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WRITING A COVER LETTER FOR UNIVERSITY APPLICATIONS
KEY POINTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

WRITING A COVER LETTER FOR UNIVERSITY APPLICATIONS

These tips are guaranteed to help you impress any university admission board by writing a compelling cover letter.

WHAT SHOULD A COVER LETTER FOR A UNIVERSITY APPLICATION INCLUDE?

A cover letter is an excellent opportunity to set yourself apart from other applicants. It allows you to show the admissions team at your chosen university that you are genuinely interested in a bachelor’s or master’s program, and outline precisely why you are the right candidate. A common mistake many applicants make in their cover letter is overstating their attributes, embellishing their letter and adding superfluous detail. It is crucial to remember that any exaggeration will soon appear inauthentic or implausible, and damage your chances. Instead, you should stick to the truth and remain realistic while emphasizing your qualifications and personality. After all, this is what the university actually wants to find out.

Stick to answering key questions: Who are you? Where do you come from? What have you learned to date? What experience can you bring with you? And why do you want to embark on this course of study, at this moment in time? Once you have given some thought to these issues, there will be nothing left to prevent you producing a solid cover letter to secure your place at university.

 

A cover letter for an application to study for a bachelor’s or master’s degree should include the following points:

  1. An explanation of what it is about your chosen university that particularly appeals to you and why you think it is exactly the right place for you to study. When applying to Munich Business School, the relevant question would be: “Why is Munich Business School the best possible choice for your studies?”
  2. An overview of your academic career to date, especially your achievements in relevant subjects. In addition to stating your grades, you could also discuss specific experience and insights you have gained to date, and why these are relevant for your prospective studies. When applying to Munich Business School, you should answer the question: “Why should Munich Business School pick you?”
  3. A brief discussion of a topic that you find particularly engaging and aligns with the university’s values. When applying to Munich Business School, for example, a question relevant to the application process would be: “What does innovation mean to you?”
  4. A conclusion in which you reiterate your motivations and goals in summarized form.

 

Tips for writing a convincing cover letter 

A good cover letter can be decisive in determining whether or not you are accepted on your dream course of study. It is an opportunity to highlight your personality and shown your enthusiasm for your chosen program – something tests and certificates can never truly convey. So, what makes a convincing cover letter?

  1. Be specific! Don’t just say why you are interested in studying. Instead, make it clear exactly why you are the right candidate for your chosen program and university. Use specific, concrete examples and explain what you have to contribute.
  2. Make it clear you have understood the program! Provide examples to demonstrate that you are aware of the challenges your chosen course of study entails – and ready to tackle them. You should also explain why the program is the right choice for you, covering what it offers you, what electives you would choose, what aspects you are most looking forward to, and so on. 
  3. Stay positive! First and foremost, a cover letter should inspire. It is an opportunity to show that you are an ambitious, optimistic candidate, and will remain so even in the face of adversity. Avoid striking a negative tone or referring to other programs and universities in negative terms. Instead, rely on positive formulations to make clear what you like most about your chosen program and what you believe sets it apart from the alternatives.
  4. Let others do the talking for you! If other people who know you well – such as past professors or lecturers – are willing to confirm that you are highly motivated or a particularly suitable applicant, you should seize this opportunity. Speak to them about whether they would be willing to provide a reference or a quote for your cover letter.

FIVE MISTAKES YOU MUST AVOID WHEN WRITING A COVER LETTER

When writing a cover letter for an application to a bachelor’s or master’s program, there are a few common mistakes you must avoid.

  1. Too little background knowledge about the program. The biggest mistake you could make is not knowing enough about your chosen program or the university. Before writing your cover letter, make sure you familiarize yourself thoroughly with the program’s structure and the research currently underway at the university.
  2. Exaggerations and lies. Make sure you avoid bending the truth in your cover letter, whether by overstating matters or even lying. This will usually come to light sooner or later and can prevent you from being admitted to your chosen program of study entirely.
  3. Lack of self-reflection. You need to be honest to yourself when writing a cover letter. Why have you chosen this course of study? What reasons have played a role in your choice? And what do you expect from the program? The more precise and reflective you are in answering these questions, the more effectively you will show your prospective professors that you are the right choice for your chosen bachelor’s or master’s course.
  4. Linguistic errors. Your cover letter should not contain any typos or grammatical mistakes.
  5. Lack of clarity. Give your application documents a clear structure. For example, you could structure your cover letter in sections or paragraphs, always with a clear structure and using the same styles and fonts.

Interested? Request a free brochure!

COVER LETTERS FOR APPLYING TO BACHELOR’S AND MASTER’S PROGRAMS: THE MBS EXPERTS’ CHECKLIST

So, you’ve finally chosen a course of study. You might well be asking yourself how to write the perfect cover letter for your application. We’ve compiled a checklist with the most important points your cover letter should absolutely include:

  • Why do you want to study this program? What are your personal reasons and motivations?
  • Which part of your proposed course interests you most? Do you already have an elective or concentration in mind?
  • Where do you see your career going after your studies? Do you already have specific goals in mind or are you open to exploring new directions?
  • What experience have you gained to date that might be relevant to your studies? (This also includes internships, part-time jobs, etc.)
  • Why exactly do you want to study here (i.e. at your chosen university)? Are there any specific reasons why this university is the right choice for you? (e.g. specific electives/concentrations)

INSIDER TALK: THE MBS APPLICATION PROCESS – EXPLAINED IN FIVE SIMPLE STEPS

Let’s pull back the curtain and take a look at the structure of the Munich Business School application process.

  1. You register online for a program and create an applicant account. This only takes two minutes at most and involves entering basic details, such as your address.
  2. Your personal account is now set up. You can continue with your application either immediately or at a later time. If you are not yet ready to complete and submit, you can use the link in the email sent to you upon registration to continue your application.
  3. The next step is to select your concentrations and electives in the online application portal, and add information about your education to date. Make sure you take enough time to do this.
  4. Finally, upload the following documents:
    • Cover letter (one side of A4)
    • Résumé, including a photo of you
    • School and/or university transcript
    • Evidence of your English language skills (if applicable) – can also be supplied at any time prior to the start of your studies
  5. We review your documents and invite you to an interview with our Admissions team.
  6. That’s all! If you meet all our admission criteria, you will receive a letter of acceptance within a few days.

DID YOU KNOW?

Our business programs at Munich Business School are award-winning! Munich Business has been named the best private specialist business university in Germany (WirtschaftsWoche ranking 2022).

STUDY PROGRAMS AT MUNICH BUSINESS SCHOOL

International Business
BACHELOR’S
International Business
All master’s programs
MASTER’S
All master’s programs
Full-time & part-time
MBA
Full-time & part-time
Doctor of Business Administration
DBA
Doctor of Business Administration
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