How to Write a Letter of Intent for Grad School

[geo-in-name] Sample Letter of Intent

Sample Letter of Intent for Graduate School

A letter of intent graduate school, sometimes called a statement of intent for grad school, sets the tone for your application. As such, you want to ensure you cover all the bases, from formatting to content. Get started with our sample letter of intent grad school. 


Absolutely! Having an effective statement of purpose that reflects your abilities and personality may assist you in the graduate school admissions process!

What Is a Graduate School Letter of Intent?

A letter of intent for masters program includes basic information about the student and notes the student’s goal to enroll in a specific graduate program. Students may include information about why they believe they are a great fit for the program and formally ask for acceptance into it.

First, the basics. A letter of intent masters program is, in essence, a cover letter for your application. It’s a formal letter that focuses on who you are. It includes why you’re applying to that particular Master’s or Doctoral program. Lastly, why that program should consider your application. However, there might be a few different ways to do this. You might focus your letter on specific achievements related to your application and goals. Another option is to write in a more personal way. Show them who you are and why you are committed to grad school. Whichever option you choose, it’s important to pay close attention to the style and mechanics of effective letter writing. 

Letter of Intent Sample Graduate School Template

A letter of intent template may be helpful to you. A letter of intent does not have to be very long or complicated. Keep it simple and to the point. Include any information the college or university requested in a letter of intent if provided. You may see an example below to use as a template.

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The header should contain each of the following elements, separated by a line break.

  • The sender’s full name, address, and contact information (phone and/or email)
  • The date the letter is being sent
  • The recipient’s name and address. (Note: It’s a good idea to personalize this as much as possible. If you can find out the name of the primary decision-maker who will be reading your application contents, address the letter to that person, unless instructed otherwise. If you can’t find this information, something more general like “Graduate Selection Committee” could be used instead.)

How Do You Write a Letter of Intent for School?

A letter of intent for graduate school typically offers a few short paragraphs explaining what the student’s goals are for enrolling in the program. It may outline the program application and discuss why the student is a great fit for the program.

Sample Letter of Intent for Graduate School:

If you’ve ever written a business cover letter, the following information might seem a little familiar. That’s because the mechanics of writing a letter of interest are quite similar. In essence, a formal letter is comprised of a header, a salutation, the body, and the closing. Each of these needs to be present in your letter of intent and typically confined to a single printed page. Length requirements may vary, though, so make sure you’re familiar with the application requirements when you write. 

  • The header should contain each of the following elements, separated by a line break. 
  • The sender’s full name, address, and contact information (phone and/or email) 
  • The date the letter is being sent 

The recipient’s name and address. (Note: It’s a great idea to personalize this as much as possible. If you can find out the name of the primary decision-maker who may be reading your application contents, address the letter to that person unless instructed otherwise. If you are unable to find this information, something more general like “Graduate Selection Committee” could be used instead.)

Ms. Alice Henry 432 Bridge Street Here, PA 00555 Tel: 555-555-5555

March 3, 2017

Scholars State Graduate Program Director Placetown, GA 00011

How to Write Letter of Intent for Grad School?

The body of your letter of intent is where you could introduce yourself to the application committee and make your case for acceptance. You might take a few different approaches here, depending on your purpose in writing a letter of intent. While this could vary widely, much of the time, it may alternate between two specific goals.

  • Guiding the reader’s attention to specific elements of the application packet (i.e., certain accomplishments, experience, etc.)
  • Personalizing the application, by giving the reader a more holistic view of who the applicant is and why they’re applying

Which one is appropriate for you depends, in many ways, on your background and the rest of your application. For example, if you’re applying with a stellar GPA, an impressive resume, and high test scores, you might not need that element of personalization to set you apart. Instead, it might be a great idea to emphasize your impressive achievements. 

In this case, the organization of your letter of intent body may be fairly straightforward, taking a note from business-oriented cover letters. For example, you might dedicate the first paragraph to the opportunity you’re pursuing. The second might be about your relevant skills and how you’ve demonstrated them. You could then end with your educational or career background related to your application. 

But what if your CV is a little more average, or if you have struggled in the past with a low GPA or personal issues? Then an alternate approach, like your personal story, might be a solid tactic. By giving an identity and context to your application, you could draw attention to who you are and your passion for your field. 

In this case, how you organize the letter may vary widely, depending on what you’re trying to say and the story you have to tell. Often this could be chronological. But it might be a great idea to put some thought into how you’re planning to organize your letter. Then look back at your draft to make sure that strategy works.

Letter of Intent Sample for School

The following is an example letter of intent for graduate school written by fictional school applicants. While your letter of interest should be entirely unique, this example may give you a few ideas to start. You may also use it as a letter of intent template to ensure you are following the correct format.

This writer chose to take a more personal approach with their content. So instead of organizing the paragraphs based on the type of achievement, they did it chronologically, telling the story behind why they want to study in that program.

Start your letter of intent with a clean header

Mr. Robert Smith 5 Main Street Anytown, ID 00555 Tel: 555-555-5555 

February 11, 2017 

University of Education Graduate Program Director Collegetown, MS 00055

Pay attention to your greeting

Attn: Graduate Selection Committee. — It is better if you have a name here. If you are not sure go general.

Be specific on the program application

I am applying to your master’s program in elementary education for the Fall 2021 semester. After earning my undergraduate degree program in elementary education from Teachers University, I worked for seven years as a fourth grade teacher at ABC Elementary School in Anytown, Idaho.

Discuss why you are a good fit for their program

I have wanted to be a teacher since third grade, inspired by my experience with my own teacher. As a student, I struggled to understand multiplication. I remember feeling frustrated, helpless, and sad. My teacher recognized my problem and spent months tutoring me in the subject after school. It took a lot of time and a great deal of patience on her part! But one day, it just clicked. Suddenly, I understood what I was doing. The joy and pride I felt was unmatched by any other moment in my past nine years. 

I learned much more than multiplication during our study sessions. My teacher taught me to believe in myself. She taught me about the value of hard work. I also learned the joy one experiences when helping others. Even at nine, I knew I wanted to share those lessons. For the past seven years, I have been fortunate enough to do so with great success. Last year, I was selected from a pool of thirty teachers as the school’s “Most Liked Teacher,” an award conferred by student opinion.

Close with why they are a good fit for you

I have chosen to apply to the University of Education to pursue a master’s degree program in elementary education because I am passionate about building upon the success and fulfillment I have already experienced as a teacher. My academic and career goals include exploring cutting-edge teaching techniques. Coupled with integrating the technology within my classroom. The University of Education’s reputation for excellence in developing new teaching technologies is the catalyst for my decision to attend graduate school in the first case. I am particularly interested in pursuing the New Teaching Models track, and I’m considering writing a thesis on the topic. 

Thank you for your considering my application. It would be an honor to continue my studies and pursue my passion at the University of Education. 


Robert Smith

Some Tips & Takeaways for Your Grad School Letter of Intent

Hopefully the above sample letter of intent for graduate school helped you gain a clearer picture of what you need to write. Here are some additional tips for writing your letter of intent.

  1. Review. Once you’ve finished, carefully review your draft for spelling errors, typos, grammar, and punctuation.
  2. Finish the required information. It’s important to ensure you have all the correct information that was requested.
  3. Check the details. Easy-to-miss details, like the wrong name of the recipient or school, could damage your chances of consideration. Check that these are correct and that your main body content stays on message. Finally, organize your letter content in a logical way for a reader.

Your letter of intent could be your first impression on the application committee. Follow these guidelines and use a sample letter of intent to make that impression count. 

Looking for information on Personal Statements? Try How to Write a Personal Statement and Personal Statement Examples.

Are There Grad Schools That Don’t Require Letters of Intent?

Absolutely! One way of dealing with the headache of writing a letter of intent is to avoid them completely! It is free to request school information on Simply pick multiple colleges to send you information to once you fill out the form. Not to mention, having several schools competing for you gives you options.

This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum.

Do All Schools Require a Letter of Intent?

Some graduate schools may not require a letter of intent. If they do require one, it may be listed on their graduate application website or application itself.