Schools Training

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter for College Applications

6 AUG 2014
Career Path : Career

cover letterThe cover letter is an important part of any college application. It’s where you get to show off a little personality while discussing your goals and academic journey so far. Though writing the perfect cover letter can be difficult, there are few guidelines that you can use that should make the process a little easier. As a general rule, don’t hesitate to rewrite! Your first draft won’t be your best, so work on those sentences to really make them sing. Also, make sure to proofread your cover letter for typos and other spelling errors, just like a school newspaper would proofread its school news before going to print. Unintentional typos are a sure-fire way of making a bad first impression. Lastly, you can also ask someone else that you trust to read your cover letter and give you feedback. An outside opinion will definitely help you fine-tune your letter.

Here are some more tips for writing a cover letter for college applications.

Use natural language

Don’t go out of your way to use fancy vocabulary you wouldn’t use in another context. The person in charge of reviewing your application isn’t likely to be impressed, and your application will probably come across as contrived. Instead, be clear, precise and honest. Your can talk about your career objectives and academic background, including some of the books and educational articles you’ve read. Use natural language and try to let a little bit of your personality shine through the text. By relying on natural language, you’re much more likely to be in your comfort zone during the writing process.

Address the letter properly

Though relying on natural language is important, so are formalities. Address the letter properly, specifying the title and name of the address (if you have it) or else list your school along with an all-purpose salutation such as “To whom it may concern.” Though formalities may sound outdated, they actually provide you with a framework for your letter that is understandable, reliable and easy to use. By using proper salutations, you also come across as professional and well-organized.

Be concise

The number one mistake that most students make in their cover letters is that they ramble on for too long. In general, the sweet spot for a cover letter is somewhere between too short and too long. Talking about your academic background and career objectives in a few sentences isn’t an easy, but always look for ways to trim a few words here and there, to make the letter tighter and more concise. If your letter is more than one page long, it’s a good indication that you need to cut some content.

Strong opening and closing statements

Your first and last sentences are very important. The first sets the tone for the rest of the letter, while the last needs to elegantly sum up some of the points you’ve made in the paragraphs above. By making a strong closing statement, your cover letter will make a memorable impression on the person who is reviewing your application, so make sure your first and last sentences are just right!