How to Write Thank-You Letters to College Admissions Officers

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Be courteous and polite, and always remember to thank college admissions officers for their time when they answer questions or give you interviews. An admissions officer keeps track of every interaction you make with the institution throughout the admissions process. Writing a thank-you letter is a good way to demonstrate your interest in the officer's college.

1 Be Punctual

Keep your note simple and don't go overboard with effusive gratitude.
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A thank-you letter loses its power if it is sent too late. Prioritize writing thank-you notes as soon as you complete an interaction with any college representative. Spend some time in advance picking out high-quality, unique cards. As soon as you complete a conversation with an admissions officer, reflect on the conversation and decide for what you would like to express the most gratitude. Consider if she explained a program in detail or helped you better understand campus life. Be sure to write and send the note within a day or two.

2 Mention Your Conversation

When writing your note, be specific. Remember that admissions officers receive countless notes and emails from students vying for places at their colleges. If you and the admissions officer spoke at length about the school’s rowing team or the campus art museum, mention that. For example, you might write: “Dear Marcia, Thank you for taking the time to speak with me this morning about Groundhog College. It was exciting to hear you describe the annual student exhibition at the campus museum. As a potential fine arts major, it was helpful to learn more about this Groundhog tradition.”

3 Include Missing Pieces

Handwriting a thank-you card may help your application stand out.
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A thank-you letter is a good place to mention anything important that did not come up in your conversation. Perhaps you were feeling nervous and forgot to tell the officer about a campus visit you made in October. In your thank-you note, prove your interest and fill in any blanks. For example, you might write: “Dear Henry, Thank you for meeting with me yesterday to talk about my interest in attending Groundhog College in the fall. I forgot to mention that I actually visited the campus last semester. It is a beautiful place and I would love to return as a student.”

4 Offer Enthusiasm

It never hurts to reiterate your interest in the school. Be forthcoming and confident. If the school is your top choice, state that. If you have wanted to go to the college since the sixth grade, include that in the letter. Remember to be specific and demonstrate you understand the curriculum and culture. If the school has strengths in a particular discipline that interests you or a campus tradition you find appealing, say so. For example, write "I like how Groundhog requires all freshmen to read a great American novel before school begins" or "My friends told me about the annual midnight singalong after fall midterms. It sounds like a fun tradition and I hope to someday participate." If you can name particular professors with whom you would like to study, do so. Few applicants stress interest in studying with particular people, and doing so would make your thank-you note and application stand out from the crowd. You can write something simple such as "It would be amazing to study with Professor Winters in your history program. I read her book about medieval France last year, and I would love to enroll in her class on the subject."

Fern Morris has been writing about the arts, culture, etiquette and society since 2004. She has published her work internationally in various magazines, websites, exhibition catalogues and academic journals.