually start college, and it’s important to reflect on how your interests may change over time.
Although some colleges ask for a list of specific programs you’re interested in studying, for most applications, being specific about what you want to study isn’t necessary. Take some time to think about why you want to go to college and how your major fits into that goal; emphasizing these things can help show that you understand what goes into an undergraduate education.
4) Practice your spelling and grammar
Don’t use u for you or a lot of run-on sentences. Make sure you spell out numbers under 100,000. Proofread your work, and ask other people to proofread it too. If they find any mistakes that you missed, make corrections immediately. Don’t forget to do all of these things in 10 minutes!
5) Include numbers where possible
If you’re in high school, your GPA and test scores are numbers that will show a potential scholarship panelist how you stack up against other applicants. It helps to include those figures, as well as lists of extracurricular activities you’ve participated in and any awards or honors you may have received over time. If you’re applying to grad school, list your undergraduate GPA (or be specific about your current GPA) along with your LSAT score. If possible, include a trendline of your scores over time so they can see how consistently dedicated to studying/working hard at something you are.
6) Make your goals SMART
Before you start a scholarship application, make sure that your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Don’t write I want to go to college – not only is it too vague, but how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Instead try I want to complete 2 years of college. Now make sure your goals answer these questions: Who does it benefit? What does success look like? How much time do I have for each goal? Make sure your goals are motivational so that if you fall off track with one goal you can quickly move onto another. If there’s no emotional connection then why bother doing anything at all in life?
7) Get support from others
As you’re creating your application, seek out support from others. If you want to apply for a scholarship, ask other students or alumni for help—it can be especially valuable to get insight and suggestions from people who have recently gone through (or are currently going through) what you’re trying to achieve. As with any good project, team up with someone who has different skills than you do; not only will it help balance out your perspective and ideas, but it will also give your motivation letter a better chance of standing out.
8) Use plain English, not industry jargon!
When you apply for a scholarship, you’re writing to persuade someone that you’re worth handing money over to—someone who might not have much experience with your particular field. Your audience is busy and has limited time, so make sure you use terms they can easily understand.
If you need examples of good business writing, check out Plain Language in Government Programs: A Pocket Guide (PDF). It gives great advice on making your language clear and concise. If you do use industry-specific terms, define them clearly and give some background about how a layperson might know them. This will help avoid confusion about what words mean and why they are relevant to your application.
9) Add graphics
You can take what you’ve written and make it look even better by adding visuals. That doesn’t mean images, although those help. It means formatting your text in such a way that it looks clean and easy to read. The easiest way to do that is by adding headings, bolding important sections, bulleting lists of tips or commands, using subheadings, etc.
10) Proofread it twice…or more!
If you’re like most people, you don’t like to write a lot of essays or other documents by hand. But if you want to make sure your motivation letter looks professional and well-written, it’s worth spending time on—but make sure that your final version is clear and free of mistakes. The better organized and better written your letter is, the more likely scholarship judges will be able to get an idea of what makes you unique as a candidate.
Review it with someone else who can give feedback and ask them to proofread it for grammar mistakes before sending off any copies. Even if you aren’t applying for scholarships, practicing writing these types of letters is a great way to build up your communication skills and develop good writing habits in general.
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