4 years ago
Admissions Advice

Letter of Recommendation Error

So I'm applying to Cornell and they accept three letters of rec(one from a counselor and two from a teacher). Cornell strongly suggests that applicants don't send an additional letter unless it really sets you apart or it's from an academic advisor. Today my counselor accidentally sent 4 letters of rec through Naviance-I only wanted her to send three to Cornell. Is there a way for me or my counselor to take back the already sent letters? If not, can I contact Cornell and ask for them to just not look at it? I'm afraid that an extra letter of rec could annoy admission officers or give them less time to look at other parts of my application, getting me rejected. PLZ help lol... the pressures of capitalism that I feel right now are unbearable.

@DebaterMAX4 years ago

Have you already the rec letters or are they just uploaded to the application? Becuase I THINK you can retract the one you don’t want to submit.

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Accepted Answer
4 years ago

My recommendation is that you do not do anything, just chalk it up to the "stuff happens" file and let the other 99% of your application do its stuff.

Chances are either someone's already seen the 4th rec. or if you write them to redact it from your file, they will definitely look at it because they are going to have figure out which 3 are correct and which 1 is the outlier. Then they will wonder why you asked them to do this? Perhaps they will want to read it to see if there is something wrong with the essay that doesn't help you but hurts you. Or they will just wonder why the fuss? Maybe they will think "wow, this kid is stressing! okay, we will pull it out of the file." Whatever they decide, you are asking them to spend more than 5 minutes doing this task, perhaps 10 or 15 minutes which is longer than the time they are going to spend reading your entire file the first pass.

And please don't annoy your HS counselor because if you don't get into Cornell ED, then you are going to have to count on he/her to help you out for RD applications and you don't want them to think that "geez...this student is pesky...I'm not going to rush order anything for them in the future."

That extra essay is not going to make or break your admissions whatsoever. You are making some assumptions here.

First of all, neither you nor I know the Cornell methodology for processing applications.

We don't know how they cull down the nearly 50,000 application to like 6,000 right? Maybe they just look at the grades, essays, rank, ECs, test scores first and put people into different buckets to eliminate 25,000 as soon as possible. But since your 4th essay is like the last thing they are going to consider since it's not even required, it will be more like judging a hamburger on whether it has 3 pickles or 4 pickles.

If you want to clean up something, make sure your social media is squeaky clean, like no Black face Halloween costumes, no remarks that can be misinterpreted as derogatory, ableist, misogynist, racist or sexist. Look at your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc accounts and be very careful for the next 6-7 months until commitment day.

Best of luck and manifest that you are getting in because you kicked a@@ on the stuff that matters to Cornell.

4 years ago

I’m also applying to Cornell (early decision buddies? lol) and I’m in a similar situation. I have supplemental recs from two professors and an employer, but I’m only submitting them because they all taught classes (or create jobs) that have to do with my major.

I’d say that whether it’s this case or if they’re appraising your character in a letter, that you’re golden and that the letters will only help. More context is better than less, especially in the case of Ivy admissions. Best of luck!

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