Letters of Recommendation

Nomak54

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2018
Messages
148
Hello,

I am applying to USMA this year and was honored to receive an alternate nomination. I'm not as confident in my application, so I was wondering if a LoR from someone special might help? I remember last year when I searched this topic, someone jokingly said that sending additional letters would be pointless unless that person is the President themselves. But let's say I can get a personal letter from a U.S. Senator (who did not nominate me), would that help or hurt my application?
 

SF_DAD

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
77
I think that would just be odd. The Senator did not give you a nomination but turns around and recommends you???
 

MidCakePa

Member
Joined
May 22, 2018
Messages
2,624
Letters of recommendation from “Mr. Big” or “Ms. Big” don’t typically hit the mark, especially when the so-called recommender doesn’t actually know the candidate — or knows them so little that the letter is merely a generic statement that betrays any sign of meaningful interaction. College admissions staffers are quite adept at seeing through that sort of thing.

MOCs aren’t usually closely involved in nom decisions. So it’s possible that someone they think highly of — however they may know that person — doesn’t end up on their slate. But it would still seem odd to send a reco letter that’s not reinforced by an actual nom. Of course, you can still arrange to have the letter sent. Just don’t expect it to have any impact.
 

jl123

Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2016
Messages
1,388
Letters of Recommendation do not add to WCS score and therefore do not help a candidate, although an LOR from a person who can submit detailed, pertinent information about the candidate that was not captured in the application could lead to WCS points (rare occurrence) - such an LOR could be submitted by anyone, irrespective of status.

The only exception would be for a truly special candidate, and borrowing from the adage that "if you need to ask the price, you can't afford it", if a candidate needs to ask if they are special, they aren't. Candidates gaining admission through the influence of a VIP is rare, and such influence would normally be exerted through informal channels rather than a formal LOR.

There are formal channels for exceptional candidates, such as the enlisted soldier who gets a nomination from a General Officer. But such avenues are based on merit and detailed knowledge of the candidate.
 

Damb_Dev

New Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
7
If you feel weak because you're reading all these forums where people are claiming to have 4.5+ gpas and 1500 SAT scores don't worry, those people are outliers. Play to your strengths, and reinforce your weaker areas. I do great in interviews, had solid academics, and decent extracuriculars. Come the day of the interviews, I put on my best suit and tie and went and destroyed that interview. Ultimatley I earned an LOA, I have a congressional nomination, and now I'm just waiting for an appointment. Work your hardest, and maybe just maybe you can get that appointment.
 

Nomak54

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2018
Messages
148
I think that would just be odd. The Senator did not give you a nomination but turns around and recommends you???

Sorry for the late reply! Basically, I went to school out of state. The Senator doesn't know me too well, although I've met them a few times (they coincidently ate at a restaurant I worked at, funny enough). My thought process was that since I'm good friends with their staff, I could maybe convince them to talk to them. But I see now that it wouldn't make a difference, thanks for the insight everyone.

If you feel weak because you're reading all these forums where people are claiming to have 4.5+ gpas and 1500 SAT scores don't worry, those people are outliers. Play to your strengths, and reinforce your weaker areas. I do great in interviews, had solid academics, and decent extracuriculars. Come the day of the interviews, I put on my best suit and tie and went and destroyed that interview. Ultimatley I earned an LOA, I have a congressional nomination, and now I'm just waiting for an appointment. Work your hardest, and maybe just maybe you can get that appointment.

Thank you for the kind words. I'm just worried because my high school performance was exceedingly below average, and I'm not sure if two years of college can off-set that :<
 

USMAZoo98

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
33
If you feel weak because you're reading all these forums where people are claiming to have 4.5+ gpas and 1500 SAT scores don't worry, those people are outliers. Play to your strengths, and reinforce your weaker areas. I do great in interviews, had solid academics, and decent extracuriculars. Come the day of the interviews, I put on my best suit and tie and went and destroyed that interview. Ultimatley I earned an LOA, I have a congressional nomination, and now I'm just waiting for an appointment. Work your hardest, and maybe just maybe you can get that appointment.
Let me double down on Damb_Dev's first point. If you spent too much time on this forum trying to compare yourself to everyone on here presumably with those types of stats, you will drive yourself crazy. Do everything you can to build your best profile possible. Be well-rounded. Demonstrate leadership. And then put your hat in the ring. Don't just assume that because you didn't score 1500 on the SAT or have a 4.5 GPA that you can't/won't get offered admission.
 
Top