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August 18, 2010 7:43 AM   Subscribe

Received a small scholarship--any etiquette tips?

This is a pretty minor question, but I'm curious to hear some opinions on it. I'm a second-year masters student in a 2-year program. My program is small, with a close-knit culture (staff, faculty, and students all know each other). I just got word from the director of the program that I've been awarded a $1,000 "named scholarship" from the program as a recognition of good grades last year. I didn't apply for this award, which is named after a staff member who's been working for the program for 15+ years (and still works there).

What's good etiquette here? I'm going to respond to the director's email to say, "Wow, that's great, thanks," but should I do anything else? Is this a thank-you-letter situation?
posted by aka burlap to Education (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Absolutely. Write the thank you letter. Having worked in a higher-education development office, the number one complaint about scholarship recipients we received was that they didn't write a thank you letter.
posted by jardinier at 7:55 AM on August 18, 2010

That staff member may be on the fence about continuing the scholarship. A thank-you letter will take you, what, half an hour? It certainly won't hurt, and maybe it'll tip the balance enough that someone who really needs the money years from now will be able to get it.
posted by Etrigan at 8:03 AM on August 18, 2010

You should thank the director and ask if there is anything else you ought to do. I received a named scholarship as well, thanked my Dean and attended a brief reception at some point during the year. I offered to write the donor a thank you note as well, but it turned out that the scholarship came from money from a bequest and there was no other family to thank. So, in that case, a formal thank you was unnecessary (not to mention impossible). If the donor was alive, it would be a nice gesture (and might get the department additional money in the future).
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:25 AM on August 18, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for your responses...I guess part of my confusion is that I'm not sure who the proper recipient of the thank-you letter is. The director himself? A particular donor? I don't know...but MeFi certainly won't know either! I'll ask the director if/to whom I can send a thank-you letter (and if it turns out he's the one I should send it to, then oh well, guess that'll just be a little awkward!)
posted by aka burlap at 8:34 AM on August 18, 2010

Best answer: Is there an administrator for the program? My experience is that they're great with these kind of etiquette questions, knowing the inner workings and the people involved.
posted by carbide at 8:37 AM on August 18, 2010

Definitely write a sincere thank you note. In my school, for certain scholarships, the money wouldn't be released to you unless you wrote a thank you note. That's how important they felt it was.

And in general, it's just good manners.
posted by joyeuxamelie at 8:50 AM on August 18, 2010

I offered to write the donor a thank you note as well, but it turned out that the scholarship came from money from a bequest and there was no other family to thank.

Having worked in development, yes, this is often the case. In fact, in graduate school I was encouraged to write a thank you letter for a scholarship by my department. A few years later, working in the development office of the same school, I came to find out that the donors who I wrote my letter to had died before the scholarship was given.

So ask the director--but if you can't find a proper party, don't feel too guilty or terrible about it. It's really the department's and the school's stewardship office's responsibility to encourage this sort of outreach--and the vast, vast majority of students wouldn't even consider it without prodding, proper etiquette or not.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:11 AM on August 18, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everybody--I asked the administrative person, and she pointed me in the right direction.
posted by aka burlap at 3:14 PM on August 19, 2010

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