Each university has its own admission process according to its programs of study, reputation, trajectory, student demand, etc. That is why it is common for them to request a letter of motivation that allows them to evaluate, among other points, the commitment, discipline, and professional goals of each student, as well as their academic profile, of course.
How to write a cover letter?
Motivation letters are the first personalized approach you will have with the admissions officer. Keep in mind that this document could bring you closer to the idea of living an international experience while studying, but it could also push you away if you don’t take care of even the smallest detail in structure, format, and content.
The professional writers at EssayAssistant recommend following the next tips so you can start on the right foot.
1. The perfect structure
It would be a mistake to tell you that there is only one structure for this type of document because it is not so, you could find other models that are also valid. Some universities have their own cover letter templates. For this reason, you should research very well before sitting down to write.
However, although there is no universal structure that is mandatory, there is a recommended structure that is the most used for its simplicity, which is as follows:
- Profile and academic achievements
- Explanation of motives (why you want to study at that university)
- Call to action (CTA)
2. Data to include
Just as the structure is important, the content is also relevant, so you must make sure you mention the right information: not too much that is too much, and not too little that is too little. But what information to include?
Remember that this is a presentation, whether for scholarships, exchanges, or graduate studies. So limit yourself to providing useful information such as the following:
- Reason for the letter (scholarship, exchange, higher education…)
- Program of studies to be pursued
- Current academic level
- Interest in the course of study
- Summary and academic achievements
- Skills and talents
- Interest in studying precisely at that institution
- Professional aspirations
The most important thing is that all the content is written in the simple, positive, formal, eloquent, and persuasive language. But, above all, in a neutral language that the recipient of the letter can understand with ease and agility (without idioms of the native country).
3. Start with a short, formal heading
Generally, these letters of motivation for studying abroad are formal. Therefore, you should make sure that all the aspects that make up the letter are also formal, from the heading to the farewell, because the smallest detail will be evaluated.
The heading should be brief, containing only basic personal information about you and the recipient of the document, without adding irrelevant information to try to attract attention.
4. Make a convincing presentation
It doesn’t matter if you are writing an exchange cover letter, a visa cover letter, or a master’s degree cover letter; the introduction is vital.
Because in this introductory section you have to make it clear who you are and what the main reason for your letter is, regardless of whether the recipient can imagine it. Also, remember that cover letters can be sent by high school students as well as by graduate professionals seeking a specialization or master’s degree.
So get to the point quickly. These tips will help you write an eloquent and engaging introduction:
- Mention the main reason for the letter (scholarship, visa, exchange…)
- Say who you are and what you do (what academic level you are in)
- Make it clear what program of study you are interested in
- Be brief, a paragraph no longer than 4 or 5 lines will be more than enough
5. Explain why you deserve to be accepted
The list of applicants could be very long, so why you and not another candidate?
At this point, you must clear up any objections the recipient may have to give you a chance. In short, it’s your time to shine and stand out with your academic and personal record, skills, qualities, and career aspirations. It’s a make-or-break section!
These initial recommendations will help you to be forceful and very persuasive:
- Highlight the most relevant aspects of your academic record
- Mention achievements that represent your academic journey (grades, internships…)
- Highlight skills and qualities that are related to the career to be studied
- Give solid and authentic arguments, not repetitive ones like “I am the best in the world”
6. Tell why you are interested in that university
Among the many universities that exist in the world, why would you like to study precisely in that one and not in another? This is a doubt that the reader has and, therefore, could act as a filter when evaluating applications.
Remember that it is important to research the university to write this section to the best of your ability. But what data to mention? Here are a couple of ideas:
- The excellence of its educators
- Their trajectory, values, philosophy, prestige, references
- The benefits offered by the faculty (projects, internships)
- Read up on the university before you start writing the document
- Although it is best to be brief, do not omit important information
- Be careful with format, structure, and content
- Make your academic record stand out
- Back it up with documents that support your academic performance
- Be sincere, direct, and positive during the whole writing process
- Write the letter in the official language of the destination country
The letter of motivation could be your gateway to live an unforgettable experience in another university, as long as you know how to write it in an attractive, impeccable, and professional way; because many times it can be the document that decides your admission or not.