Five tips for writing a motivational letter


Written by Anita

03 Dec 2017

As a student there comes a time when we need to write a motivational as we apply for a course or degree. Here are my five tips for writing a motivational letter.

Tip #1: Know yourself

What I mean by this is that sit down and really take time to understand why you are interested in this specific college, university or degree programme. Write down at least five unique things that make you stand out from everyone else.

Illustration of a wordcloud.

Tip #2: Research your subject

Do some googling and research the University, degree programme or course that you are applying to. Go as in depth as you can. Find out details such as the mission, vision and motto of the university or even the learning outcomes of the degree. These go a long way when you begin to draft your motivational letter. The more specific and detail oriented you are in your letter the better. It goes a long way to show that you have put in the work. Also, look at examples of motivational letters ↗️ online.

Four Swedish university logos.
Photo: Anita / Swedish universities

Tip #3: Draft it

This is an important part of the process of crafting your letter. In my case, it usually takes about 3-4 drafts to do a motivational letter. In each draft I start with writing down my main ideas and working in sort of sections. This helps the flow of my letter. Check out how I organize my paragraphs when it comes to writing a CV. However, for a motivational letter the paragraphs should flow.

Illustration, text reads 'Draft'.

Tip #4: Answer important questions

Have you addressed these important questions in your letter?

Illustration of people.

Tip #5: Clean it up

Make sure your letter is one page long, in the correct font and you have checked for spelling and grammar. I also advice you to give to a few people to read through and give you comments. This really helps.

Scrabble letters spelling out 'Organize'.
Photo: ↗️


  • Know yourself
  • Research your subject
  • Draft it
  • Answer important questions
  • Clean it up

A motivational letter is your chance to present yourself as a motivated, bright and highly capable student ready to gain entry into a University/degree/course. Make your letter a shining personal description of your unique self to show admissions who you are and why you want to be accepted.

This doctor Seuss quote comes to mind:

Illustration with quote, 'Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than You.'

All the best with your applications!

Remember those applying to Study in Sweden next autumn the deadline for admission is 15th January. ↗️ Check out previous posts by ambassadors on applying to Sweden.

From Sweden with Love


Written by Anita

03 Dec 2017