Letter of Motivation for Studying Abroad: Structure and Recommendations

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By David

When applying to many European universities, a well-written motivation letter is half the battle. It will show the candidate’s strengths and make the committee interested in him.

Institutions look for a variety of students – sometimes the priority is not an honors student, but a person with an active lifestyle or an athlete.

The goal of the motivation letter

The purpose of a motivation letter is to demonstrate your motivation, determination, and readiness to succeed. It must convince the admissions committee that you have potential and are the right candidate.

Writing persuasive motivational letters is never a waste of skills. Letters of motivation will be written for both the application process as well as for employment.

Mistakes in the preparation of a motivation letter

Year after year, applicants make the same mistakes when drafting motivation letters and lose their chances of admission.

We talked to admissions representatives from different universities and collected the most common mistakes:

  1. One letter for all universities. Each university has its own peculiarities to consider before you apply. Take the time to create a unique text.
  2. Duplicate information. Don’t get hung up on one of your strengths, don’t repeat in your resume what you’ve already written about. Try to show different sides of your personality.
  3. Boring text. Work on the presentation of information. Text that “catches” is remembered better.
  4. Lack of structure. Structured text is easier to understand. When a member of the admissions committee can’t follow your thought, he loses interest.
  5. Lies. Make sure everything you write is true: it will be embarrassing if the interview reveals that you embezzled someone else’s accomplishments.
  6. Length. A letter that’s too long can bore the committee. Pay attention to the formal requirements of the university in the design of the letter (font, point size, line spacing).

How to write a letter of motivation

How to write a motivation letter correctly? Here are some tips from our experts:

  1. Research the institution you are going to apply to. Some institutions are looking for athletes, others for future scientists. The university will give priority to applicants who manage to highlight their strengths.
  2. Check with the institutions to determine their requirements for letters of application. Some universities accept free-form letters, others are more demanding in structure. Be sure to specify the length of the essay – usually it is one sheet of A4.
  3. Pay attention to the structure of your letter. The introduction is the key to the success of any text. Try to present your most interesting and strongest points at the beginning – in this way you increase the chances that your letter will be read to the end. To make the admissions committee interested in your personality, you need to captivate the reader from the first lines. It is equally important to make the essay visually pleasing and logical.
  4. Try to figure out what led you to think about applying to this university and write about it honestly. Do not forget about the purpose of the letter: you should highlight the key skills and competences that the university needs and put an emphasis on them.
  5. Don’t be shy. Sometimes great, talented, intelligent people miss their chance because they are embarrassed to describe their achievements or do not give importance to their personal qualities.
  6. If you’ve written articles, played sports or organized events, write about them, making sure to highlight your strengths. Recall the events that influenced you and analyze them. Imagine that you are a character who must evolve from action to action and change as you gain experience.
  7. Remember to check your essay before submitting it. Even obvious mistakes can go unnoticed by the author. You can ask a friend to check your letter, but it is better to trust a professional who has a good command of the language and knows the requirements for formatting. If you don’t know what college application essay format should be, check the requirements of the institute itself on their website.

During the self-test, be sure to ask yourself questions:

  • Does the letter meet all the formal requirements of the university?
  • Is it free of trite, clichéd phrases?
  • Is my story unique? Does it form the impression I want to make?
  • Is the text free of logical, verbal, and grammatical errors?
  • Does the text meet my goals? Do I show the necessary skills and competencies in writing?

Contact students who are already enrolled in your chosen major and faculty representatives. Interest, motivation, and communication are highly valued. Find out which faculty members you will be working with, and choose the department and professor you most want to work with. Write about it in the letter: mention your interest in that professor’s academic achievements and prospects for working with him or her.

You can also ask other students if they have used essay writing services and which companies they think are the best. Or scour the sites to find out the best essay writing service reddit users recommend.

Structure of the motivation letter


Any text needs a strong introduction. It is very important that your letter is simple, clear and intriguing. You may write about your desire to study at a particular college, illustrating your interest with a concrete life case.

The main thing is to be sincere. Try to answer the following questions in your introduction:

  1. Who are you? What kind of environment did you grow up in, what shaped your personality?
  2. Why are you interested in this field of study?
  3. What influenced your choice?
  4. What incident made you think about this profession?

Main part

Here you should explain why you have chosen this particular university. Recall everything you learned about the university and convince the commission that you are made for studying there. Do not be shy to emphasize your positive character traits and skills that can be useful in this specialty or particularly valued by the university. If you played sports in high school, write about how that built your character and taught you how to overcome adversity. Describe your work experience (even if you think it was insignificant).

Remember: one paragraph is one topic. Avoid long, confusing sentences, clichéd phrases, and generalizations. You are a unique individual, and you need to show that to the admissions committee. Remember about language and style: simpler is better.

Avoid colloquialisms, inappropriate (and even appropriate) jokes, jargon. Keep your writing style neutral. Don’t forget to write about your plans for the future, dreams and goals. Explain your motivation, be open and optimistic: Don’t stop with the dry “I dream of becoming a journalist, to tell people the truth.” The ability to see into the future and make plans is highly valued in today’s world.


In this part, write about why you are the ideal candidate and your plans and hopes for your studies. You do not need to flatter the school or its faculty-your genuine desire to be there is sufficient.

Highlight those aspects of the program that you believe will make you excellent. Remember that your motivation letter should convince the school that you will be useful and contribute to its growth, since each institution hopes that its graduates will become highly skilled professionals and bring credit to the university.

Remember about the intonation of completion: you should not start a new story about your life at the end of the letter, but you can thank the committee for the time it took to read your essay.

Summing up

So, your motivation letter for admission to college should include:

  1. A rationale for your choice of major, university, and program.
  2. Your academic interests and exciting research topics.
  3. Experience, accomplishments, and personal qualities that will show you as an ideal candidate for a place.
  4. Plans for implementing the knowledge and experience you have gained.
  5. Important: Before submitting your work, check again the formal parts of your motivation letter on the university’s website (name of university and study program, address, contact information).

Paper writers for hire can help with the content and editing of your motivation letter so that it meets all the requirements and increases your chances of getting admitted to the college.