I am applying EA to Stanford. I’ve already gotten the standard school-recs (2 teachers, 1 counselor). However, a much more interesting side of me is made apparent by my non-classroom activities, which I would like to emphasize as well.
Two different people, from two different activities that I am deeply involved in, have offered to write me letters of recommendation. I have seen one of the letters, and it is a really, really good rec IMO. The other person hasn’t started yet, but if he writes it, I have no doubt that it will be quite good as well. The 2nd person is very articulate, knows me well, and expressed a desire to write the letter before I even mentioned it.
I know that Stanford says to include “only one extra recommendation,” but in reading various books (like “A is for Admissions,” about Dartmouth), I’ve gotten the impression that it’s not looked down upon to bend certain rules. What do you think? Assuming that the letters are strong and interesting, do you think submitting a 2nd non-teacher/counselor rec would do more harm than good?
FYI, Stanford says the following on their application:
“To the Applicant:
As we state in our admission literature, we discourage the submission of extra letters of recommendation beyond the required Secondary School Report and two teacher references. We recognize, however, that some students attend large high schools where guidance counselors may not have the opportunity to know each applicant well. Some candidates also may feel that someone in the community or another staff member at the high school may be able to share special insights that would not be reflected in the required references. For these and other reasons, we provide one optional reference form, which you may give to a recommender of your choice. We want to emphasize that it is optional, and you should not feel compelled to submit it.”
I’m not eager to submit more recs simply because my academics are sub par or anything… I’d just like to emphasize my involvement in certain activities beyond the classroom. The fact that I know both recs will be very personal and very strong is influencing me, no doubt. That said, if I don’t want recommender #2 to write his rec, I need to decide soon because I don’t want to waste his time!
Your opinions appreciated!!