It is always appropriate to say thanks or thank you whenever you are asking for something.
If you are writing your professor to thank them for providing you with a written letter of recommendation for grad school, medical school, internship, job, or scholarship, here are some tips before and after making your request:
When writing your thank you letter, keep it short and clear. You don’t need to make up fluffy filler sentences about how their “lectures will inspire all your future endeavours” — keep it real.
Teachers and professors want specific feedback from students. They may get generic feedback in an end-of-year survey, or hear the odd thank you now and then, but they will appreciate knowing what specifically they have done to make a positive difference to you. This message is the meaningful part of your thank you letter.
Before You Receive a Recommendation From Your Professor
- When you make your reference request, inform your professor what the recommendation letter is for.
- If you are asking for a letter of recommendation, make an effort to ask your professor in-person, and thank them verbally at that time, too.
After Receiving Your Recommendation or Referral
- Email your thank you note to your professor if you must, but to really show your appreciation, nothing is as memorable as a formal handwritten letter.
- When closing your thank-you note, sign off with Sincerely in a more formal handwritten note, and opt for something more casual in an email, like Cheers and Regards.
Thank You Note for the Medical School Letter of Recommendation
Dear Professor Peach,
Thank you for taking the time to write on my behalf for my medical school application. I appreciate your support and value your constructive feedback. I thank you for your weekly meetups that inspired me to pursue this career. Whatever the outcome of this application, I will do my best. I will keep you updated about my application’s progress. Thank you again for your assistance.
Thank You Letter to Professor for a Letter of Recommendation (Graduate School Application)
Dear Professor Fortwald,
Without your guidance and enthusiasm for spreading the awareness of the far-reaching implications of this field, I would not be pursuing a career as a biologist. Thank you for directing me to the many internships, jobs and scholarship programs available to me as an undergrad, and for providing me with a letter of recommendation to my graduate program of choice. Grateful for the opportunity to study with great minds such as yours.
Thank You to Professor For Sponsoring Graduate Student or Internship
Dear Mr. Scholl,
I am writing this note to thank you for sponsoring my internship with the Innovative Science Committee. The experience in the laboratory blew my mind (figuratively). I am still piecing together the advanced information, and learning to apply the properties of industrial chemistry in practical ways, an endeavor I intend to pursue over a lifetime. This summer was an invaluable experience and I learned new teaching styles to implement when I am back as your teaching assistant.
Professor, I want to specifically thank you for taking the time to discuss my professional options with me. Our weekly meetings subjected my methodology to your wise eyes, and your feedback on my teaching style helped in correcting my awkward approaches. During my internship, I was able to conduct my research utilizing the methodology you suggested, and it made my work flow much easier.
Thank you for agreeing to write another letter of recommendation towards my next internship. I am preparing a report of the research I accumulated over the summer; when completed, I will send you my findings.
I appreciate you and everything you have done for me, and I look forward to discussing new research with you soon.
Thank You For the Scholarship Referral and Recommendation
Dear Mr. Koppler,
Thank you for this life-changing opportunity. This scholarship is no small thing to me, and without your suggestion, I would not have known about its existence. Most of my time is invested in my scholastic pursuits, and while I recognize the need to find appropriate research and scholarship opportunities available to me, I concluded that my time was best direct toward becoming proficient in my field. It is an understatement to say that I was grateful when you sent me the application and offered to write me a recommendation letter for this ideal scholarship.
A week ago, I submitted my application for the scholarship you suggested. This morning, I received confirmation that my application is successful — I got the scholarship! I am thrilled. I wanted you to be the first to know.
You are an influential professor, not only in your lectures but in the way you conduct your life.
Thank you very much for looking out for your students. Thank you for always helping us to see which opportunities exist and for inspiring us (me) to risk rejection and create a worthwhile career path. Thank you for being my professor, and someone I am honored to consider a dear friend.
Tips for Thanking a Professor for a Medical School Letter of Recommendation or Personal Reference
Some reminders if your reference request is for a medical school application —
Prior to asking for a recommendation letter, you should prepare a packet that includes:
- A list of your grades, separated by science and non-science courses
- Your CV or resume
- Your final or near-final personal statement draft
- Official guidelines for writing a strong letter of evaluation, including a reminder to write the letter on official letterhead, and sign it.
As you will ideally be asking your professor in-person for the reference letter, you may thank them in advance of your receiving the letter.
Once you receive the requested letter, sincerely thank them in a handwritten note that you mail to their office. If you must, you may send your thank you letter via email, but nothing beats a handwritten, mailed note for greatest effect.
If you are writing your professor a general thank you letter for being such an animated lecturer and inspiring your career path, let creativity be your guide. Need more examples? Read more thank you notes for awesome teachers.
BillieI like to climb mountains, read Nietzsche, and explore the West Coast. I have a BA from York University (2003) and yet on this site I sometimes spell like an American (know your audience). Thank you. Thank you very much.
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