What to Expect When Writing a Scholarship

Applying for a scholarship: Tips for the letter of motivation

Scholarship ... That sounds like gifted people and an above-average IQ. That's why many students don't dare to apply for a scholarship. Error! Although there are many prejudices about the award of scholarships, only a few of these scholarships are about the promotion of talented people and high demands on good grades. But there are also foundations, such as the Mawista scholarship program. Here, for example, students whose curriculum vitae shows discontinuities and who had to overcome special hurdles are supported. Hence our appeal to you: Don't give up too quickly. Find the scholarship that suits you ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Apply for a scholarship: Into the scholarship forest

The Scholarship Guide, one of the largest databases, currently lists 1,250 scholarship programs. How should you get an overview? And above all, how are you supposed to find the right scholarship for you from this selection?

Here is a brief overview of the 13 gifted funding agencies:

  1. The Foundation of the German People: It is the oldest and largest sponsoring organization for gifted people. The patron is Joachim Gauck.
  2. The Friedrich Ebert Foundation: It is the SPD-affiliated foundation and sponsored around 2,700 scholarship holders in 2013. She also attaches great importance to promoting people from disadvantaged families.
  3. The Konrad Adenauer Foundation: It is the CDU-affiliated foundation and sponsored around 2,600 scholars in 2012.
  4. The Hans Seidel Foundation: This is the CSU-affiliated study foundation.
  5. The Heinrich Böll Foundation: This is the foundation close to the Greens, which supports around 1,000 students annually.
  6. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation: This foundation identifies with liberal values. Around 850 students and doctoral candidates are currently being funded.
  7. The Rosa Luxenburg Foundation: It is close to LINKEN and supports around 190 scholarship holders every year.
  8. The Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk: Jewish students and doctoral candidates are funded here.
  9. The Casanuswerk:The Cusanuswerk is the Catholic Church's organization for promoting talent.
  10. Student funding agency Villigst e.V.: This is the Evangelical Church's gifted support organization and currently supports 1,300 students.
  11. The Hans Böckler Foundation: This is the union-affiliated foundation. It also promotes studying without a high school diploma.
  12. The foundation of the German economy: This is close to the employers' association. The foundation also offers a grant specifically for student teachers.

For a more in-depth search, we recommend the following sources:

  • The study guide: This is a platform of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and enables you to search through the database according to various criteria.
  • e-follows: E-follows also offers an extensive database. You can search for region, type of scholarship or free text here without registering.
  • The overview of time: Under the title “Scholarship for almost everyone”, zeitonline has put together an overview that shows where you can apply as a lateral thinker, for example.
  • The overview of the southern Germans: If you don't even know what to look for, you can look around here. Scholarships are listed in alphabetical order with a brief description.

Scholarship guide as a free e-book

The makers of the websitevergleich.org have researched and compiled a large scholarship guide for Germany, which we have published here - with kind permission - as free e-book to download can offer (attention: almost 19 MB).

On 131 pages can be found in it Scholarship programs - sorted according to institutions and subject areas, according to parental occupations, political orientation, religious affiliation or physical impairments. Foreign scholarships and special funding opportunities are also included.

Download the PDF for free HERE.

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Scholarship application: tips for the letter of motivation

What am I just writing? Quite a few are sitting in front of your prospective letter of motivation and are not quite sure what you are saying formulate should. On the one hand, you should present yourself in a positive light and describe your own achievements. On the other hand, it's extremely difficult - without sounding vain or arrogant in any way.

Granted that Motivation letter is the hardest part of applying for a scholarship. But no rocket science either ...

The letter of motivation is similar to the cover letter for an application. However, the letter of motivation is more personal and possibly even longer. In it, you should authentically explain why you should be promoted.

An appraiser is interested in three things:

  1. What are the advantages of the scholarship for the applicant?
  2. Does the applicant match the foundation?
  3. What goals has the applicant set and can they achieve them?

You should be able to provide an answer to this in your letter of motivation. On the following ask you can orientate yourself when answering:

  • Why do I want a scholarship?
  • What do I expect from the funding?
  • Why do I apply to this foundation?
  • Why should I be promoted? What distinguishes me

It is therefore advisable to do this before using the Get started writingto go into yourself and to be clear about your goals and your motivation. Because only then can you present this credibly.

See the letter of motivation as a Self-presentation. Address personal accomplishments and hurdles. Let the reviewer share in events that have shaped you.

Instead of just naming your strengths and achievements, describe them using exampleswhere to use them. Don't just write "I am politically involved". If there is no example after such a sentence, it remains empty. Better to write "I am involved in the student council and in the student parliament".

Suggest one of what you've done so far Bridge to the future and explain your goals. Describe what you planned to do and why. It is important that you explain how the scholarship will support you in achieving your goals.

You can use the financial aspect received, but this should not be in the foreground. You will not be selected as a scholarship holder simply because you are looking for a cash injection for your studies. Rather, argue that financial support is important Free spaces would create, for example, to get involved more intensively on a voluntary basis.

Many applicants forget to mention how they could enrich the foundation in their letter of motivation. As a scholarship holder, we expect you too to become active for the foundation and help shape the program. Describe why your personality and your abilities fit in with the foundation and what you can contribute. It helps to take a close look at the range of seminars, publications and ongoing projects, for example.

What are the foundations looking for?

It's not just about very good grades. Most foundations are looking for fellows who are able to think outside the box. As a rule, no scholarship holders are accepted who have graduated from high school with 1.0 but have no other commitment. Social and political engagement is very important in the selection of scholarship holders. It is also about showing that the scholarship holder takes responsibility and wants to help shape society. And that's exactly why the letter of motivation is also an opportunity for you.

Often the values ​​and your own also play a role Worldview a role. These should match for the foundation and the scholarship holder. For example, you will find it difficult to justify why you are applying to the Cusanuswerk if you say of yourself that you are not a believer and have no connection with God.

This is how some of the foundations put it:

The Foundation of the German People:

Achievement, initiative, responsibility: under this motto, the German National Academic Foundation supports young people with a high level of scientific or artistic talent who, guided by curiosity and enjoyment of knowledge, study and research successfully, who develop and implement ideas of their own accord, who get actively involved beyond their own interests - and therefore (as our statutes formulate it), according to their talent and personality, special achievements in the service of the community can be expected.

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation:

With its support, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung wants to enable talented and committed young people to study thoroughly and to prepare them for tasks in the state and society, in particular in science and business, politics and administration, media and culture and in international organizations.

The Friedrich Ebert Foundation:

We support young, ambitious talents who work for a just society in terms of social democracy. With us, people from disadvantaged families also have the chance of excellent training.

Tips for the letter of motivation and the application

  • Choose the right foundation.

    Before you apply, take the time to study what a foundation offers and how it sees itself. Both have to suit you. This is the only way you can write a credible application.

  • Focus on a foundation.

    In principle, it is possible to apply to several foundations, but double funding is only in the rarest of cases. Most foundations explicitly ask for this in their application documents. Because many of the foundations are fundamentally different, you are also making yourself implausible if you apply using the watering can principle. In addition, an application is usually very time-consuming.

  • Also consider small foundations.

    The chances are particularly favorable here. They are not as well known as large foundations and they also do not receive as many applications. Sometimes they have very specific criteria that only a few candidates meet. If you fit into such a niche, your chances are very good.

  • Note the deadlines.

    These are sometimes very different. Some foundations want to have the documents by July 1st, others by September 1st. You should definitely pay attention to these. If you miss the deadline, you sometimes have to wait up to a year before you get another chance.

  • Apply at the beginning of your studies.

    The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung recommends applying up to the 3rd semester. On the one hand, this gives you the chance to receive support throughout your studies and, on the other hand, the foundation can support your career in the long term.

Tips for applying for a scholarship - 17% cheaper for readers

The author Korbinian Breu himself received seven scholarships with a total value of more than 50,000 euros - including from the German National Academic Foundation. In his eBook he shows how you can rock the written application and the selection seminar and what works in the letter of motivation.

And the best: Career Bible readers receive an exclusive discount of 5 euros. Instead of 29.90 euros, you pay only 24.90 euros. You can get to the e-book store by clicking this link (or the cover) and entering the discount code “CAREER BIBLE” later when ordering. You save around 17 percent.

[Photo credit: Stock-Asso, debasige by Shutterstock.com]