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Do i need to state i'm applying to their program?

  1. Jan 5, 2016 #1
    Hello, I am in the process of applying to graduate schools and most of them request either a letter of motivation or letter of intent. After looking at many examples i have noticed almost all of them start with a paragraph explaining who they are, the university they are coming from, their major and that they are interested in applying to such and such program. I want to know, is it really necessary to explicitly state these things? a lot of these letters have word limits, some very short (400 words) and i feel like this is a waste of space. I mean, most of these things are obvious or can be seen in other parts of my application.

    Also, is there a difference between a statement of purpose,letter of intent and letter of motivation? the examples all seem to be answering the same questions.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 5, 2016 #2


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    It's good to have a paragraph about what interests you about the department and focus on people you are interested in working with. There may be some unique thing in the department that stands out (like the institute of molecular engineering at UChicago which was created very recently or the center for ultra cold atoms collaboration for Harvard/MIT).
  4. Jan 5, 2016 #3
    I have no problem talking about their university and why they are a good match for me, in fact that is a very important part. I just don't see the point in writing something like: " My name is John Smith and i am currently a senior at x university, majoring in physics. I'm writing to express my interest in the theoretical physics masters program at the university of x..."
  5. Jan 5, 2016 #4


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    I think you have the basic idea.

    The people who read these things want to know why you've chosen to apply to their program. They're often looking for evidence that you're aware of what you're doing and that you're not just trying to get in anywhere you can. They want evidence that you'll be successful in the program. And sometimes they want to know some unique facts about you. Stating the blatantly obvious, as you've pointed out, is unnecessary and can be a waster of space.

    I'm not sure that there is any major difference between a "statement of purpose" or "letter of intent." What's important is that you read over the application instructions carefully and try to respond to any specific details that are asked for. If you're unsure about something, contact the school for further instruction.
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