When you’re applying to college, the application instructions may ask you to send some or all of your application materials by mail. If that’s the case, you need to make sure you address the application envelope properly, or you’ll risk sending your application materials to the wrong place.

Sending a Single Letter to Admissions

Though it is better to send all of the required materials in your application envelope, you can send one recommendation letter to admissions if you need to. For letters of recommendation, there is a specific way they need to be addressed. If you are sending anything else to admissions, follow the same directions as if you were sending the whole application in the envelope.

Addressing a Recommendation Letter to Admissions

Find the address of the university admissions office. This will be listed on the admissions page, where there should also be instructions on how to send materials. If you’re addressing an envelope with ATTN (short for "attention"), write the ATTN recipient directly above the rest of the address.

Copy the university admissions office address onto the middle of the envelope. Make sure you leave enough space for the sender’s address and the stamp.

Write the recommender’s campus address in the upper left-hand corner. This is the return address. If the post office can’t find your recipient, they will return your recommendation letter to the recommender at this address.

Finally, write what the letter is in reference to in the bottom left-hand corner. This will probably be something like “Re:” plus your name, the words “reference letter” and, if applicable, the particular program to which you’re applying. Place each of these on a separate line.

Addressing an Application Envelope

If you’re sending an entire application envelope, write the university’s address in the middle of the envelope. Write your own address in the upper left-hand corner. Double check that you have written the correct address as it is listed on the university’s admissions webpage. Once you’re sure you have it correct, take your envelope to the post office and have it weighed. That way, you’ll be certain to purchase the correct amount of postage.

Addressing an Envelope with ATTN

Addressing an envelope with ATTN can be confusing if you’ve never done it before. You might be thinking, “Where does the ATTN go? What if I don’t put it in the right place?” Don’t worry. Write the ATTN recipient directly above the rest of the address. The post office will understand what you mean.

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About the Author

Rebecca Renner is a teacher and college professor from Florida. She loves teaching about literature, and she writes about books for Book Riot, Real Simple, Electric Literature and more.