Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It's the time of year for writing thank you notes

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Last week, I attended the end-of-year awards ceremony at the local high school. The program honored students who had attended state competitions – academic and athletic – as well as those earning a special honors award. Additionally, all of the local scholarships for the graduating class were handed out.

Following the ceremony, the principal announced a reception for the scholarship recipients. And, then he mentioned that the seniors were to stay in the library after the reception for a thank you letter writing event so that they could properly acknowledge their scholarships. That was great to hear! Hopefully, any of the students who didn’t already know how to write a proper thank you letter learned how that day. It really is an important skill to have in life!

Here are a few tips for writing thank you letters:
  • Specifically mention the gift, scholarship, job interview, whatever it is for which you are thankful. You don’t have to be awkwardly detailed, but you do need to acknowledge that you know what the gift was. For example, you can say, “Thank you for the shirt you sent for my birthday.” Or, “I want to let you know how much I appreciate receiving the Smith Family Scholarship this year.”
  • Express appreciation for the gift, even if you didn’t really like it. You don’t have to lie about it, but you can still thank the person for, basically, making the effort. “Thank you for the bow tie. I’ve never had one before. It certainly makes a bold statement.”
  • If you think it’s necessary, remind your letter’s recipient who you are. This might be necessary in the case of a foundation that gives out several scholarships to students at different schools. For example, you could say, “After I graduate from Midtown High School, I will be attending State University, and this scholarship will certainly come in handy!”
  • If you really did like the gift, be sure to explain why. “The bread machine was our favorite wedding gift. We love homemade bread, but with our schedules, we just don’t have the time to make bread very often. The machine lets us wake up to freshly baked bread any day!”
  • If at all possible, hand-write the letter. It adds that personal touch everyone appreciates.
Here is an example of a complete thank you letter:
    Dear Aunt Sue,

    Thank you for the book you sent me for graduation. I’ve just started reading it, but the advice in it has been valuable already! I appreciate your thoughtfulness in choosing such a relevant book for me. I will be certain to add it to my permanent library.

    Again, thank you!


Happy letter writing!

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