Hello there!

I am just writing a covering letter for a university application and it would be great, if one (native speaker?) could have a look at it, as I am not very practiced in wirting?!

Thanks a lot!!!
Nadine

>Reasons for study<

Dear ladies and gentlemen

After graduating from University it was quite plain to me that I want to undertake a postgraduate study. Students have various "wants" and "needs" as their reasons for studying. My "want" is a solid grounding in subjects with which I have an affinity, and my "need" stems from the realisation that if I want to have a career in journalism, academic research or public sector, a master degree is a necessity.

As for me European Comparative Public Policy is one of the most actual and interesting subjects to study: Globalization and European integration are creating a highly increasing interdependence and complexity of political, economic, social and cultural processes. This has its impact on all democratic societies. I would like to gain expertise in specific policy fields and specialized techniques. I am interested studying the variation in national policy patterns within Europe and the wider OECD area and to analyse how the nation’s political leaders, government officials and business executives handle the upcoming challenges. As I graduated in communication science with a strong focus on political communication and international relations I am especially interested in the field of information policy.

Political problems are always complex. Therefore they have to be tackled with the help of analytical and methodological techniques in order to contribute to their rational and justifiable solution. As the University of Essex has a strong tradition of research, I expect to improve my research skills - besides a solid grounding in the subject. So I would also like to focus on analysis and empirical methods modules.

I am highly motivated to study and want to pursue a career either in the public sector or private businesses on an international level. I think the program equips students with the scientific knowledge and practical experience they will need to advance the public interest by making policy decisions on a rational basis and by implementing policy programs effectively or even to estimate policy decisions that have been made.

The Globalization of Politics requires an international approach. Therefore, I would like to study at the University of Essex in an international environment. I want to learn and work together with students and teachers form all over the world.
During the summer months 2004 I lived in England and seized the chance to speak with Prof. Dr. XY and I also met XY, a postgraduate student of European Comparative Public Policy, who could answer my questions from a student’s point of view.

I honestly feel confident that the master in European Comparative Public Policy would be a good choice for me. Furthermore the MSc degrees in the policy area at the University of Essex are recognized by the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK as amongst the leading providers of Masters level education in this field. Therefore I would be glad (be glad to receive?) of receiving the opportunity to study at the University of Essex.
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Dear Nadine,

I encourage you to register, though it is not required.

Let's have a look at your application letter.



Dear ladies and gentlemen: [you need a colon]

After graduating from University it was quite plain to me that I want to undertake a postgraduate study. Students have various "wants" and "needs" as their reasons for studying. My "want" is a solid grounding in subjects with which I have an affinity, and my "need" stems from the realisation that if I want to have a career in journalism, academic research or public sector, a master degree is a necessity. [1]

As for me European Comparative Public Policy is one of the most actual and interesting subjects to study: Globalization and European integration are creating a highly increasing interdependence and complexity of political, economic, social and cultural processes. This has its impact on all democratic societies. I would like to gain expertise in specific policy fields and specialized techniques. I am interested studying the variation in national policy patterns within Europe and the wider OECD area and to analyse how the nation’s political leaders, government officials and business executives handle the upcoming challenges. As I graduated in communication science with a strong focus on political communication and international relations I am especially interested in the field of information policy.

Political problems are always complex. Therefore they have to be tackled with the help of analytical and methodological techniques in order to contribute to their rational and justifiable solution. As the University of Essex has a strong tradition of research, I expect to improve my research skills - besides a solid grounding in the subject. So I would also like to focus on analysis and empirical methods modules.

I am highly motivated to study and want to pursue a career either in the public sector or private businesses on an international level. I think the program equips students with the scientific knowledge and practical experience they will need to advance the public interest by making policy decisions on a rational basis and by implementing policy programs effectively or even to estimate policy decisions that have been made.

The Globalization of Politics requires an international approach. Therefore, I would like to study at the University of Essex in an international environment. I want to learn and work together with students and teachers form [typo, from not form] all over the world.

During the summer months 2004 I lived in England and seized the chance to speak with Prof. Dr. XY and I also met XY, a postgraduate student of European Comparative Public Policy who answered [slight mods were made] my questions from a student’s point of view.

I honestly feel confident that the master in European Comparative Public Policy would be a good choice for me. Furthermore the MSc degrees in the policy area at the University of Essex are recognized by the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK as amongst the leading providers of Masters level education in this field. Therefore I would be glad (be glad to receive?) of receiving the opportunity to study at the University of Essex.



Notes:

[1]

Your opening paragraph is very weak. It lacks passion and focus--especially your opening sentence. Your paragraph seems almost conversational with its quoted wants and needs as well as general discussion about future career ambitions. You need to sharpen your focus and show some passion. I believe you are looking at this letter from your perspective. But put yourself in the shoes of university prof or administrator. You want someone with passion that is hungry to learn the material so that they can go out make a difference.

Writing these letters is difficult. Always darn difficult. What I am going to do is have you do most of the work. I will ask you questions and force you to think about how to incorporate that information into your letter.

Your closing paragraph is similarly weak.

The questions/advice I am going to discuss apply equally well to your opening and closing paragraphs.

From your letter, I gather that:

1) You have a Communication Science degree
2) You want to obtain a Masters Degree in European Comparative Public Policy
3) You want to study at University of Essex
4) You have a passion for European Comparative Public Policy
5) You want to do what or influence what once you are done?

Interestingly and surprisingly, I had to hunt in your letter to find this information. To me, this is the key information. What is your background, what do you want, and why do you want it?

See if you can rewrite your opening paragraph(s) to incorporate those points.

Also go through the rest of the letter and kick it up a notch or two. Get rid of the "I feel" "I like". Pretend this a business proposal. Show me the facts supported by passion to accomplish the task.

I look forward to your next iteration. I think there will be a few iterations, so be prepared to grind through it.

MountainHiker
I agree, I can see that you are trying to increase your chances by flattering the university a great deal, but it is hiding all the relevant stuff under too much waffle.

I would query your 'needs' as overstating the case. You do not in fact 'need' a masters degree for a career in either journalism or public sector. In fact what you need to be a journalist is a qualification in journalism. A masters might be helpful in public sector work at higher levels, but you would also need some work experience, and it might even go against you at the start of your career as it will over-qualify you for most entry level positions. This is not to say that you shouldn't do a Masters, just get the reasons right in your application.

You come across as enthusiastic though, which is a good thing.

I live in Essex and I hope you enjoy your studies here. Colchester is a very lovely town.
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Thank you very much for your help! Emotion: smile

Writing these letters is difficult. Always darn difficult. What I am going to do is have you do most of the work. I will ask you questions and force you to think about how to incorporate that information into your letter.

I think thats the only way to learn it and I will try to improve my letter (& to post it soon).

I have just one question: "Slight mods were made" - what is the meaning of mods??
... never heard this phrase or the word "mod".

nadine
Hi Nadine,

mods is short for modifications.

I look forward to seeing your letter soon.

MountainHiker
Hi again Nadine,

I'll look out for your next version as well and help if I can.

Just a comment on your last post though.
The way you have expressed this request comes across as rather too aggressive and you will need to express yourself a little more tactfully when you come to England. You cannot 'make' me do all the work and you certainly can't 'force' me to think about anything by asking me questions. These words should only be used when there is real compulsion and I have no choice but to do what you want me to do. 'Force' is a very strong word to use.

I do understand what you meant to say and that you are asking for our help. We are happy to help but are not obliged to, which is what your post implies.

Using words like this in the wrong context could cause offense in England as we are a 'bolshy' lot who do not like being ordered around - even by those who genuinely have authority over us!
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Hi there,

I rewrote my letter and I am sure this was not the last time; I am still not happy with it...

I started with my face-to-face contact - I think there will not be many applicants who already talked to students or the profs. at the university; then I tryed to write more about my backround (I always think that is not really a matter of interest because I will also enclose my CV, which includes all these information); ...

Nevertheless I am looking forward to seeing your comment!

@Guest: I just quote a paragraph; MountainHiker wrote: " What I am going to do is have you do most of the work. I will ask you questions and force you to think about how to incorporate that information into your letter." and I agreed Emotion: wink

Nadine

Dear ladies and gentlemen:

During the summer months 2004 I lived in *** and seized the chance to speak with Prof. Dr. *** about the master program in European Comparative Public Policy. I also met ***, a postgraduate student, who answered my questions from a student’s point of view. This insight made me feel confident that the master in European Comparative Public Policy would be a good choice for me.

After graduating from the University of *** it was quite plain to me that I want to undertake a postgraduate study. As I graduated in communication science in July 2004 with a strong focus on political communication and international relations I am especially interested in the field of information policy. I took also several courses in the field of politics, which had aroused my interest in political issues like the European Integration.

Furthermore, I am interested in empirical research and as the University of *** has a strong tradition of research, I expect to improve my research skills - besides a solid grounding in the subject. So I would also like to focus on analysis and empirical methods modules.

During my last two semesters at the University of *** I already worked on an empirical study which fulfils the final achievement to attain the Bachelor of Arts degree. I did an empirical study with main focus on nation images, among other questions it has been researched which factors do influence the perception of a nation’s image. The survey basis on a media analysis, qualitative face-to-face interviews and a quantitative telephone survey with more than 800 interviews. Moreover I worked over two years as a student assistant at the chair of Methods of Social Research.

I am highly motivated to study and want to pursue a career either in the public sector or private businesses on an international level. I want to gain the scientific knowledge and practical experience I will need whether to advance the public interest by making policy decisions on a rational basis and by implementing policy programs effectively or whether to estimate policy decisions that have been made by officials. I have already worked as a freelancer for newspapers and a career in the field of political journalism is also an interesting perspective. (-> don’t know why but this sentence sounds strange to me!?)

As for me European Comparative Public Policy is one of the most actual and interesting subjects to study: Globalization and European integration are creating a highly increasing interdependence and complexity of political, economic, social and cultural processes. This has its impact on all democratic societies. I want to gain expertise in specific policy fields and specialized techniques. I am interested studying the variation in national policy patterns within Europe and the wider OECD area and to analyse how the nation’s political leaders, government officials and business executives handle the upcoming challenges.

Concerning my interest in information policy I have already talked to Prof. Dr. *** and Prof. Dr. yyy. Although Prof. Dr. yyy expects to be on sabbatical leave next year, so that he will not be able to teach the information Policy course in 2005/6, he has stated his willingness to supervise my work for research-based 15,000 word dissertation so long as my topic falls within the scope of his research interest.

The Globalization of Politics requires an international approach. Therefore, I want to study at the University of *** in an international environment. I want to learn and work together with students and teachers from all over the world. As the MSc degrees in the policy area at the University of *** are recognized by the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK as amongst the leading providers of Masters level education in this field, I would appreciate to receive the opportunity to study European Comparative Public Policy in ***.
Dear ladies and gentlemen:

During the summer months 2004 I lived in *** and seized the opportunity to speak with Prof. *** about the Masters program in European Comparative Public Policy. I also met with ***, a postgraduate student, who answered my questions from a student’s point of view. This insight [okay, but what is that insight] made me feel confident that the master in European Comparative Public Policy would be a good choice for me.

After graduating from the University of *** it was quite plain to me that I want to undertake a postgraduate study. I graduated in communication science in July 2004 with a strong focus on political communication and international relations I am especially interested in the field of information policy. I took also several courses in the field of politics, which had aroused my interest in political issues like the European Integration.

Furthermore, I am interested in empirical research and as the University of *** has a strong tradition of research, I expect to improve my research skills - besides a solid grounding in the subject. [Prior sentence is a run-on sentence] So I would also like to focus on analysis and empirical methods modules.

[Replacing above paragraph with the one below. It's an idea...you might need to change it.]

Because I have a curious and inquisitive mind and a passion for investigation, I am expecially interested in further developing my skills in emperical research. I am aware the University of *** has a strong tradition of empirical research as evidenced by WHAT. With a solid background in empirical research I will be able to do WHAT.

During my last two semesters at the University of *** I already worked on an empirical study which fulfils the final achievement to attain the Bachelor of Arts degree. I did an empirical study with main focus on nation images, among other questions it has been researched which factors do influence the perception of a nation’s image. [run-on sentence] The survey basis on a media analysis, qualitative face-to-face interviews and a quantitative telephone survey with more than 800 interviews. Moreover I worked over two years as a student assistant at the chair of Methods of Social Research.

[See if you can combine the past couple of paragraphs that deal with research. Perhaps start with you experience. Then add your discovered love and passion for research. Discuss the university's strength in research as evidenced by ***. And then what do you plan to do with this skill once you become very proficient with it?]

I am highly motivated to study and want to pursue a career either in the public sector or private businesses on an international level. [Your prior sentence says, "I want a job." You have covered off the public and private sector. What other sectors are there? Rather than stating the sectors, maybe state the attributes of the job?] I want to gain the scientific knowledge and practical experience I will need whether to advance the public interest by making policy decisions on a rational basis and by implementing policy programs effectively or whether to estimate policy decisions that have been made by officials. [You need to break this prior sentence down into smaller chunks. Focus on what you want. Don't worry if you end doing something different. Describe you "dream" job.] I have already worked as a freelancer for newspapers and a career in the field of political journalism is also an interesting perspective. (-> don’t know why but this sentence sounds strange to me!?) [The last sentence seems out of place, like it is an afterthought. Why is it important? What did you want the reader to take away from it? Does it belong here or somewhere else?]

European Comparative Public Policy is one of the most interesting subjects to study because Globalization and European integration are creating a highly increasing interdependence [the 3 prior words don't seem to mesh together in my mind] and complexity of political, economic, social and cultural processes. This has its impact on all democratic societies. I want to gain expertise in specific policy fields and specialized techniques. I am interested studying the variation in national policy patterns within Europe and the wider OECD area and to analyse how the nation’s political leaders, government officials and business executives handle the upcoming challenges. [Okay, so how do these last few sentences fit with your empirical research objectives and your career objectives?]

Concerning my interest in information policy I have already talked to Prof. *** and Prof. yyy. Although Prof. Dr. yyy expects to be on sabbatical leave next year, and thus he will not be able to teach the information Policy course in 2005/6, he has stated his willingness to supervise my work for research-based 15,000 word dissertation providing my topic falls within the scope of his research interest.

The Globalization of Politics requires an international approach. Therefore, I want to study at the University of *** in an international environment. I want to learn and work together with students and teachers from all over the world. As the MSc degrees in the policy area at the University of *** are recognized by the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK as amongst the leading providers of Masters level education in this field, I would appreciate to receive the opportunity to study European Comparative Public Policy in ***. [Is it important that you impress "Economic and Social Research Council of the UK" or do you want to impress employers or do you want to... If it were me, I'd focus on the experience, knowledge, and contacts that I would gain and let the reputation take care of itself. With the strong background in empirical research, solid foundation in academic theory on blah blah blah, combined with a setting of professors and students from all over the world, I am confident that I will have the skills, knowledge and contacts to be able to blah blah blah.]

Overall, this is much better. It is taking shape. You still need to sharpen and better define your focus.

In my simplistic thinking, I am a guy carrying a lunch bucket and my tool box to work. In order to do my job (read career and aspirations), I need to ensure that I eat properly that I am healthy and well nourished. And I need the proper tools so that I can accomplish my work at professional level with an appropraite effort. Here, you want mental nourishment (knowledge) and you want skills (your tool box). In addition, you also want to meet like minded people that share the same passions and interests as you. They will assist your learning and make it more fun. And you are likely to draw upon your classmates and professors in the real world.

Again, much better, but still requires work.

MountainHiker
Sorry I misunderstood your post there Nadine!

This letter still seems very long to me. You say you will include a CV, and presumably some sort of Application Form for the course, so personally I would try to keep the accompanying letter enthusiastic but short. How many applications do you imagine they have to wade through? Sometimes brevity can be powerful.
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