26

When contacting universities, in many cases, I find the replies to my emails extremely well detailed and helpful, therefore in such cases I find a simple "Thank you" to be just insufficient.

For example, when you have already applied to a program, and then you email the department to ask a simple question about supplementary documents, but they put SO MUCH effort in their response and even analyze your application before the application process has even started and they tell you that they are very certain that you will be accepted. How would you react? Is it rude to say something like: "I'm very glad to hear that."

In such situations, I do not really know how to best answer the person to show them that I really appreciate their email very much.

  • 2
    It might seem unprofessional, but you could add a "wow" or exclamation mark: "Wow, I didn't expect such a thorough explanation. I'm very glad to hear that!". – Deruijter Jan 30 '15 at 12:13
  • 14
    If you do get accepted, you may consider sending a note to the people in charge thanking them for the service. They usually only get the complaints. – Davidmh Jan 30 '15 at 14:26
  • 1
    If you're that happy about the help received, then instead of emailing, write a letter, longhand. – Tony Ennis Jan 30 '15 at 15:11
  • 1
    Are you really grateful for the explanation? Or are you just excited that you're going to get into the program? – corsiKa Jan 30 '15 at 16:59
  • 7
    You can link this question and say "I have no way of being grateful enough, I had to ask other people how to express my thankfulness". – Kroltan Jan 30 '15 at 21:55
32

Politeness never hurts. "Thank you for your very detailed and positive information" could be one option or something along those lines. I am sure most people providing this type of response do not expect much in return (not that they do not deserve it). But as with many other instances, keeping the thanks short and concise is necessary, do not overwork it because that just seems suspicious. Remember that the person is doing their work (well) and should be praised for just that.

If the school to which you are applying is large then it is not very likely you will be remembered and so the response will have little significance other than to show appreciation. In a smaller school, however, your politeness may be noticed and can help you build good relations with administration for the future so politeness never hurts.

| improve this answer | |
  • I agree with Peter Jansson! Politeness never hurts. I upVote. – kitty Jan 31 '15 at 17:09
15

One thing my English Language and Literature teacher taught me was, "if you want to say it then just say it".

I would suggest therefore you put your thanks into written form as I would like to express my most sincere gratitude and appreciation for ...

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    Actually, I find that sounds rather formulaic and insincere. Asserting that something is a sincere statement has something of the opposite effect: it introduces the idea that some things you say might not be sincere. – David Richerby Feb 1 '15 at 12:15
8

My advice is to examine your own feelings, and understand what exactly you want to express. Then words should come more naturally to you (at least if you're fluent in English). If you just say "I'm very glad to hear that" (I don't know if you meant you would write only this sentence) it sounds to me like you are at least reasonably happy you will likely be admitted, but you're not specific expressing gratitude for the effort they put into your inquiry.

In this case, I presume you want to do two things: show excitement/enthusiasm about the news and express appreciation for their effort. For example: "That's great/wonderful news! I really appreciate all of the effort you took to personally examine my application." Or: "I'm excited to hear that. Thank you very much for taking the time look at my application in detail."

Note: It appears Peter is Scandanavian, so he may be more reserved than a classless American like me. Anyway, I don't think you need to restrict yourself to 1 sentence. Two or three is fine, though I agree that you should be brief.

| improve this answer | |
8

Consider saying thanks twice, not jsut for the information, but also for the time they spent putting it together for you.

Also, like most gifts, people appreciate it when they know you've actually used the product of their effort - it wasn't wasted.

So an enthusiastic, but still professional, thank you might be similar to the following:

Thank you for all this great information. I really appreciate the time and effort you've given me!

The article on [subject] was particularly enlightening, and is proving helpful as I make this decision. I will be careful to [x], [y], and [z], this advice has really clarified a few things for me.

Thanks again!

| improve this answer | |
6

I'm going to start by not answering your question: you have no need to express extreme gratitude in this case. The staff at the university are simply exhibiting good customer service: remember that they want you to come to their university and not take your custom to a different university instead and, accordingly, they have taken the time to answer your query effectively. This is doing their job not going above and beyond as you seem to think.

Given this I think the appropriate response is simply a polite thank you rather than any effusive expression of extreme gratitude which I would think is likely to come across as a bit odd.

To answer the question you actually posed: it rather depends on the country the university is in. In the UK, for example, we tend to find overly exuberant displays of gratitude rather odd and even a bit uncomfortable so you'd want to adopt a relatively mild tone, whereas - judging from the students from that region that I interact with - in the Middle East it is normal to thank people much more effusively.

| improve this answer | |
5

Rather than look for the most extreme adverbs and adjectives to heighten your thanks, another strategy would be to describe clearly and specifically what you found so helpful and why. Extreme expressions can be used insincerely but specific details show you have actually thought about it.

| improve this answer | |
4

If you can, I would suggest sending a thank-you card through snail mail in addition to a thank-you e-mail. Both should be short and concise, but the paper card can be a little longer.

The key thing is, while it's very difficult to express the emotion of being especially thankful in words, sending a card is relatively rare these days and carries additional weight. It will not come off as unprofessional or awkward like a poorly-written thank you would, but it will convey your thanks more deeply.

Considering that you're sending this note as one professional to another, I would recommend either writing the letter on your current university or company's stationary or writing in a very simple thank-you card that does not have anything pre-printed on the inside.

If you would like some advice on what to include in your thank-you note, I recommend these websites. Again, your email response will likely be very short; I would recommend writing just the card like these sites suggest.

| improve this answer | |
1

A simple "Thank you" is definitely insufficient. It shows lack of understanding of how they may have spent significant time answering your questions.

On the other hand, responding with almost religious adoration is also ridiculous. Using words to suggest that their response was "the best thing that ever happened to you" is absurd.

Here is a general example that will point you in the right direction:

"Thank you very much for your response. I'm pleased to receive such a detailed and helpful answer. Your timely efforts are greatly appreciated."

| improve this answer | |
0

This isn't complicated.

I really appreciate your help with this. Thank you!

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.