I'm in the process of applying for master of "Parallel and Distributed Computer Systems" in VU university. The university requires me to write a letter describing why I deserve a scholarship. I have written this letter multiple times, but every time I read it from beginning to end I feel it contains pride words and I think this will not help me to get scholarship.

Can someone help me to write effective letters like this?

  • What level of study are you applying for (e.g. undergraduate/masters/PhD)? The answers might differ a bit depending on this.
    – Tara B
    Oct 7, 2014 at 10:44
  • @TaraB question updated Oct 7, 2014 at 10:47

3 Answers 3


Committee must be convinced that the money will be well used. It would look best if you told you would invest the money to become better at the field of your studies (buy literature, go to conferences, pay for some courses or certifications, publishing your articles in journals). However, trying to look perfect could backfire. In my country it would be reasonable if you wrote that part of the scholarship would be spent on something not related to education. But that depends on the country, culture, traditions, committee members etc.

You must also convince the committee that you will do good in studies. That is why you should mention your study results and achievements.

You must convince the committee that you like the field of your studies, you are passionate and will keep working hard. If your studies have helped you at your work, mention that. Also mention your short and long term goals - educational and professional.

You can also mention your strongest characteristics and give arguments. (example: leadership abilities, you lead a student team in project x which was successful. )

The motivation letter as a whole is the answer to the question "Why do you deserve a scholarship?”

edit #1: I changed the part about spending scholarship money on something not education related, because of the comment by Trylks.

  • 2
    "I think it would be reasonable if you wrote that part of the scholarship would be spent on something not related to education." Like buying food and staying alive, then you could say that you want to be healthy to have an optimum cognitive performance, for your education, but committees are not known for their sense of humor, so better don't do that.
    – Trylks
    Oct 7, 2014 at 8:23
  • @Trylks that is a good point, I edited my answer. Oct 7, 2014 at 8:47
  • 5
    No, sorry, I didn't word that clearly. The scholarship in VU is probably meant to be a sort of salary, so that you can do your "work"/research/studies and survive with that salary (which is just enough for that). So the point to make is explain why you are the best candidate for that "position" and how are you going to bring the greatest glory and fame (through academic performance and merit) to the people/institution/organism/thing "paying" (funding) you (your work/research/studies). In short, basically stating: past achievements, current interests and enthusiasm and other success predictors.
    – Trylks
    Oct 7, 2014 at 11:40

I think one of the main reasons why questions like this are included in scholarship or fellowship applications are to distinguish exceptional candidates from each other. In most programs, a lot of applicants will be quickly eliminated by the selection committee on the basis of various criteria: because they didn't complete the application form correctly, because their previous experience doesn't suggest they'll benefit from this program, because they have access to other funding sources, because they aren't outstanding academically or socially, because they didn't interview well, or any number of other criteria.

However, once that filtering process has ended, the selection committee has a list of exceptional, driven applicants who would clearly benefit from the funding -- but may not have enough funding to support all of them. That's when they start comparing those applications in detail, and that's where an applicant who can demonstrate why they'd be even a slightly better candidate than the others has a better chance of getting funded. This question is an opportunity for you to demonstrate what makes you unique when compared to other exceptional candidates.

In line with this, you don't need to say, "I would benefit from this funding because I have an exceptional academic history and I would be unable to take this opportunity otherwise", because the rest of your application already proves this. Instead, think about the committee comparing you with the best candidate that you can imagine: someone just as smart as you, just as accomplished as you, and someone who would benefit from this funding as much as you. What could you tell the selection committee that would convince them to pick you instead of this other candidate?

Some suggestions:

  • Are you (individually) particularly suited for this opportunity? Maybe you have previous experience with distributed systems that you can apply to this Masters degree?

  • Is this opportunity particularly suited for you? Maybe there's a professor at VU you'd really benefit from working with, or maybe their program focusing on some aspect of distributed systems that are really important to you.

  • How will selecting you benefit your hosts? What is something interesting you could bring to VU that other applicants can't?

  • How will selecting you benefit your sponsors? Find out exactly what the scholarship's goal is: is it to give students access to opportunities that might not otherwise be available to them? Is it to transfer some skills to your country or community by educating you in those skills? One of the people at my university pointed out that one of the biggest benefits they get from international students is that their local students -- who might not otherwise be able to afford international travel or the chance to work closely with people from other cultures -- could now do exactly that without traveling anywhere! Whatever the sponsoring organization is doing, figure out how sponsoring you will help them advance their goals.

As with all application questions, do not lie or exaggerate, or try to anticipate what the selection committee wants to hear: figure out what's unique about you, and figure out the best way to explain this to them. All the best!


Scholarship is the grant for those students who are either extraordinary and talent or who are unable to pay their college or university fees due to low economic status of family.So the reason differs to individual.And I feel that student need to write their true story seeking for scholarship such as if his/her family cannot pay the sum maybe because of poverty or the individual is extremely good or expert at something and can contribute to the welfare and fame of university.And needless to say, the student need to meet the criteria of scholarship scheme and should write accordingly including their true need of scholarship.

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