How to write a good motivation letter

Your selection to the Summer School depends on an excellent motivation letter. This means that you need to convey all your points in 800 words! It is very difficult to say who you are in so little space.

Please remember that a motivation letter is a PERSONAL letter, not a business-like letter.  It should convey who you are, what are your motivations in life and why you think the Summer School will help your education. We STRONGLY discourage you from writing a formal letter using standard sentences and also strongly advise you not to use templates from the Internet.

Please note that the same logic applies to the short introduction movie you must submit (only the movie is much shorter!).

Here are a few pointers that will help you:

  1. What kind of students are we looking for? We are looking for people who can be leaders and who can make a difference in the world we live. The world desperately needs good professionals and critical citizens who can plan and design sustainable, fair and inclusive cities. In order to be able to do that, you need to have a few qualities and skills, but most importantly, you need to understand what “sustainable”, “fair” and “inclusive” mean. These are not just beautiful words: there is A LOT of literature exploring these concepts, so maybe you can cite a few authors you have read? If you are curious, entrepreneurial, motivated, idealist, you need to express this in your letter. But just “saying” doesn’t help: you need to be able to demonstrate it. What activities do you take part in? Do you have a small business or do you run an NGO? Do you participate in study groups? Do you have hobbies and interesting activities?
  2. What do you need to say in your letter? Basically: WHO ARE YOU? What are your dreams and aspirations? What are your worries? What are your goals?
  3. Tell us the highlights of your CV. Your education, the languages you speak, your internships and training.  Have you graduated with honours? Have you followed extra-curricular courses?
  4. Tell us what makes you different: do you have hobbies? Do you have a business? Would you like to have a business? Are you an artist? Are you a geek? Do you read novels? Are you an activist or do you have a cause?
  5. I am a very shy person, what shall I do? There is nothing wrong with being shy. You need to value your personality for who you are! But you must try to express yourself.
  6. What qualities can you bring to the Summer School? Can you give a small workshop? Can you teach students a new skill? Can you introduce the culture of your country to other students and teachers? Maybe you have studied something unique that you will bring to your group work?
  7. How can the Summer School contribute to your education? This is a crucial element. WE need to understand how the Summer School ‘makes sense’ in your educational path.
  8. Reading our website carefully will give you hints on what type of person we are looking for.

Again, we strongly discourage you from using templates found on the Internet to write your motivation letter. These templates are full of clichés and platitudes. These won’t help you being selected.