Take Some Time to Say “Thank You” to Those Who Are Helping You Through the College Application Process
For many students, Thanksgiving is a time to catch up on sleep, visit extended family, and enjoy an all-you-can eat feast. However, high school seniors should add one more item to their holiday agenda: crafting thank you notes for the teachers and counselors who have penned their letters of recommendation.
According to NACAC’s most recent State of College Admission report, over 85% of admissions officers surveyed assigned some level of importance to teacher and counselor recommendations. Additionally, letters of recommendation and reference will continue to play a role in a student’s long-term ambitions as he or she applies for internships and jobs. In between plates of turkey and time with your family, hone your thank you note-writing skills this holiday season by implementing the top tips below.
Personalize Your Writing
The most meaningful thank you notes are those that are thoughtful and touch on conversations and experiences that are specific to you and your recommender. Instead of copying and pasting the same few sentences, strive to write unique letters to each of the teachers and counselors that helped you throughout the college admissions process. Touch on the interactions that were most impactful to you and what you learned from a specific teacher’s class. Keep this sentiment in mind for internship thank you notes down the line and be sure to highlight what you learned from working with your supervisor when thanking him or her.
Stay on Top of Timing
Most teachers and counselors will appreciate your thank you note regardless of when they receive it, but it is best to send letters of gratitude promptly to ensure it does not come off as an afterthought. If you’re still working on your college applications, aim to send teachers and counselors these notes about two weeks after submitting your applications so that your statement is as impactful as possible. If you’ve already submitted your applications, try to write these notes as soon as possible. Similarly, students writing thank you notes for internship supervisors should try to send them shortly after their last day as an intern.
Reference the Future
Did your biology teacher inspire you to pursue a pre-medical track in college? Or maybe your school counselor recommended an after school activity that turned into a true passion? Show your teacher or counselor just how meaningful their advice was by emphasizing how you plan to use their guidance when you arrive at college. Referencing your future plans also provides you with an opportunity to share your contact information, if you are interested in keeping in touch after high school. While it may not always be necessary for high school teachers, strive to stay connected with each of your internship supervisors so you can reach out to them as references during your future job search.
Make a conscious decision about whether you wish to send a handwritten thank you card or an emailed note. While there is nothing wrong with a digitalized version, a paper note can be a more sentimental choice, especially if you were particularly close with a counselor or teacher. Whatever medium you choose, the writing should be clean and professional. Avoid hard-to-read fonts or sloppy handwriting and give yourself time to proof read each sentence before sending it out. Similarly, if you choose a handwritten card, pick one that is aesthetically appealing without being over-the-top or silly. Save cartoons, pop outs, and sarcastic captions for friends and family.
Filling out thank you notes during a holiday that is all about being grateful is a festive way to stay on top of your application timeline. It also shows your appreciation for those who have helped you throughout high school and continue to guide you through the college admissions process. A little bit of gratitude goes a long way and can help bring some joy to a busy teacher or counselor’s day.
If you need help putting the finishing touches on your applications or making a checklist, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Our team of expert admissions counselors can offer guidance and help students navigate the admissions journey from start to finish. Click here to learn more about our college counseling services for high school seniors!