See Examination Board BMT-BME

How to write an effective letter

FORMAT

Below an example of a format of a request letter is given.

Note: the text of the model letter is quite brief.  Most appeal and request letters often require at least one page for the motivation of the request.

Samuel Student
s1234567
s.student@student.utwente.nl

February 20, 2019

Examination Board BMT-BME

Subject: Request for extra re-sit Calculus 2

Dear members of the Examination Board BMT-BME,

I am writing to request access to the extra re-sit (Q3) for the test “Calculus” of the module Structuur en Organisatie van de Gezondheidszorg (202000859) on July 12.

I missed the re-sit of the test on January 23, because I flew to Bucharest on January 19 for my grandfather’s funeral and returned on January 26.  I uploaded copies of the airline receipt and the obituary.

By missing the re-sit I failed the module component and lack 3EC for a positive BSA. I would be devastated if missing the re-sit would mean I have to quit my study Biomedical Engineeringat the University of Twente where I feel so much in my place.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.  Please contact me by email or phone if you have any questions. 

Respectfully,
Sam Student

CONTENT AND TONE

While the appearance of a letter is important, the content and tone will determine whether the letter really does its job.  Review any relevant regulations (OER, Rules and Guidelines) and pay particular attention to what the decision-maker needs to know to consider an appeal or request.  That is the information which should be included in your letter.

OPENING STATEMENT

The first sentence or two should state the purpose of the letter clearly.

I am writing to request an extra re-sit (Q3) for the test “Healthlaw” of the module Logistics in Health (2019123456)

I am writing to request an extension of the validity of the results (Q3) of the tests “Programming Theory” and “Design Theory” of the module Technology and Health (2019123456)

BE FACTUAL

Include factual detail but avoid dramatizing the situation.

In late October I was diagnosed with tonsillitis. I was sick for over a week and missed most of my tests.

NOT In late October after feeling really sick for a few days, I finally dragged myself to General Practitioner…

BE SPECIFIC

If an appeal or request depends on particular facts which the decision-maker will want to verify, be specific.

I missed a test on January 23, because I flew to Bucharest on January 19 for my grandfather’s funeral and returned on January 26.  I enclose the airline receipt and can provide further corroboration if that would be helpful.

NOT  I had to attend a funeral out of town so I missed the test on January 23.

DOCUMENTATION

Include any documentation needed to substantiate your claims.

I have uploaded the medical statement form filled out by my general practitioner.

STICK TO THE POINT

Don’t clutter your letter with information or requests that have no essential connection to the main message.

DO NOT TRY TO MANIPULATE THE READER

Threatening, cajoling, begging, pleading, flattery, and making extravagant promises are manipulative and usually ineffective methods.

If you give me a chance to come back to the residence next year, I promise to work really hard, get rich, and donate a million dollars to the University…

HOW TO TALK ABOUT FEELINGS

It is tempting to overstate the case when something is important to us.  When feelings are a legitimate part of a message own the feeling, and state it as a fact.

When I saw my grade, I was very disappointed.

BE BRIEF

It is more work to write a good short letter than a long one.  Busy decision-makers appreciate the extra effort.

AVOID ERRORS

A letter will make a better impression if it is free of spelling and grammar mistakes and free of slang. BUT it is much more important to meet deadlines and state the purpose clearly than to submit a letter that is completely error-free.

KEEP COPIES

Until a matter is settled, keep copies of all letters sent or received, as well as relevant documents and forms.

*Adapted from San Diego State University, Office of the Student Ombudsman