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

Grammar and typos – have another person look over your essays for grammar and spelling mistakes. It’s an easy way to catch mistakes that you might miss on your own and it’s always good to have another set of eyes on your work before you send it off.

Contractions, slang, and jargon – this is professional writing so it always looks better when you write without contractions or slang. Remember you’re 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 “give back” 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 250-500 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. But also don’t just write a few sentences since this makes 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 a professor or an academic advisor. They need to be able to speak about you in an academic context. If you don’t feel any professor knows you well enough, ask your academic advisor or 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 them know and that you’re thinking of asking them, so can they maybe watch you a little more closely? This is also important for e-campus students who maybe haven’t met their professors in person.

How to ask – if you know a professor well, send them an email explaining what the program/award is and asking 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. The faculty-led program applications have your recommenders fill out a form about you instead. Let your recommender know that you need a PDF or Word document this time.