How to Address a Letter of Intent

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A letter of intent is most commonly written by a student with the intent of persuading the receiver to acknowledge his positive traits and abilities. It is very much like a sales pitch in its purpose. A letter of intent is most commonly addressed to an educational institution, including undergraduate and graduate schools, or an athletic department at a specific college or university. It can also be addressed to a business that provides a job or internship of interest.

1 Determine the name and address

Determine the name and address of the appropriate recipient. Do not use generalizations when addressing a letter of intent, such as the phrase "To Whom It May Concern." Also, avoid using only the title of the recipient,such as "Dean of Admissions," when composing the letter.

2 Research the name of the specific recipient

Research the name of the specific recipient, which shows true interest and further supports the information contained within your letter. Locate that information by searching through a specific web page or by making a phone call to the institution and obtaining the specific name and title of the recipient. Ensure you have the proper spelling of the recipient's name prior to composing the letter.

3 Insert the date

Insert the date at the top right side of the page, just below the letterhead (if applicable). After inserting the date, skip down approximately two to four lines before adding the next set of text.

4 Insert the inside address

Insert the inside address, which is the address of the recipient, on the left side of the page. The address should be formatted as shown: Mr./Ms./Mrs. First Name Last Name Title Company or Institution Address City, State Zip Code

5 Add a salutation

Add a salutation such as "Dear Mr. Last Name." It is important to remain formal within the business letter. Avoid using salutations such as "Hi Bill," which do not convey a sense of professionalism.

6 Write the body text

Write the body text of your letter of intent. Ensure that you maintain proper tone to ensure a professional message is conveyed.

  • A letter of intent is different from a letter of intent with signing, as seen with athletic scholarships. A letter of intent with signing is equivalent to a contract, while a letter of intent is not; it is moreover a statement of intentions than a contractual commitment.
  • Taking a few extra minutes to make a phone call can save you from making an embarrassing mistake, such as addressing a letter to a "Mr." when the person is in fact female. It is a good idea to call the receptionist and ask a few general questions to make sure your information is accurate.

Melissa Kelly is a freelance writer from Indianapolis who focuses on scientific and medical topics. Kelly attended Marian College where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry. Recently, she completed her Master's in business communications & project management.