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letter of intent help please!

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hi all


in general, how long should a letter of intent be? is 2.5-3 pages too long?



here is what i have talked about in mine:


1) how my undergrad academic experiences have prepared and made me interested in graduate studies

2) who i wish to work with, why his research is interesting to me, which questions i wish to address and what my project will be about - i also added in why i contacted him initially (one of my profs told me about the work being done at the institution where my PI works, and that was why i looked into it and then contacted him, so i spoke all about this institution and why it's excellent for me to work at (because i get access to resources etc to conduct my research), and why the prof's research is perfectly in line with my own research interests)

3) my past research experience

4) past personal and work experiences which motivate me to do the type of research i am getting into

5) i ended it off just confirming that i'm a motivated learner who would be privledged to gain entry etc etc.


does this sound good enough? it's 3 pages long. any ideas about stuff i could add?


also, do you need a letter head or something? i just put, To: (address of department), said Dear Madam/Sir and started my letter.



please help me, thank you!

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Yeah, that actually sounds really good. I just searched my computer for the letter of intent that got me into grad school, and it was really quite pathetic. I was going to PM it to you for an example, but now that I've read it I don't think it would be too helpful.


Shorter is always better, but I don't think 3 pages is too long. I don't think you need a letterhead. Mine were just copied and pasted into text boxes on applications. And one of them was handwritten on a paper application because we're just so high-tech in the astronomy world these days. :) I don't think you need to add anything other than what you've already got. If you'd like someone to read it and give their opinion, you're welcome to PM me.

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3 single or double-spaced pages?


I looked back at mine and it was 2 single spaced pages (it probably could have been shorter now that I look back at it but I figured I had once chance to describe myself).


The content you described sounds good - maybe just double-check if it flows well? I see the ideal order as (1), (3)/(4), (2), (5) because it's more chronological (you'd talk about your past experiences, skills you've developed and then future research you want to do) but that's a personal preference.


Also, some programs have specific guidelines for letters of intent so make sure you check that (mine had a very basic guideline on what they wanted us to mention, others have page limits). You could even call the grad dept and ask if there's a usual or preferred page length for the personal statement.


Good luck :)

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Your plan sounds good.


For the program I applied, I basically just said why I was interested in this field and why I liked about this school and this program, where I elaborated a little by giving three reasons while incorporating my previous academic and work experience. In terms of the length, the school gave a words limit which made things easier.


The program I applied to is more practical with much less lab based research comparing to a typical MSc program. I tried to focus on all the transferrable skills I have instead of research because I had very little research experience and this field is very different than the ones that I've been working in.


Make sure your statement of intent sound reasonable, honest and has good logics and flows. Good luck!

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