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Importance of Recommendations

iusechopsticksiusechopsticks Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
edited October 2012 in College Admissions
So lets suppose that a student has SAT scores and GPAs well above the average for an Ivy League school, as well as excellent ECs and a great essay. However, if the school requires recommendations from an academic subject, but the student sends in a great one from a "non-academic" subject, will that recommendation be sufficient reason for a rejection? How much of an impact will that one recommendation letter, although excellent, but not meeting the requirements, have on the overall application?
Post edited by iusechopsticks on

Replies to: Importance of Recommendations

  • SikorskySikorsky Registered User Posts: 5,851 Senior Member
    Harvard has a surfeit of exceedingly well qualified applicants who do follow the directions every year, and not all of them are admitted. I wouldn't recommend disregarding the directions if you can avoid it.

    But IMO, "Would this be grounds for rejection?" is not really the right approach to applying to Harvard (or its peers). Many thousands of applicants are denied admission without any real basis every year. What you need to be asking is, "Will this be enough to make me one of the couple of thousand of people chosen from among tens of thousands who are equally qualified?" When you frame the question this way, you have to acknowledge that the answer is, "Probably not."

    If you're absolutely sure that your best shot at getting selected comes from submitting a recommendation that doesn't quite conform to the guidelines, you should take that shot. But I think there's an alternative. Send the requested recommendations from academic teachers if you can, and send this one as a supplement.
  • iusechopsticksiusechopsticks Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    to clarify, the "non-academic" subject is an engineering class, which is arguably academic, contrary to something like an art or music class. would this count as not following the directions?
  • SikorskySikorsky Registered User Posts: 5,851 Senior Member
    Why is engineering only "arguably academic"? What's not academic about engineering?
  • iusechopsticksiusechopsticks Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    According to some people, sciences count as academic, while applied sciences, such as engineering, do not. I have decided to ask a physics teacher for a recommendation. Although he has known me for a shorter amount of time, I feel that he is able to write me a strong recommendation, as I have consistently participated and stood out in his class this year.
  • SikorskySikorsky Registered User Posts: 5,851 Senior Member
    There you go. And, really, it's OK to send this one as a supplement--if the engineering teacher can say something substantive and important about you that the physics teacher can't.

    Sent from my DROIDX using CC
This discussion has been closed.