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Nov 06

Letters of recommendation: An unfair part of college admissions

“But ironically, many of these calls for reform seem to overlook, and even re-emphasize, one of the biggest barriers to college admission at selective institutions: The letter of recommendation, which is either required or recommended by over 1,100 of the 1,943 four-year, private and public universities that grant degrees and admit freshmen, according to federal data….

I tell my own kids all the time that life isn’t fair, and I’ve even said that about the college admissions process.  But the letter of recommendation seems to make it even less so, especially when very selective institutions use the letters to illuminate nuances of character, intellect, curiosity, and special talent that help an applicant rise above the masses of otherwise similar students….

This seems grossly unfair: The letter has virtually nothing to do with the student’s performance, and a lot to do with the teacher’s ability to turn a phrase, note interesting character traits, structure a cogent series of paragraphs that tell a story, and even throw in a few instances of discordia concors to show his or her own wit and charm.  In short, it’s as much about the teacher as the student. Is that the intent?” Read more by clicking here.

      
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