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How to Write a Scholarship Thank-You Letter

Samantha Rose
Samantha Rose is a personal finance writer covering financial literacy for OppU. Her work focuses on providing hands-on resources for high school and college-age students in addition to their parents and educators.
Read time: 4 min
Updated on February 11, 2022
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Say thanks. It’s just good etiquette.

College is expensive, so you apply for a scholarship. The time and effort needed to write a compelling personal essay paid off. You’ve received a scholarship award. Now what?

It’s good etiquette to write a thank-you letter as a gesture of appreciation. 

Scholarship donors give money because they believe in helping students pay for their education. Receiving a note of appreciation is always special. A thank-you letter reminds the donor that their generous contribution is making an impact and motivates them to continue giving to future students.

Not sure if you should send a letter? Not sure what to say? We can help you out with a downloadable template.

How to write a scholarship thank-you letter

Step No. 1: Decide on an email or handwritten note

The most common thank-you letter response will be done over email for the sake of ease and time. However, don’t underestimate the power of a handwritten letter. Though not as common, a handwritten and mailed note shows that a lot of thought was put into your efforts.

Step No. 2: List the addressee’s information

Handwritten letters should include a header section that lists the date, the donor or organization’s name, the name of the scholarship award, and the full address of the donor. Be sure to properly address the envelope, as well.

Step No. 3: Open with a greeting

Address your donor with a professional greeting. Typically the addressee will be the donor, the individual who was your point of contact, or the organization’s name.

Step No. 4: State the purpose

In the first paragraph, state the purpose of your letter. This will be something along the lines of thanking your donor for the scholarship. Be sure to write clearly, succinctly, and with sincerity throughout.

Step No. 5: Share the impact

In the second paragraph, share a little bit more about yourself, your education plans, and how you’ll use the scholarship money. If feasible, share how the scholarship award made a meaningful impact on your educational or career goals.

Step No. 6: Express gratitude

In the third paragraph, end the letter by giving a heartfelt thanks to your donor again. Make a commitment to work hard in your education and future endeavors.

Step No. 7: Sign your name

Close the letter with an appropriate farewell and your signature. 

Step No. 8: Add the addresser’s information

For handwritten letters, include your information at the bottom of the letter. This may include your full name, school or company, address, and phone number.

Step No. 9: Review for errors

Double-check for typos and grammatical errors. Write out contractions and avoid slang. Sometimes it’s helpful to have another set of eyes, so ask a family member, friend, teacher, or guidance counselor to review your letter before you send the final version.

Step No. 10: Send it out

Now that your thank-you letter is ready to go, hit send or drop it in the mail. Congrats! You’re fostering a professional connection that could last a lifetime. Educational attainment is a long, difficult journey, so it helps to grow your team of mentors and supporters.

Sample scholarship thank-you letter template

Scholarship Thank-You Letter Sample


Why you should write a thank-you letter

Writing a thank-you letter is, simply put, good etiquette. It’s good etiquette for birthdays, graduation gifts, holiday presents — basically anytime somebody gives you something, and this includes scholarship money, too.

Do you have to write a thank-you letter? No. You won’t lose your scholarship if you don’t.

However, it’s become common practice for scholarship recipients to thank their donors, and students who don’t might stick out. In addition, there are benefits to making a good impression with donors. Doing so can help build valuable academic and professional relationships. For students who plan to reapply in the future, sending a thank-you letter can help boost their standing with the scholarship committee.

The best time to show your appreciation to your scholarship donor is immediately after receiving your scholarship award. A follow-up a year later is a little too late — unless you’ve already established a rapport of sending professional updates. 

Tips for writing a thank-you letter

Need more help writing your thank-you letter? Focus on two key topics: appreciation and impact, said Chad Dorman, an educational consultant and the founder of Leonard Andrew Consulting.

“The letter should showcase appreciation for the scholarship and detail how the funding will have a direct impact on a student's career and course of study,” Dorman said.

Here are questions to ask yourself before you sit down to write: 

  • Will the scholarship open new doors and greater opportunities? 
  • Will the scholarship allow for professional development and experiences that wouldn’t have occurred without it?
  • Will the scholarship help you achieve academic and career goals?

“Beyond that, students should then discuss their future plans, and how their work and studies will lead to a greater impact on their industry or community — let them know!” Dorman said.

Bottom line

A thank-you letter could make a difference in fostering a long-term professional connection. And it’s just good etiquette.

Article contributors
Chad Dorman

Chad Dorman, an educator and entrepreneur, is the founder of Leonard Andrew Consulting. He works with students and student-athletes to find their school of best fit, optimizing their brand and their goals, all while geared towards their version of success in the future — academically, athletically, and socially. 

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