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How to Write a Letter of Interest for Graduate Programs

by Elaine Anderson, Demand Media

    There is no one perfect way to write a letter of interest for graduate programs, but there are many tips you can follow to write a specific letter that fits you well. The letter of interest is also often called a statement of purpose, a letter of intent or a personal statement. However, no matter the name, the purpose of these types of letters is to showcase -- in about one page -- your accomplishments and how the program best fits your planned course of study.

    Step 1

    Begin prewriting by outlining your accomplishments and the experience you've gained in your field as an undergraduate. This will help you to avoid forgetting anything important and also narrow your focus to include the most relevant items.

    Step 2

    Outline the main points about the program you are writing to that have made you to want to attend it. You will be able to organize your thoughts in a logical manner and be clear on the reasons you want to attend and what you can bring to the school.

    Step 3

    Begin the letter with an introduction, which should include your name, your current class standing and school, your estimated graduation date and the program you are interested in.

    Step 4

    Continue with the next section serving as a summary of your qualifications. Elaborate on your experiences, the skills you've gained and your accomplishments in your field.

    Step 5

    Establish that you are a great fit for the program you are interested in. Describe your long-term career goals and how this program will help you achieve them. Mention notable professors in the program with whom you would like to work and who match up with your area of interest.

    Step 6

    Close the letter with thanks and appreciation for the time and attention of your readers. Reiterate your enthusiasm about the program.

    Step 7

    Closely proofread your letter. Check for any grammatical errors or missing information that you intended to include and remember that you want to put your best foot forward.

    Style Your World With Color

    Tips

    • Be objective in your letter. Write directly and in a straightforward way to avoid flowery language.
    • Be specific. Avoid generalizations or vague examples. Remember that you are trying to stand out among all other possible applicants.

    Warnings

    • Avoid using the approach of "Since childhood I have always wanted to be ... " This may sound too over-the-top.
    • Do not simply catalog achievements, but tie them in to things you've learned and how you've developed as a scholar.

    About the Author

    Elaine Anderson has been writing professionally since 2004. She received her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Georgia, where she interned with "The Georgia Review" and the UGA Press. Anderson now works as a writing consultant, freelance writer and editor, and contributes fiction to "Staccato Fiction," "Grey Sparrow," "The Battered Suitcase," "The Seersucker Rag" and "Little Patuxent Review."

    Photo Credits

    • Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

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