College Cover Letter Writing

A college cover letter is your first chance to make a strong impression on members of the admission committee when you are applying to a college or a faculty position. It is a good opportunity to make yourself known and announce your desire to study in that particular institution. If you do not know how to present your qualifications effectively in a cover letter, below you will find some useful recommendations.

Differences between Business and Academic Cover Letters

A cover letter for a business job as well as for an academic one has a similar function, but the content is significantly different in kind and quantity. While writing business cover letters, it is generally accepted to tailor it so that it shows all your strong sides that will be appropriate for getting a specific position or job. A cover letter for college student should highlight one’s accomplishments in detail, thus it has to be long enough. The typical cover letter is usually one to two pages long; it should be five to eight paragraphs, but not more than two pages.

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Some Steps While Writing Cover Letter for College

The First Paragraph of the Cover Letter

In the opening paragraph of your cover letter, you have to present some basic information about you such as what institution  you studied at and what position you are applying for. It can be said that a college cover letter is a type of persuasive writing, as you have to persuade the members of commission to include you as a candidate for further review. Therefore, your first paragraph of cover letter has to provide a statement why you are the best candidate for the position.

Your Audience

Whenever you write any type of paper, you have to know your audience. A college cover letter is not an exception. Before writing your cover letter, you have to read the position notice and find out all needed information about the type of institution you are applying. Many students have studied a wide range of material in their discipline before they start to specialize in a narrow field for their dissertation paper. Since it is quite difficult to find a special position for your exact qualifications, you should emphasize those things that will be relevant to the position proposed.

Some Additional Tips

If you've written a dissertation for political science class on the topic “Populism in the US National Politics at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century”, you will probably not apply for a position of a specialist in politics during the period of the Cold War. However, it should be noted that your specialization is US political movements and parties in the twentieth century. In this case, you should stress the relevance of your dissertation project to the broad context of the US politics in the twentieth century.

In order to create a successful cover letter, you should find all relevant information about the institution you want to apply to. Often you can find a brief description of the institution: ownership (private or public), size, affiliation (nonsectarian, religious), professors, geography (rural, suburban, or urban), etc. The above mentioned factors will impact on the type of information you have to emphasize in your cover letter. Think over the description of college or university you are applying to. You should write your letter in such a way that the admission committee understand that you are the one who best fits for a position presented. Remember to provide them only with relevant information that was selected in the process of learning the institution description.

One more important thing you should pay your attention to is cover letter format. You should strictly follow the academic standard format of cover letter. Make sure that it is properly structured and well-organized. If you are not sure about the format of your cover letter, you can find some samples on how to structure it online.

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Recommendation on Writing Cover Letters Last Paragraph

  • You should include your contact information at the end of the cover letter. It is advisable to provide as many contacts as possible. It is also recommendable to mention a phone number you can be reached at in case you are on a holiday break or something else.
  • You can also mention some events where you will be available for an interview. Additionally, you have to state if you are available for campus-visit or telephone interviews.
  • When writing cover letters, it is also advisable to mention some brief facts that connect you with the institution you are applying to. For example, if you have some special connection to the institution or region such as having grown up in the area where the establishment is situated, you may include this information.
  • In case you are asked to forward some additional materials, you should do this. You can be requested to send teaching evaluations, writing samples, or letters of recommendation. Remember you should always comply with such requests.

Cover Letter Sample

Download PDF Sample.

Follow the advice provided above and you will complete a successful cover letter that will bring you desired position and prosperous future. Do not lose your chance to stand out from others and carve out an academic career you could only dream about.