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How to Write an Application Letter

An application letter is usually written when a person would like to enroll for courses at a college or university. It is worth remembering that entry and enrollment in colleges and universities has become an extremely competitive prospect. Many more students desire to find a place to earn a degree than there are places to accommodate them. Naturally, the admissions committees only take the best applicants they can find, and they base a large part of their decisions on the application letter written by prospective students.

Steps for Writing an Application Letter

  1. Read the admissions notice or site publicizing the university or college carefully.
  2. Make a list of all the requirements and all the materials you are expected to provide in the application.
  3. Create an appropriate curriculum vitae (CV) or resume to be attached to the cover letter.
  4. Make sure you have certified copies of any certificates required.
  5. Make a point list of all aspects to cover in the application letter.
  6. Write three central paragraphs that cover your awareness of the admissions requirements, the qualifications you hold that match them, and why you feel you are a suitable candidate.
  7. Write a concluding paragraph asking for a personal interview.
  8. Last of all, write an introduction which shows you fully understand what is required of you and express your desire to enroll.

Selecting an Appropriate Tone

Tone and attitude are the aspects – after form and content – that the admissions committee looks at when they are seeking the most suitable students to enroll in their institute. To be one of those most suitable people, you must make sure that the language of your application letter expresses a tone that compliments the requirements of the institution and that your attitude is shown to be charismatic and driven.

Key Points to Consider

  • Assemble all the materials you need before you start. These include the notice announcing the opening and closing dates of the admissions period. All the appropriate and relevant certificates and documents must

    be present, which might include a recent photo of yourself, certification of your qualifications, letters of support and testimonials, and evidence of identity, such as a passport, residence permits and visas. Make certified copies; this means having the correct public officer in your area witness the copies, and place everything in a card folder. Open a word processing folder and type the notes mentioned in Point 5 above. These are easily re-worked into paragraphs later.

  • Remember that facts and figures are more important than ideas and opinions. The people reading the application letter need information about you, and facts about your qualifications, together with the data you have gathered about your education, any previous positions held, and your experience in the same field that you are applying for. Other relevant experience is also important.
  • A self-devised note-taking system is best. It will help to keep notes and cuttings in order. The less confusion and fragmentation the better: organization is valuable, and time management skills come into play whenever you need to concentrate on such a task. An application letter is a reflection of your personal standards of language, eloquence, organization, and timeliness.
  • You need to express yourself well and without flaws, organize your materials properly, and send them in on time.
  • It is important to use effective writing techniques in a application letter. Three basic persuasion techniques are: use facts and evidence, apply logic and reason, and appeal to the intelligence and emotion of the reader. Combine the three to create valid points that relate directly to the topics in the advert or announcement for the educational program that you are applying for.
  • If there is a list of selection criteria, make sure you address each point on the list.
  • Each point can be built into a paragraph, using notes and paraphrased material from your certificates, testimonials and other reference materials.
  • Deciding on a writing style is easy – everything must be semi-formal and precise: do not make the mistake of using conversational language, since it is inappropriate for an application letter.

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