How Important are Letters of Recommendation to Admissions Officers?

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In this article, we will answer how important 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.

In our student portal, our students and parents have access to a set of data to help them through this process. In this article, we will focus on letters of recommendation and how the admissions officers view these.

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:



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? Chat about your specific situation with one of our team members here. No obligations, just a complimentary assessment of your current profile.

Questions? Let us know!