The Power of a Motivation Letter

23/05/2017 - 08:15-38 Comments by | china flag

To all the applicants out there, do not underestimate the role that a motivation letter plays in the application process!

It may seem to most students that the determining factor of your admission or rejection are your grades and CGPA, and hence the most crucial documents are the bachelor’s degree and transcripts.

In reality, the verdict largely depends on the contents of your motivation letter. (and your CV, which I will talk about next week)

In the past year, I have applied to five German graduate schools. I got rejected by the first four and accepted by the last one (Hochschule Offenburg’s CME master program voted by DAAD as one of Germany’s top 10 master programs). To all five universities, I submitted the very same transcript that had the exact same grades, but the only difference between the first four universities and the last one was the motivation letter and CV I had sent in.

Rumeng_Motivation Letter

Motivation Letter

At first, I thought the motivation letter was just an extra piece of document and the selection committee really just focused on your grades. So, I did not think I needed to spend so much effort writing one up. I whipped up a very generic letter in a week or two’s time, that included details which could already be found in my transcript and CV, and stated the obvious i.e. I want to pursue higher education in Germany because it one of the world’s most reputable and well-known countries for it’s higher educational institutions. Later, I realized, when the selection committee reads a motivation letter like this, you are giving them every reason not to choose you because you have not proved to them why you are suitable for the program. Yes, you might have acceptable grades, but in the end they are just average or above average grades, and not sky-rocketing scores, which is why the motivation letter is so important, because from a well-written letter, you show the selection committee your goals and dreams and how you aspire to achieve them; you show them where you come from, what you are capable of and how studying at the university can take all of what you have and know one step further; you show them how you and the program are a perfect fit and how you can mutually benefit from each other. When you show them that, like I did in my final motivation letter, which I spent two-and-a-half months editing and perfecting, you give them a reason to consider your application, as they see in your letter what they expect from a potential future student of the university.

So, instead of writing something like “I want to pursue higher education in Germany because it one of the world’s most reputable and well-known countries for it’s higher educational institutions”, continue the sentence with reasons how this will benefit you and your future career i.e. you can learn more advanced academic and scientific knowledge; gain good practical experience; get international exposure; widen your horizons which will enable you to think out of the box, etc. Show the selection committee you know what you are looking for and you know what you want to do with it.


Admission into Hochschule Offenburg’s CME master program

Tags: English Blog Post, Useful Links & Tips



    This was real helpful!!

    Comment by Timo created 23/05/2017 - 19:41

      Hi Timo, thank you for leaving a comment. I am glad you found it helpful 🙂

      Comment by Rumeng created 24/05/2017 - 11:01

    Hi, this was really helpful, do you have a sample for a good letter?


    Comment by Owaida created 07/06/2017 - 14:15

      Hi Owaida, thank you for your comment. I am glad you found it helpful 🙂
      For a sample motivation letter, take a look at this one:
      It’s not perfect and there’s room for improvement, but it will give you an idea on how to start with yours 🙂
      DAAD has a set of guidelines on a good motivation letter. I am sure you will find it very helpful. Here is the link:

      Comment by Rumeng created 07/06/2017 - 18:29

    Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Josue Cremonezzi created 07/07/2017 - 16:11

      Hello Josue Cremonezzi, thank you for your kind comment 🙂

      Comment by Rumeng created 10/07/2017 - 11:55

    how many pages should it contain? like 2 or 3..?

    Comment by Maverick created 14/08/2017 - 04:36

      Hi Maverick, if your university hasn’t specified the number of pages your motivation letter should be, then it is a good idea to keep it between 1~2 pages. It is not advisable for your letter to exceed 3 pages.

      Comment by Rumeng created 14/08/2017 - 09:16

    Thank you for the precious information. But could you share your own letter of motivation because you have succeeded to achieve the scholarship. This can be a great help and gives us a good guide to a better shaping letter.


    Comment by Peshawa created 22/09/2017 - 19:34

      Hi Peshawa, thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, I had written mine nearly 8 months ago and sadly can’t seem to find it on my computer anymore. However, there are some great examples available on the internet.
      Also, I did not apply for any scholarship. I only applied to the program of my choice. 🙂
      Good luck with writing your motivation letter! ^_^

      Comment by Rumeng created 26/09/2017 - 09:06

    It is great! Thank you for the valuable information!

    Comment by Lola created 16/11/2017 - 12:14

      Hi Lola, I am glad you found it valuable 🙂

      Comment by Rumeng created 16/11/2017 - 20:05

    It’s a great article.Thanks for sharing.Last day I have gone through one article which was really a motivation and was concentrating the philosophy of life and it’s one of the best lifestyle blogs.

    Comment by Rose created 30/11/2017 - 14:17

    Thank you for this interesting article. A motivation letter for masters degree is a standout amongst the most imperative documents. Only one out of every odd candidate has sufficient energy or the written work abilities to have the capacity to create special personal statement formatting that will give them the edge that they will require with their application. It is additionally valuable if your underlying outcomes and GPA are not of an elevated requirement as it demonstrates your responsibility regarding proceeding with your examinations, exceptionally supportive in the event that you need acknowledgment into a program in a focused school.

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    Comment by Jeff Jennings created 14/07/2018 - 11:31

    I would recommend this to everyone.

    Comment by Brandon Crutchfield created 14/09/2018 - 00:12

      Thank you! 🙂

      Comment by Rumeng created 23/09/2018 - 16:01

    Very interesting post. Looking forward to reading more like this.

    Comment by motivation letters for scholarships created 30/11/2018 - 06:09


    To Your Success,


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    Comment by Juan Keats created 22/01/2019 - 07:47

    Right here is the perfect blog for anybody who wishes
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    Comment by Veronique created 02/02/2019 - 03:26

    please help me to write a motivation letter to german scholarship university or you send me a motivation letter please

    Comment by suleman khan created 23/07/2019 - 09:44

      Hi, is not an agency or advising service, and that’s why we cannot offer you any direct help with your application to German university. However, if you have general questions or want to be pointed in the right direction, please feel free to contact one of the DAAD offices all around the world
      Best wishes,
      Your Study in Germany team

      Comment by Redaktion created 05/08/2019 - 09:06

    Thank you for giving us your experience, it was useful

    Comment by Godswill created 17/09/2019 - 18:52

      Thank you 🙂 I am glad you found it helpful.

      Comment by Rumeng created 26/09/2019 - 11:33

    Hey! This post could noot be written any better! Reading
    this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He alwazys kept chatting about this.
    I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will
    have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Rachel O’Reilly created 29/02/2020 - 05:21

      Hello Rachel O’Reilly 🙂 Thank you for your kind comment!

      Comment by Rumeng created 01/03/2020 - 21:46

    This article gives clear idea .

    Comment by Elise Clunie created 12/03/2020 - 18:13

    Hi, I have a quick question. I already wrote my motivation letter for Bachelors in english, but I’m not sure should I translate it in german. I still don’t speak german enough to translate it by myself and I’m scared that it’s going to be generic and not 100% true to what I wrote if I pay someone to do it. Do you have any advice?

    Comment by Nyma created 09/05/2020 - 10:53

      Hi Nyma. Thank you for your message. If the university needs a motivation letter in German and you can’t write it by yourself because you still aren’t that proficient in the language, I would have a teacher, friend or reputable agency help translate the English letter to German. However, if the university requires an applicant to write the motivation letter entirely in German, I believe they must also have a language requirement…

      Comment by Rumeng created 09/05/2020 - 22:35

    Outstanding post however I was wondering if you could write
    a litte more on this topic? I’d be very thankful
    if you could elaborate a little bit more. Many thanks!

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