Applying to graduate school is a complex process that requires attention to detail and thoughtful reflection. One element of the application process is a letter of intent. If you’re interested in applying for graduate school, you may benefit from learning how to write one.
In this article, we define letters of intent, explain their importance, discuss how to write one for graduate school admission and provide a template and an example.
What is a letter of intent for graduate school admission?
Certain application processes call for a letter of intent in order to be considered for graduate school admission. This letter includes information about your academic background, how you decided to pursue graduate school, your track record of academic achievement, and other qualifications. These letters are not the same as personal statements because they are more focused on the academic backgrounds of the students than their personal ones. It’s crucial to review the requirements for each application as the specific requirements for a letter of intent might differ depending on the universities you apply to.
Why is a letter of intent important?
There are a few reasons a letter of intent is an important aspect of the graduate school admissions process, including:
Explain academic and career goals
In the letter of intent, candidates can give a detailed explanation of their academic and professional objectives. This can serve as proof to the admissions teams of your motivation for choosing a specific program or school. It might enable them to comprehend your trajectory in settings that are both academic and professional more clearly.
Discuss research skills and interests
A research component, like a thesis or dissertation, is a common feature of graduate programs. The letter of intent gives applicants the opportunity to highlight their research experience and areas of interest because this is such a significant component of these kinds of programs. Admissions teams can see an applicant’s passion and abilities from these two research facets. An additional approach to show an interest in research is to include references to prior research endeavors in this letter.
Showcase writing skills
A letter of intent is one document that you can use to demonstrate your writing abilities. Because this letter is essentially an essay summarizing your academic career, it is crucial that you write it carefully and thoughtfully. Although the letter’s content is crucial, the essay’s style, grammar, and organization also demonstrate your ability to write in an academic and professional manner.
How to write a letter of intent for graduate school admission
If you need to write a letter of intent for graduate school admission, consider following these steps:
1. Conduct research
To make sure you’re writing the letter effectively, do some research before you start writing. The requirements that each school has for applications are included in this research. Researching the programs you’re interested in and making sure they align with your career goals are also beneficial. You may gain from preliminary research if it gives you additional details about what to include and how to write letters.
2. Create an outline
Our research suggests that you might find it helpful to draft an outline for your letter. You could include bullet points listing the subjects you wish to cover in your letter in this outline. It is best to draft an outline in the same format as the letter request form from the school. You can include all the pertinent information in your writing by using an outline as a guide.
3. Write an opening paragraph
Writing an introduction to a letter of intent is the first step. This paragraph could include an introduction, a summary of your prior coursework, and a justification for your application to the program. To let the reader know what to expect, you can cover in detail in the opening paragraph what you intend to cover in the remaining paragraphs of the essay. It’s crucial that the opening paragraph grabs the reader’s interest by offering pertinent and fascinating information about the candidate.
4. Include qualifications and background information
It’s crucial to provide information about your credentials and other pertinent background in the paragraphs that follow. For instance, you could mention in your letter that you were the best in your class when you completed your undergraduate degree. Your case may be strengthened by any professional experience you have that helped you decide to go back to school. The admissions team can learn important information about your interests and qualifications from these background details.
5. Discuss your undergraduate studies
You should also include information about your undergraduate studies in the body of the letter. For instance, think about mentioning the names of a couple of the research projects you finished for your undergrad classes. This data offers a distinctive window into your prior research endeavors. Consider including a description of any extracurricular activities you engaged in if they influenced your decision to apply to graduate school in your letter. Any educational opportunities that helped you advance academically can improve your letter.
6. Write a closing paragraph
Think about stating your future objectives in your concluding paragraph. These could be academic or career objectives. Make an effort to connect these objectives to the particular program in order to support your application decision. These specifics can help admissions committees understand why you applied and what you hope to gain from finishing the program. One sentence that succinctly summarizes the remainder of the letter’s content can be included in this paragraph.
7. Edit the letter
Edit your letter of intent thoroughly before submitting your application. You could go through two rounds of editing: one round concentrating on the letter’s content and the other on grammar and spelling. This letter serves as an example of your academic qualifications for the program, so it’s critical that it sounds professional, flows well, and is error-free.
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Template of a letter of intent
Here’s a template of a letter of intent for a graduate school application:
[Greeting to admissions counselor],
Introductory sentence: [State your name and your purpose for applying.]
Introductory paragraph: [Explain your basic qualifications, your interest in the school and program, and what you plan to cover in the letter.]
Paragraph one: [Discuss your academic journey, including undergraduate studies and accomplishments.]
Paragraph two: [Discuss your professional journey, including any experiences that contributed to your development.]
Closing paragraph: [Restate your reason for applying for the program, describe any long-term career goals you have that relate to the program and conclude your thoughts.]
Example of a letter of intent for graduate school
Here’s an example of a letter of intent for graduate school:
December 21, 2023
My name is Anna, and I’m applying for the Masters of Business Administration program at Clearwater University. I took an interest in your university’s MBA program because of the interactions I’ve had with professors in the department during my undergraduate studies here. After spending a few years working in professional settings, I decided I wanted to return to school to pursue an MBA and increase my abilities both in and out of the workplace.
Throughout my academic career, I’ve taken an acute interest in the impact that businesses have on the environment. I pursued this topic in a variety of research projects throughout my undergraduate studies, including my senior thesis. I appreciate Clearwater University’s commitments to the environment and I believe these values align with my research interests.
After graduating, I worked with a few different environmental NGOs that focused on creating sustainable business practices. I hope to continue in this line of work after this MBA program with more knowledge about how to effectively manage and lead people. I have gained a variety of research, interpersonal and communication skills during my time working for these organizations. I believe these experiences have equipped me to enter the MBA program with a fresh perspective.
Ultimately, my goal for this program is to develop my business acumen and apply the skills I learn to develop environmentally friendly business practices. In the long-term, I hope to continue to grow professionally and make a lasting impact on the structure, operations and best practices of business leadership. I believe this MBA program can equip me to pursue and accomplish these goals effectively.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you,
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