How to Write a College Application Letter

by Contributor
Smiling young woman working on laptop

It’s not easy to write to a college admissions department. You’re putting your fate in the hands of a group of people who know exactly what they are looking for. As the demand for college education continues to grow, admissions have become more and more competitive. No particular letter-writing strategy can guarantee you admission, but a few tips can help you present yourself in the best possible way.

Read up on the college. You have to convince the admissions department that you love this college and that this college will love you. If you were trying to convince someone to date you, you'd need to learn a lot about her to be able to talk about what you have in common. Applying to college works the same way.

Write about why you want to attend the college. Write about your aims in life and what you enjoy studying. If you have a potential career plan in mind, share your plan in your letter. This could include ideas such as you want to work with youth, want to build businesses, want to teach or that you want to work in science. If you have done projects or extracurricular activities that are part of your career plan, share them.

Talk about why you're just the type of student the college wants. Be sincere about your strengths and weaknesses. Obviously, you should mention your straight "A" average or any other academic qualifications. But this isn't just about academics. If the college has a well-known theater department or sports team, and you excel in those areas, mention that also. If the college brochure talks about wanting people who work with the community to make the world a better place, and you spend your weekends volunteering in the community, be sure to talk about that.

Explain that you have something unique to offer. Once you're done talking about how you possess what the college is looking for, point out a special feature of yours that might be what the college needs. This can be anything from a talent on a musical instrument to a burning desire to found a humor magazine at the college. Thousands of students with good grades will be applying, so your job here is to show why you're different and why you'll be an asset to the college.

Spell-check. Then spell-check again. Then have your parents read over the letter. Then check the letter again yourself. This may seem excessive, but getting into college is difficult enough without you hurting your chances with a poorly written letter.

Photo Credits

  • Andersen Ross/Blend Images/Getty Images