A cover letter is usually written as a job application. However, the admissions committees in many higher educational establishments often also ask to write a cover letter, a supplementing document to the admissions essay. It mostly serves as the explanation of the topic chosen for the essay so that the committee could understand your inspirations better.
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter for an admissions essay is a supplementary document added to your application package. It helps the admissions committee to understand the topic of your essay and your aspirations and inspirations better. You also have an opportunity to add some more details about yourself, which did not find a relevant place in the essay. At the same time, this document gives you a chance to make your admissions essay more personalized and adjust it to each school of your choice if you are trying to apply to several of them simultaneously.
Guidelines on Writing a Cover Letter
To write a cover letter that will stand out, you should know specific requirements and standards. Of course, you may ask any essay writing service for help. However, issues like application essays, personal statements, and cover letters tend to be rather personal, which means that you are the only one who can write about yourself in the best possible way. Thus, it is better to get acquainted with the standards and be ready to complete such assignments on your own. Here are some useful tips on how to write a good cover letter for an essay.
A cover letter is normally no longer than one page of typed text. Use the same overall format as in the resume in terms of font style, size, and margins. However, it presupposes the business letter format, which means the usage of block paragraphs that have no indentations and single spacing within the paragraphs but are double-spaced between them. And of course, as with any business letter, it should have a header, salutation, and closure.
Header and Salutation
The header is placed at the top, in the left-hand corner, and includes your name, contact details, and date. Below the date, greet the recipient(s) of your cover letter. It may be the Admissions Committee or a specific person if you know whom exactly to address. The letter will start on the subsequent line after the salutation, not indented.
A typical structure used for such documents is that of a 5-paragraph essay. It may be shorter than 5 paragraphs; however, an informative introduction with a thesis statement, strong supporting paragraphs, and a logical conclusion are still needed to make the writing well-organized and complete. Outline the letter before writing it and ensure that every paragraph is focused on a narrow idea that supports your thesis statement and conveys your main idea.
An introductory paragraph should not be too long. Remember that the entire cover letter must be no longer than a page. Make it about 100 words, which should be sufficient to present your main point. In this section, you must elucidate the key issues of the admissions essay and the way they demonstrate your fitness for the institution. Keep the tone formal without excessive pomposity.
The main body of the cover letter is the place to discuss the admissions essay in detail. Here, you will explain what motivated you to choose this specific school and the inspirations for the essay topic. It is a good opportunity to emphasize some key issues and parts of the essay, pointing out what exactly you want the committee to pay special attention to. Avoid pasting whole blocks of the essay into the letter by all means. Instead, present the issues in a different way and from a different angle.
As in any letter or paper, a conclusion serves to make the final statement and summarize the ideas discussed in the body. Here, you should remind yourself why you are a good candidate for the institution and express your gratitude for the granted chance to apply. Do not repeat the same sentences used in the body paragraphs. Wrap up the story smoothly and logically.
Keeping up the formal tone of a business letter, it must end with a very appropriate sign-off. Use formal “Sincerely” or “Respectfully” followed by a comma. Leave some blank space below it for the physical signature. Type your name on the last line.
- Before writing any admissions essays or cover letters, conduct thorough research about the school you are applying to. Check out their website, social media pages, advertising brochures, and any other materials that can be available. Knowing about their majors, programs, culture, and any specific offerings will help you in choosing the right topic for the essay and making proper emphases in both an essay and a cover letter.
- Always follow the directions. Include a cover letter only if the admissions committee demands it. In your essay, cover only the required issues and questions. Do not deviate from the exact instructions.
- Keep the tone, style, and language as formal as possible. Firstly, it proves the seriousness of your intentions. Secondly, it is a mark of respect to those who will consider your candidacy. Lastly, it shows your readiness for the college level.
- Be specific in both the admissions essay and the cover letter. Try not to use the same ones to apply to different colleges. It is always very noticeable to any admissions committee member. Tailor each document to the specific institution.
- Avoid clichés. Your application package will always stand out if it contains something original, unconventional, and even unexpected. Show your individuality instead of using templates and tired old phrases and hooks.
- Never forget to proofread and edit. Thorough proofreading will help to avoid a lot of typos and mechanical errors made unintentionally. A neat and error-free essay and cover letter will create a positive impression and enhance your chances of enrollment.
If you need to submit a cover letter for an essay while applying to a higher educational establishment, be sure to craft it properly. Mind the length, business letter formatting, specificity, and originality, as well as all the structural, formatting, and grammatical standards. A decent application package with all the accompanying documents, including your resume, admissions essay, and cover letter, is half of the success on your way to the school of your dream.