Study in Canada: How to Write a Motivational Letter

Thinking of pursuing your studies in the Great White North?

With internationally recognized qualifications from well-renowned universities and colleges, you can choose from various courses while being guaranteed quality education by world-leading educators.

Have the perfect university in mind but unsure how to write the perfect motivational letter? Don't despair.

In this article, we unfold the knack of writing an effective letter to motivate your application to study in Canada at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), the do’s and don’ts, and how to apply for a Canada study permit.

What is a Motivational Letter?

A motivational or cover letter is vital when applying to international universities/colleges. It explains why you're the ideal fit for your study program and the university, demonstrates your eligibility and reveals why you chose a Canadian college/university. A motivational letter can be seen as the breaking point of being accepted or rejected - and this article aims to maximize your chances of being accepted.

How to Write a Motivational Letter for DLIs in Canada

To ensure you succeed the first time, you must know how to write an effective motivational letter to study in Canada. Below we break down the steps on how to write a motivational letter and the do's and don'ts that accompanies the process:

Step 1: Research the Chosen University/College Requirements and Ensure you Meet the Criteria

Depending on what your student needs and circumstances, you want to know that a DLI will accommodate you and, in turn, prove your eligibility. We advise that you conduct the necessary research about your chosen institution - check the requirements and the probability of international scholarships should you excel in the criteria.

Be sure to note any compulsory requirements and expectations they may have regarding qualifications and the qualities they're looking for in applicants. Finally, take a look at some of the main activities and projects at the university and ensure that you align yourself with the university's interests.

Step 2: Ensure that You Meet the Program Criteria

International students must also meet the stipulated criteria of the immigration program, as failure to meet the program criteria can impact the institution's decision. Irrespective of the program or study permit you apply for, you must present a valid letter of acceptance from your chosen college/university while proving that you meet the program requirements.

Step 3: List of Main Points You Want to Include in Your Motivational Letter

Before you write your letter, list the main points you wish to cover and motivate why you want to study in Canada. Then, let's take a closer look at some tips on how to approach this planning step:

Topics to Highlight in Your Letter

  • Mention the points of interest in the university or program and why.
  • Focus on the strongest and most relevant qualifications to the program, past international experiences, qualities you possess, academic performances and any potential awards.
  • Keep it concise (half a page to one-page max).
  • Choose either a three or five-paragraph structure.
  • Sources of inspiration - what set you on your current path and study goals?
  • Lastly, end with a summary of your main points and goals. For instance, get accepted to the program and how you plan to contribute to the Canadian economy if you settle permanently.

Top Tip:

In your final paragraph, restate your interest and show appreciation for the opportunity to apply.

When providing your reasons for applying, consider how you phrase your intentions and reasons to study abroad (even if it's true). For example:

Don't Say:

  • I just wanted to get out of my country.
  • I want to meet and marry someone "international."
  • My friend tried it, and it sounded fun.

Rather Say:

  • I anticipate developing both personally and professionally from an international experience.
  • I have a deep interest in the country's culture, history, and language, which I am excited to continue to explore and experience.
  • As someone who prides themselves on their ability to communicate across cultures, I believe I would be the perfect fit for a program that incorporates students from around the globe.

Tips for Work Experience Abroad

Many recruiters look at whether or not international students have the right experience and are prepared to meet the challenges of living and studying abroad. Here are some great ways to get this across:

Don't Say:

  • I have never travelled or lived abroad, but I will like it.
  • Every time I have travelled, it has been a bad experience, but I'm hoping this time will be different.

Rather Say:

  • Although I have never lived or studied abroad before, I love to travel and experience new cultures. Therefore, I'm looking for an opportunity to expand my horizons while doing something I love.
  • Although I have never been abroad, I have researched to ensure this country is the right match for me. I also look forward to the challenge of living and studying independently abroad while I integrate into Canadian culture and student life.

Tips to Convey Your Personality

Understandably so, you are not the only international student at your university. Whether introverted or extroverted, recruiters need to know that you can adjust to your new environment while handling multicultural interactions with maturity.

Don't Say:

  • I'm always the life of the party or the loudest in the room, so I know I will make friends easily.
  • I plan on keeping to myself, so I will not upset or offend anyone.

Rather Say:

  • I am the type of person who gets along well with others due to being flexible, open and mindful of people from all walks of life.
  • Above all else, I pride myself on my cultural sensitivity when I find myself in the company of others who do not share a similar background as mine.

Step 4: Make it Personal

When writing your cover letter, you must show the admissions committee a little personality and give them some insight into who you are. Reading through the same generic letter can be a tedious process. The idea is to stand out among thousands of applications and ensure you are one of the chosen students.

Step 5: Be Professional and Consistent in your Presentation

When it comes down to the look, format, style, length, or grammar, your first impression matters the most - this is the opportunity to secure an interview and potentially get accepted. Make sure you spell check for any inconsistencies, such as different font styles and typos. Keep sentences as short as possible and try not to use overly complicated phrasing; editing your letter plays a major role in this process.

Step 6: Get Feedback

Project your enthusiasm through your letter and demonstrate a desire and ambition that will win the university admissions department over.

We advise contacting a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) to ensure that you are on the right track since RCICs know what immigration authorities are looking for. In turn, you can gain the necessary advice and guidance on how to go about your letter or undergo the student evaluation, maximizing your chances of success in your application.

Top Reason International Students Choose to Study in Canada

There are plenty of reasons why international students choose to study in Canada, but one of the main reasons is Canada's flexibility and accommodating nature towards international students.

Suppose you are an international student who recently graduated upon completing your studies from a DLI and want to fill the labour shortage and add value to the Canadian economy. In that case, you can apply for the Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). Learn more about how to apply for a PGWP here.

Additionally, you may be keen to learn more about the Student Direct Stream contained within our resource on how to apply for a Canada study permit.

Below, we outline the top four reasons international students choose to study in Canada:

Quality Education

International students can be assured that they'll receive quality, affordable education since Canada has a forward-thinking system that allows students to reach their full potential and get the best out of their studies. Find out more about the levels of education in Canada here.

Internationally Recognized Qualifications from Prestigious DLIs in Canada

From short courses and certificates to diplomas, degrees, masters, PhDs or doctoral studies, DLIs in Canada offer various courses and extracurricular activities that accommodate various students' needs and interests. Learn more about Canada's education system and the colleges and and the universities in Canada.

Tolerant and Non-Discriminatory

If there's one thing you can be at ease about, it is that DLIs in Canada do not discriminate against people's beliefs, religion and ethnicities. Expect campus life to be an inclusive environment that respects people from all walks of life.

A Safe Country for Immigrants

With a solid political system and a swift responsive police force, you can be at ease knowing that Canada is a safe country that strives to make its people feel secure.

How to Apply for a Canada Study Permit

When applying to study in Canada, you need a confirmation letter from your university or college. A confirmation from one of the DLIs in Canada will allow you to continue living and, if you like, even working in Canada.

Below we highlight the steps to apply for a Canada study permit:

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

Always ensure you're eligible to apply for a study permit and that you meet the program criteria. If you are certain about meeting the requirements, you must be prepared to provide the relevant documents to validate the information on your application. You can also assess your eligibility through the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score calculator on our site. 

Step 2: Gather the Relevant Documents

You will require the following to apply for a Canada study:

  • A letter of acceptance of one of the DLIs in Canada that you've chosen.
  • Any other documents that validate the information you provided - additional certificates, qualifications, a valid passport or travel document and proof you can support yourself during your stay in Canada.
  • You must submit a completed application before your study permit can be finalized.
  • If any documents are missing, you must provide a letter of explanation.
  • International students who plan on studying in Quebec, must provide a valid Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) or your letter of approval for your CAQ.


We advise you to gather the necessary documents in advance to avoid delays in processing times. Find out more about processing times and what to expect once you submit your application.

Step 3: Apply Online for Your Canada Study Permit

You must apply on the official Canadian Government website online if you're residing outside Canada or already in the country. Only individuals with disabilities can apply on paper, and you must possess an identity or travel document if you are a non-national resident, refugee or stateless person.

You will receive specific instructions on how to go about your application online. The Canadian Government will also ask you questions - this may include whether or not you're applying from outside the country, inside or at the port of entry.

Based on this, you will receive instructions tailored accordingly to your circumstances.

For your convenience, you can find our comprehensive guide on how to apply for a Canada study permit.

Study in Canada to Experience an Adventure of a Lifetime

Choosing to study in Canada is a big step, so you want to ensure that you meet all the requirements and make a good impression while putting your best foot forward. We'd like to emphasize the importance of meeting the requirements of one of the DLIs in Canada, which will secure your letter of acceptance. Lastly, ensure that your motivational letter communicates your intentions, goals and your reasons to study at your chosen institution.

Speak to an immigration expert and have access to a student advisor who can help navigate the process for you more smoothly.


Can I Study in Canada Without IELTS?

Yes, you can. Some schools in Canada provide international students with options such as the Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) assessment and the Duolingo English Test.

Furthermore, if you're uncertain about your ability to pass the IELTS test, explore our course here.

What Should I Study in Canada to get PR?

Different international students study different courses for various reasons. However, the choice is entirely up to you. Our immigration experts are on board to advise on suitable immigration pathways or advise DLIs in Canada that won't break the bank.

Additionally, our RCICs can support you through the process of applying for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

How Long Does it Take to Get a Student Visa in 2022?

The time it takes to process your application will depend on the thoroughness and completeness of your application. Therefore, we urge candidates to ensure they provide the necessary supporting documents and remain truthful in the information they provide to avoid potential delays.