2 Answers

Jon Semcer Points0
Letters from faculty who have had the student in class and can comment on work ethic, quality of assignments, class participation, relationship with other students and a profile of the students character count a great deal. Do letters out weight grades, rank in class and grade point average? No. The letters do give the admission office another look at the student and can help measure qualities that numbers do not.

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
Janice Kirn-Sottilaro Points0
To be honest, I believe it depends on the college itself. I remember attending a regional breakfast sponsored by several colleges in the NY/NJ/PA region a few years back. During this breakfast, a representative from each school stood to speak of their school and their admission requirements. More than one school of a large size shared that they look at the numbers. They want to know what a student's GPA is, what their test scores are using that information to decide whether or not to put their application to the right or the left of the their desk. Once completed, the stack of "maybes" is given a second round of review once again based on the numbers. I can recall two reps. stating that all they judge an applicant by are the numbers making letters of recommendation and student essays inconsequential. Still each also stated that when only 100 seats remain with 500 applications on the desk now the recommendations and essays become all important. Teacher and counselor recommendations may in fact never be read but again, depending on the college, they can also make or break an application. That in mind, be mindful of whom you ask to write your recommendations. You need to seek out a teacher that will not only say you are a good student but will share why - works well independently, great team player, meets deadlines, problem solves, thinks analytically, creative, accepts constructive criticism along with strong examples to reflect these traits make for outstanding recommendation letters. Good Luck! Janice Kirn-Sottilaro

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