The word “motivation” is not unknown to us as it is a part of our daily life. It is a feeling or a passion that suddenly rushes through our blood, lifts our damp-down spirits, and drag us from the dark dale of despair back to the track of achieving our dreams. Motivation has a great significance in the academic and the professional world as you need to motivate the selection committee of a university or an organization to give you admission or hire you among so many candidates/applicants applied from around the globe. And how would you motivate them? OF course, by submitting a motivation-letter.
What is the Motivation Letter?
A motivation letter is a formal letter that is submitted with other required documents for applying for admission to a university. It is a mandatory document to be submitted to complete the application submission process.
Purpose of a Motivation Letter
Each year, all the top-notch universities of the world receive thousands of applications across the globe. Each applicant wants to be selected, and every university or an organization wants to select the best applicant or candidate, who would, later on, prove to be an asset to the university or an organization. But why he/she should be selected? Why the selection committee of a university should prefer him/her? What makes him stand out from the rest of the applicants? What makes him unique? These are the questions that are answered satisfactorily in a motivation letter.
A motivation letter answers the following questions:
- Why are you applying to this university?
- Why do you want to study for the opted degree?
- What inspires you to opt for this degree?
- Do have the competency for the opted degree?
- How would you serve back the community after acquiring the degree?
Length of a Motivation Letter
A motivation letter is usually a one-page document. It should not be too long or too short.
Content of the Motivation Letter
Now, the question arises what should be written in a motivation letter? How to draft it effectively, what to mention in it, and what to brush under the rug?
- Personalized Document
A motivation letter is a personalized document which means: It is about the applicant and the applicant writes it for himself unlike the other documents e.g. degrees, transcripts, and certificates are provided by the former institution of the applicant from where he has completed his last degree. Most of the students get confused and start contacting their former institutions/colleges/ universities to get the motivation letter which is a wrong approach as the applicant/student has to write it for himself.
Introduce yourself in the first paragraph. Give all the necessary personal details and do not prolong them.
- Reason/ Inspiration
State your reason for selecting a particular degree at a university. What inspires you to opt for a certain program, and what is your inspiration behind this.
- Qualities/Competency/ Strengths
Mention your strengths and qualities which are required to pursue the chosen degree. Try to match your strengths and knowledge with a criterion mentioned and required for the programme you are opting for studying. Don’t mention the strengths and skills which show you incompetent.
- Past- Experience
If you have served at any organization, and your experience is relevant to the discipline you are heading to pursue at a university, mention it in your motivation letter. It will help you endorse and translate the strengths and skills you have mentioned provided that they are strictly relevant to the opted degree.
In a motivation letter, future intentions related to the practical application of the degree you will get from the university you are applying for should also be mentioned, to sound more productive. An applicant should mention his/her objectives and aims. How she/he will use his/her skills and knowledge in serving the community.
- Volunteer work
If you have volunteered in a relevant field at any organization, don’t forget to mention it in your motivation letter as it will help you present your soft side to the selection committee and help you stand out from the rest of the candidates. Grades, divisions, and distinctions do matter and have an impact and appeal to the reason, but helping others selflessly has an impact too.
Conclude your motivation letter effectively by once again summing up all the important details and don’t forget to restate the details once again that you think are motivational and unique. The ending or conclusion of your motivation letter should sound optimistic with a thanking note in the end.
Structure of a Motivation letter
The second most important question is how to craft an impressive motivation letter or what should be the structure of a motivation letter?
A motivation letter is a one-page document. A one-page letter would be more than enough, and it is better not to exceed this limit.
Writing a motivational letter in three paragraphs would be effective and give a clear understanding to the reader.
- First Paragraph (Introduction)
The paragraph should be dedicated to the introduction. Introduce yourself and write all the required personal details.
- Second Paragraph (Body)
In the body or the middle part of the letter, write about your strengths, skills qualification, past- experience, and volunteer work. Do mention all the reasons and references which endorse your qualities.
- Third Paragraph (Conclusion/Ending)
In the end, sum up your motivation letter, restate some points again in the conclusion which you think are highly motivational and unique. Conclude your motivational letter on an optimistic note.
What Points to consider while writing a Motivation Letter?
Whenever you plan to take a new path in life be it academic or related to any other field of life, you first need to talk to yourself. Talk to yourself just like interviewing yourself and ask the following questions:
- Why are you doing this particular task?
- Do you have the competency of doing this task?
- What will be the outcome?
- Will you achieve the desired results after the completion of this task?
When you get the answers to the above-mentioned questions, write them on a paper, think about them, a bit more, and make changes if necessary, and then formally write them.
- Clarity of Thought
If your thoughts are clear and you are very well aware of your skills, strengths, weaknesses, aims, and objectives, that clarity will be reflected in your motivation letter. And, if your thoughts are vague and foggy, this vagueness will be reflected in your motivation letter and impact your selection negatively.
- Irrelevant Details/ Precision
Avoid writing irrelevant details, the quality of what you write matters rather than the number of your words. The unrequired and irrelevant details about yourself will affect the effectiveness of your motivation letter.
- Avoid Using Flowery and Embellished Language
To get an upper hand on others, some students run to rummage their dictionaries on the bookshelf, leaf through its pages, and lookup for difficult alternative words for using them in their motivation letter just to sound more Shakespearean, but it won’t help them secure a place at a university. So, there is no need to use flowery and literary language. The selection of words should be simple, effective, and understandable.
- Be Individual and Be Original
Writing a motivation letter should not be done hastily. Mostly, students rush to find samples of motivation letter on the internet or available on some other sources and then copy-paste it, as it is, ignoring the content of the letter, what skills and strengths are mentioned in it and consequently ended up writing contrasting skills and details, which are not at all in accordance with the degree they have selected to study. So, don’t just copy-paste, but alter the written material according to your needs. For example, if you intend to apply for a Literature degree and you hastily copy-paste a motivation letter written by a science student, then imagine the disaster!
- Read University Criterion / Requirement
Before writing a motivation letter, it is really helpful to read the criterion and requirements of the selected degree/ program given on the website of a university. Try to match your skills, strengths, aims, and objectives with the given criterion. And write your motivation letter in a way you are fulfilling their requirement for the degree.
SAMPLE / Example of motivation letter for scholarship
It gives me immense pleasure to state that I am desirous of securing the Master’s scholarship offered by ABC University. I have just completed my Bachelors in English Literature and Linguistics by securing an A+ grade from XYZ University. I also won a distinction and was awarded a gold medal. Reading colorful childhood stories and novels paved my way for opting for the field of English Literature, but dwelling in the world of literature and imagination never subdued my passion for studying the linguistic aspects of the English Language. So, I opted for a degree in English Literature and Linguistics for Bachelors that satisfied both halves of my aptitude. I have a knack for reading, and I am a keen researcher too. I realized my potential in research while doing my thesis on the worldwide famous children’s series “The Harry Potter Novels”.
My research was a blend of both literary as well as linguistic aspects of the selected novels of the series focusing particularly on neologism and Primary and Secondary Imagination. My concerned department applauded my research work and, therefore, I decided to explore the depth of Literature and broaden my horizon of research in Linguistics by intending to apply for the scholarship. My extensive reading has opened another avenue for me, and that is writing. For the last six months, I have been writing articles for some well-reputed, literary magazines in my country. I have lately put my step on the threshold of publishing and self-publishing my first children’s novella. Considering my academic background and academic activities, I deem myself the most deserving candidate for the scholarship. I hope that if I get this scholarship, I will be able to prove myself an asset to your university. This scholarship will broaden my exposure in the field of research; it will also assist me in polishing my literary flair and crafting my creativity and imagination in a better way.
I hope that this scholarship will open new avenues and may introduce new facets of my aptitude to me. My distinctive academic background, perseverance, dedication, and pursuit of learning new things make me the most deserving candidate for this scholarship. Moreover, if I get this scholarship, I will serve back to the community selflessly, because I always believe in paying back.
Thanking you in anticipation!