“Cleaning out my office at Soda (bittersweet!). Among the more entertaining letters I received in grad school…” by neil conway is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/.

A letter of intent (also known as a statement of purpose) is a document that outlines your academic and professional background, reasons for pursuing graduate studies, and future career aspirations. This letter is crucial as it showcases your motivation, academic accomplishments, and professional goals, demonstrating your suitability for the program.

Steps to Write an Impressive Letter of Intent

Research the Program

Learn about the faculty, curriculum, research opportunities, mission statement, values, clubs, and social activities of the program. Use this research to tailor your letter specifically to the program and demonstrate how you align with its goals and culture.

Brainstorm Ideas

Reflect on your motivations, academic and professional achievements, relevant research or projects, and future career goals.

Create an Outline

Divide your letter into sections: Introduction, Academic Background, Professional Background, Future Goals, and Conclusion. This ensures logical flow and comprehensive coverage of essential points.

“It’s official: I was accepted to GW’s Accelerated MBA program” by Wayan Vota is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/.

Write the Letter

Be concise and clear, avoiding clich├ęs and generalizations. Be specific and provide examples to support your claims. Tailor the letter to the program and use transitional phrases for smooth flow. Proofread meticulously for spelling and grammar errors.

Get Feedback

Have a mentor, advisor, or colleague review your letter to provide constructive criticism and identify areas for improvement.

Benefits and Challenges of Writing a Letter of Intent


A personalized showcase of your achievements, motivation, and goals helps to distinguish you from other applicants. It also enables you to clarify and articulate your academic and professional goals.


Writing a letter of intent is time-consuming and requires significant effort and research. A poorly written letter can harm your chances of acceptance.

Tips for Finalizing Your Letter of Intent

Highlight unique qualities and experiences. Provide specific examples to demonstrate your interest and commitment. Avoid repeating information from other application materials. Use active voice for more engaging writing.

Additional Tips

Address any potential weaknesses in your application. Start early to allow ample time for research, brainstorming, and revisions. Use a strong opening and closing to capture interest and reiterate enthusiasm. Follow all provided guidelines and instructions to the letter. Ensure your writing is authentic and reflects your genuine voice and personality.

Additional FAQ Insights

Letter Length

Typically one to two pages, depending on program requirements.

Writing Style

Professional and clear, avoiding overly informal or highly formal language.


Include academic/professional background, reasons for graduate studies, future goals, and program fit. Customize each letter for the specific program, even if reusing some elements.

By synthesizing research, organizing ideas, drafting, and revising carefully, you can construct a strong and compelling letter of intent that greatly enhances your graduate school application.

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