There are largely two ways of writing a Letter of Intent, one keeping it formal – emphasizing specific achievements about the application and one’s goals, and the other keeping it personal – with emphasis on who one is and why one is committed to completing grad school. However, irrespective of the chosen style, it is important to keep in mind the style, format, and nuances of a letter and invoke all that was learned throughout the academic years about effective letter writing.
Writing the best Letter of Intent for graduate school must always be short, precise, concise, and informative and contain all the expected and essential elements. It is also best to avoid generalizations and clichés, focusing instead on one’s academic and career objectives. Students should also not blow their trumpet about being diligent, hard-working, and conscientious, which may be construed as a waste of space and time. Instead, it would be prudent to get straight to the point and convey to the reader only pertinent information to the application. Writers should also refrain from including extraneous material and points that do not effectively communicate the letter’s object.
Aside from these crucial observations and suggestions, here are some simple steps to writing a Letter of Intent:
(a) Collect information from the student prospectus, program guide, or college website.
(b) Analyse this information to see if the program in question is suitable and covers all career objectives.
(c) Brainstorm and scribble points that could potentially make their way into the Letter of Intent.
(d) Prepare a template with simple pointers and start writing the first draft.
(e) Review the draft, editing and making changes as necessary.
(f) Write the second draft and review it for spelling errors, grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, and typos.
(g) Show this second draft to at least 2 or 3 prominent people within the family or at school, preferably to those whose English is strong and have at least some experience writing similar documents.
(h) Make changes and corrections based on the feedback received on the second draft.
(i) Prepare the final Letter of Intent and review it one last time.
(j) Print the Letter of Intent on crisp, crease-free sheets of white paper and do not fold them. If the school requires the document to be submitted online, create a PDF (Portable Document Format) version, and upload it as instructed.