How to Write a Letter of Intent for College
How to Write a Letter of Intent: Definition
A letter of intent (also known as a cover letter or letter of interest) is a letter written to show your strength and qualifications for a certain position. A letter of intent is simply a letter that expresses your intention to do an activity, whether it is taking out a business loan, applying for a scholarship, or a job purpose. The reader of the letter will make an opinion based on your use of vocabulary to make your point and sell yourself. In some colleges and universities, a letter of intent is an important part of the admission process and may be the first thing the committee members read.
How to Make a Letter of Intent: What’s So Special
Picking a desirable program and university is a hard task. Many students attentively learn the program, talk with students, visit university open day and walk through the campus. If you are a person who needs to be entirely confident in taking a decision, such actions are very important. You need to be sure that the university will be worth the money and time. When you eventually find the best one, writing a letter of intent will be the right decision. Such letters are an additional point for getting you on the course. A letter of interest gives you a possibility to demonstrate that you have already prepared for college life and that the program ideally fits your future goals.
Why is writing a letter of intent a good idea? A resume reports your academic experience and professional skills. It tells the reader what, when, and where. The letter of intent gives the answer to why you think that your experience and skills are relevant to the chosen college program. It spreads the light on your dedication to the chosen specialization, what motives you have to join the rows of students, and how the program meets your future life perspective.
In this guide we will tell you how to write a letter of intent for university. If you need to know how to write a letter of interest for a job, we recommend you to read another guide on our website.
How to Start a Letter of Intent
If you want to write a good letter of intent, you will need to prepare for writing it. This will give you enough background for creating the first draft.
1. Read the requirements attentively.
Each academic institution has requirements for the admission process. Define the deadline, the list of required documents, and questions that should be addressed in the letter. If you can’t find details about the letter of intent, you may find information that may be helpful. It is important to note that some colleges don’t recommend to send letters that are not in the list of required documents.
2. Analyze the college program.
Collect as much information about the college as you can. Find out the mission and goals of the college. Look through the college website and browse the internet for additional information. For example, you may find a list of interesting subjects that will be in the desired undergraduate program. Think about what qualities a student should possess to deserve a place in this particular college.
3. Compose a list of qualities and skills you have obtained to date.
Think what experience will be helpful during your college life. The admission committee is searching for motivated and realistic students who will easily fit the college community. Think what arguments will convince the reader to get you into the program. Why do you wish to enroll in this particular program? What research have you already done? Why do you think that the program is the best match for you? How does the program relate to your career goals?
4. Look through available examples of the letters of intent.
To inspire yourself for writing, review sample letters of intent available on the internet. Think about how you can incorporate powerful phrases in your own letter. Make a list of words and phrases that you can use while writing.
How to Format a Letter of Intent: Writing the First Draft
The letter of intent has a typical structure: salutation, introduction, main body, closing, and signature. Currently, most colleges require electronic format for documents. So, there is no need to write a header as it was required in mail letters.
1. Write the salutation.
The best way to establish the first contact is addressing the letter personally. You can contact the admission office if you wish to know to whom you need to address the letter. It will look like this: “Dear Ms. White”. If for some reason you are unable to find out the person’s name, you can write “Dear Admission Committee Member” in the salutation.
2. Start the letter by introducing yourself.
Briefly tell why you are writing this letter and tell what kind of academic activity you do now. Indicate what program/internship/grant program/etc. you wish to join. Grab the reader’s attention with interesting details, as the admission committee will look through hundreds of similar letters and admission forms. Be specific and get to the essence of the letter at the very beginning. Use the following phrases:
- I am excited to submit this letter of intent for the [program] …
- Please find enclosed my academic resume …
- I am a current student in …
- I would like to bring to your kind attention …
3. Write the body paragraph(s).
Depending on the purpose of your letter of intent, you need to choose the right points to describe in your letter. In this section you need to persuade the committee member that you have the right skills and knowledge for the desired program. Typically, there are from two to four body paragraphs.
You may be successful in certain subjects, participate in school programs, attend extracurricular activities, etc. What have you learned? Mention only the experience and skills relevant to the program. Your basketball successes will help you get an athletic scholarship, but it won’t help if you are applying for a genetics major.
Mention how you work in a group of students and whether you have work experience. Also, it is worth mentioning why the program is worth your attention. Why do you love this particular program? Do you like their structured program or future opportunities? For example, if you are writing a letter of intent for internship, you will need to focus on your experience connected with the company’s activities and list related research you have already conducted in this sphere.
Useful phrases for this paragraph:
- I hope someday my enthusiasm and knowledge can contribute to …
- I cannot think a better way of gaining knowledge …
- While I believe that my experience I have obtained during …
4. Write the closing.
Write kind words thanking the reader for their time and attention to your letter. You can ask the reader for a specific action: request an interview or to contact you for more information. For example: “I would appreciate if you would contact me for additional details at 123-456-456 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.” Also, you may need to mention the list of the documents attached.
After the last sentence, write the closing:
– Thomas Red
– Virginia Blue
Write contact details in your signature if you haven’t mentioned it above.
How to End a Letter of Intent: Finalizing the Letter of Intent
Proofread the letter.
Print the first draft of the letter and make sure that it corresponds with all the requirements. The letter should have a strong introduction, clear structure, and polite closing. Be sure that your letter of intent reads easily, clearly, and every sentence makes sense. Find out whether you have applied the right format and the text is mistake free. Keep in mind that even one spelling mistake may ruin even the most powerful letter of intent for scholarship.
Send the letter.
Make sure that you have chosen the right format of the document. Some letters should be saved in the .pdf or .doc formats and attached to the list of documents, while others should be sent via email.
Letter of Intent Sample
In the following sample you can see how a finished letter should look. Look how the author has organized the paragraphs and presented key information. Pay attention to the tips highlighted in the picture. Our author has commented on the letter and pointed out necessary information that you should pay attention to. This sample should give you a few ideas for a good start.
Click on the picture to view it in the full size.
Tips How to Write a Letter of Intent for College
- The letter should be brief and highly concentrated with information. You need to put all necessary points about yourself within one page.
- Show enthusiasm. The aim of this letter is to persuade the reader that you are the ideal candidate for the college program. Use powerful words: thrilled, excited, proud, looking forward, etc.
- The letter of intent should be written using a formal tone. Make sure that the letter looks professional: clear structure, signature, and an absence of mistakes.
- Add any information about your professional skills that you have obtained from extracurricular activities, volunteering, part-time jobs, courses, etc.
- If you are writing a letter of intent for a grant, make sure that you have spelled the name of the organization correctly.
- Don’t repeat the information from your CV. A letter of intent is a great way to clarify information about your candidacy and explain some gaps or weaknesses.
- Point out that the program is challenging, and provide an example of how you can successfully overcome challenges in real life.
- Leave enough time for writing. It may happen that you won’t be able to create a good letter of intent on the first try.
- Don’t neglect the requirements. Sometimes, a letter of intent may work against you. Always make sure that your letter corresponds to the college’s requirements before sending.
- Don’t use any specific words or jargon just to show your knowledge. Try to do a letter that is easy to read and understand.
- Make the letter personal. This means that you need to consider the peculiarities of the chosen program. Avoid generalizations. If you are writing a letter of intent for a position, you need to show how your skills will help the company.
How to Write a Letter of Intent for a Grant
Students who have no money to pay for the program or need extra funds for conducting a particular research can apply to corporations and organizations that provide grants. The structure and principles that we have disclosed earlier can be easily applied for the letter of intent for funding. However, keep in mind the following:
- Follow the requirements and attach all required documents to the letter.
- The letter should be written with utmost sincerity.
- Describe the situation you have faced and briefly state what you need to do (e.g. you want to enroll certain program, but your family has no money). Tell a personal story.
- Tell what objectives you want to meet. If your future career or activity will be connected with human lives or with the company’s activity, don’t forget to mention it.
- Explain how you will report the outcome (this is especially needed for certain researches and projects).
- Point out the deadline (e.g. you need to pay for a college program by a certain date).
- Mention the exact number of costs you need and provide supporting evidence. If you are asking for funding for your project, you may need to provide a realistic and relevant budget.
- If the grant doesn’t cover the full sum of money, you need to explain other financial sources that you are going to use. Usually, companies can fund only a part of the needed money.
- Be brief and get to the point quickly. People that give money usually have no time for reading long stories.
Remember, a successful letter of intent may become the key to the desired program, internship, or position. If you will write the letter keeping all of our steps and tips in mind, we believe that you will easily write a letter of intent for school, scholarship, business, and more. Good luck!