Common mistakes in scholarship cover letters


A scholarship cover letter is your first opportunity to make a strong impression on a judge committee. It is one of your best chances to explain why you would be an outstanding candidate for the position. A scholarship cover letter needs to make you standing out from other applicants. It should highlight your qualifications, skills, accomplishments, expertise and potential.


Below is the list of 10 most common mistakes in scholarship cover letters:

  1. Not being specific when describing abilities, skills and experience. Try to be specific with examples.

  2. Failing to state the position that you are applying for. You should clearly include the name of applying position at the beginning of the cover letter.

  3. Not proof-reading your cover letter. Typos and grammatical errors are common mistakes that basically destroy your chance of success. Get a second opinion, get someone to review your cover letter.

  4. Being arrogant or overconfident in your cover letter.

  5. The cover letter is too lengthy. Try to limit the cover letter to 2 pages.

  6. Incorrect contact information. Double check your contact information, especially email and telephone numbers so that you do not miss out calls from the committee.

  7. Not focusing on the needs of your employer.

  8. Using “one size fit all” cover letters for different positions. You should tailor a new cover letter for each scholarship.

  9. Repeating the resume. You should focus on your skills, knowledge and experience which are related directly to the applying scholarship. The scholarship cover letter can be used to explain anything that may not explained in resume such as a change in career paths.

  10. Failing to write an original information in the cover letter. Do not copy directly from sample scholarship cover letter. Make a cover letter of yourself with all your thoughtful ideas.


Following websites have wonderful samples for the scholarship cover letters. Take some time to explore and learn from those samples.

Writing a successful cover letter,  by Columbia University. This provides 5 sample scholarship cover letters for English, Music, Engineering, Biology and classics fields.

Sample scholarship cover letter, by the University of Louisville.

Scholarship cover letter template, by Bond University


Good luck with your scholarship hunting !