• Writing a Motivation Letter – Guideline...

Writing a Motivation Letter – Guidelines


Publicado por Georgina


1 - The motivation letter may be one of the pieces of writing required in a postgraduate degree application process. It is an opportunity for you to distinguish yourself from other applicants, so you should do your best to take advantage of it.

2 - Writing a good motivation letter takes time. Make sure you start writing it well before the deadline! 

3 - The admissions board wants to see whether there is a good match between you and the department or school and whether the Master programme can meet your needs => Ask yourself: “Why this programme and why at this School? + What do I think I can contribute to the class group and programme?”

4 - Research before you start writing = Find out as much as possible about the university and the programme itself => Ask yourself: “Why do I think that this university and this Master’s programme are interesting and suitable for me?” => Make it clear that you know what the most important course components are and how you will be engaged with them.

5 - PROOFREADING YOUR LETTER IS A MUST! => Examine your letter carefully to find and correct mistakes in grammar, style and spelling. Failing to do this will make the admissions board think that you are neglectful or not interested enough in the programme to take some time and proofread your text.

=> Show that their programme and you are a perfect match!


Show that you have a clear career path in mind and that you have already started down this path. Then, make clear how the programme fits within your prospective career path.

Display detailed interest in the course => One major mistake is to leave out specific information about the programme. Make it clear to the admissions board that you are acquainted with the course and engaged with its components. Highlight your interest in specific elements by giving examples of what you find especially interesting and why, or name professors with whom you would like to work (e.g. point out why their research aligns with your own goals and interests).

!!! Resist the urge to repeat what you have already written elsewhere in your application packet. You may make related comments, but keep your letter of motivation original.

Fill in any gaps in information (anything that cannot show up on your transcript or is not shown on your CV) + keep the explanation positive => Example: you may have a “gap” in years on your CV, or you went through your Bachelor’s programme, but took many years to complete it. Explain that in your motivation letter. Take this opportunity to mention anything that you think may raise questions or concerns when they are looking at your application. The point is for you to show that you are the right student for their university.

Explain how what you have learned in previous positions will help you in areas such as research, analysis or writing during your studies. / Have you worked in an international environment? Point out what you learned there or why that was important for you.

Be honest when you write about things you have done and the reason why you want to study at the school. If you are passionate about the programme, it will come across anyway. If the school appeals to you because of its location or because 90% of its students are international, mention this, but also say why these things will help you in your career and future goals.


Stick to the word/space limit given.

First impressions do matter => The general appearance of your letter is important = font size and length, and how it is organized and structured into paragraphs. Present it in a professional format, style and grammar, and check it carefully for spelling mistakes!

Start it as any other letter: "Dear Sir or Madam," / “Dear Admission Committee” or, if (and only if) you know the name of the person who is assessing your application, address him or her by their surname and title: “Dear Dr. Smith,” => describe in detail your motivations for applying.

A good structure is crucial to your letter flowing well => Draw a plan so that you can easily see how to split information up and make sure the content remains relevant to the programme you are applying for.

Example 1: Salutation / Explaining what I am applying for + why I want to study at the university and how this will help progress my career + why the programme is perfect for me at this time in my career path / Details about my background (make reference to but do no rewrite CV) and the skills I have developed that are applicable to or will aid me in the programme + I will be able to contribute to the programme / Showing some understanding of the challenges of the programme and explaining how I can overcome them / Closing line / Complimentary close.

Example 2: First paragraph: information about my personality and prior experience that will make me a good fit for the programme / Second paragraph: explain what I hope to learn as a result of participating in the programme. List goals that include both: positive changes I can bring to the school and positive changes the school can create in my life / Third paragraph: write about steps I am taking to prepare for the programme / Closing line: express interest in hearing a reply soon / Complimentary close.

The introduction and conclusion are the most important parts because they are what sticks in the reader’s mind.

Clear conclusion => End with strong, clear concluding remarks. Restate your interest and briefly summarise key points you have made throughout the letter. / Thank the admissions board for their time and let them know that you would be more than happy to speak with them further in a personal interview.

!!! Everything you say should lead back to why you should be accepted onto the programme and how it will help you in your career => Show that their programme and you are a perfect match.


Don’t be too complicated. You want your letter to read as smoothly and easily as possible for your message to be conveyed clearly.

The goal is to write a clear, concise and persuasive letter that sincerely reflects your views and aspirations. It is important that your dedication to your field resonates in your application.



Universities and schools may provide you with their own motivation letter questions in their application packages. However, it is also useful to consider this list of typical questions to write a draft and add to it before you actually get down to writing your letter:

=> Why are you applying for this specific degree programme? Why is this the right time for you to be applying? (Why here? / Why now?) => Tailor the statement of motivation to the programme including, if possible, references to professors you wish to work with, courses you wish to take and/or unique facilities available at the institution. Admissions officers want to see that you have done careful research about their programme and that you are a serious candidate.

=> What do you hope to do in the future (career goals) and how is it connected with this degree? What are your specific interests in this subject? Do you have a specific area you would like to research or a topic you would like to explore?

=> What can you contribute to the department or programme in terms of your background, abilities or other special qualities and interests? => Discuss any relevant past experiences and achievements, as well as any special qualities you feel you can bring to the programme, such as your international perspective. Explain any academic difficulties you might have experienced and what you did to correct them.

=> What makes you the perfect candidate for this programme? => This is where you talk a bit about yourself, your life, your experiences and your abilities that have shaped the kind of student you are.

!!! In a motivation letter, you are meant to make clear why you are sitting down and filling in this application today and why they should look at your application. Talk about your own biography and back story only to show them why you’ll be the best match for their programme and what compels you to study there.

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Georgina Jacobs ver perfil

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