A college entrance letter, also known as a statement of intent, letter of intent, mission statement, or personal statement, is requested by many colleges and professional or graduate programs as part of their admissions process. To write an effective letter, you must seek information about the program you want to join, as well as reflect on your own academic background, achievements, and future goals. Each educational institution has its own admission letter format, which you must adhere to. However, there are some general guidelines that will help you write an effective entry letter.
Part 1 of 4: Take care of the groundwork
Step 1. Do your research on the college or educational program
Read their mission statement, program description, and program requirements to make sure it is suitable for your abilities and goals.
- Review the subject curriculum. Familiarize yourself with the academic or professional focus of the institution. Take note of the subjects that interest you and the areas in which you already have a solid foundation. You can indicate some of these aspects in your letter.
- Make a note of the exact name of the university or program you are applying to. You should not call it “X University Law School” if the real name is “X University Law School”.
Step 2. Learn about the structure of the program
This is more necessary for graduate and professional programs than for undergraduate institutions. For example, your program may fall under the category of a higher educational institution. Familiarize yourself with the general structure to avoid making mistakes in your letter when you approach the institution.
Step 3. Read all the admissions instructions carefully
In some cases, colleges and programs will request more than one statement. Make sure you have understood all the instructions and know what documents to prepare.
For example, some colleges require a cover letter and a personal essay. Some graduate and professional programs require multiple separate written statements, including letters of admission, statements of competency, statements of diversity, etc
Step 4. Determine what the program requirements are for the letter
Requirements vary depending on the institution or university you are applying to. They can also vary depending on the type of program you are applying for. It is always a good idea to check directly with the source to determine all the requirements for the document.
The terminology used for the entry letter varies significantly. However, most colleges and programs will give you specific instructions on what the document should contain, which you should use as guidelines when writing your letter
Step 5. Check your own achievements
Know why you are applying to this particular college or program and how your interests and abilities match the focus of the program. It can be helpful to create a list of accomplishments and skills.
Think about your achievements. Now that you are familiar with the program you wish to enter, consider what your past accomplishments are that match the focus of the program. Academic, work, volunteer, and extracurricular activities may be appropriate. For example, if you are applying for a postgraduate teaching program, you can indicate your experience teaching in preschool, the early childhood education courses you completed, and the voluntary teaching you taught at your local community center
Step 6. Define your goals
You will likely have two types of goals to mention in your letter: your goals while in the program and your future career goals. In order to determine your goals, ask yourself one of the following questions:
- If I study at this particular university or program, how will it contribute or affect my academic development?
- What are my career goals?
- What steps and what kind of training are necessary to achieve these goals?
- How will I use what I learned in this program to reach my goals?
Step 7. Determine the value of the program in relation to achieving your academic or career goals
If you attend this particular program (and not any other program), how will it help you achieve your goals?
Part 2 of 4: Write an Overview
Step 1. Write your thesis
Like most essays, your entry letter needs a central focus. In this case, this focus will be you: your competencies, your plans for the university or program you wish to enter, your future goals, and how appropriate you consider the program or school.
Step 2. Mention the academic studies you have done so far
While you should not mention your entire academic history in your entry letter, pointing out what made you choose that field, program, and profession will help you explain why you want to enter the program.
- Consider what interests you most about your field. Is there a particular problem or challenge that you want to address?
- When did you realize that you wanted to work in this field?
- What challenges have you faced and overcome?
Step 3. Plan your introduction
Your introduction should mention the program you want to enter and your personal goals. It should give your readers an idea of who you are, why you chose that field, and why you are applying to that particular program.
- Mention the information you collected in your research. Use the data you collected from the program, as well as your thoughts about your achievements and goals, to formulate some clear and concise introductory statements about your interest in the program and its compatibility with your goals.
- Avoid talking too much about the program's competencies, such as "Z Business School is the number one in the nation and has excellent resources on this and that." The program is aware of its own competencies; they want to know yours.
- Consider capturing the reader's interest in your introduction. You could start with a statement that captivates the reader's interest, such as "I wasn't always sure I wanted to study X. What's more, for a long time I thought I wanted to study Y". Remember: personal anecdotes can be great for introducing who you are and what your worth is, but make sure your introduction doesn't tell your life story.
Step 4. Dedicate a paragraph to each main idea
In general, dedicate at least one paragraph to each of your personal competencies and previous experiences, your plans for your studies and your future goals, and why the program you are applying for will help you achieve them.
- Describe your competencies in relation to your academic experiences, your personal qualities and abilities, and your recent and current activities. Link all your responsibilities or experiences to the skills that will be useful in the program.
- Talk about your area or areas of interest. While you shouldn't be too general on this topic (for example, don't say you just want to study “United States history”), you shouldn't be too specific either. Instead, you need to show that you are familiar with the problems and challenges in your field. Write about what you want to do during the study program.
- Describe your future goals, providing concrete details whenever possible. Then demonstrate how the skills you hope to develop in the program will contribute to these goals.
Step 5. Provide proofs for each main idea
Examples of tests include personal experiences, skills, and qualities. Each claim you make should have at least one supporting piece of evidence.
Step 6. Make the conclusion
An effective entry letter should give the admissions committee a clear idea of who you are and what you hope to accomplish. End your letter by stating that you feel highly motivated, committed to excelling in the program, and focused on achieving your academic or career goals.
Part 3 of 4: Make your letter
Step 1. Write confidently
At times, it can be tempting to use language that belittles you, such as "if I had the privilege of entering this university …", "I think I can …" or "I will try to …". This language sounds unpleasant in writing and may suggest to the admissions committee that you will not be able to cope with the difficulties of the program you have chosen.
Writing confidently doesn't mean you have to be arrogant. Just using clear declarative sentences, such as "I plan to study this and that to achieve my career goals as such," allows you to project confidence without showing arrogance or disdain
Step 2. Prove it, don't just say it
This classic advice for writing fiction also applies to writing entry letters. Don't just write that you work a lot; Instead, explain how you can balance a part-time job, volunteer activities, and your subject work, and still maintain a 3.75 weighted average.
Step 3. Avoid cliché and overused phrases
The admissions committee is likely to read hundreds of applications, and many of them will definitely use some variations of phrases like "living life to the fullest." Avoiding those overused expressions and delivering your ideas in an authentic and fresh way will help your essay stand out.
This also applies to your ideas. You may want to become an English teacher because you love to read, but many other people love to read too. What makes you different?
Step 4. Use transitions to guide your readers
Move fluently from paragraph to paragraph by connecting key ideas and using transitional expressions like "likewise" and "besides."
If you're having difficulty transitioning from one paragraph to another, it doesn't need to be in functional order. Identify the central idea of each paragraph and make modifications as necessary to achieve a logical progression
Step 5. Clarify what your academic and professional goals are
A clearly defined and expressed goal gives the impression that you are focused and disciplined. Consider it a short but important presentation of yourself.
For example, a goal statement for applying to medical school might be: "Studying in medical school X will provide me with the forensic psychiatry training I need to achieve my professional goal of developing psychological profiles for the FBI."
Step 6. Create your letter based on the specific needs of the school
Show that you did your research and that you are a good candidate for the program or school you are applying to. Don't sound like a sycophantic; for example, don't write something like "Professor X's incredible work in the field of psychopharmacology changed my life."
- For example, if you are applying to a graduate program in history, you might mention a professor whose research interests you and with whom you would like to work.
- For an application to a medical school or graduate science program, you could mention specific resources or labs that will help you with your research goals.
Step 7. Avoid using empty rhetoric
Idealistic statements such as "the love of reading values human life" do not offer the admissions committee any personal or informational information about you, the applicant. What's more, they can weaken your credibility by making your writing look immature or lacking in proper reflection.
Part 4 of 4: Format Your Letter
Step 1. Answer the specific questions asked by the institution
Follow the format and length designated by the institution, and stick to the topics they asked you to address.
Step 2. Put the date and address on your college entrance letter
Put the date in the upper left. Below the date, put the name of the program and the address of the venue. Find out the exact name of the admissions committee or the person who will receive your letter and start the greeting with "Dear."
You will likely be asked to include a heading with your name and email address, along with page numbers, on each page of the statement
Step 3. Format your letter properly
Unless instructed otherwise, use margins of 2.5 cm (1 inch) and a readable 12 pt font such as Times New Roman. Use single spacing throughout your text.
Step 4. Finish the letter with a nice goodbye
Use words like "sincerely" or "cordially" to end the letter - be sure to sign the letter.
Step 5. Review it carefully
Your letter is your first chance to make a good impression on the admissions committee. A bad revision and grammatical errors can harm a reader's opinion about your level of preparation or seriousness; therefore, reread your letter at least twice.
Read your letter out loud. This will help you identify strange sounding phrases and determine if there are missing or incorrect words
Step 6. Print your letter, if necessary
Use good quality white paper. Resume paper can be a good option, as it is slightly heavier than regular printing paper and will make your letter stand out.
Step 7. Save your letter in PDF format, if possible
If you are sending your documents online, save your letter in PDF format. This will allow the format to be displayed appropriately on different screens and operating systems so that the reader sees the letter exactly the way you want it.