On Crafting Scholarship Appeals

Scholarships, especially fully funded ones, are extremely competitive for obvious reasons. You can be the best in class and best in the companies you’ve worked for, but many times these are not enough. Panelists usually look for things that might appear insignificant to us, and to pinpoint these is very difficult as it’s very relative depending on the needs and visions of the program and the institution.

I’d like to share an appeal I sent years prior for a scholarship program that I was so interested in but didn’t make the cut. I was placed on a waiting list with my rank undisclosed. Thankfully, all waiting list applicants were given three days to send in an appeal. Talk about democracy!

On the guidelines of sending appeals, we were reminded to AVOID reiterating details that were already sent on the application. We should be showcasing instead the passion that we have for the work we currently do and how this correlates to the program we are applying for. This is an important factor which panelists might have overlooked, so they want to reconsider.

With this in mind, here is the appeal letter I sent:

To (Hello),

Thank you so much for admitting me to your program and for sending in the results early. 

I was a bit disheartened when I was informed I didn’t get the scholarship because there is no way for me to fully fund my schooling and stay in (Country). However, I also understand that many other students, especially from less developed countries, are more deserving of this award. 

I was checking your list of former students and it got to my attention that there was only one student from the Philippines who got to study with you since you started the program in 2007. Her name is (abc) from the Class of (123). I hope you get to consider me for the scholarship program as the Philippines is truly in dire need of more innovative and passionate people in the (Program name) field. 

Our country is too interested with “the now” that it fails to see, for example, that addressing the Philippines’ worsening traffic problem isn’t just about having color and number codes, or putting signs everywhere that “Speeding is punishable by law.” The root of the problem should be addressed, first and foremost: Why do people want to take cars instead of public transportation? Why do people choose to move to Manila than in the provinces? Why don’t people follow road rules any longer? These are some of the questions that should be looked into and to have research and policy-making finally given priorities in the Philippines can definitely help the country in the long run. 

Our country is full of patrons who are happy to have an increasing divide between the haves and have nots; and to study local culture, laws and programs in the context of a global world can truly help us redefine the meaning of “progress”, “dignity”, “equality” and “liberty”. I believe that the Philippines can make it but first off, it starts with equipping oneself with all tools available. Sometimes, it only has to start with one. 

Thank you very much and I’m really looking forward to doing my graduate study with you.




The letter worked quite well and I got the scholarship!

Remember, as with anything in life, there is nothing wrong with putting yourself out there again and again. “Saving face” is but a human invention, isn’t it?