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A letter

  1. Apr 17, 2007 #1
    I'm applying to some a several master program in many Schools, I have to write a letter of motivation, I clearly understand the main concept of it, But what do I have to write in it?
    How long should it be?
    I know I should be honest, how much honest I have to be?
    I have like a hundred question in my head, can some help?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 17, 2007 #2
    I assume you're applying to master's programs in physics, right?

    I wrote my grad school letters mostly for PhD programs (though I did apply to one MS program), but I think the essence of the letter is the same either way.

    Here's one idea about what you could write your letter about. I started my statement of purpose with a paragraph on why physics was important to me. I explained why I enjoyed science, and why I majored in physics and math in college. I then wrote a paragraph on what my short and long term career goals were, and how graduate study at the particular institution could help me to achieve those goals. Then I explained briefly some of the research work that I had done as an undergraduate, and why I wanted to do graduate research work. I next explained how I would use my education as a professional scientist (in my case I mentioned my interest in being a physics educator). And finally I wrote a couple sentences saying that the pertinent institution would be the ideal place for me to become a competent physicist.

    How long should it be? Mine was a page and a quarter, single spaced. Doesn't mean that yours has to be this length; you should probably check the guidelines that the school you're applying to has specified. Most will specify a limit on the length of your essay.

    As for honesty, I think you should be as honest as possible, unless your motivation is to develop some new bomb for the government and make boatloads of cash. I was perfectly truthful in my essay: I just told them that I wanted to go to graduate school so that I could become a physics professor and teach physics, and that got me into grad school. I'd say you should be as honest as possible without saying something that will obviously disqualify you from graduate study. But don't draw attention to any bad grades or things of that nature. If you were sick one semester and got bad grades, you can typically explain this in an addendum of some sort. Just don't make it part of your essay.

    Well, I hope that helps, and good luck!
  4. Apr 17, 2007 #3
    yeah it physics..
    Actually I did go through a bad semester, I'm afraid I might be rejected because I barely passed that one..
    can you explain this?
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2007
  5. Apr 17, 2007 #4
    Sure. Some schools will give you the option of writing a second essay to explain bad grades, and other things of that nature. Even if they don't explicitly allow this, you can call the grad school and ask if it's OK to write a second essay. Either way, you can write a paragraph or two to explain the bad semester, but do it separately of your essay. Or, if you think that you're better semesters speak for themselves, it might be a good idea to not mention the bad semester at all. To be honest, I'm not sure why it's considered a bad idea to mention bad grades in your statement of purpose, but every book I've read tells me that this is how you should do it.
  6. Apr 18, 2007 #5
    I'll see what to do, thank you both.
  7. Apr 18, 2007 #6
    A good idea is to write it, and sit on it for a few days, weeks if possible. It took me 3 weeks to write mine, I wanted it perfect, and it came out pretty good I think.

    Some things you should mention are,
    1. Why you want to go to graduate school.
    2. Why you like there program(this is hard to do if you are applying to several schools, but if there are some schools you really like, say why in the essay)
    3. Follow the specifications, if they say 500 words make sure it's less than 500 words. Also some schools ask specific questions, make sure to answer them in your essay.(I actually didn't apply to one of the schools I was planning on because it would have required me to write a separate essay heh)
    4. Anything that's relevant to your application that isn't apparent from the rest of your application.

    Rememeber, they already have your application, transcripts, and letters of recommendation, so this is your chance to say something that might make a difference.

  8. Apr 18, 2007 #7
    ...which reminds me of one more thing. Have someone else read it! When you write an essay, it'll certainly make sense in your own mind, but to another reader, it might not logically flow. Get a friend to read your essay and make sure that it makes sense and is well written. And if possible, ask a physics professor to look it over too.
  9. Apr 18, 2007 #8
    Yes, good eye! That is something else you should definitely do! I did this also, I made like 6 people read my essay hehe:)

  10. Apr 19, 2007 #9
    Maybe I'll post it here when I finish it.
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