Graduate Letter of Intent (LOI)

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Graduate Letter of Intent (LOI) Page 1
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Updated May 15, 2024
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A graduate letter of intent (LOI) is a form that showcases who you are in your own words. It is an opportunity that can make or break your chances to attend the graduate program you’re hoping for. The quality of your letter can directly impact whether you’re admitted to a graduate program or receive a fellowship, scholarship, or other financial benefits. Edit this graduate letter of intent form on Lawrina and download a complete PDF sample in a few clicks.
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Paper titled "Graduate Letter of Intent", teen girl and boy holding diplomas and throwing hats up, desk

Creating a well-written graduate letter of intent can be daunting. You might know you’re a perfect fit for a graduate program, but how do you convince a school’s admissions team of that?

Using a graduate letter of intent template can be the perfect solution. When you follow a template designed by professionals, you’re guided to introduce yourself in a manner that comes across as organized, poised, and articulate.

Lawrina graduate letter of intent template makes it easy to draft a graduate admissions essay that allows your accomplishments to shine. It’s also easy to save and upload your completed Lawrina template in PDF format. 

When To Use a Graduate Letter of Intent

A graduate letter of intent is used to vet candidates for graduate degree programs. Unless a school informs you of how the letter will be used, it’s impossible to know exactly what they’ll do with it. 
Some schools may not give a graduate letter of intent much consideration, while others may rely heavily on it when selecting applicants. In some cases, a school may also use it to determine which candidates receive fellowships or other awards. 

Parties of the Graduate Letter of Intent

The key parties concerned with a graduate letter of intent are the applicant, the graduate school admission team, and the faculty members of the school you’re applying to.

You may think an admissions officer will be the only one to read your graduate letter of intent. While that might happen with an undergraduate application, selecting students for a graduate program involves a more detailed process. 

Multiple admissions officers will likely read your letter, and it’s hard to know how many. This means you need to impress not just one admissions officer but several. 

Even after your letter makes it past admissions, it’s common for faculty members to also read applicants’ graduate letters of intent, especially during the awarding of grant and fellowship opportunities. 

Given the number of parties who might read your graduate letter of intent, you need to write one that will impress. 

How to Write a Letter of Intent to Graduate

Using a graduate letter of intent template makes it much easier to organize your thoughts clearly and cohesively. A template takes away much of the guesswork when presenting details.

When you know what you’re writing and how to write it, you can focus on highlighting your accomplishments and academic and professional goals in your letter of intent to graduate. 

1. Conduct the Research

Producing a single letter of intent to graduate and sending it to every school you’re applying to is a major mistake. Graduate school admissions staff have a high standard, and they know when they’re reading a generic letter that hasn’t been carefully thought out.

Your letter of intent to graduate needs to show that you’ve done your research and are actually interested in a specific university and graduate program. Your first step should be to research the school and program you’re applying to. Make a note of faculty, research, or opportunities you find exciting, and mention these in your letter.  

2. Create an Outline

Creating an outline is a good first step for identifying how you’ll structure your graduate letter of intent. If you’re using a graduate letter of intent template, the work of organizing your letter is already done for you.

You should also carefully review a school’s requirements. Graduate programs often ask that specific information be included in your letter of intent to graduate, so you must ensure you include any additional information that isn’t covered in your template.

You can also use your outline to note specific aspects of your background or the school you’re applying to that you want to mention in your letter.

3. Write an Opening Paragraph

The opening paragraph of your graduate letter of intent is your sole chance to make a memorable first impression.

Graduate school admissions officers read countless letters of intent that start off with a dense paragraph. Openings often describe an applicant’s current school and course of study, as well as the names of the university and graduate program they’re applying to.

While this is necessary information, it should ideally be placed a bit lower in your graduate letter of intent template. Instead, take the time to craft an opening paragraph that piques the reader’s interest or produces a sense of human connection. 

4. Include Qualifications and Background Information

Your letter of intent to graduate should showcase why you’re a desirable candidate for the program. This section should highlight your achievements and how they make you a good fit.

This part of your graduate letter of intent is a good place to incorporate the results of your initial research. Suppose a graduate program has a specific research program, and you spent time doing a summer internship working on a similar vein of research. 

Instead of simply mentioning your internship, frame it in a way that positions you as a candidate who already has hands-on experience in that field. Then, express your interest in continuing your work in the graduate school’s research program.

5. Discuss Your Undergraduate Studies

While writing your graduate letter of intent, you want to frame the graduate program as a natural next step in your academic and professional journey. Undergraduate experiences to consider while writing your graduate letter of intent include: 

  • Courses

  • Academic papers

  • Research projects

  • On-campus internships or jobs

  • Extracurricular activities

  • Clubs and organizations

  • Other learning opportunities

For example, if you’re applying to an academic writing graduate program, you’d want to discuss the area of literature you focused on as well as any relevant experience, like working as an editor for the campus newspaper. Then, tie in how you’re excited to build upon these experiences by referencing specific elements of the program. 

6. Write a Closing Paragraph

Just as your opening paragraph is your one chance at a first impression, the closing paragraph of your graduate letter of intent defines the final impression you leave on an admissions officer. If you haven’t already mentioned your future goals and career aspirations, now is the time to include these elements.

Your closing should summarize why you’re interested in the graduate program, why you’re an ideal candidate, and how the program will support your long-term career goals. If you’ve used a graduate letter of intent template to organize your writing, your closing should be short, concise, and engaging.

7. Edit the Letter

You should always thoroughly edit your graduate letter of intent before sending it to an admissions office. Typos, grammatical errors, and redundant writing are unprofessional and reflect poorly on your attention to detail and ability to communicate well in an academic setting.

While editing, think about how to make the sentences flow more smoothly. Also, consider whether you should substitute in other words for a more varied vocabulary.

Once you’ve finished filling out and editing your graduate letter of intent template, reread it a day or two later. Taking another look after stepping away makes it easier to see where your writing could be improved.