Paying for school is often expensive. No matter where you go, what program you enroll in or what you choose to study, there’s usually no getting around the fact that tuition and fees are a burden. That’s even before you add in the cost of living, yikes! Luckily, there are plenty of types of financial aid that may be available to those who qualify. One of the best types is the scholarship. It is not a loan, but rather a finite sum of money that you often do not have to pay back – assuming you obey the rules of the scholarship and stay in school. And unlike grants, which are usually predicated on financial need, scholarships may be frequently available to applicants based only on merit. Usually, scholarships are available to students once they have been accepted to a school. As soon as you have an acceptance letter, you can start applying to scholarships. If you win, you usually receive an award letter telling you how much. The donor typically either pays in a lump sum or parcels the money out over the course of your education. That donor may be a person, an institution, a foundation or even the school that you are attending. If you do receive a scholarship, congratulations! That’s a big achievement and you deserve to celebrate. Once you’re done fist-pumping, however, make sure to send a scholarships thank you letter. What Is a Scholarships Thank You Letter? A scholarships thank you letter is a note you send to your donor thanking them for choosing you as a recipient. In it, you make sure they know how important their financial gift is to your education. While letters can take a variety of forms, a few of which we will explore below, they should in general include the following details: The dateTheir name, foundation name and address at the top of the letterThe reason you are writing the letter (to thank them)Why the scholarship means so much to youAny pertinent personal stories or facts that might applyWhat you plan to do with your schooling and career, as far as you knowA sincere thank you, either at the beginning or the end, but ideally bothYour name at the end Such a letter might seem like an optional formality, but there are good reasons you shouldn’t treat it that way. Why Is It Important to Write a Scholarships Thank You Letter? It is often critical to send a scholarships thank you letter so that your donor knows you took their gift seriously. Scholarship foundations get hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants. And while organizations might like to furnish everyone with the means to pursue an education, they simply can’t. They must instead do the difficult and sometimes painful work of winnowing down good candidates to find the best. If the best ended up being you, you have a lot to be grateful for – and your scholarships thank you letter should reflect that. This accomplishes a number of ends: It could keep help you on your donor’s radar, so they’re more likely to follow your careerIt may show them, as well as anyone who might be in touch with them (your school, professors), that you are professional and have nice mannersIt may help you to win the same scholarship the following year, which is not uncommon More importantly, though, a thank you letter is simply the right thing to do. How Do I Write a Well-Written Thank You Letter? So, how do you make sure your scholarships thank you letter is well-written in addition to from-the-heart? There are a few simple guidelines to follow. Type Your Letter in Word Never hand-write your letter. Type it in a word processor instead, using Google Docs if you don’t have your own computer and hard drive. Format the letter with 1-inch margins and single-spaced, 12-point font. Do not use indentations at the beginning of your paragraphs. Put a blank line between each paragraph. Keep It to One Page No matter how grateful you are for the financial assistance you’ve received, you should be able to say it in one page or less. Do so. Proofread Carefully Nothing brings a reader to a screeching halt like confusing “you’re” with “your.” Always edit carefully before you send a letter off. If you are not a good editor, ask someone else to read your letter for you. Address Letter to the Right Donor Some organizations employ multiple people to decide who gets scholarships. Take your time to dig into it and see if you can determine who greenlighted yours. The name is often on your award letter, and taking the time to thank that person is both polite and self-serving, as you will deepen your relationship with them. Scholarships Thank You Letter Templates Wondering what approach your scholarships thank you letter should take? We suggest two basic formats: either a letter detailing what you hope to do with the scholarship, containing as little or as much detail as you choose to add, OR a note explaining why it means so much to you to enter your chosen field. Let’s take a closer look at each. Sample Letter 1: The “What I Will Do” Letter This letter expresses your gratitude to the donor and tells them what you plan to do with the money. Most donors offer money because they are excited about the idea of what recipients will go on to achieve, so sharing that information is all you need to do to make them happy. Try this format: Date Donor First Name and Last Name Donor Foundation Name Donor Address Dear Ms./Mr. Last Name, I am writing to express my sincere gratitude for your generous gift to me through the _________ Scholarship. Thanks to you, I will now be able to follow my dream of getting a degree in _________ and pursuing a career in _________. The _________ program at _________ University is known for teaching its students to _________ and helping to find them great work opportunities after school. I’m very excited to be able to afford to join this program. I will work hard to live up to your faith in me and to make positive contributions in the field of _________. Once again, thank you so much for your assistance in furthering my education. It means the world to me. If you ever have questions or would like to hear how I’m doing, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Sincerely, Your Name Sample Letter 2: The “Why This Matters” Letter The sample letter above told the scholarship donor all about what you planned to do with their generous gift. This letter, on the other hand, tells the donor why it matters so much to you to receive this gift. It is a powerful letter when coming from someone in an underprivileged community or someone who has a deep personal connection to their chosen field. This is a great format to use if you are the first one in your family to go to school, for instance, or if your father’s early death from a heart attack is why you want to go into cardiology. Remember that these letters don’t have to be cheerful, they just have to be sincere. Date Donor First Name and Last Name Donor Foundation Name Donor Address Dear Ms./Mr. Last Name, I am honored you chose me as one of the recipients of the _________ Scholarship. As someone who grew up caring deeply about _________, you cannot know how much it means to be to get a chance to contribute to the field. [Insert personal story about your family, your neighborhood, your experiences or any other motivation for choosing this career path. Make sure to tie your experience expressly to the university and the program you are choosing. Be as vulnerable as you feel comfortable being, as sometimes these stories will stick with your donors. They may wish to keep in touch with or help you later.] This scholarship is a gift I will never forget, and I will work hard to make sure I’m worthy of it. I am deeply committed to my education, and I cannot express how grateful I am to you for helping me pursue it. Thank you again for your generosity and faith in me. Sincerely, Your Name Send Your Letter Today On a final note, most organizations that offer scholarship money are impressed with diligence and promptness. If you can find time to write your scholarships thank you letter today, do it! Otherwise make a plan to do so in the near future. Your donors will appreciate hearing from you so quickly after you’ve heard from them, so don’t wait. And remember, you’ve done well. Take a moment to celebrate too!