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No 'One of the top few I've ever encountered in my career'

hdwanghdwang 82 replies16 threads Junior Member
edited January 2008 in College Admissions
I was just wondering, what if your teacher/guidance counselor never tick any of the 'One of the top few I've ever encountered in my career' ?

Does that spell immediate doom or a severe blow to your application?
edited January 2008
19 replies
Post edited by hdwang on
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Replies to: No 'One of the top few I've ever encountered in my career'

  • Fanatic517Fanatic517 252 replies16 threads Junior Member
    Do you automatically expect to receive that? That means just that- one of the top few ever encountered in one's career. The very best of the best. That's not something just handed out to every decent student.
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  • hdwanghdwang 82 replies16 threads Junior Member
    wow that's like a 5 second reply after my post. I was just wondering if it severely affects your application (negatively of course) if you dont get that box. I mean if you get the next category (Outstanding top 5%), colleges will say 'ok not a top student'?
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  • tapedDucktapedDuck 685 replies20 threads Member
    I got recs from three teachers/advisors for the common app... 2 of them (i think) gave me mostly 'one of the top in career', the other gave me lower ticks (probably mostly arond top 25%)... what will colleges make of that?

    I don't think it will make a huge difference... its what they write that counts more
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  • MilkmagnMilkmagn 624 replies87 threads Member
    It's the actual content of the letter that matters, not some stupid checkmarks...
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  • stanfordkid2008stanfordkid2008 172 replies48 threads Junior Member
    ^^^^...I'm gonna have to disagree with that b/c those "checkmarks" stand for a lot....
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  • aisgzdavinciaisgzdavinci 1660 replies337 threads Senior Member
    How would you define 'One of the top few I've ever encountered in my career'? Academically, socially or what?
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  • RedduneReddune 1472 replies19 threads Senior Member
    Go for the young teachers, since they've been teaching only for a few years, you might get that superlative.
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  • tapedDucktapedDuck 685 replies20 threads Member
    All the teachers I got recs from have been teaching for at least 30 years... what's considered a 'great' recommendation??? My teachers just said 'He is a great student, motivated, hard-working, good leader, involved in school, blah blah blah (lots of other complimentary words). I give him my highest recommendations'. That seems vague and not very in depth to me, but they all know me very well.

    I've heard good recs need to include a story that shows your true character and will actually show the adcoms something new about you. So, are the recs I got bad?
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  • jmarinjmarin 1278 replies106 threads- Member
    they are generic
    once teacher gave me those
    the other teacher i basically told her how to write it
    she was like ok because she never written for college
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  • tapedDucktapedDuck 685 replies20 threads Member
    so are the generic ones bad???... they've been teaching for 30 years, they should know how to write rec letters by now
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  • jmarinjmarin 1278 replies106 threads- Member
    i really dont know
    well either way the 30 years must be good
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  • tapedDucktapedDuck 685 replies20 threads Member
    when colleges (in my case MIT/Caltech) ask for a humanities teacher... foreign language counts right??? I got 1 rec from my spanish II teacher who is also my math league coach.
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  • jmarinjmarin 1278 replies106 threads- Member
    yes im pretty sure it does
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  • cory123cory123 1690 replies135 threads Senior Member
    hmm i saw both of my teacher's recs. One checked "one of the top i've enconuntered in my career" for ALL of them....so i dunno how that'll seem. The other teacher told me he didn't do that, to make it look more genuine, so he only checked "top in career" for 60-75% of the criteria. I think often times teachers will just want to help you out so they'll just check it for the hell of it
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  • nmehta4nmehta4 807 replies109 threads Member
    i think its very important to take reccomendations with a grain of salt. The purpose of a recommendation is very limited. Its to get an overall picture of a candidate in other person's eyes. Most recommendations are indeed generic, but its nice to stand out with something unique.

    I dont think colleges value recommendations to a great extent. They are just part of the admissions process. Think about it, in comparing 2 individuals how can one rank above the other simply because they have more ticks as one of the top few ever taught. It is all very relative. In my opinion it is bs. It tells nothing about you. I know teachers at my school tick almost all of them off as top few ever encountered when indeed it is not true. Call it dishonesty, i just call it bs, it is really hard to measure.

    So if I were you, I wouldn't sweat it at all. A recommendation won't get you rejected unless on the very rare occasion it is negative. The other prongs that admissions judges you on far outweigh any recommendation. Keep that in mind.

    Happy New Year
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  • newest newbnewest newb 750 replies1 threads- Member
    Sorry, but everybody knows that getting a "Top few" checkmark is equivalent to +500 on your SAT score; any other checked box is an automatic rejection.

    We can't have anyone who isn't the best at everything attending our top colleges, obviously.
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  • jmarinjmarin 1278 replies106 threads- Member
    dude
    500 isnt even that good
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  • sarisari 105 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Maybe newest means 500 points added to your SAT?

    Anyways, IDK about teacher recs, but I know that for counselor recs at larger schools there is no way they can check off top few for all of them! That would give that kind of status to the entire school.

    In the end recs are relative--as long as they are decent, you are ok. If amazing, it's an added bonus. If negative, well then, that's when you should start to worry.

    I personally think colleges use the rec to check for the consistency of your perception of yourself (as conveyed in the application) with others' perception of you.
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  • hpg90hpg90 368 replies6 threads Member
    Colleges aren't stupid, if they see teachers writing one of the top in my career more than once very couple of years, it means nothing. I'd focus on the content of what they wrote. (I don't know how you saw yours, teachers in my school NEVER let students read them...)
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