How to write a motivational letter for university admission in Germany

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How to write a motivational letter for university admission in Germany

The motivation letter, sometimes referred to as the “statement of purpose,” is a written statement that highlights your qualifications as a professional and your reasons for wanting to enroll in a certain university’s program of study.

It’s the most significant and individualized document you may write and submit with your admission to a university. The motivation letter will frequently determine whether you are accepted or denied admission to the university you are applying to.

How To Write Your Motivation Letter

In the letter, you can write relevant and interesting details about yourself which can prove to the admission officers that you are the right candidate to be selected to participate in their programme. That’s why it’s important to first choose a study programme that is a good fit for your academic background.

The motivation letter plays a decisive role in determining whether you will be accepted or not. It can be very challenging to present yourself in a way that would convince the study institution. Even if you are an outstanding student with the highest grades, many accomplishments, and are very motivated you may not secure your admission because of writing your motivational letter in a poor way.

It does not have to be personal in a way that makes you appear non-serious, rather focus on your intellectual personality. Be careful to not indulge a lot in your deficit side; always focus on your strengths and reasons why you are the right person for the university.

*Suggestion: plan ahead before attempting your final draft writings. Firstly, plan the concept, then the layout, the structure and fine-tuning.

  1. The concept should contain all your thoughts on why you want to pursue the specific degree, the qualities you can bring to the programme, why the specific university is the best option for you. Then, bring these ideas to a draft.
  2. The layout is the way your document is formatted, and it should show your professionalism. If there are no specifications in the university’s description of the motivational letter, you should attempt at keeping it to a maximum length of two pages.
  3. The structure defines the flow of the letter, with a bright introduction leading smoothly to an intense body and a summary of the content. The conclusion should once more indicate to your personal advantages.
  4. Fine-tuning is about the word usage you have selected. You should avoid using complex words and constructions as they can a turn-off or irritating to the admission officers.Use rather eloquent, persuasive, smooth language, where you show why you are outstanding instead of telling. And, check grammar, spelling, and also get feedback from close people whose opinions you value.

Things to keep in mind when writing your motivation letter

  • Do not repeat what is already written in the application form or CV – this one is very important to keep in mind as the admission officers will receive many motivational letters from many candidates and if you repeat yourself it will become tiresome.Try to place yourself in their position! You might notice that you need to be either more creative, interesting, or bold in your motivational letter.
  • Write based on university specifics – while you are constructing your motivational letter be careful to prioritize interests that correlate with the programmes provided by the university. Think of how you will benefit from the programmes you are going after and why you are motivated to attend those courses. Usually, universities have very clear and informative requirements on their websites, as well as what qualities and qualifications in candidates they are looking forward to.
  • Making a flat introduction – your introduction is the most important part of your letter. It will determine whether the admission officers will engage and continue reading through the whole letter.This is where they will decide if they are going to proceed with your file or dismiss it completely. Think of a way to not sound cliché and yet at the same time intelligent and engaging.
  • Do not try to make too many points – another thing is that you might get very excited and wanting to show many of your important assets, and somehow on the road make a mess in the connection between interests.You may seem as if you are trying to say a lot in order to make them like you. You wouldn’t want to seem desperate or a show-off, in both cases you will not be a very attractive candidate, so be consistent!
  • Share something about yourself – share your interests and your feelings when you take part in activities that correlate with the programme in question. Think of ways how it has manifested in your thought-patterns and motivation. Share a moment or a story where you understood the importance of the subject.
  • Do not force the letter towards humor – sounding positive is very important, but trying to be very humorous in the motivational letter can turn out the wrong way, as you for one, cannot know the kind of things people find funny.What can be funny and interesting to you may not be the same for another person and the case may be that you are not on the same frequency as the personnel.Instead, try to keep humor on the side while all the time keeping positive and interesting. Humor can be overdone and it can be the one thing that will set you away from your dream programme.

What’s the difference between a cover letter and a motivational letter?

Both are pretty similar in terms of structure but have different purposes. The motivation letter is used mainly in education, therefore there are various motivation letters.

For example, you may need a letter of motivation for a scholarship, a letter of motivation for university admission, and so forth. Whereas, the cover letter is used mainly to apply for jobs.

This letter is supposed to come as a complimentary item to your CV where you only display your qualifications. On a motivation letter, you support the CV by offering additional reasons and experiences that make your qualifications worthy. Therefore, the motivation letter is a little bit more personal communication between you and the other party, at least in the way it is delivered.

To a certain degree, the motivation letter is the third most important document in your application behind your degree and your grades from your previous education. Naturally, when applying to a University there are numerous students with the same qualifications and grades as you and the only point that helps the admission committee filter out the best candidates is by looking at your motivation letter.

Universities are highly interested in selecting candidates who other than having higher qualifications, also have accompanying strengths. Most of the time they look for students who show great competency in leadership and communicative skills and know-how they are planning to use their university degree for the betterment of themselves and the community.

As such, never underestimate the role of the motivation letter in your application. But, while writing a common motivation letter may not be hard, writing an exceptional one (which is surely what you should aim for) is way harder. If you follow the above-mentioned strategies and tips it this won’t be the case for you.

There’s no standard format for letter of motivation

First, don’t expect to find a letter of motivation format where you will only have to type some common information for yourself and you’re good to go. There’s not a universal standard form of the motivation letter.

Otherwise, how you would be able to tell the university admission committee exactly what to hear from you? However, these tips and strategies you read above are some major points that make up the basic framework of every motivation letter.

Before leaving here are two other pieces of advice you should never neglect when writing a motivation letter.

1. Know who you’re writing to

When writing a motivation letter, your starting point is to know to whom you’re writing to. By having in mind this, right at the beginning, you can adjust your writing accordingly and the flow of your writing will be just as required.

Writing a motivation letter for Bachelor’s degree is different from writing a motivation letter for PhD. Writing a motivation letter for a bachelor degree is academically less competent than the motivation letter for a Master’s degree and even less competent compared to motivation letter for a PhD degree.

Let say you’re applying for a Master’s degree program. From the very first sentence of your motivation letter you may have put a larger focus on the experiences that you had, trying to sound much more competent than you’re, you may forget to explain properly how these experiences make you the right candidate for the place you’re applying for.

If you would be writing a motivation letter for PhD, the admission committee would expect you to show more experiences that you had and is much more specific about what are your future plans after taking that degree. In other words, you will fail to adjust your writing to what is required from the admission committee and therefore you won’t take your place at the university.

Writing a motivation letter for study abroad may require you to ask yourself other questions. You must try to convince your university that your degree in your home country (for whom they may not have any idea at all) will add value to their community. Similar to this, if you are writing a motivation letter for exchange programmes they’re usually interested to know what qualities you think you can bring alongside.

If you’re not aware of these at the beginning you may fall off the course and miss the target of your motivation letter. In other words, the quality of your CV is equal to how well you deliver it.

2. Read many motivation letter examples

There is a saying:

“Example is the best definition”.

The final version of your motivation letter for university admission cannot (and should not) be done with your first shot.

You need to practice a lot in order to write a motivation letter that will make an effect on your application. The best strategy for practicing is by looking at different examples of motivational letters that are proven to be successful.

By looking at different examples you will get a general picture upon which major elements your motivation letter should be based on. Also, it will help you envision how you want to write down your motivation level.

Here’s a step-by-step editing guide on this strategy:

  1. First, write a raw version of your motivation letter
  2. Do a fast scanning
  3. Compare it with the motivation letter examples you have read
  4. Identify missing pieces and how you can improve
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