How to write a motivation letter?

How to write a motivation letter?

How to write a motivation letter?
Ashma Shrestha

A motivation letter is an integral part of an international university's application process for a higher degree.

A well-written motivation letter can be decisive in ensuring placement in your dream university. Since the motivation letter is the most personalized document in your application, try not to take it lightly. 

Students are often confused about how the letter should look, what it should contain, and how to convince coordinators that they are the right ones to be chosen for the programme.

Therefore, to clear up their confusion, let's discuss the motivation letter in this article.

What is a Motivation Letter?

A motivation letter explains the qualities that make you a  good fit for a particular course and degree in the University you are applying at.

This letter is vital in being accepted or rejected by universities with high application standards.

A motivation letter is not something generic. This letter reflects the applicant’s commitment and intentions. Therefore, admission committees take it very seriously. The quality of your writing in the letter provides ideas about your character, goals and ambitions.

While writing this letter, try to be as original as possible. Take it as a chance to prove yourself in a short document containing some relevant and interesting insights about yourself.

How to Write a Motivation Letter?

Include the following information somewhere in the motivation letter. 

  • Your professional or personal life goal
  • Your reason for choosing this programme
  • Why should they choose you for the programme

A motivation letter should complement your CV, and the two should be able to showcase you as a whole person, both from the achievement side and your personal side.

Follow these instructions while writing the motivation letter: 

  1. Before drafting the letter, create bullet points that include the major ideas and elements you want to include. 
  2. Start writing content around those bullet points. 
  3. Always put the objective in mind while writing 
  4. Focus on your most robust qualifications, past experiences and qualities
  5. Organize the middle paragraphs in terms of the qualifications most relevant to the program to the qualifications least relevant to the program
  6. Refer to your resume/CV for more details.
  7. Don't make it unnecessarily long, a page-long article is enough. 
  8. Write about the source of inspiration for choosing that program.
  9. Follow the basic essay structure
  • Introduction
  • body and 
  • conclusion


Start writing the letter by addressing the recipient. Avoid addressing the reader using "Dear Sir or Madam”.Try to include the recipient's name (if possible) to personalize your motivation letter. 

Consider the following:

  • Your name and your work
  • Your work position and location
  • Explain the general reason that made you apply for the program. 
  • Keep checking if you have included all the necessary information.
  • Compare your outline with the material you got from your school to demonstrate your desired characteristics and qualifications.
  • Examine the flow of your writing. 
  • Find out if structure rearranging makes the letter more appealing. If so, change the arrangement.


Start writing around every bullet point. Try to explain one topic in one paragraph. For another topic, start another paragraph. Utilize compelling facts to prove to the reader that you are worth it. 

Consider the following:

  • Your values align with the program. 
  • Qualifications that make you a perfect candidate for the program.
  • Your hopes that can be shared to increase the chances of getting accepted for the program


Highlight your objective and make a favourable impression while finishing your motivation letter. 

Consider the following:

  • Do not forget to express your gratitude to the receiver for taking out time to examine your application 
  • Invite them to contact you if they have any questions.

Proofread your letter

Proofreading will make your motivation letter more professional. 

Consider the following: 

  • Read the letter multiple times and find out if that flows logically.
  • Check the grammar and spelling; if you find mistakes, correct them.  
  • Cut down the sentence that feels odd to read. 
  • Do not repeat things previously explained. 
  • If you have anyone trustworthy, let them read and edit it. 

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Motivation Letter: Structure Sample 


<Professor’s Name>, PhD

Department of Political Science,

University Name>,

Cambridge, MA, United States


Dear Professor <Name>

I am writing to express my interest in the Department of Political Science doctoral program at Harvard University. I have always considered politics one of the most influencing factors in the country's development. Since <country> has been facing political instability for years, I have made it my goal to become a political advisor to the Prime Minister of <country>. 

I have always been fascinated by the level of confidence of top politicians worldwide. I participated in many leadership programs related to politics while doing my bachelor's.  I pursued a Master's in Political science, which I completed on <date>.

I believe there is no better place than your University to continue my academic career. It is an opportunity to meet students worldwide and learn about their cultures and values. Subjects like Democracy and citizenship, Public policy analysis and management of religious diversity would give me more insight into how world politics get influenced by other factors besides citizens and politicians. From the knowledge I gained from my previous studies, I am confident that this PhD program at your University will bring me a step closer to becoming an advisor to the Prime Minister of <country>. I have always been a hard-working and passionate student. I never left a due assignment. I gained my political interest from my volunteer work for a political party <name of party> of <country>. While working with them, I attended meetings and developed political campaigns with slogans and texts.  

Doing a PhD at Harvard University is an opportunity; I would like to dedicate myself to politics. I hope that during my stay in the USA, I will be able to contribute to the local community as best as I can. I am confident that my previous experience, combined with my studies at Harvard University, will make me an asset to my country and the world. 

I hope my application will get due consideration in your hands.

Yours Sincerely,

<Applicant’s Name>


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