Applying to attend Graduate School implies that you have completed at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, have the marks to support your application, and the interest in pursuing a specific area of study. Each school or even program within a school may have different guidelines regarding the information they require to decide on acceptance into the program.
Before preparing a Graduate School Letter of Intent, take the time to investigate the expectations of the school regarding format, academic, professional, and professional accomplishments. These should be highlighted in your letter and match these guidelines.
What is Graduate School
Graduate school is a program of study that is focused on one field and more advanced than undergrad studies. The grad school emphasizes building on a student’s:
- Knowledge and skills
- Academic discipline
- Producing original research
- Building a career along with professional skills in a field of study
Graduate students graduate typically with a grad degree:
- Master of Arts
- Master of Science
- Doctor of Philosophy
- Masters of Business Administration
- Medical Doctor
- Law Degree
Students applying for graduate school are expected to have already attained a bachelor’s degree in a related field of study and usually must maintain a high GPA.
What is a Graduate School Letter of Intent?
The Graduate School Letter of Intent is a short description, usually no longer than one page describing the person’s achievements, skill sets, and stated goals relative to the field of study. Acceptance decisions are usually made by committees, who look for people who have a genuine interest and can demonstrate they would be an addition to the program.
The Graduate School Letter of Intent should list:
- The applicant’s skills
- Their research and professional interests
- Their accomplishments
- Background information such as previous work, studies, projects, essays
- Mentors in the field of the proposed study
This is your opportunity to convince the Graduate Schools committee that your contribution to the field of study and the school will be a positive one.
How to Write a Graduate School Letter of Intent
The Graduate School Letter of Intent should always be personalized to the graduate position applied for. Keep the letter to one page, introduce yourself and highlight your skills, knowledge, accomplishments, and research interests. Match your skills etc. to the grad program and the research area. Show that you are interested in pursuing and advancing the knowledge of this field.
Each letter of intent should be professional, free of grammatical and spelling errors. Many research committees will immediately remove a candidate, especially if they have many candidates for the graduate program.
What to Include
The Graduate School Letter of Intent should include the following:
- Address information for yourself and the contact on the committee or school
- An introduction paragraph
- Research and professional interests, skills, and experience summary focusing on matching to the graduate program
- Call to action
Address information: include your full name and address with phone number and the chair of the committee or person the letter will be sent to including, address, and phone Introduction: introduce yourself, why you are writing to the graduate school, the program applied to, and your interest in studying in this field.
Skills Summary: Identify key skills, experience, and education and how they match the needs of and support the ongoing research in your field of interest.
Call to Action: Summarize your interest, state your follow-up plan, and indicate your interest in joining this graduate school’s program.
Tips and Things to Avoid
- Always use a letter format tailored to the graduate school
- If sending your letter by email, include a concise subject clearly showing why you are sending the email
- Include your contact details in the email signature
- Research the school – learn about the culture, mission, and field of study, the decision-makers on the committee, their expectations specifically related to your field
- Review how you will add value to the graduate school and the program in your field of study
- Highlight your strongest credentials and skills related to the graduate school’s needs
- Do not repeat your resume in the Graduate School Letter of Intent
- Make it short, 3 or 4 short paragraphs, one page in length
- Always proofread your job letter of intent, check for grammar and spelling
Format – Graduate School Letter of Intent
Your Name, address, and Phone number
Name of the person the letter is addressed to(or committee), University Name, address, phone number
Body – Paragraph 1 – Introduction
Body – Paragraph 2 – Describe Skills, Abilities & Credentials
Body – Paragraph 3 – Next Steps and/or Call to Action
Your Name printed under the signature
More Details – Graduate School Letter of Intent
Your name, address, and phone number: Include these details in your contact information area if sending an email
Date: date letter is being sent. There is no need to include the date when sending the letter electronically.
Name of the person the letter is addressed to, address, phone number: address the letter to the person chairing the admissions committee. If there is no name, call the university to obtain the full name, address, and phone number, otherwise use the admissions committee address.
Salutation: Keep it professional, Dear XXXX, use the appropriate salutation, e.g. Mr., Mrs., Ms., or keep it impersonal i.e. To The Admissions Committee
Body – Paragraph 1 – Introduction: Introduce yourself and cover why you are sending the letter. Mention the graduate program and position you are applying for.
Body – Paragraph 2 – Describe Academic Skills, Abilities & Credentials: Match your academic skills and credentials to the requirements of the graduate program. Focus on your strengths and why you are interested in this area of academic specialization and study.
Demonstrate how your undergrad degree, work experience, and other skills will benefit the university graduate program and areas of research.
Body – Paragraph 3 – Next Steps and/or Call to Action: Indicate your plan to follow up with the admissions committee. If the graduate program requests that follow-ups are not accepted, indicate that you look forward to hearing from the admissions committee.
Closing: Use professional business terms such as sincerely, respectfully, or best.
Signature: sign the letter, include your resume, and any other details requested. Send these items to the University admissions committee.
Your Name (printed under the signature)
Sample Graduate School Letter of Intent
Your name, address, and phone number
Name of the person the letter is addressed to
Full University name and address, phone number
Dear Mr., Mrs. Miss (Name of Person), or To The Admissions Committee
I am writing to the university admissions committee and submitting my application to the graduate program in the university applied robotics program. I graduated from (name of university) and received my bachelor’s degree (name of degree) with an (x.xx GPA). I have followed your robotics program and believe it to be the best in the country.
My bachelor’s degree in (name of degree) provides an excellent background to the area of specialization I would like to pursue in my graduate program. I am intensely interested in this subject area and wish to explore the area further to contribute to advancing our understanding of this (subject). I have also included letters of recommendation from several professors supporting my bid to join the graduate program. During my final undergraduate year, my GPA was x.xx. I also ran tutorial classes for year 1 & 2 undergrad students. My grades, experience, training, and strong interest in the graduate program make me an excellent candidate for your program.
I look forward to hearing from the admissions committee. Please do not hesitate to contact me if further information is needed to support my application.
Signature: (sign the letter)
Your Name (printed under the signature)
Graduate School Letter of Intent (Word Template)
The purpose of the Graduate School Letter of Intent is to make an introduction to the university and the members of the admissions committee. The letter should show how you will contribute to advancing the university graduate program in the area of study you are choosing. Customize the letter to match the requirements of the university and the graduate program. Keep it to one page and highlight your strongest skills and abilities related to the program.