It’s not enough for a potential scholarship recipient to submit an application letter with a form filled up and the other required documents attached. In many cases, the applicant also has to submit a motivation letter.

However, this motivation letter has to stand out. Many universities and organizations that offer scholarships tend to receive numerous applications, and an applicant’s motivation letter may just be lost among the crowd.

What is a Motivation Letter?

Technically, this is an academic document detailing the applicant’s interest in the offered scholarship.

But in general, it’s a way to introduce the applicant to the members of the scholarship panel. It encourages and persuades the members of this panel to select this applicant and to believe that this applicant will boost the reputation of their university or organization.

The applicant usually sends the motivation letter with the application for the scholarship, and it’s received by the scholarship selection panel. In this letter, the applicant gives the reasons why they believe they are worthy of this scholarship.

The letter must be done professionally and have good reasons to motivate the selection panel to choose the applicant. This letter also describes the applicant’s future plans and goals, which must be in line with the expectations of the selection panel members.

Why is a Motivation Letter Important?

Motivation letters are crucial for several reasons:

  • First, most application forms and documents showing off applicants’ grades tend to look too alike. But a motivation letter can make a particular application stand out.
  • It also introduces the applicant as an actual person instead of just a collection of good grades and awards. It offers a good first impression that helps the selection panel to know the applicant.
  • In addition, the motivation letter can paint a picture of the future when it details your goals and plans. You should align this future with the selection panel’s future vision.

Numerous universities worldwide generally want to create leaders in their field who can change the future to make the world better. The motivation letter can portray the applicant in such a light that the members of the selection panel will see the applicant as a leader in the future.

Types of Motivation Letters

Motivation letters are used for several reasons. These include:

  • Applying for admission to a university
  • Seeking a scholarship
  • Asking for an internship
  • Applying as a volunteer for an NPO
  • Requesting for a research grant

The Format of a Motivation Letter

The traditional format of a standard motivation letter comes in 3 main parts:

  1. The first introductory paragraphs
  2. The main paragraphs (mainly denoting why the applicant is worthy)
  3. The concluding paragraph summarizing all the points in the motivation letter

This classic format offers a quick and easy way for busy selection panel members to glean the information they’re looking for.

However, the format specifically for scholarships may be customized somewhat, even if it is similar. The flow can be smoother and less boring.

  1. The introductory paragraph
  2. The body comes in several paragraphs, and each paragraph is focused on a specific characteristic, ability, or goal of the applicant
  3. The concluding paragraph

Detailed Outline of a Motivation Letter:

Here are some tips on what a motivation letter should look like:

  • The header has the applicant’s personal and contact details: name, address, phone number, email address
  • Like an essay, it should have a title.
  • The introductory paragraph usually contains information about your current academic standing and your immediate academic plans
  • Paragraphs offering details and stories regarding your various achievements
  • Paragraphs offering concrete evidence about your skills
  • A paragraph that shows interest in the scholarship and why the applicant is interested
  • A summary of the applicant’s objectives
  • An execution plan toward future goals
  • A summary of why the applicant is a good potential candidate
  • Conclusion

You can check the list of fully funded scholarship for international students here.

General Guidelines on Writing a Scholarship Motivational Letter

Numerous educators today lament the fact that modern students no longer write regularly to other people.

Instead, they use short emails and other social media messages to communicate through the written word. Unsurprisingly, the formats for tweets and emails can hardly suffice for a proper motivation letter.

If you’re applying for a scholarship, then you have to come up with the ideal motivation letter. Here are some tips that should help:

Not Too Short, Not Too Long

This document can be either too short or too long.

If it’s too short with just a few paragraphs, then it might not contain enough information about you, your accomplishments, and your future goals.

And the members of the selection panel might even believe that you needed to put more effort into your motivation letter. They might not think you care about this scholarship at all.

On the other hand, a motivation letter can ramble on for too long. It might contain irrelevant details and repeat various points unnecessarily.

Reading a long motivation letter can be a tedious task for selection panel members, and they might not even bother to read the whole letter. They might not even start to read it if they realize that it’s too long.

In addition, if it’s too long, it might lead the selection panel to believe that you cannot summarize your points concisely. That’s a significant failure for a scholarship applicant.

So, how long should the motivation letter be? Ideally, it should be within a range of 500 to 1,000 words.

The goal is to convey the arguments for your selection concisely. Add some small details regarding your academic successes, current skills, and your goals for the future. But be concise and direct.

Give a Good Impression of Your Dedication to Your Field

Scholarship selection panel members are generally serious about their tasks and want applicants who are at least as serious as they are. The selection panel rarely gives scholarships to dilettantes who only show a casual interest in their chosen field of study.

This document must therefore portray you as a serious student with serious intent. You must demonstrate your passion for your field of study.

It must not just list your academic accomplishments but also show how they relate to your future plans and goals. And then, you can show how the scholarship is crucial for your own plans and goals—that with this scholarship, you can better achieve these goals.

This document must portray you as a student who knows what they’re doing and that you have a clear picture of what you plan to do in the future.

All these factors can help your motivation (and your particular scholarship application) truly stand out.

Write a Good Introduction Paragraph

At the very beginning of the page, include your name and contact details. This differentiates your motivational letter from the letters sent by other scholarship applicants, while the selection panel also gets a quick way to contact you for more details.

The introductory paragraph is quite simple. You state your name again and reveal your previous academic institution.

Then add that you wish to apply for the scholarship the selection panel offers. Here, you can also supply the reasons you’re applying for this scholarship.

Do not use slang or any overly casual language. But it would help if you still were direct without having to use unnecessarily long words.

Write Informative Paragraphs in the Main Body

This is the longest section of the motivational letter, as it contains the “meat” of the letter.

The first few paragraphs should focus on your various achievements. Each paragraph should focus on each achievement, with a few details added.

These can be achievements in your field or another field. You can also focus on various skills and work experiences (including volunteer work) and show how these talents and experiences can help you in your chosen field.

Write a Memorable Conclusion

Summarize the earlier paragraphs and state why you deserve the scholarship. Again, you can mention your current skills and future goals and show how these align with the ideals of the university or the organization offering the scholarship.

Do not ever beg or claim that you deserve the scholarship. You have to logically state your reasons as to why you’re the ideal choice to represent the university or the scholarship organization.

Sample Motivational Letter

Here is a motivational letter that you can use as a format guide:

I am John Smith. I attained my BSC in Computer Science from MIT. I am passionate about computer science, and because of this, I plan to learn more in this field. 

I am seeking this scholarship as I believe I can make notable contributions to computer science research. I possess many required skills for advancement and have consistently maintained excellent grades. 

My goal for getting this scholarship is to help various companies become more efficient with the use of computers and programs. I believe that the right programs can assist human workers in becoming more productive in their fields while allowing them a better balance between work and life outside work. Meanwhile, the companies also enjoy greater efficiency, faster results, fewer mistakes, and reduced costs. 

My areas of expertise include Robotic Process Automation (RPA), artificial intelligence, and machine learning. My work superiors have been consistently pleased with the work I have done. After attaining my Bachelor’s degree, I worked with a startup that enjoyed great success afterward. I helped them provide insurance companies with RPA tools that made it easier and faster to assess claims. 

This scholarship will help me to expand my education and add another step to a better future. This future is for others workers and companies too, and not only for myself. I am eager to learn new ideas, help human workers in their work, and enable companies to provide better products and services. 

I hope this letter helps convince you that I am a worthy applicant ready to make the world a better place. With this scholarship, I can advance in computer science and contribute to the field to benefit many.


Hopefully, this guide on writing a good motivational letter will help you get that scholarship you’re aiming for!