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Cover Letters For College Entrance

We’ve already taken a detailed tour of the HYPer University application and we have discussed the joys of application packaging. Now we’ll see how to turn theory into reality. Sometimes what we think is essential for an admissions officer to see (or hear) can be surprisingly unimportant. On the other had, a few things that our HYPer applicant (let’s call him “Zane”) wrote may have solidified the admissions decision without us even knowing it!

The cover letter. Lots of people wonder why you would ever need a cover letter. For me, a cover letter provides a kind of “overture” or preamble to the application itself. You’ve already seen how complex and exhaustive an application like this is. It’s a kind of epic event. Just as those great screen epics, Gone With the Wind and Dr. Zhivago, had their own musical overtures before the movie started, so too does an Ivy application deserve one.

As you’ll see, though, there’s a method to this madness. The letter does three things:

  1. It shows that the applicant has his act together. Notice that Zane has accounted for all the elements of his application package. He tells HYPer what’s included and what to expect from others who are sending in supporting materials.
  2. It justifies the applicant’s position. Zane tells it like it is: “HYPer is my clear, first-choice school.” That statement is music to the adcom’s ears. In this era of multiple EA applications, ED I and ED II, and all the other opportunities for fleeting loyalties, it’s nice to know where an applicant’s heart lies.
  3. It adds a touch of humor. The effective use of humor is probably the most misunderstood and underutilized element in college applications. Zane’s comment about ditching the typewriter is a nice touch that may signal the adcom to be on the lookout for more light-hearted input further into the application. As you’ll see, there is more.

Here’s the cover letter:

Admission Office
HYPer University

Ladies and Gentlemen:

This is the completed Part 2 of my Early Action application to HYPer University. I have made every effort to be complete and candid, the goal being to present myself as a worthy candidate for next year’s freshman class. The following is a list of what I have submitted here and requested from others to complete my admission file:

  • Application Part 1 and application fee (already mailed)
  • Application Part 2 (enclosed here) with Attachments:
    • Attachment 1: CTY writing course evaluation
    • Attachment 2: summary of awards, honors, and activities
    • Attachment 3: PA Governor’s School course descriptions
    • Attachment 4: PA Governor’s School team physics report
  • two teacher recommendations (to be mailed separately)
  • the Secondary School Report (to be mailed separately)
  • a recommendation from Dr. Peter Bergmyer, University Director, Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences (to be mailed separately)
  • the Optional Reference Form from my father (already mailed)

HYPer is my clear, first-choice school. I understand how competitive the admission process is, so I have documented my qualifications as completely as possible. Incidentally, a few portions of the application are hand-printed. We ditched our typewriter long ago when we got a computer. I couldn’t format some of the pages for our printer. That’s progress, I guess.

Thank you very much for considering my Early Action application.


Zane R. Smith

Admissions counselor cover letter

View this sample cover letter for an admissions counselor, or download the admissions counselor cover letter template in Word.

Admissions counselors must review and analyze student applications to determine whether a candidate is a good fit for a university—quite similar to a hiring manager reviewing your cover letter for a job. To be considered for top admissions counselor jobs, your cover letter must demonstrate your skills and experience, as well as your passion for your work. For writing tips, view this sample cover letter for an admissions counselor, or download the admissions counselor cover letter template in Word. 

Additionally, you can learn about education careers and look for admissions counselor jobs on Monster.

Admissions counselor cover letter template

Nancy Hill
Sometown, NY 55555 | Phone: (555) 555-5555 | Email:

November 20, 2017

Ms. Jane Fox
Director of Admissions
ABC College
55 College Ave.
Sometown, NY 55555

Dear Ms. Fox:

I was pleased to learn that ABC College earned top 25 placement in DEF Magazine’s list of America’s Best Colleges, and was intrigued by the callout to ABC’s admissions program. As enrollment numbers are declining on a national scale, ABC’s numbers have increased over the past two years—congratulations!

When I found the admissions counselor position advertised on Monster, I applied online within minutes. A proud alumnus of ABC College, I am intimately familiar with the college’s mission, history, academic programs and opportunities for student enrichment.

During my four years on the ABC main campus, I served as a resident advisor (RA), campus tour guide to prospective students, freshman orientation volunteer and international student mentor.

These experiences are indicative of my ability to recruit, advise and develop relationships with diverse student populations. Known for my interpersonal communication skills, I excel at building rapport with new/prospective students and family members and “selling” the features and benefits of ABC College.

In my roles as an RA and student mentor, I advised and supported students on a range of personal, academic and college-life issues. I helped students:

  • Apply for and receive financial aid and work-study positions
  • Take advantage of ABC’s programs, activities and resources
  • Navigate and resolve conflict with peers and professors
  • Adjust to and more fully enjoy campus life

Energetic and service-focused, I am passionate about managing strategic communications with prospective students and promoting the advantages of ABC College and its programs. I am confident I will exceed your expectations if selected for this position.

May we set up a time to discuss ways I can contribute to the continued growth of ABC College? Please call me at (555) 555-5555 to arrange an interview. I look forward to hearing from you.


Nancy Hill
Enclosures: Résumé and reference letters