Should College Applications Require a Letter of Recommendation?

Ava G

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The college admissions process can be an arduous experience for many high schoolers looking to further their education. There are various elements that go into a college application: application forms, fees, a high school final transcript, admission test scores, essays, auditions, portfolios, interviews, and letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation are drafted by teachers or other adults who know a student well, and include the outstanding qualities, achievements, and facets of the subject’s character. Essentially, the college is asking for a second trusted party other than yourself to vouch for who you are as a person and a student.


  Some may argue that asking a second individual to list your exceptional characteristics is unreliable, while others may counter that and say that a secondary perspective is necessary to paint a more accurate and honest picture of who you are as a person and as a student. It makes sense that people believe relying on a secondary source such as a teacher for information regarding a student’s achievements and character is not sensible, as the information they supply can possibly be inaccurate.


  However, the requirement of a letter of recommendation obligates students to take further initiatives to foster good relationships with their teachers and superiors, therefore serving as effective practice for the “real world.” Furthermore, the ability to network is empirically correlated to being able to impress superiors. Then again, the college application process is grueling as it is; adding the requirement of a letter of recommendation increases the burden for students and adds on to the already copious amounts of stress.


  On the other hand, students are not always completely truthful in regards to what their academic accomplishments are; a trusted teacher/adult’s input on a student’s capabilities gives the admissions officers a more accurate depiction of a student. The last concern people have with recommendations in the college application process is that good relationships with teachers are not always a reflection of good character, therefore letters of recommendation do not efficiently serve its purpose of acquiring further insight into a student’s integrity. I personally believe that not only do letters of recommendation reflect academic excellence, but they also demonstrates whether or not a student has the ability to work well with others, especially superiors. Therefore, being an effective tool for choosing amicable students that will supplement the college environment.


  In addition, I believe it is not as big of an issue as it’s made out to be simply because you only need about 3 letters out of at least 15 or so teachers/administration that know you. If out of the 10-15 superiors there are not 3 who would give you a good recommendation, that is on yourself at that point. Although, the opposition holds good reasoning and it should be something still debated back and forth.


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