Dean's Fund for International Engagement




General Professionalism – Make sure everything is clear and concise. Your purpose is to ask for funds as an academic and to have an experience that will benefit you academically, so make sure to bring that mindset into any writing you have to do for a scholarship. 

Grammar and typos – Read through your responses out loud, and have another person look over your essays for grammar and spelling mistakes. It’s an easy way to catch mistakes that you might otherwise miss, and it’s always good to have another set of eyes on your work before you press submit!

Contractions, slang, and jargon – This is professional writing, so it always looks better when you write without contractions or slang. Remember you are speaking to a professional audience. That being said, don’t use jargon either. Maybe you do complex lab work that relates to the program topic, but most people do not work in your field so don’t assume they know what you’re talking about. Write to an educated and informed audience, but be a good communicator as well.

Expectations if you receive the award – We ask for a small “giveback” project about your experiences abroad if you receive the award. You get to tell us what you would be interested in doing but in the end we decide based on what we need. This is part of receiving the award. Make sure to be professional about getting it done in a timely manner and responding to any emails about the project. And we know everyone is busy, so just make sure you can commit to doing this if you receive the award.


The Essay

Length – A good essay response is between 350-500 words. The scholarship committee has to read a lot of these so don’t make it too long since they have many others to read as well. At the same time, don’t just write a few sentences– this can make it hard to understand why you are applying for the award and get a good picture of how this will benefit you as a student.

What to include – With such a short response space, make sure to include only the most important information. Why will this program help you in achieving your academic or career goals and help you in the future? Why are you interested in this program? Why are you asking for this amount of funding? Justify your reasons for applying to this academic experience – you are not going on a vacation so make your academic interests in the program very clear.


The Recommendation Letter

Who to ask – For an academic award, be sure to ask an OSU professor. They need to be able to speak about you in an academic context. If you don’t feel any professor knows you well enough, approach a professor whose class you really enjoyed. If it is the beginning of a term and you know you will need a letter, feel free to let a professor know that you’re thinking of asking them for a recommendation and ask if there is anything you can do help them get to know your strengths. This can also be useful for e-campus students who maybe haven’t met their professors in person.

How to ask – Send your professor an email or visit them during office hours, explain what the program/award is, and ask if they can write you a letter. It is very important to give them plenty of time to get it done and it’s always polite to send them your resume to help them write about your other experiences as well as what they know about you. Also, always give them an out – let them know they can say no if they’re too busy or don’t think they know you well enough.

It has to be an actual letter – You can have the same person write your recommendation for the scholarship and one of the faculty-led programs, but remember: this award requires an actual letter (not a webform). The faculty-led program applications have your recommenders fill out a webform. Let your recommender know that you need a PDF or Word document this time.