College Admissions: Thanks and Stay in Touch
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Who should you thank? Here are some suggestions:
- All your high school teachers, with a special recognition to the ones that wrote you college recommendation letters
- Your high school counselor
- Your athletic coach, choir director, robotics mentor—anyone who supported you in discovering your talents and interests throughout your high school years
- Your school administrators, including the secretaries who sent out your transcripts
- Your school support staff including the cafeteria workers and custodians
- Your boss at work or supervisor at a place where you did volunteer work
- Any tutors or test prep folks who helped you be academically successful
- Any organization that gave you a scholarship
- Your independent college counselor (if you used one)
- The friends who supported you throughout this crazy year and through all of your high school ups and downs
- Any adult mentor who has not been mentioned
- Your parents
Emails and verbal thanks are normally okay, but for this big moment I actually want you buy a pack of printed thank-you cards and hand write notes to people. In case you don’t have much practice at this, here is some advice, and here are some phrases that are nice for teachers.
All of these people care about you. They were invested in your success and your heartfelt expression of gratitude will be deeply appreciated. Don’t be surprised if you visit years later and still see your card pinned on a teacher’s bulletin board.
Thank you notes are a short term assignment, and I am also going to suggest a long-term task. Make the effort to stay in touch with some of these people throughout your time in college (and perhaps beyond that.) For this purpose email is an excellent tool. Here’s the easiest way to update multiple people about your journey through college. Create a group contact list. Name it something easy to remember like “College Update List”. At the end of each semester write a message that lets folks know what you have been up to. (Come back for next week’s column if you want to see a sample update from a student.)
In addition to being polite, staying in touch can have tangible benefits. One of my students included the local chapter of the Elks Club (which had given her a small scholarship) in her updates. Because the members were older and many did not have computers, she printed her update each semester and mailed it to the lodge, where it was promptly posted on the bulletin board by the entry. Last I heard, all eight of her updates were still posted (four years’ worth!) and donations to their scholarship fund increased during the years she was communicating. Another example is that when my daughter decided to apply for prestigious international fellowships for the years after her college graduation, she got a recommendation letter from a Spanish literature professor who had been her instructor while she was in high school and taking an enrichment class at Lewis & Clark College. He was able to write with confidence and provide specific examples of her achievement, because she had been regularly in touch with him during the intervening six years.
If you get in the habit of thanking people and being a good communicator, you will feel comfortable using this skill set in your career and throughout life.
Related Slideshow: 30 Famous College Grads From Oregon
Who are some of the most famous people to graduate from Oregon schools? Here is a list of a few of the most interesting or surprising alumni you probably didn't know came from Oregon.
Oregon State University, Class of 1936
Music Director for Walt Disney Productions for over 25 years, wrote the “Ballad of Davy Crockett,” and music for “Tony the Tiger” and “Pillsbury Doughboy” ad campaigns. Burns directed the music for “Sleeping Beauty,” “Robin Hood,” and the Mickey Mouse Club TV show.
Vance DeBar 'Pinto' Colvig
Oregon State University, Class of 1911
Mostly known as the voice for Disney’s cartoon “Goofy” for over 20 years, Colvig also voiced "Sleepy" and "Grumpy" in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Colvig also wrote the song "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf," performed all the sound effects for Jack Benny’s 1930s radio show, and was Capital Record’s first Bozo the Clown in the 1940s.
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