Nov 26th, 2014

Thanksgiving Recipe: Whipping up the Perfect Thank You Note

With Thanksgiving right around the corner (pumpkin pie, anyone?), and those college applications nearly done (hopefully? Almost? Check those deadlines!), you probably have more than a few people too whom you owe a thank you.

One of the finest and longest standing practices of gratitude is writing a simple thank you note. You may not do this very often, but trust me, it leaves a great impression, makes a huge impact, and is something you should use quite a bit in your future. So, thank you notes. And we’re not talking about emails – we’re going old fashioned, hand written! Grab your pens, it’s time to whip up the perfect thank you note!

Wait? Who are you even going to write to? Let’s see. Your guidance counselor, who has potentially spent years working with you to prepare you for college. Oh yeah, and they did a heck of a lot of paperwork for you as well. Maybe the person who wrote your recommendation letter? Yep. They took time out to write all these incredible things about you, to help you get in to school. Did you tour a college or university? Perhaps you should thank the tour guide or Admissions Counselor, they also helped you through this process.

Okay, now you know who to thank. So, let’s get cookin’!





Ingredients for the perfect thank you note:

A greeting– should be appropriate of your relationship with the receiver. Formal thank you notes should always include the proper honorific.

Details– This is potentially the most important part. The bread and butter, if you will, of your thank you note. Here, you should state what you are thanking this person for.

Look ahead– In this sentence or two, state something about the future.

Thanks again– Here, you will want to restate your thanks.

Regards– Wrap it up here. Much like the greeting, this should be according to your relationship with the receiver of the note. “Sincerely,” “Fondly,” “Best,” “Kindly,” “Warmly” are typically great options to choose from.

Signature– It is proper to write both your first and last name. If you are going to sign the note with your signature, print your name legibly below. Nothing is worse than receiving a note from someone and then not being able to tell who sent it!



  1. Preheat the oven to—kidding. Just grab that pen, and grab your card.
  2. Make sure you are writing on the correct side of the card and that it’s opening the correct way. It sounds obvious, but it’s not. And trust me, if you do this part incorrectly, the receiver will notice.
  3. Personalize it if you can. If you can mention something specific about this person, or what you are thankful for, that typically goes over well.
  4. SPELLING. Need I say more?
  5. When writing to a college or university, be sure which you are writing to. Don’t mention the wrong school. It’s like going on a date and mentioning someone else you’re dating. Or not serving pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving dinner. Not. Cool.
  6. Write legibly. You must hand write a thank you note, but make sure it’s readable. Please.
  7. Seal up the card in an envelope and address it properly. Again, the proper honorific is the key


*Note; It always helps me to type out my note first on my computer or in Notes in my phone, that way it helps me autocorrect spelling, quickly edit, etc. Then, I just copy it down on to the card.

As an example, I wrote a thank you note to Mr. Faraone, my high school English teacher, who actually wrote my letter of recommendation for my application to High Point University when I was applying (thanks Mr. Faraone, couldn’t have done it without you!


And there you have it! You’ve just prepared the perfect thank you note!  Now, start thanking! It will only take you a few minutes, but it goes a long way.

Also, everyone enjoy turkey day!



Jordan Coakley

Admissions Counselor, Connecticut