What is interesting here is the quality of the faculty member's letter in terms of depth and how truthful is the letter. Some schools even have an annual award given to the best letters for the year. Colleges that do not ask for letters are pretty much going by the numbers and will have an index admit scale-- if your SAT/ grade point / rank in class combined are above a certain point your in, if not your not admitted unless there are other conditions that will help you. Colleges do " know" what letters from certain high schools are not very good -- the letters are inflated and the colleges past experience with those students has been questionable ( records are kept and long standing members of the admission staff know from past experiences)
It all comes down to this : if a college asks for letters they are important to in the evaluation process.
Good luck in your college search
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