"Random" reference letters

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Texanmom, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. Texanmom

    Texanmom Member

    Sep 2, 2012
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    A couple of friends who graduated from USNA have offered to write letters of recommendation on behalf of my son. Do candidates often get such letters added to their admission file? Do they help in any way? Is there any downside in having our friends send such letters, presuming they really know my son and can vouch for his positive personal qualities? There is an old saying in the private school world..."the thicker the file the thicker the kid." I want to make sure these wouldn't be perceived as desperation or a source of irritation to the admissions committee. Thanks for any expereince or input on this topic.
  2. Spud

    Spud BGO 5-Year Member

    Dec 27, 2011
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    Members of Congress each have their own procedures which may include reference letters and they will probably ask for them if desired.

    The Academy only wants one from the Math and English teachers as noted on the "to do" list all candidates have on their CIS website----anything else for the Academy is wasted effort and not looked at. USNA alums are well meaning, like all friends, but unless the candidate's BGO recommends an outside letter that specifically addresses something that fills a gap in the candidate's pack, thank them for their offer but it isn't needed. (An example of a needed letter is a candidate who has no athletics and no extra-curricular activities because of working to help support a single parent household. In this case, a letter from a long time employer specifically talking about physical fitness and leadership would be appropriate.)
  3. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

    Jun 9, 2006
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    USNA has historically been willing to accept add'l letters of rec. I think there's now a limit of 2.

    HOWEVER, if they don't cover something not otherwise covered by the packet and other letters, they will have zero effect. Examples of letters that MIGHT be useful:

    A candidate does 100% of his ECAs outside of school such that the teachers would not know about them; a letter from someone overseeing the main outside activity might help

    The candidate has to work outside of school to support a family thus limiting his/her ECAs and sports; a letter from the employer might help

    If the letter simply says: I've known this candidate for many years; he's a great guy, does a lot of activities, does well in school and would make a great mid. Not going to help.

    The bottom line is that USNA asks for the recs that it wants. Extras don't help unless, as noted above, they touch on something that is very important to the application but is not otherwise covered. Other than that, they are a waste of everyone's time. Sad, but true.

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