Hands-on recommendations for your application
Updated on: 29 March 2021
Since it is application period again, this article addresses prospective students that are maybe currently in the application process. We know that applications can be nerve-wracking and time-consuming. This article is supposed to give you hands-on recommendations from my own experience during this period to make the process less stressful and easier to understand.
On the website of the university, you can find all the general information about deadlines, costs, admission requirements, English test, fellowships, etc. For non-EU students, the deadline for application is the 15th of April so that is very soon. EU citizens have until the 15th of June to apply. But still, the earlier you apply, the greater the chance that you know early whether you are accepted for the programme.
What do you have to do?
The official WUR website above provides you with a good overview of what you have to deliver upon application. This includes transcripts and diploma as well as a CV and a motivation letter. I would advise you to gather all the required documents in a file on your computer before you start the application process. Take your time to complete your file. IMPORTANT! All documents need to be converted to pdf. Don’t forget to take an English-test in time and upload the results, too.
If you are afraid of losing track of what you need, what you already have and when your deadlines are, I would advise you to make an overview of the application procedure. Use the information on the website of the university and of your programme specifically, to make this overview. When you indicate which tasks you already accomplished, you have a better indication of your progress.
CV and letter of motivation
As little as possible, as much as necessary
For a CV and the motivation letter, I always try to apply the slogan “as little as possible, as much as necessary”. What do I mean by that? Try to target the motivation letter specifically to the Master programme that you are applying for. Get as much information as possible about the programme and try to distil what kind of students the programme coordinators are looking for. Tailor your motivation letter to this information, but do not exaggerate and – most importantly, but self-speaking – stay honest. Sell the best side of you, while being open about deficiencies and your will to overcome those deficiencies. At the same time, only include the most important and strongest points and especially the characteristics that you think make you different from other applicants. So, both in terms of content as well as in terms of length, think of the slogan. Something to take into account is that your motivation letter should be one-page maximum.
The same holds for your CV. Emphasise important points, especially if you feel like these points fit the requirements of the programme. For both, the CV and the motivation letter, take care of the layout and make it coherent. The layout, as well as spelling, are the first impression the reader gets and as you probably know, in this case as WUR does not perform interviews, the first impression is the one that counts. This is also true for your picture on the CV: it should be a more or less professional picture of you.
Last but not least, I wish you the best of luck with your application!