Admission Recommendations: Online or Paper


There’s been some traffic on the list serv for the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (http://www.nacacnet.org) about online recommendation systems. It seems a number of high schools have their own systems for collecting recommendations, and they prefer it all on paper so that the college counselors can keep track. The counselor’s wondered whether sending paper recommendations instead of using the online systems can impact the admission process.

The answer is yes, it can. As mentioned in the last post, we get a lot of mail. Too much mail. Santa on his worst day doesn’t get mail like this (good holiday reference for the first night of Chanukah!), and he has all that cheap elf labor to help. Online recommendations go right into your record – no question of anything getting lost, or filed under that guy who ALMOST has the same name as you.

There’s also something that most colleges really don’t like to mention. When reading hundreds of applications, admissions officers get used to seeing things a certain way. They look for the grades in a certain place, for the scores in another. For the schools with online recommendation systems, they get used to seeing those in the system too. Then they get to the ones that were sent on paper. This slows them down. They get confused and often grumpy (many are easily confused and terminally grumpy).

Of course, the mood of the admission officer should never impact their evaluation. BUT…this is not a scientific process. Most of the time there’s some judgement call involved. Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer, when they are making judgements that will impact my life, that people be not grumpy. Right, probably just me.

Anyhow, I’d rather have them online. It costs me less to process them. And hey, I don’t have elves (try as I might to find them). Be seeing you.

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One Response

  1. Dean Flagel,

    In regard to the Mason Application, where can the recommendation form be found online. If there isn’t one is there a particular way our teachers should write their letter? Sorry, I’m a bit confused about the recommendation stuff.
    Thanks for your time and concern!

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