How much do alumni recommendations matter?

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Our counselors answered:

How much do alumni recommendations matter?

Janet Rapelye

How much do alumni recommendations matter?

Here is my video response to the question.

Nancy Meislahn
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Wesleyan University

How much do alumni recommendations matter?

Here is my video response to the question.

Nancy Meislahn
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Wesleyan University

How much do alumni recommendations matter?

Here is my video response to the question.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

How much do alumni recommendations matter?

Alumni recommendations don't matter more than other recommendations -- just by virtue of coming from alumni. It's the substance of the recommendation that counts much more. Therefore, it's really important for the recommender (no matter WHO they are) to KNOW you well so that he/she can write a letter that is meaningful and possibly -- helpful.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Alumnae rec letters

Recommendations and interviews with alumni are not considered very important in the admissions process. Colleges want academic (or music, art, talent) teachers to give you strong recommendations. Of course, if the alum knows you well and is active in alumni actitivies at the college, the letter won't hurt!

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Alumni Recommendations

Each school will have it's own policy regarding alumni involvement in the application process. For some institutions alums will serve as interviewers when a student can't make it to campus. Whether the alumni serve in an evaluative or informative capacity will again depend on the college's instructions. Written letters of recommendation are generally expected to be from your high school teachers, guidance counselor and occasionally a coach. To pad your file with too many supporting documents can become cumbersome for the admissions office.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

How much do alumni recommendations matter?

Alumni recommendations, in and of themselves, are of minimal value. The school wants to know about you and the alumni connection is more about them. Admittedly, if they are an influential alum, a big giver or a member of the Board, it may be given greater consideration, but the true value of any recommendation lies in the way it gives the school a fuller picture of the applicant as the school seeks to assemble another piece of their community.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

How much do alumni recommendations matter?

It all depends who the alums are, like a past president or ex-director of admissions. It's not what you know, but who you know - never forget that!

Lin Johnson III

How much do alumni recommendations matter?

Alumni recommendations do matter a lot, but are not substitutes for academic and leadership recommendations. The admission team take the alumni's view seriously for three major reasons. First, alumni have the greatest incentive to see the reputation of its college remain strong. Your college education become an important of your intellectual ability in the real world. Second, alumni have the best perspective of what it takes to be successful at the college. If an alumnus says that I think that this person has what it take to excel here, it is hard for anyone to really dispute that. Third, alumni are another objective view on your capabilities that help complete the picture of who you are. The best part of alumni recommendations is that they can be informal through a phone call or e-mail. With many colleges using alumni during interviews, an alumnus recommendation can serve as informal interview report. Our advice is to begin discussions with alumni to discover more college, but evolve the chats to share your own story and how a particular college might be a fit for you. Overall, alumni recommendations showcase your initiative to research the college and provides another objective view of your candidacy.

Benjamin Caldarelli
Partner Princeton College Consulting, LLC

How much do alumni recommendations matter?

If you have had an interview with an alumni, their impressions of you matter quite a bit. Otherwise, recommendations always depend on how well the writer knows their subject. If a prominent alumni truly knows you well and writes a thorough well thought out letter, it would be helpful. How much more helpful than anybody else who knows you well would depend on just how prominent an alum we are talking about.