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How to Thank my Teacher for Writing my Letter of Recommendation

Dec 8, 2020

You’ve finally completed the college application process, and are sitting back to relax and reflect on all of your hard work. While you wait for admissions decisions to be released, you should give thanks to those who have helped you along the way, throughout high school and especially during the application process.

Whether it be your parents, friends, teachers, tutors or your school counselor, reflect on those who have supported you as you worked hard on your applications. Most importantly, consider your teachers who wrote and submitted those required recommendation letters.

Recommendation letters are very helpful during the admissions process, as they provide insight into your character and personality. They can affirm your credibilities, providing information that can increase your chances of being admitted, receiving scholarships or other financial aid.

Your recommender may have been a high-school teacher. He or she has invested time and effort in writing a letter of recommendation that speaks to your specific strengths. It is best practice (in life) to thank your teacher for sparing their valuable time to help you.

What is the most appropriate way to give thanks? There are many ways for you to thank your teacher for their contribution. The methods for offering thanks vary from student to student, as only students can speak to the relationship they share with their recommenders.

We have compiled the following guide to thanking your recommenders, just in case you need help conceiving a good plan of action for showing your gratitude.

Send your teacher a thank you card

One of the best and most economical ways to say thank you and express your appreciation for a teacher is giving them a handwritten card. You should write your note from scratch to portray how grateful you are for your recommender’s help. In the card, you can thank your teacher for the time and energy they invested in writing a letter in support of your application. Go beyond saying they are the best teacher in the world, and write a note of personal nature. You can write about fond memories and stand out events you’ve shared with the teacher in or out of their class. Maybe you write about the volunteer group you both partake in, a life lesson they’ve taught you or a literary read that you’ve discussed at length. Keep it light, but ensure the note demonstrates your appreciation for your recommender’s efforts. This note does not necessarily need to be written with pen and paper, as you may mail your note to your recommender or send it as an email. Ultimately, you have the freedom to improvise the logistics, just make sure your note reaches your recommender.

A gift saying thank you

While a gift can be a great way to show your appreciation for your recommender, it would require knowing your teacher’s gift preferences, and as such, may take more time than sending a personal card. If you don’t know what type of gift your recommender would like to receive, but still wish to gift them something, you can choose universally gifted items, such as a book, journal, pen or gift card to a bookstore.

Be sure to check your school policies, as many schools won’t allow the exchange of gifts between staff and students.

Thank you Over Coffee or Lunch

Instead of a card or a gift, consider asking your teacher to share a cup of coffee or lunch if this something you feel comfortable doing. This is a great way to say thank you to your teacher. Maybe there is a restaurant or coffee shop students and faculty frequent on or near campus. Keep the conversation light, show appreciation and let the teacher in on your future hopes and dreams after high school. Be sure to show your appreciation by offering to buy their meal or their coffee.

Say Thank You in person

Regardless of whether you choose to send a gift or card, the most polite and gracious thing to do is to share your gratitude for their commitment to your and your recommendation letter in person. Spark a conversation after class to give thanks and let them know you will keep them in the loop about any college decisions.

Your recommender devoted a lot of time and effort outside of their own life and day-job to write a successful letter of recommendation on your behalf. It is essential that you say thank you for their contribution to your college application. The way in which you show your gratitude is ultimately up to you. You may have your own methods of showing your appreciation and thanks, but a card, gift or saying thank you in-person can never go wrong. Ultimately, be thoughtful, grateful, and let your teacher know how meaningful their support has been to you.

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