Charles Nuamah is a student from Ghana currently studying abroad in Germany.
Most students do not think much of their motivation letter. However, it is one of the most important—if not the most important—components of your visa application. Your motivation letter is assessed by the Immigration Office in your university town in Germany, where they decide based on the information you have provided whether studying abroad will help you be of benefit both to Germany and your home country. If they feel your long-term goals will not provide any substantial benefit to your home country and more importantly to Germany, it can easily lead to the refusal of your visa.
This is why a lot of research and effort should be put into writing your motivation letter. Your goals and aspirations should align with what Germany and your home country expect from students who will be studying in the field you applied to.
For your motivation letter to be successful, it should address certain key issues and be in the right format.
The format of your motivation letter should have these three features:
In this article, you will find in-depth explanations of what each of these sections should include.
The introduction should address:
- What makes Germany stand apart from other countries
- Why you would like to study in Germany
What Makes Germany Stand Apart From Other Countries?
What is it about Germany that sets it apart from other equally developed nations? This is the first question that your motivation letter should address.
You should use this section to outline some of Germany's remarkable achievements and to explain what is so special about the country that you are prepared to leave your family and stay there for a minimum of eighteen months. Let the person reading your motivation letter feel proud that he or she is German.
Some things that set Germany apart from other countries are:
- It is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world.
- It has the world's fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP, as well as the fifth-largest by purchasing power parity.
- It is the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods.
- It has been listed as the most energy-efficient major economy by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
Why Would You Like to Study in Germany?
This is the most important part of your introduction. It can be successfully written by following these four instructions:
1. Start by explaining what it is about the German educational system that sets it apart from the rest. For example:
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- Their dual teaching system, which combines theoretical learning and practical training, produces graduates who are well prepared for the work environment.
- Their educational system is of high quality. As such, it is no surprise that it has been able to generate world-class scholars like Albert Einstein and Max Planck.
2. Elaborate on the importance of education to the German government and how the low cost of their education influenced your choice to study there. For example:
- The German government heavily invests in education and research, which accounts for DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) being the world's largest funding organization for international exchange in higher education.
- Tuition-free education is extended not only to their citizens but to international students as well, making the cost of tuition there cheaper as compared to other countries.
3. Safety is of major concern to every international student. As such, it is wise to point out how safe Germany is as compared to other popular study destinations. For example:
- Germany has been listed as the fourth-safest country in the world for international students according to a survey conducted by the student room website.
4. Last but not least, don't forget to bring up the advantage of learning a second language. For example:
- With more than 100 million native speakers, German is the most widely spoken first language in Europe, and hence the German language is becoming increasingly important in the global market.
The body of your motivation letter should address:
- Why you chose to study at your university
- Reasons for the choice of your study program
Why Did You Choose to Study at Your University?
The first part of your body should follow these three instructions:
1. Begin by giving some solid points on what makes your university attractive to international students. For example:
- It has a strong international focus and most of its students have spent at least one semester of study or internship abroad.
- It provides an excellent learning and working environment that creates the necessary framework for a short period of study and a high level of success.
2. Is the level and quality of programs taught at your university different from other universities? If so, hit on the points that make them of higher quality. Also, if the level of infrastructure, teaching, research, and the competence of the professors at your university are miles ahead of other universities, proudly point that out. For example:
- The professors and lecturers are accomplished and approachable researchers who enjoy working closely with students to help them reach their full potential.
- It possesses modern infrastructure and laboratories equipped with the latest technology.
3. Internships are crucial to helping students find jobs after completing their studies, so if your university offers help in this regard, it will be advantageous to state it. For example:
- My university maintains numerous collaborative contacts with industries such that its students have little difficulty in finding eager partners for their projects, internships, or bachelor’s theses.
Why Did You Choose Your Study Program?
This part of your body is crucial and can be successfully written with the help of the five instructions below:
1. It is wise to begin by giving a brief history of how you developed an interest in the program. For example:
- My interest in Microsystems developed after working on a project on sensors and transducers during my final year.
2. Give a detailed explanation of what sets the program apart from other similar programs at other universities. For example:
- The computer science program at TU Dresden ranks very high compared to other computer science programs at other universities.
3. Comment on the structure of your study program and how the modules are designed to be helpful to students. For example:
- The degree has a modular structure allowing students the freedom to choose from a range of modules according to their academic progress and focus area.
4. What sort of students does your program target and what sort of skills and expertise does your program provide? These are very important questions that need to be tackled here. For example:
- The program is designed for students who intend to work for international companies in functions or projects which require an engineering background as well as a thorough understanding of management practices.
- The program is designed to be highly interdisciplinary and provides profound technical expertise as well as finely-tuned soft skills.
5. At the end of this section, it is very good to outline some career opportunities that are available to students after completing their studies. For example:
- Graduates of this program have excellent opportunities for starting their careers and will continue to have good prospects in the future.
The conclusion may be used to:
- Address your future plans
- Clarify any inconsistencies in your application
Address Your Future Plans
It is vital to state your long-term goals and aspirations after completing your studies. You should address how you would be of benefit to Germany and your home country after completing your studies. It is advisable to make it clear that you intend to return home after completing your studies. A good example is to write something like this:
"My main goal after completion of my degree program is to come back home and use the knowledge and skills that I have acquired to impact positively on my country. I plan on venturing into the private sector and establishing a company that places emphasis on renewable energy production. Various German Companies like EnD-I AG, Energiebau, and MP-Tech who are into solar and wind energy have expressed their preparation to partner with the private sector in Ghana."
Clarify Any Inconsistencies
You can use this part of the conclusion to clear up any issues that you might have with your visa application. Here are three common inconsistencies.
1. First and foremost, if you are going for a master's program that is totally unrelated to your bachelor's program, you can explain your reason here. For example:
- I had the opportunity to work in the environmental sector for two years. This is where my interest in environmental issues developed. Even though my degree is entirely unrelated to this sector, I believe I have the relevant work experience and passion to succeed in this field.
2. Secondly, if you feel you have a very good reason for why you have a low academic profile, you can make it known here. For example:
- As you can tell from my high school results, I am generally a very good student. During my first and second years at the university, however, the death of my mum really had a negative effect on my ability to study effectively. Luckily, I was able to recover and do exceptionally well in my third and final year.
3. Finally, if you have reasons for going for a second master's or bachelor's degree, you can outline them here. For example:
- I initially applied for my dream Ph.D. program at TU-Munich. However, I was denied admission on the basis that I lacked sufficient course content and research for my master's degree. I, therefore, decided to apply for another master's degree to get the necessary course content and research experience to apply for my dream Ph.D. program at TU-Munich.
German Student Visa Interview Questions and Answers
To be able to sail smoothly through the German student visa interview, you should be able to understand the motive behind the questions asked by the visa officer. The questions asked during a German visa interview can be grouped into four categories. These are:
- Questions about Germany
- Questions about your seriousness as a student
- Questions that test your intentions
- Questions that assess your financial situation
You can find a detailed explanation of these categories in my other article, where I go over some of the likely questions you might encounter during a German visa interview.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2016 Charles Nuamah