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How to Write Thank-You Letters to People Who Helped You Get Into College

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

The moment is here: You’ve been accepted!

Time to celebrate a year-plus of campus visits, self-reflection, deadlines, brainstorming, decision making and more. 

And it’s also time to thank those who helped you along the way.

Thank-you letters are an old-fashioned way to express your gratitude, but their intention is still relevant and valued by those on the receiving end.

Here’s a quick but comprehensive list of the people you should thank—and how to thank them—for helping with your college search.

Who to Write Thank-You Letters To—and How to Write Them

1. Start with Your Teachers

Your teachers are the primary group of people who prepare you for college. They gave you confidence in your academic skills and introduced you to concepts that may have influenced your career choice.

A few of those teachers have even chipped in by writing recommendation letters that helped present you in the best light to admission boards.

Before writing your thank-you notes, list every teacher you grew close to over the final few years of high school, especially those who were your recommenders. 

Start your thank-you letters by writing about specific memories, and then thank your teachers for their time and energy.

And for the teachers you picked to write recommendation letters, add a sentence or two thanking them for their recommendation.

Don’t forget to share where you will attend school and what you plan to study.

Remember: They spent time out of the classroom to reflect on your strengths and write a letter that possibly changed your life.

Timing: If you’re attending school in-person, it’s best to hand them to the teacher or drop them off at their office or desk after you get your acceptance letter and definitely before graduation so they can cheer you on during your transition to college.

Delivery: If you’re not on campus, you can opt for an emailed note or stick a handwritten one in the mail.

2. Remember Your Guidance Counselor

Everyone has a varying degree of closeness with their high school guidance counselor, but it’s always a good idea to thank them.

They juggle a lot of students’ situations, helping hundreds of students every year, and want the best for all of them.

Mention how you couldn’t have navigated the college application process without them and why you’re grateful for their time.

Finish with the name of your future university and intended major so they can celebrate with you.

It’s best to send this letter when you get your acceptance letter or before graduation. They’ll love knowing what’s going on in your life and may even tack your note in their office for incoming seniors to find as inspiration.

The same goes with counselors as it does for your teachers:

Timing: Give your thank-you to them in person, if you can, or send it via email or snail mail if you’re not going to school each day.

Delivery: If you’re not on campus,  opt for an email or send a handwritten note in the mail.

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4. Write to Financial Aid Officers

Financial aid officers typically work for colleges and answer scholarship questions and handle billing issues. They don’t often get the thanks they deserve because students want to forget about their financial stressors soon after resolving them.

Write a quick thank-you letter to the financial officers who make college happen. Talk about how they simplified the financial process and what help meant the most to you.

Timing: Soon after they answer your questions or resolve an issue.

Delivery: You can mail these thank-you letters if you have the address, but an email will suffice too. 

5. Consider the Application Review Board

While you think of who to thank after getting into college, remember the application review board.

You won’t discover any specific identities for people on the review board because it maintains their integrity, but that shouldn’t stop you from expressing your gratitude.

You can still write a thank-you letter to the general board for their time and mention how you plan to use the education you’ll receive. They rarely hear from students because applicants don’t see their names and faces.

Timing: Send it soon after your admittance, before they get another round of applications and don’t have time to read mail personally.

Delivery: Contact the school to request a general office or address for your thank-you letter.

6. Thank Your Family & Friends

No one gets into college alone.

Often, friends and family are a huge help, with words of wisdom, boundless encouragement and even financial support.

You might have grandparents who helped pay for your first semester or parents who started a college fund while you were young.

Some family members may have sent money in a card to celebrate your new diploma.

All deserve thanks, so be sure to remember them and tell them how you’ll use the funds to jump-start your freshman year.

Other family members and friends likely helped you through studying, final exams, and even picking your last high school classes.

Maybe a few coworkers picked up your shifts so you could attend campus tours or freshman orientation.

A drama teacher may have coached you through an audition monologue for a performing arts school. 

A simple thank-you card recognizes how they supported you along the way and why their efforts meant so much.

Timing: After graduation and before heading off to college is the perfect time to give a thoughtful card to your loved ones.

Delivery: For close family and friends, a handwritten note is a good choice. For family that’s further away, a mailed letter, or even a thoughtful email, might work best.

7. Contact Your Independent College Counselor

If you had one, definitely include them in your list of people to thank. (Just because it’s their job to help you get into college doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy knowing they’re appreciated.)

Thank them by referencing whatever questions they answered that made your applications easier. They’ll feel appreciated and valued.

Timing: Send them a thank-you letter after your last meeting with them, because it’s their job to help students, they might forget about your experience as they assist others.

Delivery:  If you have their address, a hand-written note is preferable. If not, a thoughtful email will do the trick.

Write Your Thank-You Letters Soon

Timing is everything when it comes to thank-you letters.

Writing them at the right time will have the greatest impact on the receiver. And after you’ve sent them all, you can really feed good about all the help you received and you can begin your freshman year of college with more peace of mind.

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