Writing a Motivation Letter
If you already started the rewarding journey of applying for a scholarship to study abroad for an undergraduate, master’s degree, or Ph.D. program, perhaps you noted that almost all the application requirements include a motivation letter. You will also note that this is not exclusive to scholarships, also the universities require a motivation letter as part of the process of admission to their respective programs. Therefore, it is very important to prepare a powerful document that can show with a simple and concise structure your background, experience, skills, and inspiration to pursue such bursary.
(The Motivation letter is also required for job applications, internships, and others. If that is the case you can also use the motivation letter sample below. Simply adapt it to your process.)
- See also: How do I get a scholarship?
In this post, you will find a brief explanation of what is the meaning of a motivation letter, how to build one, the best format, and more importantly, an example (contoh) of a motivation letter. Before we start, remember that this post is open to all the people, thus, make sure that when you use this information do not just copy it, use it as a template to create your own document. Include and edit it as much as you wish to personalize it. In this way, you will have a unique Motivation Letter that will have a great impact on your scholarship application.
Bear in mind that the scholarship application is a competition, therefore you should have a unique and powerful document. Now, have been said this, let’s get started!
What is the meaning of the motivation letter?
It is basically an introduction letter of you. Most universities call this document as ‘Motivation Letter’. However, you might find that it is also called ‘Motivational Letter’, ‘Letter of Intention’, ‘Letter of Intent’, ‘Letter of Intention’, ‘Cover Letter’, ‘Covering Letter, and so on. If you find any of these names, (or something similar) do not stress out, all of them mean the same, simply a motivation letter. This is the document in which you let the admissions office of the program/scholarship know about you, and in which you make a statement of why you deserve to be awarded the scholarship.
In this letter, you will show who you are, your background, your previous studies, your working experience, your leadership skills, and your potential. However, if you feel you are not strong enough in one of these items, that is okay, you will only focus on those that you are strong, don’t worry about that. For example, if you don’t have many things to say about previous working experience then you should show your strength in your academic background. The idea is to “sell” yourself in the best way possible, for that you will show your best features. We will go step by step below. You can do it!
Important tips for writing the best motivation letter
Extension and format: An ideal motivation letter should be one page. Don’t write a 10 pages’ essay of your life, no one will read it. On the other hand, don’t write just one paragraph, that is too little. The best motivation letter should be concise, summarized, and cover all the elements we mentioned above. You can use a generic font and standard font size (Times New Roman / 12 or Calibri / 11) and don’t forget to use the “justify alignment” option.
Personalize your motivation letter for each specific application
One common mistake is to make (or even worse to copy) a standard motivation letter for your application. Remember that this application is a competition, and therefore, you need to make the best effort to be unique. Take into account, the university, the program, and the scholarship. For instance, if you are applying for an MBA in the USA, then your motivation letter has to be built for an MBA program, and so on.
Link your motivation letter to the scholarship opportunity
First, research and understand what the scholarship opportunity is looking for and adapt your motivation letter to that specific offer. For example, if the scholarships opportunity is: “Scholarships for young leaders of developing countries”, you will want to make special emphasis on your background as a leader of your own community, for example, if you were the president/leader of your High School / University students association, or if you have joined any activity in which you had any “leadership role”, everything counts. You can also add, how you plan to contribute in the future as a leader to the development of your country after your studies if you can be awarded the scholarship. Prepare your documents in a way to fit in with what they are looking for.
Follow the instructions
Follow the instructions of the application process. Very often the scholarship applications provide guidelines on how to build your motivation letter and the other documents. For example, it sometimes has a question inside, like: “Provide a motivation letter and include a situation when you had a problem that you had overcome with great success”. In cases like this, make sure you answer the question properly. Use an important space of your letter to reply to the question. However, don’t forget to include all the other elements we mentioned before. Additionally, review the format requirements, for example, a limit in the number of words. To illustrate this better, see the following real example of the application requirements for a scholarship in Sweden:
“As part of the online scholarship application, you need to upload your personal ‘scholarship motivation letter’ (maximum 600 words) in the scholarship application portal. Please note that the scholarship motivation letter is different from any statement of purpose you may be required to submit as part of your program-specific application documents. Your scholarship motivation letter should explain why your academic performance and reasons for applying to the University make you a suitable potential recipient for a Scholarship.”
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How to write a Motivation Letter
Here we have prepared a template of a motivation letter with an explanation on how to write it. However, remember that we prepared it based on our research and experience. It is not an official format and it is under your responsibility to use it partially or completely. Our only aim is to provide you a tool to facilitate your process.
Provide a powerful and concise introduction of you and a strong but general statement of your future plans:
I am [name] a young professional who graduated from [your bachelor diploma and university information]. During my studies, I have been awarded/chosen with (any award / activity / recognition you have received during your studies, relevant for the application). I have a strong conviction of working in the development of the agriculture communities (for example) of my hometown [name of hometown].
In the next paragraph explore your specific academic and professional experience and link it with the scholarship offer and the program you want to study. Also, show the contribution to the society you have done already. Remember to always provide examples of your statements and show your intentions to sharing the knowledge to be obtained:
During my studies at the undergraduate level, I have been always involved in all agricultural-related matters. In fact, my thesis investigation was about the multiple ways of improving the harvesting technics with less cost. Furthermore, I have obtained quite extensive experience by working in one of the biggest agricultural associations in my city. I spent one year as an [position name] from which I have been promoted to my current position [ name of the second job]. Having the experience of working in this association I have realized there is room for improvement and this is one more reason why I want to study the program [name of the program] and be awarded the scholarship [name of the scholarship] to fund my studies. I want to contribute with the goodwill of my people.
In your third paragraph go to the point. State that you want to get that scholarship and explain that you want to study that program. Show your passion, show that you deserve it more than anyone. Here is the place where you make it specific for that scholarship that you are applying to:
After all, that has been said, I want to express my deep desire and need to be awarded the scholarship [name of the scholarship] and to study the program [name of the program] at [name of the university]. This scholarship is important to me because it will open the opportunity to fund my studies. Therefore develop my professional and personal skills and be able to contribute more to society. This scholarship not only gives support to me but also to my community in which I will put all my knowledge for its development and growth.
In the last paragraph just wrap up all the things you have said and conclude with a strong message. Remember, the last sentence will be the takeaway of your reader:
To conclude, I think I am a strong candidate because I have the required academic and professional background. But more important than that because I have the potential to generate a change in the people of my community. If I were chosen for this scholarship I will honor your institution and I will honor my people.
Remember, this is only a generic example for you to understand the structure of a Motivation Letter. It is up to you to improve this template, personalize it, make it specific for your scholarship application and unique. We hope this information was useful for you.
And finally, we leave here the Motivation Letter template in doc format. One last tip! When you submit your application always do it in pdf format. And don’t forget to rename the file with a proper name.