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6 Tips for Writing a Statement of Motivation

Summarizing who you are, what you do and what you would like to do in the future usually turns out to be a bigger challenge than it looks. You’re applying to join our academic community and your statement should tell us what you understand about our institution and how you will fit in and contribute. This is the only part of the application package that you shape entirely yourself, where you can stress what you feel is important for us to consider or give additional information that is not evident elsewhere.

Here are our 6 tips for writing a statement of motivation to our PhD in Economics program:

Tip #1: Know yourself

Evaluators need to see a human being behind the education and experience, so do not hide behind general statements. Sit down and take time to understand why you are interested in studying one of the programs at CERGE-EI. Write down at least five unique things that make you stand out from everyone else.

Tip #2: Answer the most important questions in chronological order:

  • How did you hear about the CERGE-EI PhD program? What made you want to apply (briefly)?
  • What is your past academic and professional experience? What did it mean to you and how has it shaped your current academic and professional choices, research interests, and career path?
  • What motivates you to do research in the particular field you are in/wish to enter? How is it relevant to research at CERGE-EI?
  • Do you want an academic career or a career in government/the private sector?

Tip #3: Show that you are a good match

Explain why you believe that you are a good candidate for our program. You may even mention specific researchers that you would like to work with, and any concrete research plans you have.

Tip #4: Do not make it what it is not

A statement of motivation is not a full research proposal, an autobiography, a list of accomplishments, or a plea. Your selection of information shows your judgment – tell us exactly what is relevant to get to know you.

Tip #5: Do not flatter or cheat

Evaluators will not admit you so that you can keep telling them how excellent the institution is. They aim to admit the best students who will contribute to the excellence of the institution. Also, misrepresenting your accomplishments or plagiarizing any of the content of your Statement of Motivation is not the best idea for you to get admitted.

Tip #6: Clean it Up

Make sure your letter is a maximum of 1.5 pages long (4000 characters), and you have checked for spelling and grammar. We also suggest that you give it to several people to read through and give you comments. This really helps.

And of course, don’t forget to mention contact information on top.

For example:

To: School/Organization Name

First Name Last Name

Phone Number

Relevant Social Media (LinkedIn, Personal Website, etc.)

Make your letter a shining personal description of your unique self to show the admission committee who you are and why you want to be accepted. All the best with your applications!


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