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G RADUATE S CHOOL L ETTERS OF I NTENT Caitlin Henke, MA Career Development Facilitator Career Services.

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Presentation on theme: "G RADUATE S CHOOL L ETTERS OF I NTENT Caitlin Henke, MA Career Development Facilitator Career Services."— Presentation transcript:

1 G RADUATE S CHOOL L ETTERS OF I NTENT Caitlin Henke, MA Career Development Facilitator Career Services

2 L ETTERS OF I NTENT Also known as: Letter of introduction Personal statement/essay Statement of professional interests Statement of career goals

3 S ELF -E VALUATION What are my motivations for going? How do I fit with this program/ School What do I know about this program/faculty/research Short and long term career goals? Is an advanced degree a necessary pre-requisite for achieving my goals?

4 T HE MAPS T OOL MAPS is a tool to help you through the writing process. It is a tool for thinking, planning, writing, evaluating, and reflecting. Mode Audience Purpose Situation

5 M ODE What are the characteristics of a letter of intent? Are there conventions or standards for the formal features of a letter of intent? What format would be most effective? How might you organize/structure your document? Does it have a title? What language is most appropriate?

6 A UDIENCE You can write a more effective letter of intent if you have a clear understanding of the audience we are writing for. Who will read your letter of intent? In most cases, we're talking about faculty who teach in the program that you're applying to. How much do you know about the department to which you are applying? Do your research!

7 AUDIENCE, CONT’D What do we know about their expectations for your letter of intent? What do they hope to learn from it? How does it factor into their decision-making process?

8 P URPOSE What is the purpose of a letter of intent? If you're trying to convince someone of something, what is it? Again, put yourself in your reader’s position—What is the department’s purpose in asking you to submit this document?

9 PURPOSE, CONT’D What do you expect your letter of intent to accomplish for you? What impression do you want to leave with your reader(s)? How does the letter of intent function within the application process? How does it relate to other materials, like forms, cover letters, references, CV, etc.?

10 S ITUATION Strategy What do you know about the particular school and program you're applying to (that maybe other applicants may not know)? What is it about your skill set, experience, or interests that sets you apart?

11 SITUATION, CONT’D Planning What resources are available to you that might help you write your letter of intent? How can you build in time for feedback and revision? Logistics What are the university guidelines? When is your application due?

12 S O WHAT MIGHT A LETTER OF INTENT LOOK LIKE ? Introduction Catchy example that shows your interest in the field Mention the program you are applying for Supporting paragraphs detailing your background and skills that relate to the program Address questions they asked Summarize your qualifications and establish fit Detail your long term goals Conclusion Tie together loose ends Reiterate your interest in the program

13 C HALLENGES Find a way to make your story unique and interesting. Be specific. Don’t just say you will make a good speech pathologist—back this up with evidence from previous experience. Create a first paragraph that will really hook the reader and keep their interest.

14 T HINGS TO A VOID Clichés and anecdotes, too much personal information “I’ve always wanted to help people” “I want to make a difference” Your goal is to convince the admissions committee that you are serious about doing graduate level work. Careless mistakes in grammar, spelling, typos Making stuff up! Including experiences from high school Controversial subjects Don't be tempted to use the same letter for all applications—your audience will know if you try this.

15 S TRATEGIES FOR R EVISION You are writing to discover, so revision may be critical to weed out things that are less interesting or less relevant Be sure you answer the question Be specific Will the committee know enough about what you're writing about? Will the committee feel bored or condescended?

16 S TRATEGIES FOR R EVISION Managing length Stay within length requirement Cutting or expanding What's most important? What's worth repeating? Think themes Think flow Think evidence

17 S TRATEGIES FOR R EVISION Save everything Read it aloud Awkward phrases or sentences Quality of writing reflects on you Have someone else read it Writing must stand on its own Someone with experience in the field Someone with experience on admissions committees

18 W HAT A RE T HEY L OOKING F OR ? Academic rigor and knowledge/ability “Goodness of fit” for program Writing ability Goals relating to your career Focus and maturity Why this field of study? Unique characteristics Areas of interest

19 L AST REMINDERS A story that tells who you are and what you have to offer Reflection of why you’re a fit and asset to that particular program Indicator that you’ve done your research Be aware of what qualities your profession values Gauge of your writing abilities/organization

20 R ESOURCES W E C AN H ELP Talk to an advisor at the Career Services Office Make an appointment by calling 277-2531 Or stop in for walk-in hours (posted online)

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