Graduate Admissions: Tips and Tricks For Writing Your Letter of Intent

Applying for a master’s programme at Sciences Po? Read our best tips for writing your admissions letter.

As part of your application to one of Sciences Po's graduate schools, you will have to write a formal letter of intent respecting the rules and guidelines given. Your letter should be written in the language of the programme you are applying to. For special focus and dual degree programmes, additional letters may be required. Here are our five essential tips for writing your letter. Best of luck!

  • Tell a good story. What makes you want to make an impact on the world? To what extent are you an intellectually curious person, challenge-oriented, capable of facing complex situations? At Sciences Po, we look for candidates who seek to become game-changers, who will use their talent to make the world a better place and contribute to their community in a meaningful way. Telling a personal and insightful story to explain your motivations will make you relatable and show your humanity. It is also important  that you show a clear idea of the professional field (or even position) that you are aiming for, and that you state clearly what aspects of your personality or background have led you to this choice.
  • Be professionally-minded. You are applying for a master’s programme that will set you on track to launch your career. What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in five or ten years? What further milestones do you plan to reach? Your letter of motivation cannot tell your whole personal experience but is rather an opportunity to explain more precisely what your goals are, and why you are well-suited to the programme you are applying for. Define your plans and express your professional ambitions.
  • Own your letter (and your letter should be your own). While it is always helpful to get a second opinion on your letter, you shouldn’t get caught up in rewriting and having it edited by someone over and over again. You know your strengths and skills, and another person may not view certain topics the same way you do. At the end of the writing process, you should feel that your letter is genuine and that you are proud to submit the end product for consideration. Don’t forget that you should be ready to answer any questions about your letter at the interview.
  • Humility and marketability: find the right balance. You shouldn’t be afraid to put forth your strengths and achievements, but be sure to temper them according to the context and the relevance they have to your academic and professional project. Make sure to give specific examples that support and illustrate the image you want to portray. The adequacy between your career plans and the training we provide is evaluated in order to ensure that you stand to gain the most from it.
  • Edit, design and format. A personal statement cannot be written in one sitting. Give yourself time to brainstorm, to build your story, and then to review, edit, and format. UK English? US English? Realise or realize? Doesn’t matter - as long as you’re consistent. Make sure your sentences are balanced, your ideas are well thought-out and relevant, and your document is easy to read. Keep it simple, but effective!

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