Writing a thank you card at the end of a semester or school year shows your gratitude to a favorite college professor. In addition, writing a thank you card helps build a relationship. The more memorable and earnest you can be in your professor’s mind, the more likely it is that this professor will advise your future academic projects or recall you favorably when acting as a job reference or preparing a letter of recommendation for you.
Choose how you will address the letter. "Professor Smith" would be most appropriate, but if you have a closer relationship with this professor, you could use your professor’s first name or nickname. The best rule of thumb is to address your professor in the letter as you would in person. Double-check to make sure you use the correct spelling of the name.
Thank your professor in the opening line. For example, you could thank your professor for providing mentoring and expert advising through four years of undergraduate study. You could include a thank you for always being available to help out, for being patient and supportive, for providing guidance and insight or for helping you become a better scholar.
Add a list of specific memories you associate with this professor, such as when the class went to Spain. It may be a funny moment in class or an especially helpful lecture, but including a list of shared memories you have with this professor will help make your letter more heartfelt and memorable.
Close the letter, expressing well wishes for the coming year, adding that you will keep in touch with your professor next semester or after graduation.
Sign your name by hand, then type or print it neatly underneath. Make sure to include the date, your year of graduation and the name of the class you attended under this professor's tutelage.
Tucker Cummings is a freelance writer based in New England. She holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of New Hampshire and is a member of the Association of Professional Business Writers. Cummings is also a food writer and curates the blog, Brave New Breakfast.