How do I Write a College Cover Letter?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2019
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Writing a college cover letter should be done thoughtfully and carefully. Not only must it be typo-free with proper grammar, punctuation and sentence structure, but a college application cover letter should be written about the institution rather than you. At first glance, this can seem untrue since academic institutions require adequate information about applicants to determine whether they are a good fit with the programs they offer. But that is the point; when you write a college cover letter, you should emphasize how you, your skills and achievements fit in with the specific institution to which you're applying.

Keep in mind it's very likely that the admissions department will read your application form before your letter. Your college cover letter needs to persuade the reader that you fit in well with what you've applied to study at that particular school. Academic cover letters are much like employment covers in that they must address the organization's requirements and how the applicant meets or even exceeds them.

It's easier to understand the importance of showing how you match the institution's needs if you place yourself in the college or business' position. Oftentimes, they have far more applications than they have vacancies to fill. Since it's illegal to be discriminatory when choosing workers for jobs or students for programs, the focus must be kept on skills and merit; in other words, which applicants show the best match with the organization.


You should showcase your relevant academic achievements and anything else that matches the school's programs, policy and philosophy. Definitely point out in your college cover letter exactly how your background, skills and goals fit in with the particular school as well as the program for which you're applying. In addition to mentioning any awards, include volunteer experience, especially if the school's philosophy embraces that. It's up to you to show the reader how you're the ideal match for the institution and program. Don't make your application cover letter more than two pages though.

Unless you're instructed otherwise, always type your college cover letter rather than hand write it. Include the name of the reader if possible, as well as the department, university address and date. After a salutation such as "Dear Ms. Jones," begin with a summarizing statement such as "Your program requirements listed in the current Smith College calendar exactly match my qualifications and ambitions" before showcasing your reasons. Mention your specific test scores if they're especially high, but make sure to mention in some way that you've fulfilled every requirement you're supposed to have.


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Post 3

I've been out of college for a few months now, and whenever I apply for a new job, I tweak the cover letter so it matches what they're looking for, such as skills and experience.

Post 2

Regardless of the cover letter you're creating, there's no "right" or "wrong" one. What you generally put on there should relate to who/what you're submitting it to. For example, if you're submitting it to a college, always make sure to address them formally, and include why you're interested in being part of the community. However, if you're applying for a job post-graduation, always make sure to mention your graduation, when it occurred, your future goals, and anything else of relevance.

Post 1

You should always spend at least a few hours working on a cover letter, college-related or not.

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