Dear Moutain hiker,
Thank you so much for actively and constructively contributing to this thread. I am applying for a masters and have written my first draft of my letter of motivation. I took a lot of cues from the letter of the German student. Please critique on the same.

University of Pompeu Fabra
January 4,2011
Dear Sir or Madam,
I, Abhinav Gaur, am currently pursuing my Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IITK). I wish to apply to the Master in Sound and Music Computing program in Department of Information and Communication Technologies at your university for the academic year 2011-2012. This program is a concrete step towards my future Doctorate and continuance of my research in the realm of Music Science.
While I am amongst the top 2% of my class (CGPA -10/10) at IITK, I am resolutely working for the Presidential award for the Best Thesis. I have been, in the past, amongst the top rankers in the entrance tests conducted by the academic institutions of my education. In 2009, I ranked 160 from amongst 23720 candidates (top 0.6%) from across the country in the GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test for Engineers), subsequent to which I was offered an admission at the IITK. In 2003, I ranked 499 from amongst approximately 65000 candidates (top 0.7%) in CEE-Delhi (Common Entrance Exam-Delhi) which had got me admission in the Delhi College of Engineering.
I attribute the development of my current research interests to my love for music, my conversations with my music teacher Pundit Manik Banerjee and a little bit of science fiction.
"... perhaps there is some structure, if one can use that term, deep in the human mind that resonates to the patterns in the Mandelbrot-set"
- Renowned science fiction litterateur, Arthur C. Clarke, in his book, "The Colours of Infinity"
This book, coupled with my basic training in Indian Classical Music, enthused me with the possibility of finding some structure in music compositions which causes us to perceive music as we do. I received a more mathematical treatment upon the subject of Nonlinear Dynamics & Chaos from the courses ME627 (Nonlinear Dynamics & Vibrations-credited course) and PHY306 (Order & Chaos-audited course). Currently, I am working on my thesis, "Search for structure in Indian Classical Raaga based music using Nonlinear Time Series Analysis (NTSA) techniques", under the guidance of Dr. Pankaj Wahi, details of which are mentioned in my CV.
In retrospect, I feel that my engagement with the student formula race car team during my Bachelor and my time at Maruti Suzuki as an Assistant Manager (Supply Chain), not only groomed me as a team player but improved my interpersonal skills immensely. At IITK, interaction and a good rapport with people belonging to diverse Indian cultures has certainly fortified those skills. I volunteer 10-12 hours per week to PRAYAS, which is a student's organization involved mainly in educational activities for underprivileged children around the campus of IITK. It has certainly helped me mature as a human being.
I want to study at UPF because of the very active research going on at your university, in the scientific understanding, description and creation of music. The Music Technology Group's work, not only encompasses quality research on the aforementioned subject, but also, the transformation of their research into technological tools that are socially and entrepreneurially germane. Additionally, the courses being offered in Master SMC would certainly provide me with the theoretical background to pursue my research interests. All these positives make me confidant to my decision.
I am confident that I will bring a high level of energy and enthusiasm to your program. I am certain to meet all your expectations, may it be academic, motivation for research or interpersonal skills. Furthermore, my international background and basic training in Indian Classical Music will certainly add more diversity to your program.
Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to your acceptance.
Sincerely Yours
Abhinav Gaur
1 2
I will respond later today. I am busy slaying other dragons at the moment. Emotion: smile
abhinav.gaur13,

I am responding to you in a separate thread so that you are no longer hijacking the previous thread.

A few comments before I begin to comment:
  • Please keep your topic to this thread. Don't hijack other threads.
  • Provide spaces between your paragaphs so that they are easier to read.
  • In my prior thread, I mentioned that you should use MS Word or Firefox Add-on to proof your document. Please use those tools before posting. When I ran your text through MS Word, the grade level was somewhere near 16 -- meaning almost impossible to read.
Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let's turn our attention to your letter.

I have some good and some bad news.

First the good news, with your academic achievements, you are guaranteed to be accepted -- that is, unless your screw it up.

Now the bad news: You are screwing it up.

And some more good news: It will be very easy for you to correct your letter.

Before we go through your letter in granular detail, I want you to go through your letter using a grammar and spelling checker. I think you'll find that your grammar is good and your spelling is good. But the overall complexity of your letter (high grade score) is excessively high. Try to focus and simplify your letter.

I get the impression that this letter might have been one of your earlier drafts.

Here's what you should do next. Rewrite your letter with letter with some spaces between paragraphs. Check it with a grammar and spelling checker and one that indicates level of reading ease. Try to simplify your letter while keeping key content in place.

Once you've simplified your letter a bit, repost your letter in this thread while making sure you have spaces between your paragraphs. You might find that placing a few dummy characters in the text box prior to pasting is helpful. After you have pasted your letter into the text box, you can go back and erase your dummy characters.

Again, with your credentials, you will have an easy time writing your letter. You don't have to reach high. Just make sure you don't trip and fall.

I look forward to seeing your next letter.

MH

Dear Moutain hiker,
Thank you so much for actively and constructively contributing to this thread. I am applying for a masters and have written my first draft of my letter of motivation. I took a lot of cues from the letter of the German student. Please critique on the same.

University of Pompeu Fabra
January 4,2011
Dear Sir or Madam,
I, Abhinav Gaur, am currently pursuing my Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IITK). I wish to apply to the Master in Sound and Music Computing program in Department of Information and Communication Technologies at your university for the academic year 2011-2012. This program is a concrete step towards my future Doctorate and continuance of my research in the realm of Music Science.
While I am amongst the top 2% of my class (CGPA -10/10) at IITK, I am resolutely working for the Presidential award for the Best Thesis. I have been, in the past, amongst the top rankers in the entrance tests conducted by the academic institutions of my education. In 2009, I ranked 160 from amongst 23720 candidates (top 0.6%) from across the country in the GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test for Engineers), subsequent to which I was offered an admission at the IITK. In 2003, I ranked 499 from amongst approximately 65000 candidates (top 0.7%) in CEE-Delhi (Common Entrance Exam-Delhi) which had got me admission in the Delhi College of Engineering.
I attribute the development of my current research interests to my love for music, my conversations with my music teacher Pundit Manik Banerjee and a little bit of science fiction.
"... perhaps there is some structure, if one can use that term, deep in the human mind that resonates to the patterns in the Mandelbrot-set"
- Renowned science fiction litterateur, Arthur C. Clarke, in his book, "The Colours of Infinity"
This book, coupled with my basic training in Indian Classical Music, enthused me with the possibility of finding some structure in music compositions which causes us to perceive music as we do. I received a more mathematical treatment upon the subject of Nonlinear Dynamics & Chaos from the courses ME627 (Nonlinear Dynamics & Vibrations-credited course) and PHY306 (Order & Chaos-audited course). Currently, I am working on my thesis, "Search for structure in Indian Classical Raaga based music using Nonlinear Time Series Analysis (NTSA) techniques", under the guidance of Dr. Pankaj Wahi, details of which are mentioned in my CV.
In retrospect, I feel that my engagement with the student formula race car team during my Bachelor and my time at Maruti Suzuki as an Assistant Manager (Supply Chain), not only groomed me as a team player but improved my interpersonal skills immensely. At IITK, interaction and a good rapport with people belonging to diverse Indian cultures has certainly fortified those skills. I volunteer 10-12 hours per week to PRAYAS, which is a student's organization involved mainly in educational activities for underprivileged children around the campus of IITK. It has certainly helped me mature as a human being.
I want to study at UPF because of the very active research going on at your university, in the scientific understanding, description and creation of music. The Music Technology Group's work, not only encompasses quality research on the aforementioned subject, but also, the transformation of their research into technological tools that are socially and entrepreneurially germane. Additionally, the courses being offered in Master SMC would certainly provide me with the theoretical background to pursue my research interests. All these positives make me confidant to my decision.
I am confident that I will bring a high level of energy and enthusiasm to your program. I am certain to meet all your expectations, may it be academic, motivation for research or interpersonal skills. Furthermore, my international background and basic training in Indian Classical Music will certainly add more diversity to your program.
Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to your acceptance.
Sincerely Yours
Abhinav Gaur
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Abhinav Gaur

I will provide some thoughts on how to simplify your letter.

Are you familiar with hard and soft skills. Hard skills are those typically identified with a right and wrong answer for technical matters. Soft skills often deal with people.

Hard Skills
  • Does the computer program work? Yes.
  • Have you correctly identified the modulus of elasticity of this steel to calculate how far it will bend?
  • Have you solved the differential equations to that problem?
Soft Skills
  1. Have you and Sally decided who will chair the next meeting?
  2. Have you solved a client's concern with our reputation?
  3. Have you resolved your conflict with your superior?


Given your academic achievements, you have mastered the hard skills. You can't go any higher.

Most people like to see balanced people. That is, if you are exceptionally strong in academics but can't get along with people, then that is an issue. I suspect you do both well.

So, if I were you, I would reduce the comments about your courses. They have your resume and transcript. They can see the obvious. They won't care about numbered mechanical engineering courses in your letter. Instead, tell them about that which they can't see from your resume and transcript.

For example:

While I am proud of my achievement of having placed in the top two percent (write out numbers less than 10) of my class, I am even more proud of my volunteer work. Then go on to describe other things besides your academics. They already know you're exceptionally smart.

OR

Part of my success in having placed in the top two percent of my class is my passion for subjects that concern X. If there are certain courses that fire your passion and that can be applied to what you want to study next, then go ahead and discuss them.

The key point is NOT to blather on about specific numbered courses with their titles. Again, they have your transcripts. Instead, tell them about the stuff that ignites your passion.

If you get rid of the course names and number and discuss the softer stuff (what fires your imagination), your letter will be much more readable, and, more importantly, meaningful.

I look forward to your next version.
Dear MH,

Thank you so much for the hints on how to draft a simpler and meaningful letter. I could not spare much time on the letter since yesterday because of some work. I am working on it now and I'll get back to you asap with my second draft.

Thanks again. I really appreciate your help. I am enjoying this process.
Emotion: smile

Abhinav Gaur
I like your attitude.

You are undoubtedly extremely smart. Your CV and transcripts will provide ample evidence.

This letter is to tell about you, the person. Focus on that. Take your time in revising your letter.

Btw, I have a mechanical engineering degree too. So I appreciate your academic accomplishments.
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Hello MH,

I am back with my 2nd draft. Glad to know that you are a Mechanical Engg too. This drafting and redrafting is just like solving rubiks cube. Though fun and addictive, its very difficult to match all 6 faces of correct color.

Here, slay some more dragons. Emotion: big smile

Abhinav
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

January 4, 2011

Dear Sir or Madam,

I, Abhinav Gaur, wish to apply to the Master in Sound and Music Computing program in Department of Information and Communication Technologies at your university for the academic year 2011-2012. This program is a concrete step towards my future Doctorate and continuance of my research in the realm of Music Science.

I am among the top two percent of my class and I am resolutely working for the Presidential award for the Best Thesis. I was among the top performers in the entrance tests conducted by the academic institutions of my education. In 2009, I ranked 160 of 23720 candidates (top 0.6%) who appeared in the GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test for Engineers), ensuing my admission at the IITK. In 2003, I ranked 499 of about 65000 candidates (top 0.7%) appearing in CEE-Delhi (Common Entrance Exam-Delhi), and secured admission in the Bachelors program of the Delhi College of Engineering.

Good grades, though important, are not the only indicator of one’s research potential. What stands out in my case is the strong confluence among my passion for music and my academic interests. My love for music and discussions with my music teacher were instrumental in shaping my present research interests. The renowned fiction litterateur, Authur C. Clarke, in his book, “The Colours of Infinity”, has said, “… perhaps there is some structure, if one can use that term, deep in the human mind that resonates to the patterns in the Mandelbrot-set”. This thought strongly resonates with my intuitive understanding of music. I believe that there must be some structure underlying any music composition, which causes us to perceive it, as we do. To delve deeper into the science of complexity and abstract structure, I credited/audited the relevant courses in nonlinear science. Currently, I am working on my thesis under the aegis of Dr. Pankaj Wahi.

While I am proud of my academic achievements, I am even more proud of my volunteer work. I volunteer 5-6 teaching hours per week to PRAYAS, which is a student's organization involved mainly in educational activities for underprivileged children around the campus of IITK. I devote another 7-8 hours a week in teaching a very special child whose parents could not afford school this year. I am confident that he will outperform everyone in the school entrance test this year to secure a scholarship.

Over time, I have assumed the roles of a team member, a team leader, a subordinate, a peer, a junior research collaborator and most recently of that of a teacher. In retrospect, I feel that my engagement with the student formula race car team during my Bachelor and my time at Maruti Suzuki as an Assistant Manager (Supply Chain), not only groomed me as a team player but greatly improved my interpersonal skills. At IITK, my interaction with people belonging to diverse Indian cultures has certainly fortified those skills.

I want to study at UPF because of the active research going on at your university in the scientific understanding, description and creation of music. The Music Technology Group’s work encompasses quality research and its conversion into technological tools that are socially and entrepreneurially germane. Additionally, the courses offered in the Master Program-SMC would offer me the theoretical background to pursue my research interests. All these positives make me confident of my decision.

I am positive about exceeding all your expectations, may it be academic excellence, motivation for research or interpersonal skills. Furthermore, my international background and basic training in Indian Classical Music will definitely add more diversity to your program.

Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to your acceptance.

Sincerely Yours

Abhinav Gaur
Hi Abhinav,

Your letter is good. With your letter in its present state, you will be accepted.

I will provide a few minor comments that might make your letter a bit better. So you can decide whether you want to incorporate these minor changes.

MH

----

Abhinav
--
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

January 4, 2011

Dear Sir or Madam,

I, Abhinav Gaur, (you are not making a proclamation. You are merely applying to university. They can see your name at the top and bottom of the letter, so it is not necessary to include it here.) wish to apply to the Master in Sound and Music Computing program in Department of Information and Communication Technologies at your university for the academic year 2011-2012. This program is a concrete step towards my future Doctorate and continuance of my research in the realm of Music Science.

I am among the top two percent of my class and I am resolutely working for the Presidential award for the Best Thesis. I was among the top performers in the entrance tests conducted by the academic institutions of my education. In 2009, I ranked 160 of 23720 candidates (top 0.6%) who appeared in the GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test for Engineers), ensuing my admission at the IITK. In 2003, I ranked 499 of about 65000 candidates (top 0.7%) appearing in CEE-Delhi (Common Entrance Exam-Delhi), and secured admission in the Bachelors program of the Delhi College of Engineering.

Good grades, though important, are not the only indicator of one’s research potential. What stands out in my case is the strong confluence among my passion for music and my academic interests. My love for music and discussions with my music teacher were instrumental in shaping my present research interests. The renowned fiction litterateur (you can use "litterateur" but it is rather pedantic; I'd go simpler and just use "writer.") , Authur C. Clarke, in his book, “The Colours of Infinity”, has (?) said, “… perhaps there is some structure, if one can use that term, deep in the human mind that resonates to the patterns in the Mandelbrot-set”. This thought strongly resonates with my intuitive understanding of music. I believe that there must be some structure underlying any music composition, which causes us to perceive it, as we do. To delve deeper into the science of complexity and abstract structure, I credited/audited the relevant courses in nonlinear science. Currently, I am working on my thesis under the aegis of Dr. Pankaj Wahi.

(I dislike shorthand slashes. You can bring this and/or that. Instead, you can bring this or that or both. From your sentence it seems to me that you credit and audited releveant courses in ...)

While I am proud of my academic achievements, I am even more proud of my volunteer work. I volunteer approximately six (remember, most guides recommend writing out numbers less than ten) 5-6 teaching hours per week to PRAYAS, which is a student's organization involved mainly in educational activities for underprivileged children around the campus of IITK. I devote another eight 7-8 hours a week in teaching a very special child whose parents could not afford school this year. I am confident that he will outperform everyone in the school entrance test this year to secure a scholarship.

Your last sentence sounds a bit cocky, especially considering you can't control the child's performance. To balance that ambitious tone...perhaps...

I am hopeful that he will perform exceedingly well in the school entrance test this year to secure a scholarship.

Over time, I have assumed the roles of a team member, a team leader, a subordinate, a peer, a junior research collaborator and most recently of that of a teacher. In retrospect, I feel that my engagement with the student formula race car team during my Bachelor and my time at Maruti Suzuki as an Assistant Manager (Supply Chain), not only groomed me as a team player but greatly improved my interpersonal skills. At IITK, my interaction with people belonging to diverse Indian cultures has certainly fortified those skills.

In your paragraph above, I would strengthen it by providing a unique and critical example of where you grew as a person. Otherwise, your "greatly improved interpersonal skills" are somewhat empty words. If you can support your position with an example, then your paragraph is that much stronger.

I want to study at UPF because of the your active research going on at your university in the scientific understanding, as well as description and creation of music. (I might have made a mess of your previous sentence. I didn't like "going on" as it sounds too informal. So I tried to shorten and strengthen the sentence.) The Music Technology Group’s work encompasses quality research and its conversion into technological tools that are socially and entrepreneurially germane. Additionally, the courses offered in the Master Program-SMC would offer me the theoretical background to pursue my research interests (At the top of your letter, you state your research interests as realm of Music Science. If you are able to provide more specifics, so much the better. Vague statements detract from your letter.) All these (strong - optional word) positives make me confident of my decision.

I am positive about exceeding all your expectations, (You used "positives" in your previous sentence and positive in this sentence. I like to have some variety. So I made the following change. My change, however, has a somewhat cocky tone.) I willl exceed all your expectations, may it be academic excellence, motivation for research or interpersonal skills. Furthermore, my international background and basic training in Indian Classical Music will definitely add more diversity to your program.

Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to your acceptance.

Sincerely Yyours,

Abhinav Gaur

As stated, your letter in its present form is good enough. They will be pleased to have you attend. I have given you some additional comments. You can ignore or incorporate them as you see fit.

Well done, and Good luck!
Just an afterthought...

(You can use "litterateur" but it is rather pedantic; I'd go simpler and just use "writer" or "author". Litterateur is too stilted. It calls undue and unnecessary attention to itself beause it is an infrequent one hundred dollar word when a dollar word would do.)
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