These are just some advices from BESTies who read hundreds (if not thousands) of motivation letters so far. Feel free to take the ones you want and ignore the others, but try to remember that there is no special recipe. Just do your BEST 🙂
1. Check out the website of the event. It will provide you important information like: learning objectives, academic level, special skills you need etc. The schedule will show you the social activities that you and 20 other European students will take part in and the organisers will most likely provide a survival guide, with all the practical information you may need.
2. Use informal language. The people reading your motivation letters are students, just like you, so no need for formalities such as “Dear Madam/Sir” .
3. Be yourself! Give a personal touch and be honest. Don’t write things you don’t really mean just to get accepted. Let the organisers know who you really are. Remember that you will be meeting these people later on (hopefully).
4. Try to be creative and original: Use your imagination! Have some crazy, innovative, out-of-the-ordinary ideas? Put them down! Remember that your motivation letter should stand out (in a positive way). This should go without saying, but please don’t write the same motivation letter to all courses you apply for and be careful not to mix motivation letters if you apply for more than one event!
5. Remember that a good sense of humor gives extra points 😉
6. Make sure you state all the reasons why you want to attend that specific BEST course.
- Are you passionate about the topic of the course? Prove it! What related topics have you been studying so far? How will this course help you in what you want to do in the future? Topic-related jokes or stories are always welcome.
- Show your interest in the country this course takes place in: the culture, the language, the places. After all, BEST courses are also a good opportunity for cultural exchange. Writing a few lines in their language or writing about the places you really want to see there show that you did your research before applying.
- State your interest in meeting new people. Show you are friendly and open minded. Are you eager to spend at least a week with other 20-30 European students of technology? What does this idea make you enthusiastic?
7. Convince the organisers that YOU are the perfect participant for their course. They are looking for people with a great personality, that they would like to meet and spend time with. Do you have a special talent? Write about it! Whether you can juggle, speak a rare language, solve a Rubik cube in 45 seconds or play an odd musical instrument – don’t keep it for yourself ’cause it can help them remember you easier.
8. Don’t forget to choose the right layout for your motivation letter. The letter has to be about one page long. If you write too much, people will get bored reading it, and few lines show that your interest in the course is very low. Make sure that the letter is well structured, with different ideas in different paragraphs, and easy to read.
9. Correct the spelling and grammar mistakes. Your English doesn’t have to be perfect. After all, the organisers are not native English speakers and to err is human. But don’t be sloppy. Many mistakes might give the wrong impression.
10. Save what you wrote from time to time, just in case technical problems appear. It’s good to have a back-up, just in case. Plus, we recommend to not apply in the last moment to avoid system crashes. The good news is that you can edit your letter anytime (and as many times as you want) before the application period ends.
11. Re-read the letter in the end and make the necessary adjustments. Make sure the lettere expresses exactly who you are and why they should definitely select you.
Two extra pieces of advice:
- In case the organisers asked some questions in the application form, answer them. Be original, ironic, funny or serious, depending on the question. But don’t ignore them, as if a great motivation letter is enough.
- In case you are not accepted the first time you apply, even though you respected all the advice above, don’t give up! The more you try, the better you get, the more your chances of getting accepted increase!
Now that you read all of these, put the theory into practice and apply for a BEST course. BEST of luck! 🙂