How to Write a Cover Letter for College

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Whether you're an undergrad applying to college for the first time or an accomplished student competing for a spot in a selective postgraduate program, your cover letter can go a long way towards helping you make a great first impression. While the bulk of your application will be in the form of transcripts, essays and recommendations, a well-constructed cover letter can showcase your professionalism and organizational skills, two things admissions officers value highly in potential students.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet Connection
  • Resume Paper
  • Personalize the letter by using the college's website to determine who will be going over your application. If you're an undergrad, address the letter to the person who is the head of undergraduate admissions. Graduate applicants should address the letter to the head of the program or department to which they are applying.

  • Keep it short. The cover letter should include your name and contact information, the name of the addressee and no more than three paragraphs of text. Include a brief introductory paragraph and a paragraph that highlights how you can benefit the program. Close by thanking the reader for her attention to your application.

  • Always end with "Sincerely." Anything else may come off as too casual or too cute. The tone of your letter should be professional throughout.

  • Design your document using standard typography and layout. Standard margins are 1 inch around all four sides. Text should be size 12 Times New Roman font.

  • Use crisp, off-white resume paper that does not have a watermark. White copy paper will make your application look unimportant, while paper with gaudy designs will make it look unprofessional.

  • Bind the cover letter to the rest of your application using a paper clip. Staples make documents inconvenient to read, especially when the reader needs to make notes. Additionally, using a paper clip will allow the reader to easily file the different parts of the application.

Tips & Warnings

  • Perfect it. Because your cover letter is the first impression you'll make on an admission officer, a single spelling, grammar or punctuation error can make you look like a sloppy writer.

References

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