The first sentence is crucial for setting the tone (see “Reminder” at http://www2.arnes.si/~bjason/LNW.pdf).
Consider the tone set by these first sentences from real (but slightly changed) motivation letters:
1) “I would like take a chance and participate in study program called Zembla Study Tour – „Thinking Zambla“ in September 2013.”
(TONE: What the heck, why not give it a whirl.)
2) “I wish to apply for the participation in the Zembla Study Tour, because when I noticed advertisement for this tour on my university’s website I already knew this is the program I would like to be part of.”
(NOTE: Know that the adjudicator cares not one whit how you found out about Erasmus, etc. Don’t mention it.)
3) “I, Randy Raoul, currently in my second year of bachelor studies of English Language and Literature at Philosophical Faculty at Trondheim University, and in my first year of diploma studies of English Language and Geography at Pedagogical Faculty at Honolulu University, would like to apply for a spot on the one-month Zembla Study Tour – “Thinking Zembla”.
(COMMENT: Too much information. It also sounds like a legal document.)
4) “Being to the point, what my biggest motivation is, I would use Lawrence Martin’s words: ,,He pondered and suffered a good deal but he lacked the courage to dare – the first requisite of a practitioner.””
(QUESTION: Is this “To the point”?)
5) “You should provide a convincing explanation as to why you wish to participate in the study tour, what particular contribution you feel you might make to the success of the tour, and what you anticipate will be the benefit of taking part in the tour.”
(CLICHE: Little things matter. This candidate clearly uploaded the wrong file.)
6) “I found this quote which maybe show my vision. „The best way to predict the future is to form it.” Pavel Smythe.”
(SPOTLIGHT: This “Pavel Smythe” sounds fascinating – oh, he’s not the candidate! In other words, avoid starting with a quotation. You want the spotlight on yourself.)
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