In all honesty, does the counselor’s letter of recommendation bear any weight at all in an admissions decision, beyond showing that a student might be capable of the workload at that college? I’m applying to several T20 schools and am just curious. Since counselors have to write hundreds of letters, I assume those letters are probably pretty generic. Is it worth it to talk individually with your counselor about your letter?
For the most selective schools, every part of your application is important. Specifically, the GC recommendation will have an analysis of the rigor of your classwork. In addition, it may contain a comparison to other students like one of the best this year, top student in last 10 years, highly involved and impactful student, etc.
It’s definitely worth it to establish a relationship with your GC. Aside from his being able to give information about how rigorous you classes have been, he may also be able to give some context regarding your achievement in school ECs. And if there are any circumstances that schools should know about (student’s persistence despite pressures such as family illness/death/poverty), your GC can tell about this in his letter, leaving you to focus on your achievements, plans, aspirations, etc.
Yes, important in that any less than excellent part makes admission unlikely. However, excellence in any one is not sufficient for admission.
The counselor report includes a rating for how demanding your course selection is, and your overall academic strength. Both should be in the top categories for the most selective colleges.