University application letters can be intimidating. You may worry that your entire future hinges on your ability to write an effective letter. While your personal essay isn't the only thing that admissions boards consider when deciding who to accept, a well-written application letter may give you an edge in the application process. Your letter may be the closest thing you'll get to an inteview. Make it the best representation of yourself that you possibly can by offering the admissions committee a strong insight into your abilities and contributions as a prospective student at their university.

Review the Application Process

Read the school's application process carefully, which is generally found on the admissions Website. Be certain that you understand any specific essay questions or prompts before you begin, and make sure you understand and follow all of the instructions provided on the application. In addition to a personal statement or letter, you will likely need to send academic transcripts and letters of recommendation. Note and follow application deadlines.

Organize Your Letter

Decide how to organize and focus your letter. A narrative focus is chronological, telling the story of your academic career. Take an analytical approach when describing why you are a good match for the program. Describe why you are interested in your chosen area of study and what interests you about that particular school. Explain how you would be an asset to the school such as seeking leadership roles in student organizations or joining research studies. You may also wish to mention your past participation in programs and your project experience. Lastly, share the contributions you hope to make to your field. Don't attempt to tell your entire life story; stick to the highlights that present you as the best choice for admission, keeping in mind that your audience will have limited time to read your letter. Use that time wisely.

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Write a Draft

Write thoughtfullly and coherently. Use clear and concise language. Avoid contractions. Use this as an opportunity to show the university that you possess effective writing skills. Your aim is to standout from other applicants in unique ways. Avoid passive voice, and stay away from clich├ęs and broad reasoning such as, "I want to major in social work so I can help people." Try to answer direct questions in a way that is specific and original to you, not how every other applicant might answer. Use action verbs such as "created," "performed," "competed," in describing your accomplishments and plans. You may also wish to mention and adversity you faced. For example, you might mention maintaining a high GPA while working to pay your tuition at an excellent private high school that your single mother could not afford.

Carefully Edit Final Draft

Make sure the first couple sentences of your letter are interesting and engaging. Revise as necessary to capture the attention of the admissions board. First impressions matter a lot when you are competing with other qualified applicants. Next. slowly read every line of your letter paying close attention to grammar, punctuation and capitalization. Sentences and paragraphs should flow well. Lastly, ask an adult with excellent writing proficiency to proofread your letter. Make any necessary changes and submit your letter well before the deadline, if possible.

About the Author

Jean Marie Bauhaus has been writing about a wide range of topics since 2000. Her articles have appeared on a number of popular websites, and she is also the author of two urban fantasy novels. She has a Bachelor of Science in social science from Rogers State University.