How to Write a Business Letter to a College

Business letters should have a professional tone and clear, concise writing.

Writing a formal business letter to a university can show the administration that you are serious about pursuing an academic career or a position with the university. There are many reasons to write a business letter to a college, including applying to attend the university, requesting information about academic programs, applying for a position at the university or seeking scholarships.

Reread the job posting or academic request that prompted you to write the letter. Pay attention to qualifications, requirements and other key information that you will need to address in your writing.

Choose an appropriate greeting for your letter. If you know the party's name to whom you are sending the letter, use her full name and title. If you don't know her name, you may use her title. If you aren't sure who will be reading your letter, call or look online for the appropriate party because generic greetings like "Dear Sir or Madam" don't have a professional tone.

Identify the position, task, academic program or topic that you are addressing in your letter in the first paragraph. If you are applying for a job, explain how you heard about it. For requesting information about an academic program, let the reader know what interests you about the program. Show that you have done your research about the college.

Summarize the qualities and experience you have that will enable you to complete your task, do well in the academic program or perform the job. Do not be overly persuasive in your tone. Instead, state your qualifications with concise language.

Close the letter by providing contact information for a reply. Indicate that you look forward to a response and thank the reader for his time. End your letter with a professional closing such as "Sincerely" or "Thank you." Leave a space to sign your name and then type your name.

Format your letter according to formal block letter format. The page margins should be set at 1 inch. All paragraphs should be justified, meaning that the text runs from margin to margin without indenting the first line. Leave one space between paragraphs. Your address, greeting and signature should be aligned on the left. Choose a simple font such as Times New Roman in 10 or 12 point.

Print your letter on high quality white paper. Sign with a black or blue pen.

Address the envelope, using neat handwriting and a blue or black pen. You may print the address on the envelope if you have that capability, but this is not always necessary.

  • Don't print your formal business letter on colored paper or paper with colored designs. Plain white, high quality paper looks more professional.
  • Business writing is clear and to the point, so don't use overly wordy or flowery language when writing a business letter.

As a writing tutor since 2007, Amanda Gaddis has experience in explaining complex subjects simply. She is excited to write articles on education and literature. Gaddis holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Stephen F. Austin State University, and had her creative writing published in their literary magazine.