How To Write a Thank You Letter For a Scholarship

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If you've been fortunate enough to receive a scholarship for college or graduate studies, why not take a few moments and express your gratitude to the person, family, or entity providing that scholarship? Sending a personal thank you letter reflects very positively on you as the recipient. It shows you have social grace and skills. It's also important to the donors, who want to know more about the person they've helped to achieve the formidable goal of a college education.  In any case, crafting a sincere and well-written thank you letter is not difficult, if you keep in mind a few suggestions.

  1. Use plain white stationery or note paper. No cutesy pads with kittens or flowers, please!
  2. If your handwriting is legible, a handwritten note is a nice touch. But if your cursive looks more like a Dali line drawing, best to type your thank you note.
  3. If you do decide to handwrite your note, consider placing the stationery over a piece of lined notebook paper, if the lines show through, or using a straightedge in order to keep your written lines running more or less straight across the page.
  4. Do not use email. Most donors prefer an old-fashioned "snail mail" approach.
  5. Be prompt. Don't wait too long to send yourscholarship thank you letter thanks after you've been notified of your scholarship. Promptness communicates true gratitude and is simply good form.
  6. Address the letter to the donor (the person who donated the funds). It's perfectly proper to call the donor or organization and ask for the name of the person who should receive the letter, or you can alternatively check in with your school's financial aid office.
  7. Start your letter by thanking the donor for the funds for the scholarship. Let the donor know what the scholarship means to you, personally. You shouldn't exaggerate your need, but don't shy away from telling a donor that their gift meant the difference between a four-year university and the local technical college for you if it's true. 
  8. Next, tell the donor a little about yourself - where you grew up, why you chose the school or major (whichever was the qualifying factor in your scholarship), and where you are in your studies (i.e., prospective freshman, graduating senior, etc.).
  9. Let the donor know what your future plans are. What do you intend to do with your degree? Are you planning to teach inner-city children? Volunteer with the Peace Corps? Have you lined up a promising internship next semester? How are you going to give back to the community? Donors like to hear how their gifts lead to greater things.
  10. Thank the donor again.
  11. Sign the note.
  12. Do this type of thank you letter for each scholarship you receive.
  13. Check with your financial aid office to see if they have any thank you letter samples or forms you can use for ideas, or if they have special rules or requirements for sending the letters. (Some schools like to transmit the notes in one package, while others leave it up to the student.)


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Good job with this! Good information that is much needed.

By Melinda McGuire Burson