Writing a Successful Motivational Essay

06.07.21 Methodology Time to read: 7min

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Motivational essay success

There are many different types of essays in academia. Which one you need to write will depend on what you are wanting to achieve and who your audience is. One of the most important things you will need to learn is how to write a successful motivational essay.

Motivational essays are designed to motivate, they are designed to persuade someone of your point of view or intention. These are not necessarily an academic piece of writing. They can even be written in the first person and can use less academic language.

This article will look at what constitutes a motivational essay, how it differs from other types of essays and how you can successfully write one, as well as how to get started with using persuasive language.

Definition: Motivational Essay

A motivational essay is designed to motivate the reader. Its intention is to put your point of view across. These essays are often required by schools as part of their admissions process. In fact, schools the world over normally require motivational essays, so they become essential if you want to study abroad.

Motivational essays can also be used outside of academia. If you ever find yourself applying for a grant, you will probably need to submit one with your application. Some jobs also require a copy of the essay alongside a cover letter and your CV.

How a Motivational Essay Compares to Other Essays

There are four main types of essays: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive. Motivational essays normally fall under the ‘narrative’ category. This is because they are not so much exploring or analyzing a topic as they are discussing the reasons behind wanting to do something. They do still put forward an argument, but it is often a personal one as opposed to an academic one.

Motivational essays are often far more personal, in both style and tone, than other types of essays. Take, for example; an argumentative essay in the context of an English Literature program. An argumentative essay would compare, contrast and analyze two different texts. A motivational essay, meanwhile, would discuss your personal view of the texts, why you like them or dislike them, and what you gained, or did not, from reading them.

Motivational essays usually strike a more personal tone. They are more about you and your thoughts and views, as opposed to other types of essays.

When Do You Need a Motivational Essay?

Motivational essay for studies

Motivational essays are a cornerstone of applying to universities. Wherever you apply, be that in your home country or abroad, you will most likely need to write one. It will need to outline why you want to study that program at that school. If you are writing a motivational essay as part of an application to study abroad, you will also need to outline why that country is ideal for you and your studies, perhaps by discussing what draws you to the culture or the language, or why you feel an affinity with that particular country.

Motivational essay for scholarship

Learning how to write successful motivational essays is a great skill that you can use elsewhere too. You might find yourself applying for a grant or scholarship that requires a motivational letter. Motivational essays for studies or scholarships can vary in length, but one to two pages is normally the requirement. Some countries and schools can also have character and line limits, so you will need to spend some time carefully planning and crafting your entire essay.

Motivational essay for your career

Some jobs, particularly those in the academic and educational sectors, also require a motivational essay as part of your application. This should not be a copy of your cover letter, but a passionate introduction as to why you think you are right for the role. This means that you need to know how to get the tone right. The key to doing just that is persuasive language.

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What is Persuasive Language?

When it comes to persuasive language and stylistic devices in the context of motivational essays, your main goal will be to convince the reader to accept a new view or idea. In the case of school admissions, that you are the ideal candidate for that place on your chosen course.

Personal pronouns, ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’, etc., imperative verbs and your personal opinions presented in a direct way are key. Even with these ingredients, persuasive writing can be difficult sometimes. You will need someone to read over your writing to make sure that you do not sound arrogant or too grandiose, nor that you have accidentally plagiarized in some way.

Persuasive language can be easy to learn, but difficult to master. You will need to draft and then redraft your first attempt at a motivational essay. This might sound tough, but do not be worried. Each and every time you redraft, you will gain more knowledge and insight on how to use persuasive language successfully. This means that you learn while you apply for your ideal course at your ideal school.

If you have additional languages, the skills you learn through persuasive writing in English can carry over into your other languages, making it a truly universal skill to have.

Summary: Writing a Successful Motivational Essay

This is somewhat of an open-ended question. It varies from school to school – and even course to course. What one admissions officer is looking for might not excite another admissions officer. You have to persuasively write in a general way. This is not easy.

Fortunately, there is help at hand. Many schools publish guidelines, with advice or even frameworks, on how to write what they are looking for. Most schools also have detailed pages for each of their courses, as well as a mission and values statement.

You should refer to these pages when writing your motivational essay. They contain lots of useful information that you can utilize. Mission and values statements also give you the opportunity to explicitly state why you are right for your chosen school and program, a key component of any successful motivational essay.