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Counseling Submitted Letters of Rec Incorrectly - Any Advice on How to Proceed?

swhs12swhs12 15 replies5 threads Junior Member
edited October 16 in Parents Forum
Hey everyone! This fall I'm applying to colleges and I have an issue that may or may not be significant, and I'm not sure how to proceed.

My Common App is connected to Naviance, so when teachers submit letters of rec, the counselor has to link Naviance submissions to the Common App and select which letters to submit. At my HS, my counselor gave this job to her secretary, who was previously the middle school librarian assistant and has been working at this new job for only two weeks. Back in April I asked for letters from 2 Soc. Studies teachers and 1 Math teacher, and I was going to pick one from the 2 Soc. Studies teachers based on how the school year finished out with classes + ECs. In September I filled out an official form indicating which Soc. Studies teacher I decided to choose for sending my letter, and also stated that I would be sending my Math teacher's letter.

When I was applying to UNC Chapel Hill Early Action before Oct. 15th, this secretary completely disregarded the form I had submitted to counseling and sent all 3 letters to all schools on my Common App list, instead of just UNC Chapel Hill, which is the only one I had asked her to send for now. I now have a problem where some schools that have a 2-letter cap have letters from both Soc. Studies teachers (and nothing from my Math teacher), and I nor the university can digitally replace the Soc. Studies teacher's letter I didn't want with that of the Math teacher. I also have another problem where some schools took all 3 letters because they don't have that 2-letter cap.

TL;DR for the previous paragraph: 1/2 my schools have 2 Soc. Studies letters, 1/2 my schools have 3 letters (2 Soc. Studies & 1 Math).

For the 2 Soc. Studies letter situation, I have it figured out and it won't be a problem (especially since schools ask for 1 Soc. Studies/English and 1 Math/Science), and the schools I've contacted have worked with me on a solution to that, so all is well.

However, for the 3-letter situation, should I ask schools if I can retract that 2nd Soc. Studies letter that I didn't want going out? Will they be suspicious that I viewed the letter and therefore don't want to send it anymore, even though I've never read it? Because I also have a letter from an Econ prof I've done research with, and if I keep it at 3 teacher letters I'll have 4 letters total and I don't want to burden my admissions officer(s) with too many letters. And to reiterate, in September I had filled out a form from the counseling office intending for that 2nd Soc. Studies teacher's letter NOT to be sent, but it was completely ignored.

I really don't want this secretary's mistake in submitting too many letters to jeopardize my chances, but I also don't want for it to be the case that retracting the letter I didn't intend to send will jeopardize my chances either. I don't know if I'm being excessively paranoid, but like a lot of seniors I'm really worried about colleges, and I'm pretty sure what happened isn't my fault, so any advice is welcome.
edited October 16
4 replies
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Replies to: Counseling Submitted Letters of Rec Incorrectly - Any Advice on How to Proceed?

  • thumper1thumper1 79068 replies3570 threads Senior Member
    Why can’t you just leave the second social studies teacher letter? Is it a poor LOR?
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  • swhs12swhs12 15 replies5 threads Junior Member
    edited October 16
    @thumper1 I have no idea whether it's good or bad - I haven't seen any of my letters because I waived that right with FERPA. I already have a letter from my Government teacher and my Math teacher, as well as one from an Economics professor, so I didn't want to submit my HS Economics teacher's letter because 1) I think a lot of admissions officers don't want too many supplemental recommendations, and 2) it's just redundant with the subject area.

    However, I guess I'm more worried about whether submitting too much (and having that teacher's letter adding little to no extra substance to my application) will have a major effect on my chances.
    edited October 16
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 84956 replies758 threads Senior Member
    Unless you know that the extra letter is bad, then it probably isn't worth the bother trying to remove it. Since you have not seen them, it is entirely possible that the extra letter is a better one than the other one(s) (remember that the quality of a recommendation letter is not just about you, but about how well the recommender writes it for you).
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35868 replies404 threads Senior Member
    It generally doesn't matter to adcoms whether you saw any LoR or not.

    If they got all 3, so be it. You won't be rejected for that. This is a tough time for seniors, many without the usual level of GC support. Adcoms know that and will adapt.

    If the problem is getting some colleges a math LoR, well, ideally, the GC would do the mea culpa and ask them to add the math letter. Ime, the GC or math teacher could also send this direct, (not through the system.) But I don't know your colleges.

    Sure, generally, they don't want excess reading. But this is a most unusual year. If they go looking for the math letter and it's in your file, good. That's different than "digitally replacing." Ime, an addendum (letter) *would* go into the "file."

    Make any sense? Is this what you're asking?
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