- The reader may read countless letters and statements.
- Avoid creating a generic application letter or personal statement.
- Use distinctive details to create a letter that no one else could write.
- Visit the Writing Center and work with a tutor to develop an effective letter or statement.
The Writing Process:
 List Your Strengths  Select, Analyze, & Draft  Organize & Revise  Check Format & Style
Explore and List Your Strengths
- List every good quality on paper/computer.
- Add academic, volunteer, summer, and other work experience/skills.
- Include terms that friends, professors, and employers would use to describe you.
Select, Analyze, & Draft
- Describe transferrable skills from past experience
- Discuss value of relevant previous or current research
- Explain usefulness of extra-curricular experience
- Describe short and long-term goals
Organize & Revise
- Assume the reader's point of view and read your draft
- Delete least relevant information
- Have a lively first paragraph that introduces your purpose
- Arrange the paragraphs logically (chronological? categorical?)
- Check coherence of each paragraph. Does each sentence connect clearly to the next? Do all sentences relate to the paragraph topic? Include specific examples.
- Make the relationships between pargraphs obvious
- Conclude by requesting the next action, such as an interview or request for admission
Check Format & Style
With a Writing Center Tutor, check that your letter or statement has:
- Formal but personal "voice"
- Specific, relevant details
- Active, confident tone
- Clear purpose and contact information
- Error-free sentences
To view a draft version of a cover letter click here.
To view a draft interview follow-up letter click here.
Back to "Essays, Labs, Letters, and Resumes"