(Adapted from eHow:)
A cover letter (or statement of interest) can go a long way towards helping you make a great first impression when you apply for a college. Although your transcripts, essays and recommendations are important in the application process, a well-constructed cover letter can showcase your professionalism and organizational skills, two things admission officers value highly in potential students.
- Address properly: Building rapport by addressing the letter to the person who will be going over your application, usually the head of undergraduate admissions.
- Be concise: The major components of a cover letter include
- Your name and contact information
- The name of the addressee
- An introductory paragraph that
- can generate readers’ interest in you
- can state or indicate your interest in a certain college/university
- A value-selling paragraph that
- can show your ability to complete the degree
- emphasizes your key strengths and abilities
- pictures your (immediate and far) future plan/goal
- A paragraph summarize briefly your relevant education and experience
- A statement of appreciation
- Use natural language: Don't try to impress the reader with unusual vocabulary or complicated sentence structures, rather, use simple, direct and clear sentences. Let your personality and energy shine through your words.
- Be professional: Use standard business letter format on stationery matching resume. Do not use dot matrix printers or inferior typewriter ribbons. Also use standard typography and layout.
- Strong closing: End with a strong closing statement indicating the action you desire, ending with “Sincerely.”
- Appearance: Make the whole application folder look neat by combining the cover letter with the rest of your application using a paper clip or a binder, especially when the reader needs to make notes.
Please check out The Cover Letter Checklist when writing your own cover letter for college/university application (PDF File).
Also check out this sample cover letter (PDF File).