July 21, 2019

How to write a motivation letter for University

note book with a pen with a pink filter

Writing a motivational letter for university is likely to be one of the most important things you do in terms of your educational career to date. With many students obtaining great A-Level results and therefore fulling the criteria needed to qualify for a university place, your motivational letter is the single best way for you to stand out from the crowd.

However, there is something very important to bear in mind regarding the difference between this piece of literature and another you are likely to be writing at some point during your application process.


A Motivation Letter Is Not a Personal Statement 

Although a motivation letter and a personal statement are similar, they are not the same and knowing the difference could save you some unnecessary blushes when the time comes to submitting yours. A personal statement is, as the title suggests, a document designed to promote yourself as an individual and as a candidate.

A motivation letter on the other hand, is more about your plans for study and what is behind your desire to study not only with your university, but on the particular course you have applied for. So, resisting the urge to wax lyrical about yourself and talking more about your goals and what you can offer your particular institution could be a prudent move.


What Should I Include In My Motivation Letter?

The following should be seen as the vital criteria you simply need to have in your motivation letter, you can get creative with this but in our experience, the very best documents contain these essential aspects.

Remember also that you should have the reader captivated within 20 seconds or you could lose them, so be sure to be as concise as possible. Stick to this as a basic structure and you should end up with the perfect motivational letter.

Name & Contact Details

Believe it or not, this can sometimes be forgotten. Don’t get so carried away with writing the perfect motivation letter that you forget to let the recipient know who you are and how they can get in touch!

Name of University

Much like a formal letter to anyone else, be sure to add the name of the individual you are addressing, the university name, their faculty and address.

Date of Application

Your recipient will most likely be reading hundreds of motivation letters, so be sure to add the date of application. This may help them out and keeps things nice and formal, the way they should be.


Dear Sir/Madam, or if you know their exact name then there is no reason why you can’t add this here.


The all-important content. Read on to discover a few more tips on how you can make yours a killer motivation letter.


You can use something similar if you like, but we recommend keeping things professional.

Your Signature

Be sure to sign things off nicely with your signature.


What About The Content?

This is of course the all-important part and once you have identified the difference between this document and a personal statement, you can get to work writing about your motivations.

We suggest that you keep this as snappy as possible, as it is natural to waffle somewhat. Make your letter stand out by keeping it as succinct as possible and with a positive tone of voice.

Think about the following questions and just answer them as directly as possible:

  • Why are you applying for this particular degree and why now?
  • What are your goals for the future and why is this course crucial to that?
  • Why are you so interested in this particular subject?
  • What is so special about the course at this particular institution? Do some research into this.
  • Why are you the ideal candidate for this course? This is where you can approach the letter a little like a personal statement.


More Application Advice From GSM London 

This guide to writing a motivation letter for university should point you in the right direction when it comes to creating a great document and one that will help you to secure a place at your preferred university.

Our final piece of advice would be not to procrastinate and to start your letter as soon as you can, you are likely to rewrite and tweak it a great deal before it is finally sent, so the sooner you get going the better. If you are still stuck for inspiration, you can of course speak to your current tutors or careers advisors, who will have a wealth of experience when it comes to creating letters just like these.

We also have more application advice right here at the GSM London website, so be sure to take a good look through and get in touch with us at any time to discuss your application.

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