Choose specific examples for which you are grateful and explain why they meant so much to you.
Knowing when to show your appreciation is an important skill that will serve you well throughout your education career, college applications and later in the job market. Thank you notes are an important symbol of your gratitude that will show others how much you value the time or effort they spent to help you in some way.
Not only will you feel good after writing the thank you note, the person who receives it will too. During the college planning process it's important to acknowledge people who have helped you because many teachers, coaches and counselors are pressed for time and they often go unappreciated. Plus, if you ever need help, or they do, showing how grateful you are will facilitate more communication or future opportunities later.
During your junior and senior years, you’re in the midst of preparing for tests and college applications, but thank you should be considered an essential part of the college planning process. And in many cases, when it comes to any type of interview, whether it's for a college, scholarship or job -- a thank you note is expected. That's right. People will be expected you to have this skill.
Start writing more effective thank you notes by following the steps below and getting more ideas on how to show your gratitude.
Starting Your Thank You Note
There’s nothing more personal (or essential) than a thank you note when it comes to showing your gratitude. It gives you a place to identify exactly what helped you and why it was important. The first thing you need to do when writing a thank you note is find a unique card that is beautifully made, or get crafty and make your own for an even more personal touch.
Next, write a rough draft of the note on scratch paper. Be sure to acknowledge your teacher’s efforts and support — it will mean a lot to him or her. Choose specific examples for which you are grateful and explain why they meant so much to you. Using pointed examples with clear writing will help teachers guide other students with college planning and/or produce better letters of recommendation for others later. The note will also serve as an example of what you both did if the teacher saves the note for reference.
Keep the note brief, but be detailed and thoughtful. Teachers, coaches and counselors are busy -- why they might love a long letter devoted to how awesome they are, keep it simple with the facts and why they helped so much.
Don't Forget to Proofread Your Note
After you read over what you wrote in your rough draft, edit anything that was unnecessary and fix any mistakes. Copy your text over to your thank you note and write neatly. Reread the thank you note and make sure you've spelled things correctly, including your teacher's name (or whoever you wrote the note for).
Avoid repeating the same thing in notes to multiple teachers -- this should be personalized to the individuals who have helped you. Plus, they may talk about the notes with each other -- wouldn't it be embarrassing to find that they both knew you wrote the same thing to them?
Ultimately, when you write a thank you note, be honest, show appreciation and be clear -- you can't go wrong.
Sample Thank You Note
(Date) April 4, 2013
(Greeting) Dear Mr. Smith,
(Intro) Thank you for helping me with my college applications by writing a letter of recommendation for my work in your class. I've thoroughly enjoyed learning from you in (name of class) and have appreciated your advice and guidance throughout my time in high school.
(Examples) As I wait to hear back from schools, I feel confident in my applications because of the letter you wrote and what I've learned from you. I look forward to using the skills you taught me and I cannot wait to let you know when I get into college. I'm most excited about my application to (name of school) because of the (name of program) there. There are many great courses within the department that will build on what you've taught me already.
Also, thank you for your support and encouragement over the years. You have been a great mentors to me. I am so happy I was able to learn so much for you. I hope someday I can do the same for someone else.
More Ways to Say Thank You to Teachers
The following examples are best suited as gifts for high school teachers and should not be used for job interviews, college admissions interviews or anything like that.
1. Give Your Teacher a Unique Gift
If you want to go a step beyond the thank you note and you have a little cash to spare, a small gift is a nice gesture. While it’s easy to go out and get something like a leather notebook or cool pen, think about what your teacher could use in the classroom.
Does your teacher need a laser pointer or a cool paper weight that shows his/her personality? Maybe your teacher is always quoting a famous philosopher or writer — see if you can find a good poster with the quote to hang in the classroom.
2. Offer to Help With Classroom Chores or Campus Activities
Everyone knows that teachers are very busy. Show your appreciation with a helping hand — literally! Help grade papers or volunteer for an event your teacher is managing for the school. Providing some assistance is a great way to show gratitude and respect, especially since your teacher helped you with a letter of recommendation.
3. Bake a Tasty Treat
Apples are so overrated! If you know your teacher loves chocolate chip cookies or gluten-free brownies, why not make a batch to say thanks?
Remember, there are many ways to say thank you — whether you write a nice note or volunteer your time to help in the classroom.