Motivation Letter: Writing Mistakes and Tips for Prospective Students
A letter of motivation is a document addressed to the chosen university, in which the applicant explains why he considers himself the best candidate for admission to the educational institution. Learn more about the most common writing mistakes, as well as tips and life hacks to avoid them
Writing a motivational letter is one of the main requirements for admission to a foreign university. Quite often, your future study abroad depends on a well-written letter. Usually, members of the admissions committee spend about 30 seconds perusing this document. Therefore, the letter should be written in such a way that, just by looking at it, the representative of the admissions committee instantly gets the right idea about you and feels the student's interest in studies.
How to do it? We have collected for you the most effective tips and life hacks that will help you write a good motivational letter.
What is a cover letter?
A letter of motivation is a short, one-and-a-half page story of the student, which should provide answers to two main questions: why you chose this university and why you are the best candidate for study. The main component of the motivational letter is a story about the applicant's achievements and talents.
What is the value of a motivational letter?
Many foreign universities accept applicants without entrance exams. Therefore, when the members of the admissions committee consider the applicant's package of documents, all they see is a set of certain facts and figures: the average score of the certificate, the results of the language test, the period of study, citizenship, etc. The only way to stand out among other applicants is through a motivational letter. In practice, there are many cases when students with not the highest scores entered universities thanks to a well-written letter of motivation.
How to prepare for writing a motivational letter?
To write a good cover letter, you need inspiration and a clear plan. We do not advise you to leave the writing of the letter until the last night, because the quality of the work directly depends on your preparation.
Better to look for inspiration:
- in books - biographies of famous people, books by specialty and fiction;
- public speeches of famous people who will teach you the structure, brevity and simplicity of presenting information;
- movies - it is better to watch films about artists, writers and teachers, because here you can expand your vocabulary and pick up interesting language turns.
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Brainstorming before writing a cover letter
At the second stage, we advise you to brainstorm and give yourself answers to questions in different directions.
This action will help you to better understand how to fill out a motivation letter:
- future education - why do you want to study at this university and in this specialty, how did you become interested in the specialty, what do you expect from your studies, and why should representatives of the university choose you;
- past or current education – where you study, average score and whether you received scholarships and grants;
- experience – are you familiar with the future field of study, do you have any achievements or experience in the past, have you participated in Olympiads, conferences, do you have hobbies and interests related to the future field of study;
- personal experience - what are your main achievements, have you had to cope with life's difficulties and how did it affect your character;
- personal qualities and skills – the character of the applicant, whether you have strong convictions or devotion to certain principles, what makes you interesting to the university;
- career - what is your dream job and how the knowledge gained at the university will help in this.
The most common mistakes when writing a motivational letter
- Cliché - do not use standard phrases, try to be original.
- Quotations without explanations that do not relate to the content of the letter.
- The use of humor is also inappropriate. You should write a motivational letter in an official style.
- Plagiarism - the presence of someone else's thoughts in your letter is completely unacceptable.
- Spelling and grammatical errors.
- Do not turn the letter into a list of your achievements.
- Do not speak ill of past teachers.
- The volume of the letter is too large.
- Lack of logical transitions.
At the end of the letter, it is worth mentioning that you are looking forward to the interview, but there is no need to ask to be accepted as a student and say that you are the best candidate.
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