How to Write a Motivation Letter?
With these tips, you’ll easily write a great motivation letter which will help you enter the university of your dreams!
An excellent motivation letter is one of the key things which affects your successful admission. A motivation letter is a truly great and powerful tool when you know how to operate it! While CV and academic transcript are beautiful pieces of evidence of your achievements and attitude, the motivation letter is an opportunity to say who you really are and a bit cross the border of formal dryness. At the same time, in case if your CV isn’t that rich and strong, the motivation letter can become a ‘lifebuoy’ and seriously increase the chances of admission. Great motivation letter answers two main questions for admission officers: toughly explains why you want to study a particular subject and why you’re better than the other candidates. This list of tips will help you to create a fruitful motivation letter!
Work on a motivation letter starts a bit earlier than actual writing. On the very first stage, you should do extended research on what’s the program and university, what are their values (and if you share them) and identify why it’s something you’re looking for. Then, honestly answer to yourself why you want to study there. Maybe it was your childhood dream, it’s a family tradition to study it, this program is a great start for the work of your dreams? There could be plenty of reasons and only you know them for sure! Write down all these ideas, they’ll help to create a solid text after. Mind maps are very useful for combining and structuring ideas. In fact, the letter itself is just a quintessence of your thoughts, research and exploring yourself.
Structure of the Letter
A good motivation letter has a clear structure. In general, the structure of a letter answers the requirements of a standard formal paper: introduction, body, and conclusion. Every part should be a complete idea, and all parts together create a coherent paper. Nothing missed, nothing excessive.
Before the introduction, write an appeal. If you know the name of a responsible person, you can use “Dear Mr/Mrs”. However, most likely you do not know who’s going to read your paper, so the phrase “To whom it may concern” is pretty suitable.
Then, go to the introduction part. You can briefly introduce yourself, mention the program you’re applying to and shortly state your main motivation. This part is to prepare the reader for further text and hook the attention of the commission. The body of a motivation letter is the most informative part, where you should thoroughly and convincingly explain what drives you and why you are cool 😎. The conclusion is about summarizing and thesis repetition of the basic and most powerful things that you want to convey.
The introduction and conclusion should be sufficiently vivid and expressive: from a psychological point of view, a reader better remembers what was at the beginning and at the end. These are your trump cards, use them wisely.
Design and layout
Of course, the book isn’t judged by the cover but a motivation letter isn’t the case where you can neglect the design. A beautiful layout letter demonstrates that you care about the position and your attentive attitude. Good looking text forms a more positive impression of an admission officer even before reading.
Spend half an hour and do all the paper in one font, with the same intervals and indents and formatting of the text. In addition to accuracy, this is a kind of demonstration of the skill of working with texts, which is important in the academic environment.
Language and style
A letter of motivation is still a formal document that you attach to your portfolio. So the language also should be formal: avoid slang, abbreviations, vernacular and other speech techniques that aren’t written off in the concept of “formal”. At the same time, the text should not be too complex or with long sentences. Imagine yourself in the position of an admission officer: there is no time to solve a cunningly presented idea (even if it is a really good one).
However, although the text is quite formal, you can carefully use personal things to claim about yourself and your attitude as well as a light sense of. For sure, it’s not a good idea for a letter to authorities but in a motivation letter, your goal is to hook attention. During the admission period, the commission reads tons of similar papers. So it’s your interest to catch their interest and stand out from a mass of other applicants.
Keep in mind the formal requirements
Carefully read requirements for a motivation letter beforehand. They often have tips about what the commission is expected to read, e.g. your relevant background, preferable research field or something else. If there’s anything like this, you must include these parts in your letter to meet requirements. And follow the word limits too. It’s better to say less than to make officers read a novel (let’s be honest, they aren’t even going to read excessively long texts).
Shyness? Not here!
Save your shyness for another occasion! The motivation letter is your finest hour. Lively and interestingly talk about all your achievements and strengths. Are you in the top students of the faculty? Participated in conferences? Have experience in volunteering? Or maybe was active in a student council? It’s time to tell the world about it. Often universities are interested not only in smart but also in active students who will take part in the life of the university. Let them know more about how cool you’re and whom they would lose if they didn’t choose you.
Another tip for a successful motivation letter is to be positive in all meanings. Don’t write that you want to move from your country, don’t like your government or current university or something like this – it’s definitely a way to nowhere. At the same time, avoid excessive negative turns and negatively stained words in the text (like “negative”, for example. 🙂 This is again from the field of psychology, we’re more positively disposed towards the author with a bright and positive paper than to a person who sees bad in everything. So cheers up and save the attitude!
Check and re-check
At the final stage, carefully check your motivation letter. Read it several times, ask your friends to do it. If you know a native speaker, you’re very lucky! Ask this person to read your text as well. Misspellings, errors, typos should be cleared from your paper. Try to make it as perfect as possible in language regard.
To sum up, think carefully about what you’re going to write, try to answer all the commission’s “why’s”, write clearly and don’t be shy. Your letter is to explain why you are the best candidate and show that you’re really interested in what you’re going to study. A motivation letter is something that’s really worth investing time and effort into.
Your success is our goal! Good luck with admission!