1. Send a Handwritten Note
The problem with sending a professor an email is that it involves almost no effort. Whereas your professor will undoubtedly appreciate receiving the message, a handwritten note will go much further. You can mail your letter to the university or leave it at your professor’s office.
2. Address Your Professor and Sign Off Appropriately
Start your letter with the correct title for the person you’re addressing — this could be “Professor” or “Doctor.” You can find this information by searching for your professor’s name on your university website. End with a formal salutation, such as “Sincerely” or “With gratitude.”
3. Mention the Purpose of the Letter at the Start
Get straight to the point in the opening of your letter. Professors also receive correspondence for students asking for references and research opportunities — it’s important to make it clear immediately that your letter is to say thank you.
4. Talk About Reasons for Your Gratitude
Your letter will be more meaningful to your professor if it talks about the reasons that you are grateful for the support. You may want to thank your professor for providing excellent classes, helping you improve your assignments, supporting you through a difficult time at university, a glowing letter of recommendation that led you to a great opportunity, or something else.
If you’re thanking a professor for multiple things, give each reason its own paragraph. However, don’t feel you need to go into great detail. It’s enough to show that whatever support you received from your professor had an impact on your life. In particular, avoid sharing too many details about your struggles and try to focus on the positive outcomes.
5. Infuse the Letter with Your Personality
Although a thank-you letter is formal, there’s no need for it to be dry. Write in your own style to give your letter your voice — this will make it feel much more authentic.
6. End with a Final “Thank You”
Tie up your letter by thanking your professor one last time. Think of this as being like the conclusion you use to end term papers.
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