As an international student seeking admission and scholarships, your application package sets you apart from the competition. Two important components that can make or break your chances are the motivation letter and the curriculum vitae (CV). These documents provide admissions committees with a comprehensive understanding of your background, goals, and fit for their program. In this detailed post, we’ll delve into crafting a compelling motivation letter and a thorough, tailored CV, with a step-by-step guide on using the Europass CV builder.


The Motivation Letter: Telling Your Story with Authenticity and Purpose

The motivation letter is your opportunity to showcase your passion, ambition, and suitability for the program you’re applying to. It’s a chance to go beyond the facts and figures and share your personal story, aspirations, and reasons for pursuing this academic path. A well-written motivation letter can make a lasting impression and help you stand out. Here’s how to craft a standout motivation letter:

  • Research the program and institution: Before you start writing, thoroughly research the program, its curriculum, faculty, and the institution’s values and mission. It will help you tailor your letter to highlight how your goals and experiences align with their offerings. Look for unique aspects of the program that resonate with you, and make note of any specific courses, research opportunities, or extracurricular activities that pique your interest.
  •  Structure your letter: Begin with a solid opening paragraph that captures the reader’s attention and outlines your application purpose. It can be a compelling anecdote, a thought-provoking quote, or a statement that immediately conveys your passion for the field. Follow with body paragraphs that elaborate on your academic background, relevant experiences, and motivations. Use clear and concise language, and aim for a logical flow between paragraphs. Conclude with a powerful closing, reiterating your enthusiasm and suitability for the program, and express your appreciation for the committee’s consideration.
  • Highlight your unique qualities: Use specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate your unique qualities, such as leadership skills, problem-solving abilities, creativity, resilience, or intellectual curiosity. These personal stories will make your letter more memorable and authentic, allowing the admissions committee to understand your personality and character beyond your academic achievements.
  •  Demonstrate your fit: Explain how the program aligns with your academic and career goals and how your background and experiences have prepared you for success in this field. Showcase your knowledge of the program’s offerings and how they will help you achieve your aspirations. Highlight any relevant coursework, research projects, or extracurricular activities that have cultivated your interest and expertise in the subject matter.
  •  Address any gaps or challenges: If there are any gaps or challenges in your academic or professional journey, address them transparently and explain how you’ve overcome or learned from them. Demonstrates self-awareness, resilience, and a growth mindset – highly valued by admissions committees.
  •  Proofread and revise: Before submitting your motivation letter, proofread it thoroughly for grammar, spelling, and coherence. Consider having a trusted friend, mentor, writing centre, or career services advisor review your letter and provide feedback. They may catch errors or offer suggestions for improvement that you’ve overlooked.
  •  Tailor and personalize: While the core content of your motivation letter may remain consistent across applications, be sure to tailor and personalize each letter for the specific program and institution you’re applying to. Highlight aspects that align with their unique offerings, values, and mission, and avoid generic or boilerplate language that could make your letter seem impersonal.

The Curriculum Vitae (CV): Highlighting Your Achievements and Potential


While a resume focuses on job experiences, a CV is a comprehensive document that includes academic and professional achievements, publications, research projects, and other relevant activities. A well-detailed CV can make a lasting impression on admissions committees and give them a holistic view of your qualifications and potential. Here’s how to create a detailed CV for your admission application:

  • Use the Europass CV Builder: The Europass CV builder is a free online tool developed by the European Union to help individuals create standardized and comprehensive CVs. Visit the Europass website ( and follow these steps:
  1. Create an account and log in.
  2.  Choose your language and start a new CV.
  3. Fill in your personal information, education, and work experience sections.
  4.  Add additional publications, projects, conferences, awards, and skills sections.
  5. Review and customize your CV format and layout.
  6.  Download your completed Europass CV in PDF format.
  7. Personal Information: Include your full name, contact details, date of birth, and nationality. You can add a professional headshot or profile photo if desired, but ensure it’s appropriate and high-quality.
  • Education: List your academic achievements in reverse chronological order, including the institution, degree or qualification obtained, field of study, and graduation date. If applicable, include your GPA, thesis or dissertation topic, and any relevant coursework or academic projects demonstrating your knowledge and skills in the subject area you’re applying to.
  •  Work Experience: Even with limited professional experience, include any internships, part-time jobs, or volunteering roles demonstrating your skills and commitment. Using clear and concise language, describe your responsibilities, achievements, and transferable skills gained from each experience. Quantify your accomplishments where possible to showcase your impact.
  • Publications and Research: If you have published academic papers articles, or participated in research projects, include these in separate sections with detailed descriptions and citations. Highlight any notable findings, awards, or recognition for your research contributions.
  • Conferences and Presentations: List any academic conferences, seminars, or workshops you’ve attended or presented at, along with the titles of your presentations or posters. Include information about the event, such as the organizer, location, and date.
  •  Awards and Honors: Highlight any scholarships, grants, academic awards, or other recognitions you’ve received, including a brief description of the criteria or significance. These achievements demonstrate your excellence and commitment to your field of study.
  • Skills and Competencies: Showcase your language proficiency, computer skills, and other relevant technical or soft skills that make you a strong candidate for the program. Use concise descriptors to highlight your level of proficiency in each skill.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Include any clubs, organizations, or community involvement demonstrating your leadership, teamwork, or personal interests outside of academics. These experiences can showcase your well-rounded character and ability to balance multiple commitments.
  •  References: While not always required, consider including a separate section with the names, titles, and contact information of 2-3 references who can speak of your academic capabilities, character, personality, and potential for success in the program. Choose references who have directly supervised or worked closely with you, such as professors, research advisors, or employers.
  •  Formatting and Layout: Pay attention to the overall formatting and layout of your Europass CV. Use clear section headings, consistent font styles and sizes, and appropriate spacing and margins for easy readability. Rather than dense paragraphs, consider using bullet points or short phrases to highlight key achievements or responsibilities.
  • Proofread and Revise: Thoroughly proofread your CV for spelling, grammar, or formatting errors. Inconsistencies or mistakes can detract from your document’s overall professionalism and impact. Kindly ask a trusted friend, mentor, or career services advisor to review your CV and provide feedback.

Crafting a well-written motivation letter that tells your unique story and a detailed, tailored CV highlighting your achievements and potential will increase your chances of standing out in the competitive pool of international student applicants. Be aware that these documents are your opportunity to showcase and align your abilities, passion, qualifications, and fit for the program – make them count!

Additional Tips and Strategies:

1. Start Early: Begin the process of writing your motivation letter and CV well in advance of application deadlines. These documents often require multiple drafts and revisions to be polished and impactful.


2. Seek Feedback: Do not hesitate to seek feedback from professors, mentors, or friends. They can help to provide valuable insights and suggestions on improving your application materials.

3. Highlight Relevant Experience: If you have relevant work experience, internships, or volunteer roles that align with your intended field of study, highlight them prominently in your CV and motivation letter. Admissions committees value real-world experience and the transferable skills it can provide.

4. Emphasize Unique Contributions: Think about how your academic background, experiences, and perspectives can contribute to the diversity and enrichment of the program. Highlight any unique qualities, such as fluency in multiple languages, cross-cultural experiences, or a diverse academic or professional background.

5. Follow Instructions: Carefully review and follow the institution’s instructions regarding the format, length, and submission requirements for your application materials. Failure to comply with these guidelines may result in your application being disqualified or viewed unfavourably.

6. Maintain Professionalism: While it’s essential to showcase your personality and authenticity in your application materials, maintain a professional tone and avoid using casual language or inappropriate content.

7. Tailor for Scholarships: If you’re applying for scholarships in addition to admission, consider tailoring aspects of your motivation letter and CV to highlight your fit for the specific scholarship criteria, such as academic excellence, leadership potential, or community involvement.

8. Focus on Achievements: While it’s essential to provide context and background, focus primarily on your notable achievements, accomplishments, and unique contributions. Admissions committees are interested in your potential for future success, not just your past experiences.

9. Be Concise and Compelling: Aim for concise and compelling language throughout your application materials. Avoid unnecessary repetition or irrelevant information that could undermine the overall impact of your story and qualifications.

10. Proofread Multiple Times: Proofread your materials multiple times, and consider having several trusted individuals review them for you. A different set of eyes can often catch errors or areas for improvement that you may have overlooked.

Crafting an impactful application package is essential in your journey as an international student seeking admission and scholarships. By dedicating time and effort to your motivation letter and CV, you’ll showcase your unique strengths, achievements, and potential to admissions committees. Remember, this is your chance to make a lasting impression and stand out. Embrace the process, stay true to your authentic self, and let your passion and qualifications shine through.

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