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Winning Tips to Writing a Letter of Intent.

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

International students wishing to study in Canada are required to apply for a study permit.


One of the requirements of the study permit application is to submit a letter of intent. The letter of intent (also referred to as letter of explanation or statement of purpose) plays a critical role in the decision process for the study permit as it states your valid reason(s) for choosing to study in Canada and to clarify any questionable aspects of the information or documents submitted along with your study permit application. Most importantly, your letter of intent should convince the immigration officer that you are clear on the terms of your study permit and you intend to return to your home country after completing your program of study.


The letter of intent provides the immigration officer with the following insights about the prospective student:

  • Personal background

  • Financial background

  • Academic history and accomplishments

  • Professional experience (full-time and voluntary)

  • Immediate and long-term career goals

  • Reason for choosing the selected educational institution.

  • Reason for choosing the selected field of study.

Other useful information to include in the letter of intent are extra-curricular activities, community involvement, evidence of associations with any professional bodies and any published work or paper done by you.


There has been an increased rate of refusal of study permit applications since the Covid-19 pandemic. Notwithstanding, there is hope! We have formulated these 10 winning strategies to help you prepare a letter of intent that allows your study permit application to stand out and improve your chances of a successful outcome.

  1. Use clear and convincing writing.

  2. Stay within the word limit (between 3,000-4,000 words).

  3. Do not overshare! Avoid sharing in detail on personal and family history, except where it supports the reason for your program of choice, selected institution or decision to study in Canada.

  4. Avoid including sensitive financial information/struggles. Please be sure to include if you will be receiving any financial aid or scholarships.

  5. Avoid writing about information that has already been supported by documentation submitted in your application package unless it serves to provide clarification on same (e.g. repeating examination grades, GPA etc.).

  6. Maintain a positive tone.

  7. Avoid informal language, cliches and technical jargons. Use standard English and formal language as best as possible.

  8. Be truthful and accurate.

  9. Avoid creative font styles and paper that may distract the reader (Recommended format: Font size- 12, Font style- Times New Roman, Line spacing- 1.5).

  10. Proofread: check for grammatical and typographical errors.

We hope that you will employ these tips when composing your letter of intent/explanation. Please leave us a comment below and let us know which tip(s) is/are your favourite.


*Disclaimer: The information found on this site is for general information purposes and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.

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