How Central are Letters of Recommendation to Admissions?

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Empowerly Team
Empowerly Team

Our collaborative team of content writers and researchers stay up-to-date on the latest news to help you ace your applications. We hope you enjoy the blog.

You may know that at some point you have to ask a mentor for a letter of recommendation to get into college. But do you know how much to prepare in advance? How important are letters of recommendation to admissions officers after all? In this article, we will answer how critical letters of recommendations are in the college admissions process. At Empowerly, the core team prefers to use data to answer vague and hard-to-answer questions like this in the admissions process.

Firstly, you’ll need to know the score. In our student portal, our students and parents have access to a set of data to help them through this process. As a result, we will focus on letters of recommendation and how the admissions officers view these in this discussion.

Within this accompaniment to our counseling, real former admissions officers from top colleges rank students across 17 variables. Let’s look at Princeton’s admissions officer data set to see how their admissions committee thinks about the applicant, and specifically, at letters of recommendation.

As you can see, letters of recommendation are considered “Very Important,” or 4/4, in this process for Princeton. 

Princeton Admissions Officer Card:


Next up:

Let’s look at some other Ivy League schools to see how important letters of recommendation are:

  • Harvard – Considered
  • Yale – Very Important
  • Columbia – Very Important
  • Cornell – Very Important
  • Dartmouth – Very Important
  • Brown – Very Important
  • University of Pennsylvania – Very Important

As you can see, most of the Ivy League schools consider letters of recommendation very important (4/4). There are some schools like Harvard that simply consider the letters of recommendation, but every other school marks it 4/4.

So if letters of recommendations are so important in the college admissions process, how can we ensure that we get good letters of recommendation? Well, it’s a nuanced process. However, if you’d like to chat about your specific situation with one of our team members, we’re here. No obligations, just a complimentary assessment of your current profile, as well as a description of our Empowerly approach and recommendations. Book your session today.

Questions? Let us know!