University Application Letter Example: Free & Effective

In this article, I’ll guide you through a comprehensive, step-by-step process to write an impactful university application letter, including customizable templates to get you started.

Key Takeaways Understand the University’s Requirements: Each university has unique criteria and values. Tailor your application to reflect these. Start with a Strong Opening: Your opening statement should be engaging and reflective of your personality. Highlight Your Academic Achievements: Showcase your academic strengths and relevant accomplishments. Include Extracurricular Activities: Universities look for well-rounded individuals. Highlight your extracurricular involvements. Showcase Your Goals and Aspirations: Clearly articulate your future goals and how the university can help you achieve them. Proofread and Edit: Ensure your application is free from errors and well-structured. Seek Feedback: Before submission, get feedback from mentors or peers. Use the Provided Template: Adapt the template provided at the end of this article to suit your needs.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: research and understand the university’s criteria.

Before you start writing, research the university and the specific program you’re applying to. Understand what they value in their students—is it leadership, community involvement, or academic excellence? This will help you tailor your application to resonate with the admissions committee.

Watercolor painting of a Latinx teenager with headphones on, deeply engrossed in typing on his laptop

Real-Life Example: When I applied to the University of XYZ for their journalism program, I noticed their emphasis on real-world experience. So, I highlighted my internship at a local newspaper and my role as an editor for my school’s magazine.

Step 2: Crafting a Strong Opening

Your opening paragraph should grab the reader’s attention. Start with a personal anecdote, a unique insight, or a compelling fact about your field of interest. This sets the tone for the rest of your application and gives the admissions committee a glimpse of your personality.

Table: Example Openings for Different Fields

Step 3: Highlighting Academic Achievements and Skills

In this section, focus on your academic strengths. Mention awards, high grades, or any unique academic projects. Also, include skills relevant to your field of study.

List: Items to Include

Watercolor painting of a young woman with dark skin and short curly hair, wearing casual attire, intently typing on a laptop

  • GPA (if it’s a strong point)
  • Awards or honors
  • Significant projects or research
  • Relevant skills (e.g., coding, lab techniques)

Step 4: Extracurricular Involvements

Universities seek well-rounded individuals. Discuss your involvement in sports, clubs, volunteer work, or any other extracurricular activities. Explain how these experiences have shaped you.

Chart: Extracurricular Activity and Its Impact

Step 5: Articulating Your Goals and Aspirations

Explain why you’re applying to this program and how it aligns with your career goals. Be specific about how this university, in particular, can help you achieve these goals.

Step 6: Proofreading and Editing

A well-written application is free from grammatical errors and is well-structured. Take time to proofread your application or use tools like Grammarly. Also, getting a second opinion can be invaluable.

Step 7: Seeking Feedback

Before finalizing your application, get feedback from a teacher, mentor, or someone who has been through the process. They can provide insights and suggestions for improvement.

University Application Letter Example Template

[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State, Zip] [Email Address] [Phone Number] [Date]

[Admissions Office] [University Name] [University Address] [City, State, Zip]

Dear Admissions Committee,

Introduction: Your Passion and Purpose I am writing to express my enthusiastic application for the [Program Name] at [University Name].

My interest in [Subject or Field of Study] was sparked by [brief personal anecdote or experience that ignited your passion in the field].

This program, renowned for its [mention specific attributes of the program or faculty], resonates deeply with my academic interests and career aspirations.

Academic Background: Showcasing Your Achievements My academic journey thus far has been a blend of diligence and curiosity. At [Your Current or Previous School], I achieved [mention any notable academic achievements, honors, or GPA if relevant].

Particularly, I found my experience in [mention any significant project or research experience], which further solidified my desire to pursue [mention the field of study or research interests]. This experience has equipped me with [mention relevant skills or knowledge gained].

Extracurricular Involvements: Demonstrating a Well-Rounded Profile Beyond academics, I have engaged in [mention significant extracurricular activities], where I developed [mention skills or experiences gained].

For instance, my involvement in [mention a specific activity] helped me hone my skills in [mention relevant skills like leadership, teamwork, etc.].

These experiences have not only enriched my understanding of [mention how these activities tie into your chosen field or personal growth] but also prepared me for the collaborative and diverse environment at [University Name].

Career Aspirations: Connecting Your Goals with the University My goal is to [mention your career or research goals]. I am particularly drawn to [University Name] because of [mention specific courses, faculty members, research opportunities, or campus resources that align with your goals].

I am eager to contribute to [mention any specific university clubs, groups, or activities you plan to engage in] and immerse myself in the vibrant community at [University Name].

Conclusion: Reinforcing Your Commitment and Fit I am excited about the prospect of joining [University Name] and am confident that my background and aspirations align well with the ethos of your institution.

I am eager to bring my passion for [Subject or Field of Study] to your esteemed program and look forward to the opportunity to contribute to and learn from the diverse and talented community at [University Name].

Thank you for considering my application. I am looking forward to the possibility of contributing to and growing within the [University Name] community.

[Your Name]

NOTE: This template is a starting point. Adapt it to suit your style and the specific requirements of the university and program you are applying to.

Writing a university application can be a transformative journey of self-discovery and reflection. By following these steps and using the provided template, you’re well on your way to creating an application that not only stands out but also truly represents who you are.

Your Feedback Matters!

Did you find this guide helpful? Do you have any specific strategies that worked for you in your university applications?

Share your experiences and suggestions in the comments below – your insights could be invaluable to others embarking on their application journey!

Related Posts

  • 3 Proven University Application Letter Templates
  • Sample Letter Of Interest For University Admission: Free & Effective
  • Email To University Asking For Admission Status: The Easy Way!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Q: what should i include in my university application letter to stand out.

Answer : In my experience, including a personal anecdote that highlights your unique qualities and aligns with the university’s values can really make your application letter stand out. It’s not just about listing achievements; it’s about telling your story in a way that resonates with the admissions committee.

Q: How can I make my university application letter more personal?

Answer : I’ve found that researching the specific program and faculty at the university and mentioning how they align with my academic interests and career goals adds a personal touch to the application letter. It shows the admissions committee that you’re genuinely interested in what they offer and not just sending a generic letter.

Q: Is it necessary to mention my academic achievements in my university application letter?

Answer : Absolutely, mentioning your academic achievements is crucial, but it’s equally important to contextualize them. In my letters, I always connect my achievements to broader personal goals or experiences, giving the admissions committee a sense of who I am beyond the numbers.

Q: How long should my university application letter be?

Answer : From my experience, keeping the application letter to about one page is ideal. It’s long enough to cover essential aspects of your profile and motivation, yet concise enough to maintain the reader’s interest and respect their time.

Q: Can I use the same application letter for multiple universities?

Answer : While it’s tempting to use the same letter for efficiency, I always tailor my letters to each university. Personalizing the letter to reflect how I resonate with each specific institution’s ethos and offerings significantly increases the impact of my application.

Q: How do I address a gap in my academic or professional journey in my application letter?

Answer : I’ve addressed gaps in my journey by framing them as periods of learning and growth, highlighting how the experiences gained during the gap contribute to my academic and professional aspirations. This shows resilience and a proactive attitude to the admissions committee.

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University Admission Application Letter (with Samples & PDFs)

I have listed sample templates to help you craft an effective and professional university admission application letter.

Also, I would like to point out that you can also download a PDF containing all the samples at the end of this post.

Successful Application Letter for University Admission

First, find the sample template for university admission application letter below.

To, The Admissions Committee, [Name of the University], [Address of the University], [City], [State], [Postal Code]

Subject: Application for Admission to [Name of the Course]

Respected Sir/Madam,

I, [Your Full Name], resident of [Your Address], am writing this letter to show my keen interest in applying for the [Name of the Course] at your esteemed university for the academic year [Year].

I have recently completed my [last educational qualification] from [Name of School/College] with an aggregate of [Your Percentage/CGPA], and I am eager to further my studies in the field of [Field of Study]. I believe that studying at [Name of the University] will provide me the right knowledge, skills, and exposure to excel in this field.

I am particularly drawn to the [Name of the Course] at [Name of the University] because of its reputation for providing high-quality education and its focus on practical learning. I am confident that this course will help me achieve my academic and career goals.

Enclosed with this letter are my mark sheets, certificates, and other required documents. I kindly request you to consider my application and provide me with an opportunity to prove my potential and contribute to the university.

I am looking forward to being a part of your esteemed institution and assure you that I will put in my best efforts in all my endeavours.

Thank you for considering my application. I am eager to hear from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Full Name] [Your Contact Information] [Your Email Address]

Below I have listed 5 different sample applications for “university admission application letter” that you will certainly find useful for specific scenarios:

Crafting a Persuasive University Application Letter to Showcase Leadership Skills

Crafting a Persuasive University Application Letter to Showcase Leadership Skills

To, The Admissions Committee, [University Name], [University Address].

Subject: Application for Admission to [Desired Course Name]

I, [Your Full Name], a student of Class XII from [Your School Name], am writing to express my keen interest in applying for the [Desired Course Name] at your esteemed university. I believe that my strong leadership skills, coupled with my academic accomplishments, make me an ideal candidate for this course.

I have consistently excelled in my studies, but more importantly, I have taken the initiative to lead and guide my peers through various activities. As the Head Boy/Girl of my school, I’ve learned to inspire and motivate my fellow students, organize events, and address issues efficiently. These experiences have honed my leadership abilities and have taught me how to balance my academic commitments with extracurricular responsibilities.

I played a pivotal role in initiating a ‘Clean Campus Drive’ in my school, where I led a team of students to maintain cleanliness and fostered a sense of responsibility among them. This initiative not only improved the school environment but also instilled a sense of community and teamwork among the students.

Moreover, I represented my school at the [Local/State/National] Leadership Summit, where I had the opportunity to interact with other young leaders and share innovative ideas to improve our communities. This experience broadened my perspective and reinforced my desire to lead and make a difference.

If given the opportunity to join [University Name], I assure you that I will bring these leadership qualities to contribute positively to the university community. I am eager to leverage my experiences to participate actively in student-led initiatives and further develop my leadership skills.

I am confident that [University Name] is the perfect platform for me to grow not just acadically but also as a leader. I humbly request you to consider my application favorably. I look forward to the opportunity to be a part of your esteemed institution.

Thank you for considering my application.

Yours Sincerely, [Your Full Name], [Your Contact Information].

Writing a Compelling University Application Letter Highlighting Athletic Achievements

Writing a Compelling University Application Letter Highlighting Athletic Achievements

To, The Admissions Committee, [Name of the University], [Address of the University]

Subject: Application for Admission and Highlighting Athletic Achievements

I hope this letter finds you in the best of health and spirits. I am [Your Name], a student from [Your School Name], [Your City], intending to apply for the [Course Name] at your esteemed university.

Academically, I have consistently performed well, securing a GPA of [Your GPA] in the previous year. However, I am not just a diligent student in the classroom, but also a passionate sportsperson. I believe my athletic achievements will contribute to the vibrant sports culture at your university.

Over the last few years, I have been an active participant in athletics and have had the honour of representing my school at various district, state, and national level competitions. In the recent [Name of Sports Event], I clinched the gold medal in [Name of the Sport], making my school and family immensely proud. Additionally, I was also the recipient of the prestigious [Name of the Award] given for outstanding performance in sports.

My commitment to sports has not only honed my physical abilities but has also helped me develop leadership skills, team spirit, and resilience. I believe that these qualities will not only aid me in my academic pursuit but also contribute to the overall diversity and vitality of your university’s student community.

I am enthusiastic about bringing the same dedication and spirit to your esteemed university and contributing to its athletic teams. I am certain that the comprehensive education and diverse opportunities provided by your university will help me grow, both acadically and athletically.

I am hopeful that you will consider my application favourably. Thank you for considering my application. I am looking forward to the possibility of becoming a part of your prestigious university.

Yours sincerely, [Your Name] [Your Contact Information]

Articulating Academic Excellence in a University Admission Application Letter

Articulating Academic Excellence in a University Admission Application Letter

The Dean of Admissions, [University Name], [University Address], [City], [State], [Pin Code]

Subject: Application for Admission

Dear Sir/Madam,

I, [Your Name], am writing this letter seeking admission to the [Course Name] course at your prestigious institution for the academic year [Year]. I have recently completed my [last academic degree/course] from [Your School/College Name] in [City, State].

I have always been passionate about [subject(s) related to the course], and I am confident that my academic achievements reflect this. I have consistently maintained a high academic standing in my schooling years, ranking in the top [percentage/rank] of my class. My teachers have commended me for my dedication and commitment to learning, which is evident from my grades and participation in various academic competitions.

Moreover, I have been an active participant in various extracurricular activities that have helped me develop a holistic understanding of the world. I have led [mention some leadership roles], worked on [mention any projects or initiatives], and engaged in [mention any community service or volunteer work]. These experiences have taught me the importance of teamwork, leadership, and responsibility, and have fuelled my desire to further my learning.

Your institution, with its exemplary faculty and state-of-the-art facilities, stands as the ideal platform for me to deepen my knowledge and broaden my horizon. I am particularly drawn to the [mention specific aspects of the course or university that attract you], and I am confident that these will provide the right environment to nurture my academic and personal growth.

I am committed to maintaining my academic excellence and contributing positively to the university community. I am hopeful that I will be given the opportunity to bring my passion, dedication, and academic prowess to your esteemed institution.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of contributing to and learning from the [University Name] community.

Yours Sincerely, [Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State, Pin Code] [Email Address] [Phone Number]

Tailoring a University Application Letter to Highlight Community Service Experiences

Tailoring a University Application Letter to Highlight Community Service Experiences

The Admission Committee, [University Name], [University Address], [City, State, Zip Code]

I hope this letter finds you in good health. I am [Your Name], a student of [Your School Name], seeking admission to your esteemed university for the upcoming academic year.

I am writing this letter to express my keen interest in the [Course Name] program at your prestigious institution. I have always been intrigued by [Subject Name], and I am eager to explore this field under the guidance of the accomplished faculty at [University Name].

During my time at high school, I have actively participated in various community service programs that have not only enriched my life but have also enhanced my understanding of society and its needs. I was a part of the ‘Clean-Up Drive’ in my local community, where we focused on maintaining cleanliness and educating people about the importance of hygiene.

In addition, I volunteered in the ‘Joy of Giving’ initiative, aimed at providing essential supplies to underprivileged children. This experience truly humbled me and made me realize the value of giving back to society. I believe these experiences have shaped me as an individual and have taught me the importance of empathy, teamwork, and leadership.

I am certain that these experiences will enable me to contribute to the diverse community at [University Name]. I am eager to bring my commitment to service and dedication to learning to your campus, and I look forward to the possibility of contributing my skills and experiences to your distinguished institution.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of discussing my application with you further.

Yours faithfully,

[Your Name] [Your Contact Information]

Penning a University Application Letter Expressing a Deep Passion for a Specific Field of Study

Penning a University Application Letter Expressing a Deep Passion for a Specific Field of Study

To, The Admissions Office, [University Name], [University Address],

Subject: Application for Admission in [Specific Field of Study]

I, [Your Full Name], a resident of [Your City Name], am writing this letter to express my deep interest in applying for the [Specific Field of Study] program at your esteemed university for the academic year [Year of Admission].

My passion for [Specific Field of Study] was kindled during my school years, when I found myself fascinated by [Mention something specific about the field that fascinated you]. Since then, my curiosity and interest in this field have only grown. I have spent countless hours learning and honing my skills, and now I aspire to take this passion forward and delve deeper into this field at a university level.

Your esteemed university, with its excellent faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and a rich history of producing exceptional talent in the field of [Specific Field of Study], is my dream institution. I am especially drawn to the [mention a specific aspect/feature of the university’s program that appeals to you], which I believe would greatly enhance my learning experience and provide me with a holistic understanding of the subject.

I have consistently excelled in this field during my school years [mention any achievements, awards, or recognition received]. I am confident that my dedication, coupled with the guidance of the exceptional faculty at [University Name], will equip me with the necessary skills and knowledge to contribute positively to this field.

I assure you of my utmost commitment and dedication towards my studies, and I am eager to make the most of the opportunities offered at your prestigious institution. I am hopeful that you will consider my application favorably.

Thank you for considering my application. I am looking forward to the opportunity of being a part of [University Name].

Yours Sincerely,

[Your Full Name] [Your Contact Information]

How to Write University Admission Application Letter

Some writing tips to help you craft a better application:

  • Start with your personal information including your full name, address, the date, and the recipient’s address.
  • Open the letter with a formal salutation, addressing the admissions committee or specific admission officer, if known.
  • Introduce yourself, your current educational status and the program you’re applying to.
  • Describe your academic interests, why you chose this university, and how it aligns with your career goals.
  • Highlight your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and any relevant work or volunteer experience.
  • Explain any gaps or anomalies in your academic record, if applicable.
  • State how you could contribute to the university and its community.
  • End with a strong closing statement expressing your enthusiasm and gratitude for being considered.
  • Include a formal sign-off, your full name and signature.
  • Proofread your letter multiple times for any grammatical errors, spelling mistakes or typos.

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I am sure you will get some insights from here on how to write “university admission application letter”. And to help further, you can also download all the above application samples as PDFs by clicking here .

And if you have any related queries, kindly feel free to let me know in the comments below.

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Writing Cover Letters for University Applications [2023 Guide]

Applying to university can be a daunting experience, especially when it comes to crafting the perfect cover letter for your application. A well-written cover letter can be the deciding factor between getting accepted into your dream program or receiving a rejection letter. In this guide, we will explore the importance of a strong cover letter, its purpose, format, content, and provide tips and examples to help you craft a compelling cover letter for your university application.

A cover letter for a university application is an essential document that can make or break your chances of getting admitted to your dream program. The importance of a strong cover letter in the application process cannot be understated, as it serves to introduce you, showcase your achievements, and demonstrate your passion for the chosen program or course.

In this article, we will cover:

  • The purpose of a cover letter for university applications
  • The format and structure of a cover letter
  • The content and elements of an effective cover letter
  • Tips for writing a compelling cover letter
  • Common cover letter mistakes to avoid
  • Sample cover letters for university applications

By following the advice and guidance provided in this article, you will be well-equipped to create a cover letter that stands out from the competition and increases your chances of admission. So, let's dive in and learn how to craft the perfect cover letter for your university application!

Purpose of a Cover Letter for University Applications

The primary purpose of a cover letter is to introduce the applicant, showcase their achievements, and demonstrate their passion for the chosen program or course. A cover letter complements other application materials, such as your resume and transcripts, by highlighting your unique qualities and strengths that may not be evident in those documents.

An effective cover letter can also demonstrate your motivation and commitment to the program, which can influence the admissions committee's decision. For example, MIT's Career Advising & Professional Development office explains that a well-crafted cover letter can help set you apart from other applicants by providing context and a personal touch to your application.

Format and Structure of a Cover Letter

A proper format and structure are crucial for creating a professional and effective cover letter for a university application. A standard cover letter typically includes:

  • Header (with your contact information and the date)
  • Salutation (addressing the recipient)
  • Introduction (capturing the reader's attention)
  • Body (highlighting your qualifications, achievements, and passion)
  • Conclusion (leaving a lasting impression)
  • Complimentary close (e.g., "Sincerely," followed by your name)

Proper formatting, such as using an appropriate font, font size, and margin settings, is essential for creating a polished and professional appearance. Keep your language clear and concise, and make sure to proofread and edit your letter to ensure it is error-free.

Content and Elements of a Cover Letter

A successful cover letter for a university application should contain specific elements that demonstrate the applicant's qualifications, achievements, and passion for the program. These elements include:

  • Addressing the letter to the appropriate recipient
  • Crafting an engaging introduction that captures the reader's attention
  • Including essential elements in the body of the letter, such as academic interests, extracurricular activities, and relevant experiences
  • Writing a compelling conclusion that leaves a lasting impression

Tailoring the content to the specific university or program is crucial, as demonstrated by Seattle Pacific University's Career Services . They advise that telling stories about your skills and experiences that are relevant to the specific program can help make your cover letter more effective.

Tips for Writing an Effective Cover Letter

Following certain tips and best practices can significantly improve the quality and impact of a cover letter for a university application:

  • Research the university and program before writing the letter to better understand their values and expectations.
  • Showcase your unique qualities and strengths by providing specific examples and details.
  • Use strong action verbs and avoid clichés or overused phrases, as suggested by Freesumes .
  • Seek feedback from teachers, counselors, or peers to ensure your cover letter is polished and compelling.
  • Revise and refine your letter until it accurately represents your passion and qualifications for the program.

Common Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid

Avoiding common cover letter mistakes is essential for creating a strong and effective university application:

  • Address the letter to the correct recipient to show your attention to detail and professionalism.
  • Avoid using generic or overly broad language, which can make your letter less impactful.
  • Submit a well-formatted and professional-looking letter to convey your seriousness and commitment.
  • Refrain from including irrelevant or excessive information that distracts from your main strengths.
  • Proofread and edit your letter to eliminate typos, grammatical errors, and other mistakes that can undermine its impact.

Sample Cover Letters for University Applications

Examining sample cover letters can provide valuable insights and inspiration for crafting a successful university application. We recommend:

  • Analyzing high-quality sample cover letters for various university programs or courses
  • Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each sample
  • Adapting the samples to your specific situation and application
  • Using the samples as a starting point for creating your unique cover letter
  • Remembering to tailor your letter to the specific university or program

With proper research, planning, and execution, a well-crafted cover letter can significantly enhance a university application and increase the chances of admission. By applying the tips and guidance provided in this article, you will be well-prepared to create a compelling cover letter that showcases your passion, achievements, and qualifications for your dream program.

As a final piece of advice, remember that persistence and dedication are key to success in the university application process. Keep refining your cover letter and learning from feedback until you have a polished and impactful document that truly represents you. Good luck on your university application journey!

College Application Letters: Cover Letters & Letters of Continued Interest

College application letters.

College application cover letters support your college applications, college resume, and college application essay prompts. In combination with the other elements of your college applications, particularly your college entrance essay, college application letters help establish your “why.” In short, a college application letter is a cover letter for your college applications that describes your background, skills, and interest in the school. When looking at college application cover letter examples, pay attention to the values that they express. College application letters and college entrance essays are similar in that they are exercises in personal branding. When reading college application cover letter examples, pay attention to the messages they convey. 

If you’re wondering how to write a college application letter, has advisors who can walk you through every part of the process. If your goal is to get into top colleges, can help. We’ll analyze examples of college application letters and discuss the letter of continued interest to help you craft successful applications. 

In this guide, we’ll break down the different kinds of college application letters you may encounter when completing your college applications. We’ll discuss the college application letter and the letter of continued interest, as well as teacher recommendation letters.

If you want to read college application cover letter samples, you’ve come to the right place!

What is a college application letter?

To learn how to write a college application letter, you must first understand its purpose. Do this by checking out college application cover letter examples. College application letters and college resumes serve as introductions for your college applications. Unlike college application essay prompts, there are no specific questions to answer in your cover letter. Instead, include the essential elements of university application letters: your background, what makes you unique, and your reasons for wanting to attend that particular college. In short, what makes you, you .

As you’ll see when reading example college application letters, college application cover letters are not all that different from what you would write in a cover letter when applying for a job or graduate school. The purpose of college application cover letters, college entrance essays, and college resumes is to persuade colleges that you are the strongest candidate for admissions. 

College application cover letters are not the time to be shy, but they’re not the time to be pretentious either. When reading college application cover letter examples, you’ll see that there’s a fine line. Your tone matters. In your university application letters, show your experiences and accomplishments while portraying character traits that colleges value. To get into top colleges, find a balance between being proud of your accomplishments and being humble.

College application letters – Who requires them?

Unlike college entrance essays, college application letters are required by very few colleges. However, the skills you’ll develop by writing university application letters will serve you well as you approach your college application essay prompts. When researching college application examples, you’ll notice that there are optional materials to submit. If you’re serious about your college applications, submit university application letters to show your interest. 

College application cover letters are particularly effective if the college does not have college application essay prompts that ask you to explain why you want to attend the school and/or why you want to study your major. They are even more strongly recommended when applying to colleges that don’t have any supplemental essays. You’ll see many college application cover letter examples that focus primarily on academics, but you can include so much more.

Though university application letters are rarely required, they provide an ideal way to introduce yourself. After all, you’ll notice when reading college application cover letter samples that the goal is to help the admissions committee get to know you as a person. You are more than just your grades and scores.

If you want to get into top colleges that don’t allow you to submit a college resume or don’t provide interviews, you need to take extra steps to earn acceptance. Often, you can repurpose content from college application essay prompts that ask why you want to study your major! The college application essay format differs from that of a college application letter, but they serve a very similar purpose.

Test your knowledge about other aspects of the college admissions process in our quiz below!

What is a letter of continued interest?

A letter of continued interest (LOCI) is a letter you send to a college when you are deferred or placed on the waitlist. So, not everyone will need to write a college application letter of continued interest.

Your letter of continued interest has three primary goals: 

  • Reaffirm your interest in the school.
  • Provide additional context for your application. 
  • Discuss accomplishments on your college resume that have occurred since you submitted your application.

In this guide on how to write a college application letter, we discuss all forms of college application letters in detail. We’ll expand on the above goals to explain the strategies for writing effective letters.

Explaining teacher recommendation letters 

In addition to submitting a college application cover letter and, potentially, a letter of continued interest, your application will also include recommendation letters . These letters enhance your college application entrance essay and build on answers to supplemental college application essay prompts. 

Due to the shift away from standardized testing, other parts of your college applications are inevitably getting more attention in the evaluation process. When assessing your college applications, admissions committees will often rely on letters from your teachers and counselor in place of interviews.

When reading sample college application letters of recommendation, you’ll observe that some are better than others. But, it can be a bit harder to find example teacher recommendations than it is to find college application cover letter examples. To ensure high-quality letters, create a plan well in advance of your senior year. You’ll want to ask teachers to write your recommendations who know you best beyond your grades. The strongest sample college application letters of recommendation speak to both your personal and academic strengths. 

College application sample recommendation letters with the biggest impact typically come from teachers from your core junior year courses – math, science, English, and social studies. If there’s a teacher from your junior year who taught you during your sophomore or senior year too, even better! Teachers who know you through multiple environments – clubs, classes, sports, or other areas – can often do the best job speaking to your growth and achievement over time. 

Choose teachers who know you best

Ultimately, the most effective sample college application letters of recommendation are written by the teachers who know you best. Pay attention to the college application requirements for each school on your list. Note when reading example college application letters of recommendation who the intended audience is. Some schools require math or science teachers for STEM and business majors , while others require English or social studies teachers for humanities majors .

For example, when looking at college application sample requirements, MIT writes “One recommendation should be from a math or science teacher, and one should be from a humanities, social science, or language teacher.” Caltech also requires one math or science teacher evaluation and one humanities or social sciences teacher evaluation. 

Some applicants are tempted to send more letters than the college applications require. However, aim for quality over quantity. If you want to ask another teacher to write a recommendation letter for you, ask yourself what perspective they will bring to your college applications that isn’t already covered in your college entrance essay or other recommendation letters. 

Don’t hesitate to provide materials to help your teachers and guidance counselor write their letters of recommendation for you. In fact, you should! When reading college application sample letters of recommendation, you’ll note that they are specific and provide examples where possible. Some teachers will even have you fill out a standard form to gather information from you. So, by having additional information already prepared, you are helping them tremendously. 

Here are some materials you can provide to help your recommendations augment your college applications:

  • College entrance essay
  • College resume or a list of your extracurricular activities and awards
  • Responses to college application essay prompts.
  • A sample college application letter that you’re sending to one of your colleges.
  • A few paragraphs about why you want to study your major or pursue your intended career. 
  • Key elements of the course you took with them, such as a favorite project or unit. 

When preparing materials to give to teachers, read the instructions given to recommenders by MIT. Even if you aren’t applying to MIT, the information can still be helpful to know. By understanding the process of writing recommendation letters on the teacher’s side, you can see what information will help them write a strong letter for you. 

Don’t wait until you’re submitting your college applications to ask your teachers for recommendations. Some teachers limit the number that they will write, and you want them to have plenty of time to write a quality recommendation. To make sure you have the best recommendations , ask teachers late in your junior year or early in your senior year.

The College Application Letter

As we’ve mentioned, a college application letter is a cover letter for your college applications. It describes your background, skills, and interest in the school. It’s different from both the college application essay format and the letter of continued interest. When reviewing college application samples, you’ll see that your cover letter works together with your college resume and college entrance essay to help admissions officers get to know you. 

Below, we’ll discuss how to write a college application letter and walk through a sample college application letter. But remember, you want your letter to be original! Don’t feel limited by what’s in any examples of college application letters.

Do all schools require a college application letter?

No — few schools actually require college application letters. However, learning to write a strong college application letter can help you in other aspects of the college admissions process. Reading college application cover letter examples can also help you learn how to write for the admissions committee audience. 

One of the ways to learn how to write a college application letter is to read sample college application letters. For instance, the same skills that help you write a strong and concise college application letter will help you in the college essay format, too.

The college application letter – What should I include?

So, you know the purpose of college application letters, but what should you include in them? Reading college application cover letter samples can help you determine this. While the college application essay format lends itself to focusing on one topic or story, college application cover letter examples highlight the importance of covering several different topics.

College application letters should contain the following elements: 

1. school name and address.

You college application letter should follow formal letter formatting guidelines, which include writing the full name of the college or university you are applying to in the upper left hand corner of the letter. Try to be as specific as possible with the address you choose to use.

2. Salutation

A standard salutation is suitable for your college application letter. However, it is a great idea to do your research and use the full name of the admissions officer assigned to your region.

3. Introduction

The best examples of college application letters open strong. Thank the admissions committee for reviewing your application, and introduce yourself. Do you have a unique connection to the school? Can you hook the reader in some way to make them want to keep reading?

4. Explanation of academic interests

Your primary purpose in college is to earn a degree, so notice that in example college application letters most of the space is often devoted to discussing academic plans. Include your intended major and career path, as well as interdisciplinary interests.

5. Discussion of extracurricular interests

The college application essay format may be a place for you to discuss extracurricular involvement, so use this space to elaborate or discuss additional interests. These could be connected to your academic plans, but they don’t have to be.

6. Conclusion

Express your interest in the school! Impactful example college application letters have a clear and brief conclusion that reaffirms your desire to attend and enthusiasm for the opportunity to join the next class of undergraduates. Point to specific classes, professors, programs, organizations, and aspects of the college that pique your interest. No one is going to hold you to your plan, but colleges want to see that you have one.

8. Complimentary Close

Lastly, every good college application letter should include an expression of gratitude alongside your close and your signature.

In the example of a college application letter above, there are a few key details to highlight. The letter is essentially a five-paragraph essay, with one paragraph for each of the five elements. This differs significantly from the college application essay format. In this college application example, the college application letter has clear and distinct sections, and this is very common in college application cover letter samples.

Depending on your interests and plans, you could take a more integrated approach. You’ll read some examples of college application letters that center around a theme or broad plan rather than separated into individual paragraphs.

This sample college application letter is a narrative. The applicant’s goal is to tell her story to the admissions committee. The best sample college application letters paint a picture for the reader and draw the reader into the storyline. Though it can feel like being vivid and descriptive is a waste of your space, “showing instead of telling makes for stronger college applications.

How to format your college application letter?

When reading sample college application letters, you’ll observe that they are formatted very similarly to professional cover letters. Your university application letters should be one page single-spaced. The heading should also be consistent across college application letters. 

  • Your full address
  • The date you will send the letter
  • The admission officer’s name
  • The college name
  • The college address

Then, open your letter with a salutation. Many examples of college application letters open with “Dear” and are addressed to the admission officer. If you cannot find your regional admissions officer, it is fine to address the letter to the admissions office as was done in the sample college application letter above. Once you write the body of your letter, don’t forget your closing salutation – “Sincerely,” and then your name. 

Once you read several sample college application letters, you’ll understand the best practices. After writing a university application letter for one school, you don’t need to start from scratch for additional schools. Adapt what you have to fit the next college’s context and your specific interests on their campus. 

Being concise is key. Your university application letter should not be redundant. If it exceeds one page, see where information you mention is repeated elsewhere in your application. In your cover letter, focus on the content that makes you as original and unique as possible. Most importantly, don’t forget to proofread your university application letters! 

Can a college application letter help me with other parts of my application?

Think of the college application cover letter as the glue that holds your college applications together. When writing it, think about it as your opportunity to show your best self. After brainstorming the content, you’ll be better equipped to craft your candidate profile into a cohesive narrative and articulate why you want to attend the college.

Though many parts of your college applications will be out of your control by the time you reach your senior fall, the college application cover letter is one that you can control. Use it to elevate your college applications, show interest in your top schools , and make yourself stand out among other applicants!

The Letter of Continued Interest

Another form of college application letter is a letter of continued interest . In sample college application letters of continued interest, you’ll see that the primary purpose is to reaffirm your candidacy for a spot in the next incoming class of undergraduates. 

Though it can feel like a waiting game, the waitlist should not be passive. As soon as you are waitlisted or deferred, begin crafting a letter of continued interest. The best college application sample LOCIs are submitted promptly. Put in the effort to show you’re serious about attending. 

College application example LOCIs should focus on recent updates. Likely, a lot has happened since you submitted your application, particularly if you applied by the early deadlines. Strong college application sample LOCIs convey accomplishments and experiences that either add to previously mentioned ones or provide another dimension to your application. 

Letter of continued interest – When and where to submit?

Learn as much as you can by reading college application example LOCIs, but know that each school’s process for when and how to submit them is different. Additionally, the process may vary based on whether you were deferred to the regular decision round of admissions or waitlisted after the regular decision round. It’s important to follow each university’s directions.

Many schools will request that you upload your letter of continued interest to a portal. Some will request that you email it to an address – typically the admissions office. Others won’t allow you to submit any additional materials. If you’re in doubt, call or email the admissions office and ask. 

What to include in your letter of continued interest?

You’ll notice common trends when reading college application sample LOCIs. Effective college application example LOCIs convey a tone of sincerity, gratitude, and enthusiasm for an opportunity to attend. A strong sample college application letter of continued interest includes four elements. 

First, reaffirm your interest in attending the school if offered the chance to matriculate. Then, discuss relevant developments to your application, such as additional extracurricular accolades and continued academic successes. Sometimes, you’ll see a sample college application letter of continued interest that mentions how a student improved a lower mid-year grade or discusses a new leadership role. 

When reading a sample college application letter of continued interest, remember that colleges are looking for reasons to admit you, so don’t be shy! Offer to answer any questions they have and provide additional info in the conclusion of your letter. 

It’s important to back up your claims with supporting evidence. Strong college application sample LOCIs provide examples and specific details, just as you would in a cover letter or essay. Be vivid and descriptive as you share your story!

However, college application example LOCIs that include overly emotional appeals or merely complement the university are unlikely to be effective. Your letter of continued interest should be all about you. Though it can be difficult to realize this when reading college application example LOCIs, recognize that the content of your letter should fit within the context of the rest of your application. 

The many types of college application letters – Final Thoughts

In this guide, we covered several types of letters associated with your college process – college application cover letters, teacher recommendation letters, and letters of continued interest. Reading sample college application letters, whether they are college application cover letter samples or LOCIs, can help you do your best work. But, remember that every applicant’s college application process is unique. 

Our final tips for writing college application letters:

  • Proofread. College application letters with typos or grammatical errors reflect poorly on your effort and candidacy. Use a polished and professional tone in everything you write for your college applications.
  • Be yourself. Though this goal can get lost in the requirements, scores, and grades, you should focus on helping the colleges on your list get to know who you are . 
  • Follow the requirements. Each college has their own requirements for how they want you to submit materials. Pay close attention to the details for each college as you go through the admissions process. can help guide you through every step of the college application process. Check out our blog , webinars , or register with today. Good luck!

This guide to college application letters and letters of continued interest was written by Caroline Marapese, Notre Dame ‘22. At CollegeAdvisor, we have built our  reputation  by providing comprehensive information that offers real assistance to students. If you want to get help with your college applications from  Admissions Experts , click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how can support you in the college application process.

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sample for university application letter

College Application Cover Letter Examples

As a college instructor and communication expert with extensive nonfiction and educational writing experience, Mary shares tips and advice related to a wide variety of topics.

Learn about our Editorial Policy .

When you are applying for college admission, it's important to do everything possible to make sure your application really stands out. Sending a cover letter in support of your application materials can be a great way to capture admissions officers' attention in a positive way while also giving them a chance to learn a bit about your personality and unique circumstances.

Example Cover Letter Templates for College Applications

You can use a cover letter whether you are applying via the Common Application or if you are submitting an individual admission packet. Choose the sample letter below that best fits your needs and adjust it to convey key highlights of why you should be considered for admission. To access each letter, simply click the image. It will open as an editable PDF file that you can customize, save and print. This guide for Adobe printables can be of assistance if you need help with the documents.

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Sample Cover Letter for College Application Packets

If you are submitting a school-specific applicant packet, include the letter with all of your other materials (such as your application form, essay, and application fee).

Example Cover Letter to Pair With the Common App

If you are using the Common App, also known as the Common Application, you may still want to send an individualized cover letter to the schools that you're most interested in attending. Consider sending your cover letter to each school's admissions representative at the same time you complete your Common App, or even a few days before.

Writing Your College Application Cover Letter

While the samples here are great starting points, you will need to adjust them to focus on your specific situation. You will need to include:

  • Why you want to attend this particular school
  • What your academic interests are
  • How the school is a good fit for your academic interests and long-term goals
  • How your background and future interests make you a great candidate to consider
  • Any special connections you have to the school (i.e., do you have relatives who graduated from the school?)
  • Details on how the other components of your application packet will be received
  • A specific request to consider you for admission
  • Details on how to contact you

Stand Out to College Admission Officers

A well-written cover letter can be a terrific add-on to your college application package. Not everyone will think to send this kind of document, so it just might help you stand out among the other applicants. Of course, a poorly written letter can have the opposite effect. So, be sure that your letter follows an appropriate business letter format, really presents you in a positive light, is well-written, and error-free .

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Academic Cover Letters

What is this handout about.

The long list of application materials required for many academic teaching jobs can be daunting. This handout will help you tackle one of the most important components: the cover letter or letter of interest. Here you will learn about writing and revising cover letters for academic teaching jobs in the United States of America.

What is an academic cover letter?

An academic cover letter describes your experiences and interest as a candidate for a specific position. It introduces you to the hiring committee and demonstrates how your academic background fits with the description of the position.

What do cover letters for academic teaching jobs typically contain?

At their most basic level, academic cover letters accomplish three things: one, they express your interest in the job; two, they provide a brief synopsis of your research and teaching; and three, they summarize your past experiences and achievements to illustrate your competence for the job. For early-career scholars, cover letters are typically no more than two pages (up to four pages for senior scholars). Occasionally, a third page may make sense for an early-career scholar if the application does not require a separate teaching statement and/or research statement. Digital versions of cover letters often contain hyperlinks to your CV or portfolio page. For some fields, cover letters may also include examples of your work, including music, popular articles, and other multimedia related to your research, service, or teaching available online. Typically, letters appear on departmental or university letterhead and include your signature. Above all, a strong cover letter presents your accomplishments and your familiarity with the institution and with the position.

How should I prepare to write my academic cover letter?

Like all writing, composing a cover letter is a process. The process may be as short as a few hours or as long as several weeks, but at the end the letter should present you as a strong candidate for the job. The following section has tips and questions for thinking through each stage of this writing process. You don’t need to answer all of these questions to write the letter; they are meant to help you brainstorm ideas.

Before you begin writing your cover letter, consider researching the institution, the department, and the student population. Incorporating all three aspects in your letter will help convey your interest in the position.

Get to know the institution. When crafting your cover letter, be aware of the type of institution to which you are applying. Knowing how the institution presents itself can help you tailor your letter and make it more specific.

  • Where is the institution located?
  • Is it on a quarter-system or semester-system?
  • What type of institution is it? Is it an R1? Is it an R2? Is it a liberal arts college? Is it an HBCU? Is it a community college? A private high school?
  • What is the institution’s culture? Is it teaching-focused or research-focused? Does it privilege experiential learning? Does it value faculty involvement outside the classroom? Is it affiliated with a specific religious tradition?
  • Does it have any specific institutional commitments?
  • How does the institution advocate for involvement in its local community?
  • What are the professional development opportunities for new and junior faculty?

Learn about the department. Knowing the specific culture and needs of the department can help you reach your audience: the department members who will be reading your documents and vetting you as a candidate.

  • Who is on the search committee? Who is the search committee chair?
  • What is the official name of the department?
  • Which different subfields make up the department?
  • Is it a dual appointment or a position in a dual department?
  • How does the department participate in specific types of student outreach?
  • Does the department have graduate students? Does it offer a terminal Master’s degree, Ph.D., or both? How large are the cohorts? How are they funded?
  • Does the department encourage or engage in interdisciplinary work?
  • Does the majority of the department favor certain theoretical or methodological approaches?
  • Does the department have partnerships with local institutions? If so, which ones?
  • Is the department attempting to fill a specific vacancy, or is it an entirely new position?
  • What are the typical course offerings in the department? Which courses might you be expected to teach? What courses might you be able to provide that are not currently available?

Consider the students. The search committee will often consider how you approach instructing and mentoring the student body. Sometimes committees will even reserve a position for a student or solicit student feedback on a candidate:

  • What populations constitute the majority of the undergraduate population?
  • Have there been any shifts in the student population recently?
  • Do students largely come from in-state or out-of-state?
  • Is there an international student population? If so, from which countries?
  • Is the university recruiting students from traditionally underrepresented populations?
  • Are students particularly active on campus? If so, how?

Many answers to these questions can be found both in the job description and on the institution’s website. If possible, consider contacting someone you know at the institution to ask about the culture directly. You can also use the institution’s course catalog, recruitment materials, alumni magazine, and other materials to get answers to these questions. The key is to understand the sort of institution to which you are applying, its immediate needs, and its future trajectory.

Remember, there is a resource that can help you with all three aspects—people. Reach out to your advisor, committee members, faculty mentors, and other contacts for insight into the prospective department’s culture and faculty. They might even help you revise your letter based on their expertise. Think of your job search as an opportunity to cultivate these relationships.

After you have done some initial research, think about how your experiences have prepared you for the job and identify the ones that seem the most relevant. Consider your previous research, internships, graduate teaching, and summer experiences. Here are some topics and questions to get you started thinking about what you might include.

Research Experiences. Consider how your research has prepared you for an academic career. Since the letter is a relatively short document, select examples of your research that really highlight who you are as a scholar, the direction you see your work going, and how your scholarship will contribute to the institution’s research community.

  • What are your current research interests?
  • What topics would you like to examine in the future?
  • How have you pursued those research interests?
  • Have you traveled for your research?
  • Have you published any of your research? Have you presented it at a conference, symposium, or elsewhere?
  • Have you worked or collaborated with scholars at different institutions on projects? If so, what did these collaborations produce?
  • Have you made your research accessible to your local community?
  • Have you received funding or merit-based fellowships for your research?
  • What other research contributions have you made? This may include opinion articles, book chapters, or participating as a journal reviewer.
  • How do your research interests relate to those of other faculty in the department or fill a gap?

Teaching Experience. Think about any teaching experience you may have. Perhaps you led recitations as a teaching assistant, taught your own course, or guest lectured. Pick a few experiences to discuss in your letter that demonstrate something about your teaching style or your interest in teaching.

  • What courses are you interested in teaching for the department? What courses have you taught that discussed similar topics or themes?
  • What new courses can you imagine offering the department that align with their aim and mission?
  • Have you used specific strategies that were helpful in your instruction?
  • What sort of resources do you typically use in the classroom?
  • Do you have anecdotes that demonstrate your teaching style?
  • What is your teaching philosophy?
  • When have you successfully navigated a difficult concept or topic in the classroom, and what did you learn?
  • What other opportunities could you provide to students?

Internships/Summer/Other Experiences. Brainstorm a list of any conferences, colloquiums, and workshops you have attended, as well as any ways you have served your department, university, or local community. This section will highlight how you participate in your university and scholarly community. Here are some examples of things you might discuss:

  • Professional development opportunities you may have pursued over the summer or during your studies
  • International travel for research or presentations
  • Any research you’ve done in a non-academic setting
  • Presentations at conferences
  • Participation in symposia, reading groups, working groups, etc.
  • Internships in which you may have implemented your research or practical skills related to your discipline
  • Participation in community engagement projects
  • Participation in or leadership of any scholarly and/or university organizations

In answering these questions, create a list of the experiences that you think best reflect you as a scholar and teacher. In choosing which experiences to highlight, consider your audience and what they would find valuable or relevant. Taking the time to really think about your reader will help you present yourself as an applicant well-qualified for the position.

Writing a draft

Remember that the job letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself and your accomplishments and to communicate why you would be a good fit for the position. Typically, search committees will want to know whether you are a capable job candidate, familiar with the institution, and a great future addition to the department’s faculty. As such, be aware of how the letter’s structure and content reflect your preparedness for the position.

The structure of your cover letter should reflect the typical standards for letter writing in the country in which the position is located (the list below reflects the standards for US letter writing). This usually includes a salutation, body, and closing, as well as proper contact information. If you are affiliated with a department, institution, or organization, the letter should be on letterhead.

  • Use a simple, readable font in a standard size, such as 10-12pt. Some examples of fonts that may be conventional in your field include Arial, Garamond, Times New Roman, and Verdana, among other similar fonts.
  • Do not indent paragraphs.
  • Separate all paragraphs by a line and justify them to the left.
  • Make sure that any included hyperlinks work.
  • Include your signature in the closing.

Before you send in your letter, make sure you proofread and look for formatting mistakes. You’ll read more about proofreading and revising later in this handout!

The second most important aspect of your letter is its content. Since the letter is the first chance to provide an in-depth introduction, it should expand on who you are as a scholar and possible faculty member. Below are some elements to consider including when composing your letter.

Identify the position you are applying to and introduce yourself. Traditionally, the first sentence of a job letter includes the full name of the position and where you discovered the job posting. This is also the place to introduce yourself and describe why you are applying for this position. Since the goal of a job letter is to persuade the search committee to include you on the list of candidates for further review, you may want to include an initial claim as to why you are a strong candidate for the position. Some questions you might consider:

  • What is your current status (ABD, assistant professor, post-doc, etc.)?
  • If you are ABD, have you defended your dissertation? If not, when will you defend?
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • Why are you a strong candidate for this position?

Describe your research experience and interests. For research-centered positions, such as positions at R1 or other types of research-centered universities, include information about your research experience and current work early in the letter. For many applicants, current work will be the dissertation project. If this is the case, some suggest calling your “dissertation research” your “current project” or “work,” as this may help you present yourself as an emerging scholar rather than a graduate student. Some questions about your research that you might consider:

  • What research experiences have you had?
  • What does your current project investigate?
  • What are some of the important methods you applied?
  • Have you collaborated with others in your research?
  • Have you acquired specific skills that will be useful for the future?
  • Have you received special funding? If so, what kind?
  • Has your research received any accolades or rewards?
  • What does your current project contribute to the field?
  • Where have you presented your research?
  • Have you published your research? If so, where? Or are you working on publishing your work?
  • How does your current project fit the job description?

Present your plans for future research. This section presents your research agenda and usually includes a description of your plans for future projects and research publications. Detailing your future research demonstrates to the search committee that you’ve thought about a research trajectory and can work independently. If you are applying to a teaching-intensive position, you may want to minimize this section and/or consider including a sentence or two on how this research connects to undergraduate and/or graduate research opportunities. Some questions to get you started:

  • What is your next research project/s?
  • How does this connect to your current and past work?
  • What major theories/methods will you use?
  • How will this project contribute to the field?
  • Where do you see your specialty area or subfield going in the next ten years and how does your research contribute to or reflect this?
  • Will you be collaborating with anyone? If so, with whom?
  • How will this future project encourage academic discourse?
  • Do you already have funding? If so, from whom? If not, what plans do you have for obtaining funding?
  • How does your future research expand upon the department’s strengths while simultaneously diversifying the university’s research portfolio? (For example, does your future research involve emerging research fields, state-of-the-art technologies, or novel applications?)

Describe your teaching experience and highlight teaching strategies. This section allows you to describe your teaching philosophy and how you apply this philosophy in your classroom. Start by briefly addressing your teaching goals and values. Here, you can provide specific examples of your teaching methods by describing activities and projects you assign students. Try to link your teaching and research together. For example, if you research the rise of feminism in the 19th century, consider how you bring either the methodology or the content of your research into the classroom. For a teaching-centered institution, such as a small liberal arts college or community college, you may want to emphasize your teaching more than your research. If you do not have any teaching experience, you could describe a training, mentoring, or coaching situation that was similar to teaching and how you would apply what you learned in a classroom.

  • What is your teaching philosophy? How is your philosophy a good fit for the department in which you are applying to work?
  • What sort of teaching strategies do you use in the classroom?
  • What is your teaching style? Do you lecture? Do you emphasize discussion? Do you use specific forms of interactive learning?
  • What courses have you taught?
  • What departmental courses are you prepared to teach?
  • Will you be able to fill in any gaps in the departmental course offerings?
  • What important teaching and/or mentoring experiences have you had?
  • How would you describe yourself in the classroom?
  • What type of feedback have you gotten from students?
  • Have you received any awards or recognition for your teaching?

Talk about your service work. Service is often an important component of an academic job description. This can include things like serving on committees or funding panels, providing reviews, and doing community outreach. The cover letter gives you an opportunity to explain how you have involved yourself in university life outside the classroom. For instance, you could include descriptions of volunteer work, participation in initiatives, or your role in professional organizations. This section should demonstrate ways in which you have served your department, university, and/or scholarly community. Here are some additional examples you could discuss:

  • Participating in graduate student or junior faculty governance
  • Sitting on committees, departmental or university-wide
  • Partnerships with other university offices or departments
  • Participating in community-partnerships
  • Participating in public scholarship initiatives
  • Founding or participating in any university initiatives or programs
  • Creating extra-curricular resources or presentations

Present yourself as a future faculty member. This section demonstrates who you will be as a colleague. It gives you the opportunity to explain how you will collaborate with faculty members with similar interests; take part in departmental and/or institution wide initiatives or centers; and participate in departmental service. This shows your familiarity with the role of faculty outside the classroom and your ability to add to the departmental and/or institutional strengths or fill in any gaps.

  • What excites you about this job?
  • What faculty would you like to collaborate with and why? (This answer may be slightly tricky. See the section on name dropping below.)
  • Are there any partnerships in the university or outside of it that you wish to participate in?
  • Are there any centers associated with the university or in the community that you want to be involved in?
  • Are there faculty initiatives that you are passionate about?
  • Do you have experience collaborating across various departments or within your own department?
  • In what areas will you be able to contribute?
  • Why would you make an excellent addition to the faculty at this institution?

Compose a strong closing. This short section should acknowledge that you have sent in all other application documents and include a brief thank you for the reader’s time and/or consideration. It should also state your willingness to forward additional materials and indicate what you would like to see as next steps (e.g., a statement that you look forward to speaking with the search committee). End with a professional closing such as “Sincerely” or “Kind Regards” followed by your full name.

If you are finding it difficult to write the different sections of your cover letter, consider composing the other academic job application documents (the research statement, teaching philosophy, and diversity statement) first and then summarizing them in your job letter.

Different kinds of letters may be required for different types of jobs. For example, some jobs may focus on research. In this case, emphasize your research experiences and current project/s. Other jobs may be more focused on teaching. In this case, highlight your teaching background and skills. Below are two models for how you could change your letter’s organization based on the job description and the institution. The models offer a guide for you to consider how changing the order of information and the amount of space dedicated to a particular topic changes the emphasis of the letter.

Research-Based Position Job Letter Example:

Teaching-based position job letter example:.

Remember your first draft does not have to be your last. Try to get feedback from different readers, especially if it is one of your first applications. It is not uncommon to go through several stages of revisions. Check out the Writing Center’s handout on editing and proofreading and video on proofreading to help with this last stage of writing.

Potential pitfalls

Using the word dissertation. Some search committee members may see the word “dissertation” as a red flag that an applicant is too focused on their role as a graduate student rather than as a prospective faculty member. It may be advantageous, then, to describe your dissertation as current research, a current research project, current work, or some other phrase that demonstrates you are aware that your dissertation is the beginning of a larger scholarly career.

Too much jargon. While you may be writing to a specific department, people on the search committee might be unfamiliar with the details of your subfield. In fact, many committees have at least one member from outside their department. Use terminology that can easily be understood by non-experts. If you want to use a specific term that is crucial to your research, then you should define it. Aim for clarity for your reader, which may mean simplification in lieu of complete precision.

Overselling yourself. While your job letter should sell you as a great candidate, saying so (e.g., “I’m the ideal candidate”) in your letter may come off to some search committee members as presumptuous. Remember that although you have an idea about the type of colleague a department is searching for, ultimately you do not know exactly what they want. Try to avoid phrases or sentences where you state you are the ideal or the only candidate right for the position.

Paying too much attention to the job description. Job descriptions are the result of a lot of debate and compromise. If you have skills or research interests outside the job description, consider including them in your letter. It may be that your extra research interests; your outside skills; and/or your extracurricular involvements make you an attractive candidate. For example, if you are a Latin Americanist who also happens to be well-versed in the Spanish Revolution, it could be worth mentioning the expanse of your research interests because a department might find you could fill in other gaps in the curriculum or add an additional or complementary perspective to the department.

Improper sendoff. The closing of your letter is just as important as the beginning. The end of the letter should reflect the professionalism of the document. There should be a thank-you and the word sincerely or a formal equivalent. Remember, it is the very last place in your letter where you present yourself as a capable future colleague.

Small oversights. Make sure to proofread your letter not just for grammar but also for content. For example, if you use material from another letter, make sure you do not include the names of another school, department, or unassociated faculty! Or, if the school is in Chicago, make sure you do not accidentally reference it as located in the Twin Cities.

Name dropping. You rarely know the internal politics of the department or institution to which you are applying. So be cautious about the names you insert in your cover letters. You do not want to unintentionally insert yourself into a departmental squabble or add fire to an interdepartmental conflict. Instead, focus on the actions you will undertake and the initiatives you are passionate about.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Ball, Cheryl E. 2013. “Understanding Cover Letters.” Inside Higher Ed , November 3, 2013. .

Borchardt, John. 2014. “Writing a Winning Cover Letter.” Science Magazine , August 6, 2014. .

Helmreich, William. 2013. “Your First Academic Job.” Inside Higher Ed , June 17, 2013. .

Kelsky, Karen. 2013. “How To Write a Journal Article Submission Cover Letter.” The Professor Is In (blog), April 26, 2013. .

Tomaska, Lubomir, and Josef Nosek. 2008. “Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Cover Letter to Accompany a Job Application for an Academic Position.” PLoS Computational Biology 14(5). .

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Submitting your application.

When you are applying for a faculty position at a college or university, your  cover letter  will differ significantly from the standard business cover letter.

Your cover letter may be reviewed by Human Resources department staff to determine if you meet the basic qualifications for the job. If it does, it will be forwarded to a search committee comprised mostly of faculty members and academic deans. 

These individuals will be accustomed to reading more lengthy academic cover letters and  resumes  or curriculum vitae (CV) than would be customary in the business world. They will also often be more interested in the philosophical foundations for your work than the typical business recruiter.

Kelly Miller / The Balance

Tips for Writing an Academic Cover Letter

Your initial challenge will be to pass through the Human Resources screening. Review each of the required qualifications included in the job announcement and compose statements containing evidence that you possess as many of the skills, credentials, knowledge, and experiences listed as possible. 

Address as many of the preferred qualifications as possible. 

Give concrete examples to support your assertions about your strengths. 

Your faculty reviewers will typically have an interest in your philosophy and approach to teaching and research within your discipline. They will also be evaluating how your background fits with the type of institution where they work.

Research the faculty in your target department to assess their orientation and expertise. Emphasize points of intersection between your philosophy and the prevalent departmental philosophy.

If you possess traditionally valued areas of expertise that are not already represented by the current faculty, make sure to point those strengths out in your cover letter. It's important to tailor your letter to the orientation of the college and adjust the mix of emphasis on teaching and research based on the expectations in that setting. 

Colleges will typically want to hire new faculty who are passionate about their current research and not resting on past research credits.

Describe a current project with some detail and express enthusiasm for continuing such work. 

Try to do the same with any evolving teaching interests. 

Highlight any grants and funding you have received to undertake your research activities. Incorporate any awards or recognition which you have received for your teaching or research activities. Some text should also be devoted to other contributions to the college communities where you worked, such as committee work, advising, and collaborations with other departments.

Your cover letter should be written in the same basic format as a business cover letter. An academic cover letter is typically two pages compared to a single page for non-academic letters.

Here’s an example of the appropriate format for a cover letter and guidelines for formatting your letters.

Academic Cover Letter Example

You can use this sample as a model to write an academic cover letter. Download the template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online), or read the text version below.

Academic Cover Letter Example #1 (Text Version)

Robin Applicant 123 Main Street, Anytown, CA 12345 555-555.5555

April 5, 2021

Dr. Sylvia Lee Chair, English Department Search Committee Acme College 123 Business Rd. Charlotte, NC 28213

Dear Dr. Sylvia Lee,

I am writing to apply for the position of assistant professor of English with an emphasis in nineteenth-century American literature that you advertised in the MLA Job Information List. I am a Dean’s Fellow and Ph.D. candidate at XYZ University, currently revising the final chapter of my dissertation, and expecting to graduate in May I am confident that my teaching experience and my research interests make me an ideal candidate for your open position.

Over the past five years, I have taught a variety of English courses. I have taught a number of American literature survey courses, as well as writing courses, including technical writing and first-year writing. I have extensive experience working with ESL students, as well as students with a variety of learning disabilities, including dyslexia and dysgraphia, and disabilities like ADD and ADHD. I pride myself on creating a classroom environment that accommodates the needs of my students while still promoting a high level of critical thought and writing skills. Some of my most satisfying experiences as a teacher have come from helping struggling students to grasp difficult concepts, through a combination of individual conferences, class activities, and group discussion. I know I would thrive as a teacher in your college, due to your belief in small classroom size and individualized support for students.

Not only does my teaching experience suit the needs of your school and department, but my research interests also fit perfectly with your description of the ideal candidate. My dissertation project, “Ferns and Leaves: Nineteenth-Century Female Authorial Space,” examines the rise and development of American female authors in the 1840s and 1850s, with a particular focus on patterns of magazine publication. I argue that, rather than being submissive to the requirements of the editor or publisher, female authors, in fact, developed a more transparently reciprocal relationship between themselves and their readers than previously has been assumed. I apply recent print-culture and book-history theory to my readings of novels, magazine articles, letters, and diary entries by various female authors, with a particular focus on Sara Willis (known by her pseudonym Fanny Fern). I plan to develop my dissertation into a book manuscript and continue to research the role of female writers in antebellum magazine culture, with a particular focus on the rise and influence of female magazine editors on literary culture.

My research interests have both shaped and been shaped by my recent teaching experiences. Last spring, I developed and taught a course on the history of print culture in America. I combined readings on theory and literature that addressed issues of print with visits to local historical museums and archives. My students conducted in-depth studies on particular texts (magazines, newspapers, novels) for their final papers. I believe my interdisciplinary teaching style, particularly my emphasis on material culture, would fit in well with the interdisciplinary nature of your English department.

I am therefore confident that my teaching experience, my skill in working with ESL and LD students, and my research interests all make me an excellent candidate for the assistant professor of English position at ABC College. I have attached my curriculum vitae and the two requested sample publications. I would be happy to send you any additional materials such as letters of reference, teaching evaluations, and past and proposed course syllabi. I will be available to meet with you at either the MLA or C19 conference, or anywhere else at your convenience. Thank you so much for your consideration; I look forward to hearing from you.

Robin Applicant (hard copy letter)

Robin Applicant

Academic Cover Letter Example #2 (Text Version)

Betty Applicant 567 North Street, Boston, MA 02108 555-555.555

Dr. Robert Smith Chair, Department of Biology Acme University 123 Business Rd. Business City, NY 54321

Dear Dr. Smith,

I am writing to apply for the position of Assistant Professor of Biology with a focus on molecular biology at XYZ University, as advertised in the March issue of Science. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of XYZ in the Department of Molecular Biology, working under the advisement of Professor Linda Smith. I am confident that my research interests and teaching experience make me an ideal candidate for your open position.

My current research project, which is an expansion on my dissertation, “[insert title here],” involves [insert research project here]. I have published my dissertation findings in Science Journal and am in the processing of doing the same with my findings from my current research. The laboratory resources at XYZ University would enable me to expand my research to include [insert further research plans here] and seek further publication.

Beyond my successes as a researcher (including five published papers and my current paper in process), I have had extensive experience teaching a variety of biology courses. As a graduate student at Science University, I served as a teaching assistant and guest lecturer for both biology and chemistry introductory courses and won the university award for outstanding teacher’s assistant. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of ABC, I have had the opportunity to teach Introduction to Biology as well as a graduate-level course, Historicizing Molecular Biology. In every class, I strive to include a blend of readings, media, lab work, and discussion to actively engage students with the material. I would love the opportunity to bring my award-winning lesson planning and teaching skills to your biology department.

I am confident that my research interests and experience combined with my teaching skills make me an excellent candidate for the Assistant Professor of Biology position at XYZ University. I have attached my curriculum vitae, three recommendations, and the two requested sample publications. I would be happy to send you any additional materials such as teaching evaluations or past and proposed course syllabi. I will be available to meet with you at the ASBMB conference or anywhere else at your convenience. Thank you so much for your consideration; I look forward to hearing from you.

Betty Applicant (hard copy letter)

Betty Applicant

It’s important to submit all your application materials in the format requested by the college or university. You may be asked to email, mail, or apply online via the institution’s applicant tracking system.

You may be required to provide references with your application, so be prepared to submit a list of references. The institution may also request transcripts, teaching evaluations, and writing samples.

Send only what is requested. There's no need to include information that the institution hasn't ask for.

However, you can offer to provide additional materials like writing samples, syllabi, and  letters of recommendation  in the last paragraph of your letter.

Follow the instructions in the job posting for submitting your application. It should specify what format the college wants to receive.

Here are some examples of what you may be asked to include with your cover letter and resume or CV:

  • A cover letter, CV/resume, and contact information for three references.
  • A cover letter (PDF format) of interest indicating your qualifications and reason for application, Curriculum Vitae (PDF format), and a minimum of three professional references, including phone and email contact information.
  • A letter of interest, a Curriculum Vitae, a teaching vision statement, a research vision statement that specifically indicates how you would interact with or collaborate with other department faculty, and three references.
  • A cover letter, CV/resume, and contact information for three references. Please upload these as ONE document in RTF, DOC or PDF format.
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University Student Cover Letter Example

Boost your chances of getting hired & learn creative tricks to use in your own cover letter with our free, expertly drafted University Student cover letter example. Use this cover letter example at no cost or modify it in any way using our job-landing cover letter creator.

Milan Šaržík — Certified Professional Résumé Writer

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Write an eye-catching resume as a university student

University Student Cover Letter Example (Full Text Version)

Dear Hiring Manager,

My name is Cheng Kun and I am pleased to be applying for the Software Intern job at your company. As a Computer Science student, I possess various skills and knowledge needed to execute all duties associated with the role and therefore I believe that I would be a great fit to your team.

I am a fourth-year student at the University of Waterloo and during my studies of the above-mentioned subject, I've developed extensive knowledge of the field and multiple qualities which help me to not only get the job done but also critically analyze problems and come up with creative solutions. With a GPA of 3.96, I'm among the top 10% of students and was awarded multiple times for achieving exceptional academic results. Besides studies, I also like to engage in extracurricular activities and I'm currently part of Astronomy Society, Physics Society, and Engineering Society, where I can learn even more about the subject.

What's more, I possess valuable industry experience as well. While working at the Intel Corporation, I had a chance to see and feel what's it like to function in a fast-paced and deadline-driven business environment. Besides working on the development of new software applications, I also performed multiple other tasks, such as providing engineering support to colleagues and completion of reports on the progress of the assigned projects. For my hard work and great results, I was awarded Employee of the Month which was an amazing satisfaction for all the effort and dedication I put in.

I am proficient and skilled in multiple coding languages, including JavaScript, C++, and Java and offer various other important skills, such as the ability to work and perform well independently or in a team and exceptional work ethic. I look forward to hearing from you and would be happy to come in for an interview. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Milan Šaržík — Certified Professional Résumé Writer

Milan Šaržík, CPRW

Milan’s work-life has been centered around job search for the past three years. He is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW™) as well as an active member of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers & Careers Coaches (PARWCC™). Milan holds a record for creating the most career document samples for our help center – until today, he has written more than 500 resumes and cover letters for positions across various industries. On top of that, Milan has completed studies at multiple well-known institutions, including Harvard University, University of Glasgow, and Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

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Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 4 amazing recommendation letter samples for students.

Letters of Recommendation


How important are recommendation letters in a college application? According to William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard, they are "extremely important."

If you're a student, examples of great letters of recommendation can help you understand how to get strong letters yourself from your teachers. If you're a teacher, the examples in this guide will inspire you to support your students strongly as they apply to college. Keep reading for four excellent letters from teachers that will get anyone into college , along with expert analysis on why they're so strong.

Important Note: Are you looking for job recommendation letters? If so, check out my great post here!

First, let's understand the role of recommendation letters in your application.

Why are Recommendation Letters Important?

The majority of admissions officers at four-year colleges, especially private schools, emphasize that their process is holistic . They seek to gain a sense of the student as a "whole person," rather than focusing on pieces of who she is based solely on grades and test scores. Since they rarely meet the student in person, the recommendation letters, along with the student's own personal essay, play a huge role in illuminating her intellectual and personal qualities.

That's why recommendation letters from teachers, especially those who know their students well, carry a great deal of weight in applications. A letter that expresses a strong vote of support, as well as highlights a student's impressive academic and personal strengths , can have a powerful effect on that student's chances of admission.

Let's look at some samples of strong recommendation letters, one from an English teacher, another from a physics teacher, the third from a history teacher, and the final one from a math teacher. Then we'll break down exactly why these letters of recommendation are effective.

The first example recommends Sara, a senior who loves to write and read poetry.

Sample Letter #1: Sara the Poet

Dear Admissions Committee, I had the pleasure of teaching Sara in her 11th grade honors English class at Mark Twain High School. From the first day of class, Sara impressed me with her ability to be articulate about difficult concepts and texts, her sensitivity to the nuances within literature, and her passion for reading, writing, and creative expression- both in and out of the classroom. Sara is a talented literary critic and poet, and she has my highest recommendation as a student and writer. Sara is talented at considering the subtleties within literature and the purpose behind authors' works. She produced an extraordinary year-long thesis paper on creative identity development, in which she compared works from three different time periods and synthesized cultural and historical perspectives to inform her analysis. When called upon to give her thesis defense in front of her peers, Sara spoke clearly and eloquently about her conclusions and responded to questions in a thoughtful way. Outside of the classroom, Sara is dedicated to her literary pursuits, especially to poetry. She publishes her poetry in our school's literary magazine, as well as in online magazines. She is an insightful, sensitive, and deeply self-aware individual driven to explore art, writing, and a deeper understanding of the human condition. Throughout the year Sara was an active participant in our discussions, and she always supported her peers. Her caring nature and personality allow her to work well with others in a team setting, as she always respects others' opinions even when they differ from her own. When we held a class debate about gun laws, Sara opted to speak for the side opposite her own views. She explained her choice as motivated by a desire to put herself in other people's shoes, view the issues from a new perspective, and gain a clearer sense of the issue from all angles. Throughout the year, Sara demonstrated this openness to and empathy for the opinions, feelings, and perspectives of others, along with shrewd powers of observation, all qualities that makes her outstanding as a student of literature and burgeoning writer. I am certain that Sara is going to continue to do great and creative things in her future. I highly recommend her for admission to your undergraduate program. She is talented, caring, intuitive, dedicated, and focused in her pursuits. Sara consistently seeks out constructive feedback so she can improve her writing skills, which is a rare and impressive quality in a high school student. Sara is truly a stand-out individual who will impress everyone she meets. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at [email protected]. Sincerely, Ms. Scribe English Teacher Mark Twain High School

This is a thorough, glowing recommendation for a student that Ms. Scribe clearly knows well. What other features make it stand out as a strong letter of rec?


The Breakdown

Ms. Scribe has a high opinion of Sara and her skills at writing and literary analysis. One way that she expresses this is by using powerful and specific language. She doesn't merely say Sara is a good writer. She says she's articulate about difficult concepts and sensitive to the nuances within literature. She calls her insightful and self-aware with shrewd powers of observation.

These descriptors don't happen by accident. Ms. Scribe took the time to choose her words carefully , and that effort paid off with a strong letter that captures Sara's special qualities.

Ms. Scribe also supports her characterization of Sara with examples . She describes her thesis paper and how she responded to questions thoughtfully under the pressured situation of her thesis defense. She gives the example of the debate on gun laws to illustrate Sara's openness to many different points of view.

In addition to illuminating her intellectual and personal strengths and supporting them with specific examples, Ms. Scribe speaks to Sara's goals for the future. She points out that she is talented at writing, poetry specifically, and that she is committed to continuing to improve as a writer in her future.

This letter, by virtue of its wording, length, and specificity, shows that Ms. Scribe took the time and effort to recommend Sara thoughtfully and with conviction. The fact that she knows Sara well and is committed to helping her application succeed with a thoughtful letter further adds weight to her assessment.

This letter would be a boon to Sara's application, especially if she's applying to study writing or English. She clearly impressed her English teacher and, in return, got a memorable, complimentary letter of recommendation for her college application.

This next example is similarly enthusiastic and detailed. It's for a student applying to an engineering program.

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Sample Letter #2: Stacy the Engineer

Dear Admissions Committee, It is a great pleasure to recommend Stacy for admission to your engineering program. She is one of the most exceptional students I have encountered in my 15 years of teaching. I taught Stacy in my 11th grade honors physics class and advised her in Robotics Club. I am not surprised to find out she is now ranked at the top of an extraordinarily capable class of seniors. She has a keen interest in and talent for physics, math, and scientific inquiry. Her advanced skills and passion for the subject make her an ideal fit for your rigorous engineering program. Stacy is a perceptive, sharp, quick individual with a high aptitude for math and science. She is driven to understand how things work, whether they be the old computer hard drives in the school library or the forces that hold our universe together. Her final project in class was especially impressive, an investigation of frequency-dependent sound absorption, an idea that she said was sparked by not wanting to bother her parents with her hours of guitar practice at home. She's been a strong leader in Robotics Club, eager to share her knowledge with others and learn new skills. I have the students in the club prepare lessons and take turns leading our after-school meetings. When it was Stacy's turn, she showed up prepared with a fascinating lecture on lunar nautics and fun activities that got everyone moving and talking. She was our only student teacher to be met with much deserved applause at the end of her lesson. Stacy's personal strengths are as impressive as her intellectual accomplishments. She's an active, outgoing presence in class with a great sense of humor. Stacy's the perfect person to get a group project rolling, but she also knows how to sit back and let others take the lead. Her cheerful nature and openness to feedback means she's always learning and growing as a learner, an impressive strength that will continue to serve her well in college and beyond. Stacy is just the kind of driven, engaging, and curious student that helped make our classroom a lively environment and safe place to take intellectual risks. Stacy has my highest recommendation for admission to your engineering program. She has demonstrated excellence in all that she puts her mind to, whether it's designing an experiment, collaborating with others, or teaching herself to play classical and electrical guitar. Stacy's endless curiosity, combined with her willingness to take risks, leads me to believe there will be no limit to her growth and achievements in college and beyond. Please don't hesitate to contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions. Sincerely, Ms. Randall Physics Teacher Marie Curie High School

Ms. Randall is clearly as much of a fan of Stacy as she is of Mileva Marić. How does she communicate her recommendation?


Ms. Randall plugs for Stacy right off the bat with a statement of outstanding ranking : Stacy is one of the most exceptional students she's had in 15 years of teaching. A statement like this is pretty extraordinary and will make an impact in the mind of its readers. Stacy sounds like a special student, and she chose her recommender well.

Like in the last example, this letter uses strong, specific language , calling Stacy a perceptive and sharp person who has the confidence and good humor to take intellectual risks. Through its accurate and expressive language, this letter helps Stacy come to life in the mind of the reader.

Beyond the evaluation, Ms. Randall gives specific examples of Stacy's academic and personal strengths. She talks about her successful teaching in Robotics Club, her leadership in group projects, and her dedicated practice to teaching herself to play the guitar.

Rather than spreading the letter too thin, Ms. Randall highlights a few core themes. She connects Stacy's love of music with her passion for physics by talking about the frequency-dependent sound absorption project. All the threads tie together in a nice, memorable bow.

This letter is a strong vote of support for Stacy's application to an engineering program. Her physics teacher admires Stacy's skills and goals, and she made it clear that Stacy had her highest recommendation in this letter.

This next example also comes from a teacher who's extremely impressed with his student. It focuses on the student's performance in class and his volunteer work outside the classroom.


Sample Letter #3: William the History Buff and Social Organizer

Dear Admissions Committee, It is hard to overstate the meaningful contributions that William has made to our school and surrounding community. As both his 10th and 11th grade History teacher, I've had the pleasure of seeing William make profound contributions both in and out of the classroom. His school and community service is motivated by a strong sense of social justice, which he informs through a nuanced and sophisticated understanding of historical trends and events. I can say with confidence that William is one of the most caring and driven students I've ever taught in my fifteen years at the school. As a child of immigrant parents, William is especially drawn to understand the immigrant experience. He produced an extraordinary semester-long research paper on the treatment of Japanese-Americans in the U.S. during WWII, in which he went beyond all expectations to conduct Skype interviews with relatives of his featured subjects to incorporate into his paper. William has a great capacity to draw connections between past and present and to ground his understanding of current issues in the context of historical events. He never retreats to a simple answer or explanation, but is comfortable dealing with ambiguity. William's fascination with U.S. and World History and skill for deep analysis have him an exemplary scholar, as a well as a motivated activist driven to promote civil rights and work towards social equity. In sophomore year, William noticed that the college planning seminars students attended included little information for first generation or immigrant students. Always thinking about how institutions can better serve people, William spoke with counselors and ESL teachers about his ideas to better support all students. He helped collect resources and design a college planning curriculum for immigrant and undocumented students to enhance their college access. He further helped organize a group that connected ESL students with native English speakers, stating his mission to be helping ELLs improve their English and increasing multicultural awareness and social cohesion at the school as a whole. William identified a need and worked with students and faculty alike to meet it in an extremely effective and beneficial way. Ever the history scholar, he did plenty of research to back up his ideas. William believes passionately in social progress and working for the common good. His own personal experiences, along with his profound grasp on social history, drive his advocacy work. He is a talented, intelligent student with the charisma, confidence, strong values, and respect for others to make a huge difference in the world around him. I'm looking forward to seeing all the good that William continues to do for his fellow humanity in college and beyond, as well as the excellent work that he will produce at the college level. William has my highest recommendation. If you have any questions, please contact me at [email protected]. Sincerely, Mr. Jackson History Teacher Martin Luther King, Jr. High School

Mr. Jackson's letter makes William sound like a pretty amazing student and person. How does he go about expressing his admiration for William in this rec letter?


Like Ms. Randall did in her letter, Mr. Jackson provides a statement of outstanding ranking for William, calling him one of the most caring and driven students he's ever taught. Considering his long teaching career of 15 years, this says a lot about William as a student and a person.

Also like in the last example, Mr. Jackson focuses on a few core aspects of William's character. He talks about his love of history and how it informs his social activism. He comments on his exceptional historical scholarship, as well as his personal qualities of caring for those around him and working for the social good.

Mr. Jackson also gives insight into William's personal life , explaining how he has a personal connection to his projects and volunteer work as the child of immigrant parents. This letter reveals that William is a thoughtful, motivated individual who connects his own experiences with his learning and desire to contribute to his community.

The letter also showcases William's exceptional accomplishments by giving specific examples of William's research paper and his work supporting the academic and personal needs of ELL students. Mr. Jackson expresses his enthusiastic recommendation while illuminating William's love of learning and strength of character. This letter would be both impressive and memorable to admissions officers considering William for admission to their school.

This next example comes from a math teacher. Let's see what Mr. Wiles has to say about Joe.


Sample Letter #4: Joe the Hard Worker

Dear Admissions Committee, It is my pleasure to recommend Joe, who I taught in my 11th grade math class. Joe demonstrated tremendous effort and growth throughout the year and brought a great energy to class. He has that combination of a positive attitude and the belief that he can always improve that's rare in a high school student, but so essential to the learning process. I am confident that he will continue to display the same commitment and diligence in everything he does. I highly recommend Joe for admission to your school. Joe would not describe himself as a math person. He's told me on several occasions that all the numbers and variables make his mind go fuzzy. Joe did, in fact, struggle to comprehend the material at the beginning of the year, but his response to this is what really struck me. Where so many others have given up, Joe took on this class as a welcome challenge. He stayed after school for extra help, got extra tutoring at the nearby college, and asked questions in and out of class. Due to all his hard work, Joe not only raised his grades, but he also inspired some of his classmates to stay after for extra help, as well. Joe truly demonstrated a growth mindset, and he inspired his peers to adopt that valuable perspective, too. Joe helped contribute to our classroom environment as one where all students can feel supported and able to ask questions. Joe's strong belief in his ability to acquire new skills and improve through practice was likely shaped by his years as a baseball player. He's played all through high school and is one of the team's most valuable players. In his final for our class, Joe designed an impressive project calculating and analyzing batting averages. While he initially described himself as not a math person, Joe reaped the benefits of his tremendous effort and found a way to make the subject come alive for him in a way that he was personally invested in. As a teacher, it is incredibly fulfilling to witness a student make this kind of academic and personal progress. Joe is a trustworthy, reliable, good-humored student and friend who supports others in and out of the classroom. He was a pleasure to have in class, and his positive attitude and belief in himself, even in the face of difficulty, is an immensely admirable asset. I'm confident that he will continue to demonstrate the same diligence, perseverance, and optimism that he showed myself and his peers. I highly recommend Joe for admission to your undergraduate program. Please feel free to contact me with any further questions at [email protected]. Sincerely, Mr. Wiles Math Teacher Euclid High School

While the students featured in the first three examples were top of their class or demonstrated leadership in the school, Joe isn't a top achiever in the traditional sense. However, this recommendation is still a strong one, even if it says he struggled in the teacher's class. What does Mr. Wiles focus on to recommend Joe?


Mr. Wiles writes a strong letter for Joe, with the same kind of enthusiasm and specific examples as the other three letters. Even though Joe may not have gotten the strongest grades in his math class, he found an enthusiastic recommender in his math teacher. Mr. Wiles was extremely impressed with Joe's attitude, effort, and growth mindset , which he demonstrated throughout the year and inspired in his fellow classmates.

Mr. Wiles focuses on Joe's substantial personal strengths, ones that would likely be impressive to his future educators. Even in a subject that may not come naturally to him, Joe is diligent and committed. He's not self-conscious about asking questions or seeking extra help, and he retains a strong belief in himself that he can continuously learn, improve, and acquire new skills.

This letter, like the others, is effective because it is focused, supportive, and backed up with examples. As you can tell from these examples, recommendations can communicate a great deal about a student. Because of this, they can have a powerful impact on a student's chances of admission. So what can teachers and students do to make sure they are sending a strong recommendation letter that will help their chances?


Enthusiasm is key.

How to Get a Strong Recommendation Letter

While these letters are about different students with different interests, they share certain fundamental features. One, they sound excited and enthusiastic. The teachers clearly communicate that they are impressed by these students and eager to help them get into college.

At the same time, the letters don't go overboard because they have examples to back up their assessments. Specific examples and stories are key for backing up the assessment. Plus, they make a letter more interesting and memorable. Rather than just another engineering applicant, Stacy is the student who researched sound-absorption to spare her parents from hours of guitar scales.

Finally, the teachers all discuss their students' personal strengths , along with their academic strengths. They present the holistic view that admissions officers are looking for, along with their strong vote of confidence in the students' future success.

Teachers should incorporate all these features into their letters, and students should help provide them with the raw material to write about. While students should choose a teacher who knows them well and has stories and observations to share, they should also give their teachers a detailed "brag sheet" and let them know what would go into their ideal letter. That way it can be even more personalized and complement the story the student is telling in the rest of her application.

While recommenders may or may not share their letters with students, there should still be open, two-way communication when the student makes her request . That way students and teachers can work together to produce an insightful, enthusiastic, and specific letter of recommendation to send to colleges.

What's Next?

Are you a teacher writing recommendations for your students? Read all about how to write an outstanding recommendation letter for your students , along with what not to include.

Are you or a student you work with applying to a selective school, like Harvard? Learn about what kind of letter she should get for the Ivy League.

Now that you've read these examples of strong teacher recommendation letters, check out these examples of bad ones . Warning: rec letters may appear better than they actually are.

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?   We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download them for free now:

Rebecca graduated with her Master's in Adolescent Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has years of teaching and college counseling experience and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University and scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT.

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Why the college application process isn't adding up for students – and how to help them

When i talk to families, they say schools can do more to help them understand the true costs. amid student debt crisis, hold higher institutions to higher standards..

Every year, I help several hundred high school seniors navigate the college admissions process . Our students are not typically wealthy. About 20% are considered low-income and eligible for Pell Grants , and about 80% have expressed concern about college affordability.

For this reason, we specialize in a “cost-conscious” college search, meaning we help students discover schools that are a good fit and are also within their budget. This is becoming increasingly difficult given the lack of transparency around the true cost of college .

Last August, I gave a student the same advice we give to all high school seniors: Run the net price calculator to ensure that the schools you choose to apply to are financially feasible. The net price calculator is a tool that, in theory, will tell the family what their out-of-pocket costs may be for each institution based on the financial information the calculator requests.

I wasn’t surprised he discovered that the University of Delaware’s calculator was “being updated and will be available again soon.” I assumed that meant the institution was updating it to reflect the changes in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the updated tuition rates for the 2023-24 school year. 

However, it’s now April and the calculator is still “being updated.” With the delays in processing FAFSA, like most families who are concerned about the cost of college, my client can’t make his final college decision without more information. 

When college net price calculator and financial aid don't add up

By federal law, every college and university in America is required to provide a net price calculator , but there is a key piece missing from the legislation:

Because the Department of Education doesn’t have an approval process to determine whether each school’s calculator is in compliance, institutions are left to police themselves. Essentially, this means that nobody is checking to see if the calculator at each institution is an accurate depiction of the family’s expected costs (or if the calculator exists, or if it’s in working order). Families are finding more frequently that the calculator results from across the country don’t actually align with the financial aid offer they receive from those institutions.

Under the law, colleges are allowed to provide a link to an external calculator. When another student client ran the calculator for American University, its website linked to MyinTuition . It should also be noted that there are several other calculators on American’s website, including for 2020-21 , so if a family isn’t paying close attention, they may wind up completing the wrong one.

Will Biden forgive your student debt? Why those unable to resume payments will face disappointment and hardship

The link to MyinTuition has since been removed from American’s website and replaced with a link to another external vendor called Meadow , but that change happened after my client's family determined that the school could be a good financial fit and after she had submitted her application.

When she recently received her financial aid offer letter, the cost came in over $15,000 higher than what was indicated by MyinTuition.

If calculators aren’t accurate and available, or can change throughout the cycle, how can families make informed financial decisions throughout the college application process? As the cost of college continues to soar, it is critical that families can better predict the financial feasibility of institutions  before  their student spends hundreds of dollars applying. 

College financial aid letters can also be misleading

However, these calculators aren’t the only problem in the world of cost transparency. Financial aid letters are also incredibly misleading. Fortunately, Congress is aware of this issue.

In fact, I just returned from a second trip to Washington, D.C., where I was lobbying for sponsorship of the  Understanding the True Cost of College Act . This bill attempts to streamline and improve transparency in the financial aid process by requiring that all colleges and universities in America provide a standardized and uniform financial aid offer letter with consistent standardized language.

It also would require that schools stop calling financial aid offers financial aid awards (because $60,000 in loans isn’t an “award” by any standard). 

Biden's legacy will be student loans. Everyone from Gen X to Gen Z should be happy.

This requirement would better enable families to compare financial aid offers because the line items will match up and it will be clear what money will require repayment. This is particularly critical following the discovery of astounding data from a 2022 Government Accountability Office report : 

  • Many schools fail to utilize the word “loan,” even when the vast majority of the financial aid being awarded is indeed a loan and does require repayment. 
  • Up to 31% of schools don't differentiate between gift aid (which doesn't require repayment) and loans (which do require repayment). Because the type of aid isn't clearly labeled, when families see the bottom line cost after aid is applied, they are unaware that most of that aid actually requires repayment, and that the out-of-pocket expense is significantly higher than what it appears to be in the financial aid offers.
  • 65% of colleges leave out important information (like if the scholarship is renewable for subsequent years) that can impact whether or not a family can afford the school for more than one year.
  • 91% of colleges understate the net price or fail to include it at all.

College acceptance season is always stressful for families, but this year has been especially fraught due to government delays in processing FAFSA. Hundreds of institutions are now delaying their enrollment deadlines to give families more time to make educated and fiscally sound decisions.

When I talk to families, however, I know that colleges can do more to help prospective students understand the costs. It is imperative that the Department of Education hold institutions to higher standards if we want to avoid exacerbating the student debt crisis.

Clarity should come at the start of the college application process – not the very end.

Jessica Chermak is a certified educational planner and licensed professional counselor. Contact her at  [email protected]

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International Clerkships Program 2024-2025 - CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

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Deadline: January 15, 2024, 5:00 PM ET

McGill’s Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (CHRLP) is currently accepting applications for:

  • a 12-month clerkship at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA);
  • a 10-month clerkship at the International Court of Justice (ICJ);
  • a 4-month clerkship at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).

The clerkships are due to start in September 2024.

Clerks at each court are assigned to assist one or more judges or staff of the Courts with tasks such as drafting legal and administrative documents, preparing case files, and researching legal issues.


General requirements:

Current McGill BCL/LLB, LLM or DCL students graduating in June 2024, and recent McGill graduates from Fall 2021 onwards may apply for these positions.

The Centre, on behalf of the Faculty of Law, will select a shortlist of candidates to submit to each court for final selection.

Candidates will be selected based on:

  • demonstrated writing and research skills;
  • training in and familiarity with international law and relevant courses pertaining to the court they are applying to;
  • proficiency in the Court’s official languages: French and English for the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ)

Application Process

Candidates should apply to a specific clerkship. Should they wish to apply for more than one clerkship, they should submit separate cover letter for each candidacy.

Candidates should submit the following documentation:

  • A cover letter that specifies the particular Court for which they are applying;
  • A completed Personal History Form and Synoptic Table Form (for ICJ applications only);
  • Copies of transcripts for all post-secondary study;
  • Two letters of recommendation*; and
  • A sample of written work no longer than fifteen (15) double-spaced pages.

All application materials (including recommendation letters) must be submitted in a single attachment in an email sent to [at] by 17:00 PM ET on January 15 , 202 4 . Short-listed candidates will be asked to provide original, hard copies of their application materials to be forwarded to the Courts for the final selection in February.

All cover letters and recommendations should be addressed (but not sent) to:

  • For the ICJ:

H.E. Philippe Gautier, Registrar International Court of Justice

Peace Palace, The Hague, The Netherlands

Note: the title of the ICJ clerkships program is now the Judicial Fellows Programme .

  • For the PCA:

H.E. Hugo Hans Siblesz, Secretary General

Permanent Court of Arbitration

  • For the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

H.E. Julissa Mantilla Falcón, President

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Apartado Postal 6906-1000, San José, Costa Rica

* If referees prefer to submit their references in confidence, they can directly email nandini.ramanujam [at] .

Stipend: The Faculty provides a 15,000 dollars stipend for ICJ and PCA clerkships. For the clerkship with the Inter-American Court, the stipend amount is 8,000 dollars. All amounts are subject to change depending on the available funding for 2024-25 clerkship year.

For further information, please contact [at]

  • Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism
  • Faculty of Law

Department and University Information

Department of history and classical studies.

  • Open Recruitments
  • Pre-Six Lecturer 2024-2025 (JPF06438)

Pre-Six Lecturer 2024-2025 Apply now to Pre-Six Lecturer 2024-2025


Position overview

Application window.

Open date: April 16, 2024

Next review date: Friday, May 3, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time) Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Monday, Mar 31, 2025 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time) Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description

PRE-SIX LECTURER POSITIONS FOR 2024-2025 UC Davis Department of Mathematics

The Department of Mathematics at the University of California, Davis anticipates one or more openings for pre-six lecturers for its undergraduate courses during the 2024-2025 academic year, contingent upon the instructional needs of the department. The courses to be taught may include introductory calculus as well as other undergraduate courses.

Applicants must possess a Ph.D. in mathematics or related field and have prior experience teaching mathematics (preferably at the college/university level). A reasonable estimate for this position is between $66,259 and $72,404. The percentage of appointment is dependent on course needs. These positions are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Additional information about the Department may be found at .

Applicants internal to the UC Davis Department of Mathematics who had an appointment in 2023-24, have expressed interest in renewing their appointment, and are eligible for the appointment extension will be considered prior to other applicants.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. To ensure full consideration, a completed application should be received by April 26, 2024. To apply, click here:

Appointments are subject to the final approval from the Dean of the College of Letters & Science and/or budget availability.

UC Davis is an affirmative action/equal employment opportunity employer and is dedicated to recruiting a diverse faculty community. We welcome all qualified applicants to apply, including women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans.

Department :


Applicants must possess a Ph.D. in mathematics or related field and have prior experience teaching mathematics (preferably at the college/university level).

Application Requirements

Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

Statement of Teaching

Teaching evaluations for 2 courses

Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion documented in the application file will be used to evaluate applicants. Visit for guidelines about writing a statement and why one is requested.

Teaching video upload (highly encouraged) - Please provide a PDF with a video link of your teaching (highly encouraged) (Optional)

Cover Letter (Optional)

Statement of Research (Optional)

  • 2-3 letters of reference required

Teaching recommendation letters (Two are required. An additional one is optional)

Help contact: [email protected]

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a smoke and tobacco-free campus ( ).

We are an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and particularly encourage applications from members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, individuals’ with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members, and others who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UC Davis positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check. More information is available at:

The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) is committed to inclusive excellence by advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in all that we do. UC Davis celebrates the multi-cultural diversity of its community by creating a welcoming and inclusive environment demonstrated through a variety of resources and programs available to academics, staff, and students. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are core values of UC Davis that are embedded within our Principles of Community and are tied with how to best serve our student population. Our excellence in research, teaching, and service can best be fully realized by members of our academic community who share our commitment to these values, which are included in our Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Vision , our strategic plan: “To Boldly Go,” our Principles of Community, the Office of Academic Affairs’ Mission Statement , and the UC Board of Regents Policy 4400: Policy on University of California Diversity Statement . UC Davis is making important progress towards our goal of achieving federal designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and an Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander-Serving Institution . The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offers a plethora of resources on their website, and the Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (HEDI) has outlined similar goals in their Anti-Racism and DEI Action Plan.” There are a plethora of links available on the About Us webpage where you can learn more about our Administration, Diversity and Inclusion, Rankings, Locations, Native American Land Acknowledgement, Sustainability, Visiting UC Davis, UC Davis Health, and Campus Safety.

The university is consistently ranked among the top institutions in the world for campus sustainability practices by the UI Green Metric World University Rankings . UC Davis is focused on achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and repeatedly shown its commitment to preserving a healthy and sustainable environment for generations to come .

As a University employee, you will be required to comply with all applicable University policies and/or collective bargaining agreements, as may be amended from time to time. Federal, state, or local government directives may impose additional requirements.

2023 Forbes Award: Best Employers for Diversity

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    Two letters of recommendation*; and; A sample of written work no longer than fifteen (15) double-spaced pages. All application materials (including recommendation letters) must be submitted in a single attachment in an email sent to [at] by 17:00 PM ET on January 15, 2024. Short-listed candidates will be asked to ...

  27. Pre-Six Lecturer 2024-2025 (JPF06438)

    Application Window. Open date: April 16, 2024. Next review date: Friday, May 3, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time) Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee. Final date: Monday, Mar 31, 2025 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time) Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only ...