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Helpful extra letter of recomendation?


Replies to: Helpful extra letter of recomendation?

  • nrtlax33nrtlax33 Registered User Posts: 686 Member
    edited January 17
    Major is English/Music
    FYI, those are winning poem/writing for Harvard admissions .... but she starts to take computer science courses ....

    Post edited by skieurope on
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,360 Senior Member
    edited January 17
    Now what are you assuming? OP said English and music. No adcom will say, 'Asian...wants premed." Public health is a common enough interest among humanities kids for many reasons. Certainly nothing that shows a picture leaning toward medicine. Nor poetry.

    At this point, leave the decision to Harvard.

    Btw, one of those links is an ad for a clothing line.
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 42,013 Super Moderator
    edited January 17
    Let's not get off-topic from the poster's question, please. I've edited out the strange YouTube link
  • nrtlax33nrtlax33 Registered User Posts: 686 Member
    edited January 17
    @canoeriver123 : If you are truly a humanity major, why are you taking AP Calculus BC? Public health is science (STEM). (https://www.apha.org/what-is-public-health) Your intended major is not consistent with the rest of your profile. Your "research" has no relationship with your music/English major. Nobody is good at everything. Maybe you are an exception. If you have declared your premed intention in your essays, it might be better (premed can be humanity major), but I seriously doubt it.
  • EmptyNestSoon2EmptyNestSoon2 Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    To the OP, while I agree with others that the extra letter from the former Harvard Admissions Officers *shouldn’t* be helpful in a truly fair and just world, my understanding is that it may actually be helpful. I agree that the colleges most want academic teachers’ recommendations, for the reasons outlined. However, I have heard from a variety of well-connected sources at two ivies that these types of extra letters never hurt and might help. I know it is already sent, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in your case. Ha ha ha, perhaps sadly, my child does not have someone to write this type of letter for them, and overall I think we’d be uncomfortable with it anyway, but that does not mean I think they are utterly ineffective. I’m sure the effectiveness, though, depends on whether this individual is still close with people in the AO and has their respect,
    how much power they had, and if this person writes 10 letters a year for kids like you, or just writes one letter every few years, how much they are making a case for you, etc.

    I also wouldn’t read too much into getting deferred from another school EA.....we all know there are kids who get deferred or rejected from schools we all would presume would be “easier” to get into, and then get accepted to schools we think should be harder...there are some elements that appear fairly random to us observers, so I don’t think that should worry you too much. Good luck to all!
  • sgopal2sgopal2 Registered User Posts: 3,295 Senior Member
    @lookingforward wrote:
    A peer reviewed publication is not the same as a professional journal.

    In the scientific world, a peer reviewed publication means a lot. In particular this means that the paper was sent to a group of peers. The editor will pick scientists who have done similar type of research in the past, and ask them to review it (usually anonymously). Then after the feedback is received, the editor then makes a decision to accept/reject/revise. The peer in this sense is another scientist, usually an expert in his/her field.

    There are also examples of non-peer reviewed scientific work: mainly posters and abstracts from conferences. These are also important, but viewed as less merit worthy vs peer reviewed stuff.

    Going thru peer review is like getting your teeth pulled without anesthesia. It is an arduous process and sometimes takes months. Really surprising that a high school student could pull this off. But it seems like the student was one of the secondary authors. The first author is usually a university academic. Even still this is a really impressive accomplishment for a high schooler.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,360 Senior Member
    edited January 25
    @sgopal2 my concern was that, in this context, peer review is other hs students, not an expert, with years behind him or her. There are many online journals where hs kids can get something published, not reviewing at the level of professional to professional. OP didn't clarify.
  • canoeriver123canoeriver123 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    Peer reviewed scientific journal with impact factor 3.25. Named second author (co-author) with a professor as corresponding author. Definitely not other kids lol. It was a professional environment.
  • sgopal2sgopal2 Registered User Posts: 3,295 Senior Member
    @lookingforward: In the science world, everyone knows what peer review entails. But if someone as respected as you is confused by it, then it means that other admissions readers might be as well. I agree that the word 'peer' is somewhat confusing in this context.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,360 Senior Member
    In an application, the journal can be named. Lots of kids on CC focus on "published" and many are hs peer reviewed. So, the confusion.
  • nrtlax33nrtlax33 Registered User Posts: 686 Member
    edited January 26
    Most AOs don't have STEM background. To people who do have STEM background, those "publications" by HS kids are stuff mostly sponsored by their parents/college admissions counselors/etc. Only privileged kids have access to those "research". Even the undergrad research done for medical school applications themselves don't have much values. It is the lab techniques learned and the exposure to the research process which have values. The publication itself usually does not have value. (if it does have value, you don't need to go to college, find a VC and start a company.)
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