Your final assignment for this semester will be the cover letter that will introduce the pieces in your portfolio and allow you to reflect on your development as a writer over the course of this semester. This letter should be typed as a single-spaced letter in block format (paragraphs aligned at the left margin, with an extra line between paragraphs) that is addressed to the members of the Portfolio Committee who will be reading your portfolio.
You may want to begin the essay with an introduction to who you were as a writer as you came into this class, maybe something brief about your background and how you assessed your strengths and weaknesses, maybe something about what your assumptions had been about the class or about college writing in general.
The body of your letter should discuss the three essays you’ve included in the portfolio (the logical way to set this up would be one paragraph per essay). Explain why you chose each essay and how each illustrates your abilities as a writer. In essence, the letter should at least in part be an argument that you’ve achieved the course objectives of English 11. (You may want to check the syllabus here.) Be sure to consider and discuss the applicable criteria of focus, development, organization, mechanics, and research skills that the committee will be evaluating. Be sure to refer to specific parts/places in each essay. For at least one of the essays (perhaps the one that gave you the most difficulties), trace the essay’s evolution through the stages of generating topic and details, drafting, revision, and proofreading.
Your conclusion (a final attempt to sway your readers) might include any recognitions you’ve made about yourself as a writer and any changes you’ve made (or plan to make) in your writing process.
An important reminder: Your letter itself should also serve as evidence of your writing competence in its focus, development, and organization.
Length guidelines: I expect that a well-developed letter would be at least 500 words or so.
Student samples from previous semester:
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Writing a Journal Cover Letter [Free Template]
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The cover letter you submit to your target journal is your chance to lobby on behalf of your manuscript. Here are some tips for getting it right, plus a free journal cover letter template.
The cover letter accompanying your journal submission is your chance to lobby on behalf of your manuscript. The letter is far from just a formality and should be written with the same care as your manuscript’s text (if not more). Ultimately, your cover letter is designed to influence the decision of the editor to send your manuscript out for peer review. The letter will argue that your manuscript is a good fit for the journal you are submitting it to and highlight your most important findings. This post contains some tips, which can also be found in our downloadable resources:
1.Instructions on writing a journal cover letter
2.Microsoft Word cover letter template (also available with instructions in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish)
You should also assure the editor that there are no conflicts of interest that would affect the decision to publish your manuscript. In the end, your cover letter should interest the editor enough to read your paper carefully and choose to send it for peer review.
Getting ready to resubmit your revised manuscript? Read our tips on responding to peer reviewers
A cover letter should be written like a standard business letter:
Address the editor formally by name, if known. Include your contact information, as well. This information is probably available through the journal’s online submission system, but it is proper to provide it in the cover letter, too.
Begin your cover letter with a paragraph that states the name of the manuscript and the names of the authors. You can also describe what type of manuscript your submission is (research article, review, case report, etc.). In this first paragraph and the next, describe the rationale behind your study and the major findings from your research. You can refer to prior work that you have published if it is directly related.
Next, write a short paragraph that explains why your manuscript would be a good fit for the journal. Do not simply state that your manuscript is “of interest to the field” or “novel.” Address specific aspects of the journal’s Aims & Scope statement. If the journal expresses interest in research with a clinical application, be sure to highlight the importance of your work in terms of clinical implications. If the journal mentions that it focuses on nanostructured materials, explain how your work involved such materials. Even if your work is not a perfect fit for the journal, be sure to address some of the Aims & Scope statement, and explain why your manuscript would be of interest to the journal’s readers.
Finally, close with a brief paragraph indicating the following:
- The manuscript is original (i.e., you wrote it, not copied it)
- No part of the manuscript has been published before, nor is any part of it under consideration for publication at another journal
- There are no conflicts of interest to disclose
- A list of potential reviewers (only if requested by the journal)
- Any researchers who should NOT review your manuscript
Together, this information provides assurance to the editor that your manuscript merits consideration for publication in their journal and that you are interested specifically in their journal. Sometimes great science will be reviewed regardless of the cover letter, but a well written cover letter is useful for the vast majority of scientists who want to make their research stand out.
Best of luck with your research! If you have any questions about your cover letter, write us anytime.
Journal Cover Letter Templates
Click here to download a Microsoft Word template for a standard journal cover letter (also available with instructions in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish). A full set of the information in this post can be found here.
TagsFinishing touchesPublishing processCommunicating with editorsJournal editorsJournal submissionPeer reviewCover letterBack to School seriesDownloadables