Communication: Writing Thank-You Notes

Family Modules

Module 7 Part 6

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Introduction

Objective: The student will write a professional thank-you note correctly using at least 6 of the 7 components presented in this lesson.

Estimated time 30—45 minutes

Materials needed:

Curriculum Link:

This section corresponds with Module 7 Activity 2 in the College Bound Transition curriculum resources.

Learn About It

Writing Thank-You Notes

Writing thank-you notes is important when you want to:

  • Acknowledge a kind gesture
  • Express appreciation
  • Make a positive impression

You may write thank-you notes for:

  • Gifts received
  • Kindness shown
  • References written
  • Following up after a job or internship interview
  • Other personal reasons

Parents Chime In

For many students, writing of any kind can be a challenging and daunting task. Writing something that seems "optional," like a thank-you note, can sometimes seem inconvenient or more difficult than it’s worth. Although handwritten thank-you notes are not as common as they once were, expressing gratitude in writing, towards those who have done something for you, is still an expected part of a successful adult’s communication skill set. Thus, writing thank-you notes is an important habit to develop.

Thank-You Note Template

Thank-You Note Template

  1. Salutation.
  2. Directly say "thank you."
  3. Express your appreciation in more detail.
  4. Comment about how nice it was for the giver to do what they did for you.
  5. Closing niceties, such as well-wishes or greetings to others.
  6. Wrap up by thanking the giver one more time.
  7. Sign off.

Step 1 is the salutation. You may also think of this as the part where you greet or address the recipient.

  • Examples: "Dear Aunt Beth"; "Dear Professor Carver"; "Dear Dr. Smith"

Step 2 is to directly thank the recipient. At this point, the template branches out to include instructions that are slightly different depending on whether you are writing a note about a gift or something intangible, like an action, an event, or a kindness.

  • Gift example: "Thank you for the lovely watch you gave me for my birthday."
  • Action or event example: "Thank you very much for writing letters of reference to accompany my scholarship applications."

Step 3 is to express your appreciation in more specific detail. Tell the giver why you like the gift.

  • Gift example: "The gift card will come in handy for buying coffee on the way to my morning classes."
  • Action or event example: "I definitely think it strengthened my application for the committee to hear from someone who has taught me in a laboratory course."
A girl writing a note in the library.

Step 4 is to comment about what a nice, kind, or otherwise positive gesture the person's action was. This step can take many different forms depending on the specific gift, event, or circumstance.

  • Example: "It was so thoughtful of you to remember me. What a generous and kind gift!"

Step 5 is some type of nice closing statement. This might include a greeting to others in the family, a comment about an upcoming event you know they’ll be involved in, or just general well-wishes. This will vary drastically depending on your relationship with the giver and the context of the thank-you note.

  • Example: "I hope you and Uncle Lloyd are doing well and enjoying your summer. Please send my love to cousin Marcus. Let’s plan to get together next time I’m in town."

Step 6 is to simply directly say "thanks" one more time.

  • Examples: "Thanks again!" or "Thank you for the opportunity."

Step 7 is to end with an appropriate sign-off.

  • Examples: "Love, Wilbur"; "Warm Regards, John "; "Best Wishes, Emily."

Sample Thank-You Notes

Dear Professor Smith:

Thank you for writing letters of reference to accompany my scholarship applications. I definitely think it strengthened my application for the committee members to hear from someone who has taught me in a laboratory course. I really appreciate your taking the time to recommend me, especially at such a busy time of the year. I hope the rest of your semester goes well, and I’ll keep you posted about whether I receive any of the scholarships. Thanks again!

Sincerely,
Jimmy Huffington

Dear Aunt Bethany,

Thank you so much for the awesome care package you sent to me at school! My roommate and I are having a great time playing with the stress-ball toys, and I think I made some new friends on my hall by sharing a few of your amazing homemade cookies. (The rest are safely stashed under my bed to make sure they last as long as possible!) You must have known that I was having a stressful time, because it was exactly the kind of fun pick-me-up that I needed to turn my whole week around for the better. Thank you so much for both the treats and the sweet note, and I can’t wait to give you a big hug when I see you over winter break!

Love,
Alice

Thank-You Note Tips

A pen rests on a notebook.

Tips on Writing a Thank You Card

  • Be prompt
  • Better late than never
  • Handwrite your notes
  • Make them personal
  • Keep a list

Thank-You Note Scenarios

Write a thank-you note in response to one of the scenarios listed below. Follow the template provided above, but personalize your note as you see fit. Feel free to make up any details that are not included in the scenario description.

Scenario 1:You just interviewed for a very competitive summer internship at a bank in your hometown. Write a thank-you note expressing your gratitude to the bank president who interviewed you for the position.

Scenario 2: You have been working with a professional tutor at a local learning center for the past two years. As a result of this intensive tutoring, you made a C in a course that you weren’t sure you’d be able to pass before starting tutoring. You just graduated from high school, and this tutor attended your graduation party. Write a note to thank the tutor for everything he has done for you.

Scenario 3: You are applying to several universities. One of your teachers wrote you a letter of recommendation for admission and completed a recommendation form for each school you applied to. Write this teacher a thank-you note expressing your appreciation for serving as a reference.

Write your thank-you note below. You may also type your thank-you note using a computer.

Objective Check

Have you accomplished today's objective?

Objective: The student will write a professional thank-you note correctly using at least 6 of the 7 components presented in this lesson.

If so, congratulations!

If not, you may want to look back over the thank-you note template and practice writing another thank-you note. Have a parent or family member read over your note when you are finished.

For more information…Digging Deeper

If you have "real" thank-you notes to write from a recent birthday or event, write those using the thank-you note template from this section. ABC News - Tips for writing a thank you note.