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How do I Write a Student Cover Letter?

By Kathy Heydasch
Updated May 17, 2024
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A student cover letter needs to be concise and informative, including all pertinent information in as brief a format as possible. Scenarios in which a student cover letter might be necessary include looking for a first job and submitting resumes. A student cover letter might also be needed when applying for graduate schools or entry into another university. In either case, this letter is a synopsis of either a resume or an application, and is important to give a good first impression to the reader.

The goal of cover letters is to summarize the information included in the piece to be mailed. For instance, if a student cover letter is required for essay applications for college, then the letter should contain information like current grade point average, any advanced classes that one might have taken or be taking, extracurricular activities in which one is involved, and what the college entrance might mean for the future of the applicant and the school.

It is generally considered to be important that a student cover letter be less than one page. If it gets longer than that, then one risks the reader becoming bored or uninterested. Typically, human resources managers or college admissions officers receive an abundance of mail and a brief, articulate student cover letter may stand out from the pack.

A student cover letter should always be proof-read by someone who knows how to edit writing for punctuation, grammar and spelling mistakes. The cover letter might be the first and only piece of information seen by potential officers of a school or company. The importance of editing a student cover letter properly cannot be understated.

A key to successful writing in general is to know the audience. One must know who will be reading the cover letter and try to cater to the needs and ideals of the reader. For example, it would not behoove a student to write about his or her law school experience when applying to medical school. One must keep the information relevant.

There are optional pieces of information that might be included in a student cover letter, depending on the writer’s situation and the goals in mind. One such item is salary consideration. A student applying for his or her first job may want to include salary expectation as a way of weeding out jobs that pay too low or too high for the writer’s qualifications. On the other hand, one may want to avoid any mention of salary until a phone call or interview is scheduled.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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