One of the most frequently asked questions when applying to a university or applying for a student visa to any foreign university is how to write a cover letter that is convincing and helps you achieve your goal.
It is essential to know that a cover letter has an entirely different purpose than a CV, for example. In the letter for university entrance, you present yourself as a student or professional who wants to study a particular program. In a letter for a student visa, you must show what is unique about the country and the program you want to learn in.
When writing the letter of motivation, several general factors are vital for you to keep in mind:
- No more than one page! Keep it short and to the point if you want to catch the reader’s attention and make them stop to read your letter in its entirety.
- Use formal language adapted to the type of university you are applying to.
- Leave enough space and use a font style so that the letter can be read clearly.
- Address the person/university to whom you are writing your motivation letter – this shows that you have taken the time to be interested in and research the university.
- Avoid non-specific openings like “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.”
Be very careful with spelling and grammatical mistakes. Remember that you are trying to get into the education and teaching sector. If having any doubts, better seek online writing help from specialized services or professionals.
With this in mind, we will now focus on the structure and information to include in your cover letter, depending on your objective.
What to write in a letter of motivation for a foreign university?
Start with a short sentence stating your name, nationality, age, and program you want to apply to. This will make it easier for the institution to identify you.
Explain why did you choose that university and that country
How did you find that university? Why do you want to study that program at that university and not at another one? What features, qualities, subjects, or even what part of the facilities you liked the most compared to other universities? You can read rankings and include them so that the university knows that you have informed yourself properly.
Explain why you want to study abroad and why in that particular country.
Tell about your academic and work experience.
Here you can describe your skills, qualifications, studies, degrees, and academic experience appropriate to the studies you intend to apply for. It should intrigue the reader, making them want to know more about you.
Tell them what you have studied, at which university, and the average mark you graduated with. It is advisable to list only the last thing you studied before entering this university and explain how the academic program you want to enter fits in with what you have previously learned.
You can also mention the jobs you have had that you think are related to what you want to study but don’t copy your CV. Include what you feel is essential and the years of experience. Remember that they will also have your CV, so don’t repeat yourself!
Describe your plans for the future
Express how much you look forward to the opportunity to study at that university, what plans you have for when you finish studying abroad, and how you think it will help you achieve your professional and personal goals.
- Farewell and Signature
Thank the person for taking the time to read them and for considering you for the university or visa application process. The letters don’t need to be signed, but this usually adds formality to the document.
Besides the motivation letter for your preferred university, you may also need to write a similar letter to get the visa to your preferred country. Here are the main parts of a successful letter to the embassy:
State your name, what type of visa you want to apply for, which program and institution you will be studying at, your passport number, nationality, and age.
Why this course and institution
Explain why you have chosen that particular study program and how that course relates to your plans for the future. Also, why that university or institution. It could be because of the quality of the program, the facilities, the availability of the scholarship, etc.
Why that country
Explain the reason why you have chosen to study in that particular country. You can base this on different aspects, from cultural to academic. Try to focus mainly on the benefits of choosing that country over another.
How you will finance the course
Indicate the financial means with which you will cover your course and living expenses — whether these are personal or family funds or whether it is a scholarship. In the latter case, mention the name of the scholarship, when it was awarded and the amount awarded.
Previous studies abroad
If you have studied abroad before, you can mention at which institution, for how long, and under which type of visa you traveled.
Your incentives to return to your country.
It is essential to mention the ties that bind you to your home country and what makes you want to return after completing your studies: your family, jobs, assets, etc. You can also mention the professional and/or personal benefit you would gain from returning to your home country by studying this program in another country.
By following these tips, it is more likely that your application will not be rejected. It takes some time and lots of writing practice to build the best letter of motivation, so get down to it, and good luck on your way to the university of your dreams.