Sample Letter of Intent for Graduate School

Through this article, I aim to share my acquired wisdom by providing you with a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to compose a compelling letter of intent, complete with personal insights and a practical template.

Key Takeaways:

  • Purpose: Understand what a letter of intent is and why it’s crucial for your graduate school application.
  • Content: Learn what to include in your letter to make a strong impression.
  • Structure: Follow a structured approach to organize your letter efficiently.
  • Personalization: Tips on tailoring your letter to reflect your unique qualifications and interests.
  • Template: Use the provided template to start your letter effectively.
  • Revision Tips: Learn the importance of revising and feedback in crafting a perfect letter.

Understanding the Letter of Intent



A letter of intent for graduate school is a personal introduction to your application, laying out your academic and professional interests, your qualifications, and why you believe you are a good fit for the program. It’s your chance to make a compelling argument for your candidacy beyond what your transcripts and resume provide.

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Letter

Step 1: Start with Research

Before you begin writing, research the program thoroughly. Understand its values, its core areas of research, and what it looks for in a candidate. This understanding will help you tailor your letter effectively.

Step 2: Introduction

Begin your letter by introducing yourself and stating your intent. Mention the specific program you’re applying for and why it interests you.

Example: “I am eager to apply for the Master of Science program in Data Science at XYZ University because of its innovative approach to big data challenges and its commitment to practical, real-world applications.”

Step 3: Outline Your Background

Briefly summarize your academic and professional background. Highlight experiences and skills that align with the goals of the program.

Content Tips:

  • Mention relevant coursework, projects, and research.
  • Include professional experiences like internships or related jobs.
  • Highlight unique skills or certifications that may give you an edge.

Step 4: State Your Purpose and Goals

Clearly articulate why you are pursuing this graduate program. Discuss how it fits into your career goals and how your previous experiences have prepared you for this step.

Example: “My experience at ABC Corp as a junior data analyst solidified my interest in data science and equipped me with a foundation in analyzing large datasets which I am eager to expand upon in your program.”

Step 5: Explain Why This Program

Detail what specific aspects of the program appeal to you. Mention faculty members you admire or specific research initiatives you want to be a part of.

Step 6: Conclude Strongly

Reaffirm your interest and summarize why you are a suitable candidate. Thank the reader for considering your application.

Example: “I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to contribute to the research team led by Professor Smith on computational algorithms and am confident in my ability to bring fresh insights from my extensive background in computer science.”

Step 7: Closing

Sign off politely with a professional closing statement.

Example: “Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of contributing to and growing within your esteemed program.”

Personalization Tips:

  • Reflect: Inject your personality and make your letter memorable by sharing personal anecdotes related to your academic passions.
  • Customize: Tailor each letter to the program. Avoid generic phrases that could apply to any school.
  • Research: Mention specific faculty members or research projects you’re excited about to show your genuine interest.

Template for a Letter of Intent

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State, Zip Code]
[Email Address]
[Date]

[Admissions Office]
[School’s Name]
[School’s Address]
[City, State, Zip Code]

Dear Members of the Admissions Committee,

I am writing to express my interest in the [Specific Program] at [University’s Name], commencing in [start year]. With a background in [Your Field], I am eager to advance my knowledge and engage with the cutting-edge research at your department, particularly [mention any specific faculty or research projects].

During my time at [Your Undergraduate University], I majored in [Your Major] and took part in [relevant experience or project]. This experience illuminated the path I wish to take, specifically in the realm of [specific area of study], and has prepared me to contribute to [specific goal or project at the graduate program].

The opportunity to work under [Faculty Name] and contribute to the [Specific Project or Research Group] is particularly exciting to me because [specific reason]. I am enthusiastic about the chance to bring my expertise in [Your Specific Skill] to your program and collaborate with your distinguished faculty.

Thank you for considering my application. I am looking forward to the opportunity to demonstrate my passion and dedication to furthering my academic career at [University’s Name]. Please feel free to contact me at [Your Phone Number] or [Your Email] should you need any more information.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

Revision and Feedback

Once you’ve drafted your letter, revising is key. Ask mentors, advisors, or colleagues to review your letter. Their feedback can help you refine your message and correct any overlooked errors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Q: How do I make my letter of intent stand out to the admissions committee?
    Answer: I focused on tying my unique background in urban art to my interest in community development, illustrating how my projects directly impacted local policy changes. This narrative helped my application stand out by showcasing real-world applications of my past work and future ambitions.

  2. Q: What should I definitely include in my letter of intent for graduate school?
    Answer: In my letter, I made sure to include a detailed explanation of how my undergraduate thesis on renewable energy aligns with the research interests of the faculty at the university. I highlighted specific professors and their work, showing my genuine interest and fit for their program.

  3. Q: How formal should my language be in a letter of intent?
    Answer: I kept my tone professionally conversational, as I believe it’s important to be approachable yet respectful. For instance, I used precise language to describe my academic achievements but ensured it reflected my personality, making my letter memorable.

  4. Q: Can I mention my setbacks and how they shaped my academic journey in my letter of intent?
    Answer: I openly discussed overcoming a significant academic setback during my sophomore year, explaining how it taught me resilience and enhanced my passion for biotechnological research. This honest approach helped demonstrate my growth and determination.

  5. Q: Is it appropriate to discuss future career goals in my letter of intent?
    Answer: I emphasized how the graduate program is crucial for achieving my goal of becoming a policy advisor in environmental conservation. I explained how specific courses and faculty expertise would directly contribute to my career development.

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