How to Write a Thank-You Note for a Recommendation Letter

on April 21, 2016

Letters of recommendation play an important role in higher education, whether you’re applying for college or searching for scholarships. They help tell an admissions board or organization more about you. They describe your abilities and skills. They make you stand out in the crowd.

Ideally, they also get you the scholarship or college placement you’re hoping for.

That’s why it’s so important to know how to write a thank-you note to every person who helps you with your recommendation letters or gives you some other sort of assistance during the application process. Remember, the people writing your letters are doing something kind for you – it’s absolutely necessary to express your gratitude.

So how do you go about it?

Step 1: The Thank You


Start off with the most important part – the thank you itself! Be specific, rather than vague. Something like “Thank you writing a letter of recommendation to support my application to the University of Illinois” is much less general than “Thanks for writing a letter of recommendation for me.”

Step 2: Tell Them Why it Matters


Why does your letter writer’s support mean so much to you? Is this the college you’ve dreamed of attending since you were small? Will the scholarship money you’re applying for make it possible for you to avoid student loans? Personalize your note by letting the person know why their letter was so important.

Step 3: Promise to Follow Up


The people writing your recommendation letters are interested in the outcome, so tell them you’ll keep them updated. Something as simple as, “I’m keeping an eye out for any news and I’ll let you know whether or not I was chosen for the scholarship,” should do the trick. But don’t forget to make good on your promise – once you know whether you got into your reach school or received that big scholarship, follow up and let them know how it turned out.

Step 4: Drop it in the Mailbox


Sending thank you notes via snail mail is extra special, but email is also all right if you can’t get someone’s address. 

Still need a few recommendation letters? Here's how to get them.

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