It is not uncommon for scholarship applicants to regard motivational letters as the same as personal statements. Both are often associated with one another when each actually presents a different function.
A letter of motivation describes in detail the reasons why an applicant will be an appropriate candidate for a scholarship or course program at the university to be addressed. Letters of motivation require detailed research on the overall academic environment of a university and the programs offered from the perspective of its students.
Meanwhile, a personal statement asks applicants to present themselves as someone who ‘lives behind a pile of applications and transcripts’. In a personal statement the applicants get the opportunity to explain about themselves to the university admissions office about what type of people they are and what is happening in their lives that results in them applying for the scholarship. It also functions as an informal guarantee that binds the applicants to be good agents of social change for the university, and ensures that they will have a good conduct in a long run.
In some cases, a well-written motivational letter and personal statement can almost be interchangeable because both present the same goal of maximizing the applicants’ opportunities to be accepted or considered as a strong candidate.
However, the main focus of a motivational letter tends to be practical, which requires the ability of students to explain realistically about their expectations while listing out their past achievements, qualifications and academic goals in the future. Meanwhile, a personal statement emphasizes vague matters such as ambitions, preferences, and personality of the candidates.
How to Write a Motivational Letter
Specifically, a motivational letter is an essay that is generally in the form of an essay that contains about:
- A candidate’s personal background
- The candidate’s life goal
- Educational background
- Potential owned
- Expectations of the candidates when continuing their studies to higher institutions
It can also be said that a motivation letter is an essay that shows a candidate’s way of thinking in a brief.
To construct a motivational letter, it is better if the candidates are not excessive in the use of language / terms and exaggerating the contents of their essay. The applicants are asked to adequately explain themselves and their strengths in a concise and brief manner.
The following are some elements that will be assessed in the motivation letter by the admissions staff:
- Writing quality (avoid typing errors, misspellings, incorrect use of grammar and vocabulary)
- Essay weight (should inspire and not just a bunch about self-introduction)
- Abilities possessed
- Social experiences
- Projects that have been undertaken in previous educational degrees
- Conformity between the purpose stated at the letter of motivation with the chosen branch of knowledge
Here are some good ways to write a killer motivational letter to apply for a scholarship that you can refer to improve the quality of your writing.
1. Follow the guiding questions
Universities or scholarship providers usually provide guiding questions to help candidates write down important points that need to be included in a letter of motivation. You can start by writing according to the guiding questions provided. You should focus on these guidelines and not write things out of the qualifications requested.
The guiding questions generally include:
- Describe your most meaningful achievements and how they relate to your field of study and future goals.
- How will your study of _____ contribute to your immediate or long range career plans?
- How has your education contributed to who you are today?
- How have you been financing your college education?
- What impact would this scholarship have on your education?
- Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
- Why are you a good candidate to receive this scholarship?
- Why do you want to get a higher education?
- Who in your life has been your biggest influence and why?
2. Mind your grammar
The use of appropriate and correct grammar is one of the important keys in preparing a prospective motivation letter. You should use standard academic words and proper punctuation. Try to keep your argument low but don’t sound arrogant or pessimistic at the same time.
3. Write a letter with reference to the neat structure
In order to avoid any misunderstanding or confusion, you should arrange your motivational letter in a structured way. For example, start by describing life experiences that have led you to become interested in applying for the scholarship briefly, then give an overview of your biography. Next, you can list down each of your abilities and goals that motivate you to apply.
4. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses
Honesty is another important point that you cannot miss when compiling a letter of motivation. You also need to write about each of your strengths and weaknesses as they are, without exaggerating or concealing one thing. What are the strengths that make you different from other candidates and deserve to be considered as recipients?
You also cannot cover up your weaknesses either. However, explain your resolution to make up these weaknesses and how you can become a better person.
5. Explain your visions
The recruiter is of course also curious whether you have future dreams or visions to be achieved when you apply for the scholarship. Explain your dreams and the reasons why you think the scholarship will really help you to achieve that dream.
We share two examples of motivational letters below to help you construct your own motivational letter flawlessly.
Motivational letter examples
A motivational letter applying for B.A. in Law Program
To: Admission department
University of Cambridge
I am writing to apply for the B.A. in Law program, in which I am enormously interested. The degree from one of the most prestigious, elitist and respected universities is my chance to enrich my knowledge and professionally outgrowth thereby contribute to the development of the humanity and the strengthening of the values of human rights and fundamental freedoms, promoting peace in the world by contributing the development of democracy in my native country and a whole world.
I am a human rights activist, public figure of my own and students’ community, master in photography, and creator of my fortune. Ukraine is my native country. My country is an independent and young state. It is developing but it has a lot of problems. By observing and analyzing these problems I am aware that everybody’s well-being depends on a solution of social and global problems.
I know that England is a country with a perfect system of human rights protection and solutions of social problems. Active youth human rights advocates assert its rights decisively and implements new ways of solving of social problems. As a leader of the youth community and a member of NGO I have a lot of goals and plans. These goals are improvement of youth well-being, involvement of young people into social life, finding and promotion of young leaders. It’s very important for me. That’s why I strive to take part in your educational establishment together with progressive international youth. I aim to join in researching and developing of projects together with the best world academics, journalists, activists, officials, and leaders in human rights protection in order to solve global problems of mankind as well as challenges of my community.
From the very beginning of my public activity I’m engaging social projects aimed at protecting citizens and especially youth and children. The project is based on my research which allowed evaluating the degree of human rights violation in the Ukrainian province and applying a number of measures of their solution, and consequently increasing a level of social welfare. My projects have been highly appreciated by experts of Klitschko brothers Foundation, Charitable Fund “Ukraine 3000″, International Women’s Fund, Youth Union of Ukraine.
Studying in University of Cambridge will allow me to explore the long-term experience of democracy building, gain knowledge and skills in the field of law and leadership, which can be used for creating better instruments of protection of the individual and promotion of democracy.
Large role in the promotion of social projects has the status of leader, their credibility, especially in the case of projects the national and international level. Therefore my personal status, that besides depends on the success and rating of the institution, will provide additional opportunities to my community.
I have already done much for social improvement of my community as volunteer, author of projects, member of NGO, secretary of student parliament and deputies assistant; but life changes and new challenges require new ideas, knowledge, skills and partners. After training in the Visegrad Summer School and Ukrainian Summer School of Human Rights, I ascertain that the experience, knowledge and desire of even one person with an active social position can change the lives of others people, communities and countries.
Moreover, taking part in The B.A. in Law program is a perfect chance to develop both my personal and professional experience by interacting with top students and leaders of other nationalities, discovering new culture and traditions. Being an active participant of the Ukrainian meetings of youth, I know how enriching it is to meet new people, sharing ideas and broadening our horizons beyond a single nation’s vision.
I am sure that the knowledge I shall receive in The B.A. in Law program will be able to be applied in the future in order to become a professional, I could help people and teams to develop their own potential, to overcome obstacles and to achieve their goals. While working in the public sector we all strive for positive changes in our society. I am sure all changes we want in society have to start with NGO and ourselves. I shall develop national programs, which could help to adjust long-term relations among cultures and continents.
This is my way, the way of a person who wants, for certain, to change the fortune of Ukraine and its’ folk. I am a drop of my Ukrainian people and the fortune of all the ocean depends on my personal experience, knowledge which I can and want to pass the other people.
In conclusion, I would like to say that I am eager to gain new experiences, improve my skills and broaden my understanding of the dynamic economic world, and I am persuaded that studying in the B.A. in Law program would contribute to my development as a specialist of international level in the best possible way.
Thank you very much for considering my application.
A motivational letter applying for Master in Finance & Accounting Program
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing to apply for the Master in Finance & Accounting program at the London School of Economics and Political Science starting in the autumn 2012. The degree from one of the most recognized and prestigious business schools is my chance to make a substantial progress in personal career and thus contribute to Ukrainian economic development.
Ukrainian economy is an emerging market whose economic evolvement is extremely dependent on investments. I started explorations in investment valuation when studied at the university. I found out that low sovereign risk was one of the most important factors for successful investment activity in emerging markets. My research was concentrated on development of an econometric model for measuring a sovereign risk of Ukraine. The model allowed not only to obtain a quantitative assessment of Ukrainian sovereign risk but to define macroeconomic factors that influenced it the most. The results of my explorations were highly evaluated by Victor Pinchuck’s and Ivan Puluy’s Foundations as I won two scholarships. Studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science will allow me to obtain necessary skills and knowledge in investment valuation and analysis to proceed with my explorations and make my model widely circulated among domestic and foreign investors.
In addition, the Master’s degree from the LSE is crucial for my career growth. I have already made a substantial career progress from an intern position to a senior analyst at Metinvest Holding, the largest steel & mining company in Ukraine. It took me only two years to grow up and prove to my colleagues that my knowledge and abilities were enough to work in a highly competitive and complex business environment. My future career perspectives strictly depend on educational progress due to the fact that my managers and directors already have foreign institutions’ diplomas that allow them to communicate with our overseas partners in one language of business and financial terms.
As a senior analyst at Strategy & Business Development department I studied opportunities for steel consuming sectors development in Ukraine. One of the most attractive options exists in wind energy sector that is very steel intensive. During the project I had a chance to participate in the international conference devoted to consideration of successful factors to implement wind energy projects in Ukraine. All of participants, included foreign wind turbine manufacturers, investment banks and international financial institutions, pointed out that they needed reliable partners to start business in Ukraine. As a representative of Metinvest Holding I experienced lack of world-class investments valuation and expertise practice to assure foreign investors that our company could be a reliable partner in this complex and cross-industrial business. Diversification of energy sources is one of top priorities in the long-term national energy policy that is why succeeding in wind energy projects is significant for energy independence of Ukraine.
I am pretty sure that acquaintance with world-class investment valuation and risk assessment procedures is my chance to make substantial career progress. As the Master of Science in Finance & Accounting I would manage complex investment projects in steel and related industries, for example, wind energy attracting foreign investments in Ukraine. I would also be able to assure foreign investors that sovereign risk can be easily measured and we know what factors influence it.
Since studying at the university I have been steadily developing personal communication and presentation skills. I participated in more than ten international and regional student scientific
conferences in Ukraine and abroad. There were no conferences where I did not take a prize place. My presentation skills were significantly strengthened during work at Metinvest Holding as I was urged to prove rationale of various investment projects and market strategies to company’s top management.
During studying at the university I also managed to demonstrate leadership potential. I was a captain of a team which participated in student business games. Our team showed very good results at the regional stage and was chosen to participate in the final. I highly appreciate this experience as it was my first serious successful management practice.
To sum up, I am at the beginning of my career path, but I have already attained substantial progress in it. I aspire to study at the London School of Economics and Political Science in order to obtain urgently needed investment valuation and analysis skills to make further progress in personal career. My educational results as well as communication and leadership potential prove that I am basically prepared to apply for the Master in Finance & Accounting program.