The deadline for applying to Summer Courses is getting closer, have you sent your motivation letter?
If not, here are some advices to help you writing a catching application!
Before you start writing
Before you start writing your motivation letter, it?s important to collect as much information as you can about the event and the topic you?re applying to, as well as about the place and country the event takes place in. Beside the possibility of finding out something really interesting, you may find useful hints to make your motivation letter unique.
Start with reading carefully the description of the event and the Survival Guide (a collection of useful information about the city/country prepared by the organizers) and visit the course and organizers webpage. Then spend some time on a web search engine or on an encyclopaedia to get some inspiration.
Most of all, think about who is going to read your motivation letter. No professors, no companies? top managers: they are going to be students like you, so there?s a big chance that they like to read the same kind of letters that you do!
What to write
We basically want to know three things from your letter.
Who you are ? what do you study, what do you do in your life, do you have any hobbies, do you do sport, play an instrument, which languages do you speak? We want to know you a bit. But most of all we want to know what makes you special!
Why do you want to go to a BEST course ? Why did you choose to apply to a BEST event? What did capture your attention? The possibility of traveling abroad with a limited budget, the chance of meeting funny and crazy people from all over Europe, the desire of getting in touch with this BEST spirit that everyone is talking about but you feel that the only way of understanding it is experiencing it?
Why this particular course ? Among all the courses we offer this season, why did you choose this particular one? The topic fits perfectly in your CV? The topic is completely outside your background and you want to experience new subjects? Are you curious about the country, the city, the local culture?
There are some common mistakes, be sure to avoid them!
Too long ? Some organizers receive more than 300 motivation letters per event, and they have to read them all. So if your letter is too long, there is a chance that they won?t arrive until the end! On the other hand, a very short letter can be interpreted as a lack of interest or motivation. Try to be reasonable, usually half an A4 paper is enough to express your personality without scaring the reader!
Too formal or too boring ? As we said before, remember who will read your letter: students like you! There?s no need of being formal (dear sir/madam, to whom it may concern, yours faithfully?), rather think on how to catch our attention being funny and creative! Also try not to be too technical, we?re more interested in your personality than in the list of your academic achievements.
Racist/impolite/disrespectful ? Maybe there?s no need to say this, but sometimes when you force yourself to be funny you may end up saying something not totally correct? Think about it!
Tips & Tricks
We said that organizers need to read a huge amount of letters: make sure they?ll remember yours! So be creative and funny, try to catch their attention as soon as they start reading. One trick can be looking for typical expressions in local language, or use some fun/strange facts about the country-city-culture-food as a reason why you want to go there. You may also try to use the word BEST (capital letters!) in your letter, we always do that! Even puns will do.
Most of all, do your BEST to express why you are special! Courses last in average for ten days, during which participants and organizers will spend together every moment of the day, attending lectures, working, visiting the city, chilling out, partying, sobering up, sleeping? A very tight bond will be formed and organizers want to make sure that the most awesome people will join their family! So find out what makes you awesome and how your presence will make the course an unforgettable event.
Get feedback on your letter! Ask your friends to read your motivation letter: if they are good friends, they are great ?boredom meters? and if you see that they fall asleep while reading, you?ll know that something can be improved! If you have time, you can also ask your local BEST group for feedback, they?ll be happy to help you!
Finally: no last minute applications! Our servers get stressed a lot in the last moments before the deadline, and it would be a pity if you can?t send your application in time because of a server crash. So take your time to write an awesome letter, but be sure not to send it at the very last moment!
Then cross your fingers!
Good luck and be ready to get selected for the BEST experience of your life!