Over the last four years, I have been fortunate to proofread and edit application letters for many Thai students wishing to study abroad. Here are my top tips for creating the right impression.
All important business dealings and communications are done through letters. Applying to study at a university is no exception. This is usually done to evaluate the writing skills of the applicants—how well they can convey their thoughts and to further prepare them for the copious amounts of writing once they are admitted.
Writing one of those quintessential application letters may seem arduous, because apart from the conventional essay writing, it entails you penning down your attributes and how you could contribute to the goodwill of the university if admitted. You will be convincing the interviewers to get your application granted. You have to talk about your achievements and previous education, and why you have chosen that particular university for your studies.
You have to be honest and be able to pull the right words together in order to write a brilliant application letter.
Here are some well-proven steps that will help you write an excellent application letter to study at any university.
Read the specifications in your application form carefully; most universities have different criteria and requirements when it comes to the word count of your essay, style and content. You must be sure that all information and specifications are well understood before plunging into writing the application.
Decide the approach to employ in your letter: technical, narrative or analytical. The technical approach is when you talk about your past inclinations on projects related to the particular course of study, while analytical is more like marketing yourself and attributes, and why you should be considered. The narrative approach is commonly used by most people where they just go through the process of telling their story so far.
Write smartly and coherently, pay extra attention to your grammar, punctuation, spelling and construction. These are very important when writing an application letter. If you are not sure about the appropriateness of your word usage, you may have to give it out to be proofread. You don’t want to create a bad impression about your abilities.
Reveal your personality; you must be able to honestly reveal yourself in your letter—your attributes, gender and ethnicity, and if you have a disability then say so; you may get special consideration. You don’t want to miss out.
Avoid repetition and buzz words: there is nothing as boring as reading an application full of clichés. Be original and innovative in your choice of words. You should be clear and avoid passive statements.
Keep it concise; it is an application letter which needs to contain certain essential information, so try not to deviate from university requirements; concentrate on your strong points and avoid writing unnecessary stuff. It is not an autobiography—you need not write everything about your life.
Application letter format
Name of the HOD
Name of the University
Title: Application for admission to_______(Intended Course of Study).
Salutation—it is the salutation that greets the reader of the letter. You can make use of the regular salutation Dear, Mr. /Ms. /Mrs. (Recipient).
(Body/ Content of the letter)
Closing Remarks—these are used to round up a letter and convey greetings; familiarity must be avoided. Can be “yours sincerely” or “yours faithfully”.