How to Write a Motivational Letter for University Application. Examples for 2022

A motivation letter or statement of purpose is a crucial deciding factor in being accepted into global universities. The task of writing one can be daunting. Since the idea is to convey your motivations or your purpose to the universities of your choice you need to write sincerely and from the heart. Those evaluating it will surely value candour. Furthermore, though this may be a frustrating task, and though it can feel clerical or menial, it is instrumental in ensuring your acceptance into an institution and needs to be treated with some degree of seriousness. One must make several drafts to ensure the quality of your work.


You may need to make several iterations and drafts of a motivation letter. The process of writing a statement of purpose should not be relegated to a one-shot event or treated with a ‘done and dusted’ kind of attitude. Not only is it necessary to rewrite the letter to ensure the quality of its content. It should also be rewritten to reflect your interest in each and every university you apply to. Furthermore, your friends and family should be consulted regarding the letter’s quality. As the people who know you best, they will be able to provide different perspectives and correct any oversights on your part.

Let’s say you are applying to two universities with strong maths programs. You are equally interested in both but one is an applied maths programme and the other is a pure maths programme. You cannot use the same statement for both, you will have to rewrite and consult the course lists of both programmes to arrive at a healthy understanding of the course itself and to furnish your letter with details that will make you stand out. Asking for the opinions of others in this regard may also be useful because it will give you deeper insights into your letter and how to optimize it better.


Every iteration of the letter should be proofread thoroughly in order to ascertain where common fault lines or stress points of your letter writing skills lie. This is generally good practice for all kinds of writing as it breeds familiarity with your own style and helps you embellish the parts you deem necessary and unravel the complications you don’t want. Every time you complete a draft you should scan it quickly for any glaring typos or obvious mistakes, then return to it after a while in order to critically assess its quality. This will help you consolidate the letter while also making it sufficiently concise and engaging.


Write what you know, write from the heart, and try to stick to an active voice. Learn about the programme you are interested in. Learn about the institution, the course you’re interested and the modules of the course. Then comes the simple task of writing why you think that this course would be good for you, there’s a reason you’re applying after all.

Try to be honest about your motivations and ambitions weave in threads from your past and all the experiences you’ve had so far. But remember that even things you present from the past must be future-facing. Some find it easier to think of it as a proposal. Try telling some stories about your life, feel free to express feelings and emotions without being too rigid in your approach. Evaluators will find this very refreshing and will be drawn to the openness of your approach. You should, however, remember to keep things relevant, do extensive proofreading, and make sure that your language is future-facing (emphasizing causal links to what comes next rather than what has gone by).

You are interested in a biology course specifically with regards to ecology. You can weave in your experience of being enamoured by the natural world. Instead of simply stating that you were into birdwatching and have participated in tree counting activities, you could say that you look forward to going birdwatching with the newfound insight you will gain in this course.

Active voice

Many people struggle to keep their writing in an active voice. It is important to emphasize this point because we have all learnt some bad writing habits in school. Active voice aids engagement and conciseness of any writing. Often, we are trained to think that passive voice sounds intelligent i.e., ‘the project was being led by me’. To say ‘I led the project’ is far simpler, more engaging, and concise as well. This tip becomes all the more relevant when you imagine a person trawling through hundreds of letters to pick and choose the right candidates for their university. Active voice is relatively easy to read and flows more naturally. It is also essential in cutting out run-on sentences or finding a way to make them more bite-size while reading them. In this way, an active voice is crucial for your letter to be a comfortable, quick read for your evaluator.

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