6 tips for writing graduation thank-you cards

A 2016 graduation thank you card.

Everyone knows graduation isn't just about throwing that funny cap in the air and receiving your diploma it's also about the presents. A graduation party can be an extremely lucrative gig. Students often walk away with wads of cash, endless gift cards to Starbucks and perhaps a mini refrigerator for their dorm room.

So for all you graduates out there, you know that with a great gift comes the great responsibility of sending out a thank-you note. You also know that it takes time, and that a simple "thanks" in a text message or phone call doesn't cut it.

Be sure to send out your graduation thank-you notes before you start enjoying and putting your gifts to use. Here are six tips for properly expressing your gratitude:

1. Write the letter by hand
These days, handwritten letters are hard to come by. Although this might be a tedious task, it will be very much appreciated by the receiver. It shows that you went the extra mile to actually sit down and take the time to express gratitude toward your guests.

2. Personalize the note
While we do agree that a generic thank-you note would be easier and a lot less time-consuming, adding a personal touch is definitely more meaningful. After all, someone took the time to pick out a gift that would mean something to you, so the least you can do is return the favor by spending a little extra time personalizing your note. With personalization comes specification. What we mean by this is that you should clearly reference the gift in the thank-you letter. So if your grandparents gave you a whopping $500 dollars to add to your college fund, your response should be something along the lines of:

Dear grandma and grandpa,
"Thank you so much for the generous check and for flying all the way across the country to see me walk across the stage and attend my graduation party. Your generosity will truly come in handy when it comes time to purchase all my textbooks and my first piece of college gear! Thank you again so very much for thinking of me, and I look forward to visiting you down south over Thanksgiving break."

To help keep track of all the presents given to you by friends and family, as soon as you open it, make a list that clearly states the person's name and what they surprised you with. Always reference the gift and talk about how or when it will be used. The giver will appreciate knowing where their money is going. 

3. Mail the letter in a timely manner
Sending your thank-you letters out in a timely manner is probably the most important tip to follow. If you take too long, your guests might think you forgot, or it might just be irrelevant to send a note four months after your graduation party. So before you go on that summer trip out West or head to camp, be sure to send out your thank-you cards. Additionally, the sooner you send your cards out, the sooner you can enjoy your gift. Never put your gift to use before thanking the person who gave it to you. The more you use it, the more likely you are to forget when it was even given to you.

4. Send a note to everyone
If even some friends and family members didn't give you a gift, it's still important to send them a thank-you note as well. To keep track of all the attendees, either ask for an RSVP on your invitation or put a guest book on display so people can sign as they enter the party. This way, you're able to see who was in attendance even if they didn't gift you with something. On this letter, simply let the person know how grateful you are for their friendship (or love if it's a family member) and how much you appreciated them joining you on this special day.

5. Write in batches
You're going to have a lot of letters to send, so don't feel pressure to write them all in one sitting. Space it out over a span of a week or so, and tackle a small handful at a time. Just be sure to keep a separate list of all the guests you already sent letters to versus the guests that you still need to thank.

6. Address as you write
At this point, you're probably surrounded by thank-you notes, so it's best to avoid confusion right from the get-go. As soon as you draft a letter, stick it in an envelope, address it, stamp it and stick on your return address label. This way, you'll avoid putting Aunt Shirley's letter in your best friend's envelope.