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Letter of intent?

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What’s a letter of intent?

The letter of intent is a maximum one-page single-spaced letter outlining the reasons the student wishes to complete the Honours Program; this letter must include areas of interest and future plans following graduation, and may also include other pertinent information such as scholarships won and relevant work and volunteer experiences.

From the Psychology Honours Application and Selection Process document (available here)

Per the honours application process (available here), students applying to honours psychology need to include a letter of intent or a personal statement with their application. This letter of intent is how you communicate what your goals and ideas are in regard to your academic work.

Here are some tips on how to write your letter of intent from PSA members.

A letter of intent can be super intimidating if you view it as begging for the position or having to talk yourself up to impress whoever’s reading it, so I always try to approach it neutrally. All you really have to do is explain why you’re a good fit for The Thing, and that’s something you can do neutrally by referencing aspects of your application/CV that show you have skills for the thing (just like citing sources in an essay), and really you just have to spin things to your benefit. Maybe you have no experience in the actual field you’re going into, but you’ve made an effort to write essays about that area as much as possible during undergrad so you could research the area anyway – BRING THAT UP! Maybe you have published writing somewhere, or you’re incredibly good at identifying themes and patterns, or you’re a deity when it comes to tech – BRING THAT UP! You don’t have to brag, you don’t have to be cocky, you just have to make the person reading understand why you’d fit. Really look at the things that you’ve done and are good at, and write about how they’ll be a benefit to you because they will! 

Holly Funk, PSA Peer Coordinator

I frame it as a persuasive essay or an argument. Prove why you’d be the right fit. What skills and experiences do you bring, what perspectives, where does your motivation and enthusiasm for the work stem from?

Sydney Sulymka, PSA Director of Communications, 2020-2022

Be yourself, not the version of yourself you think someone might be interested in. I wrote my original letter of intent and when I asked friends to look it over, they were all baffled because it didn’t seem like me in any way. It actually did a really poor job of talking about what I was interested in and what I’d accomplished so far in my University career.

Shae Sackman, PSA President 2020-2022

“Endure an existential crisis and then have a caramel macchiato”

Unnamed Psychology Student

Be clear and concise with what you’re saying. Adding irrelevant information will only eat up valuable space. Be confident in who you are and why you deserve to be there.

Sarah Nakonechny, PSA Vice President 2021-2022