When applying for funding, you’re going to carefully craft your essays, writing samples, and reference choices to convey that you’re a dedicated scholar with contributions to your field that ought to be taken seriously. When corresponding or speaking with someone from the funding program, you’re effectively extending your application to these interactions. So just as you will for your application, think before you click ‘send’.
Here are some general guidelines to follow when emailing a scholarship program.
1. Be absolutely certain the answer to your question is not on the program’s website.
There are thousands of applicants for most programs, and just like your middle school teacher used to say, you’re probably not the only one with that question. As staff for these programs, we are here to answer your questions, but we also put information on the website for a reason.
2. Be as brief as possible.
Answering emails is more time consuming than most people estimate. Staff are often happy to answer any and all questions people have—after going through Rule #1—but remember their time is valuable too. You can save both your time and theirs by focusing your email on what you need to know.
3. Be professional.
You’re an (aspiring) scholar, so you want to communicate in a professional manner. What this means:
- Use a professional email address. Gmail is more than fine, but use your name in the address.
- Keep your font the default, or use a font you would be just as comfortable using for a journal publication. The same goes for color and size.
- Include a signature line with your full name, affiliation, and contact information. Your signature line should be black or grey, and be consistent in font and size with the rest of your email.
- Show that you respect the program you are writing to by including an address line such as “Dear [Program Name],” for at least the first email. If a correspondence ensues, it can be fine to drop the address line.
- This should go without saying, but make sure your grammar and spelling are correct. Again, just as you would for an application, review before you click ‘send’
4. Don’t overdo it.
If you find yourself typing the words, “I’m sorry to be bothering you so much…” or “Forgive me for asking so many questions…”, think about whether those questions are worth asking, or see if you can come up with alternative solutions to the problem you’re facing.
5. Be polite.
Don’t be rude or condescending; no one appreciates that.
Let your application do the talking for you. Ask good questions that aren’t answered elsewhere, and be professional. If you do these things, then you will surely have the greatest chance of success, and not just in applying for scholarships.
Visit our blog for additional campus free speech stories and more information on scholarship programs. New posts will be released on a rolling basis throughout the year.