NEW AIGAC SURVEY SHOWS 9% OF CANDIDATES WROTE ALL THEIR LETTERS
Some consultants predicted it would lead to higher application volume. “After last year’s AIGAC survey revealed how many applicants are asked to write their own recommendations, schools realized how onerous the recommendation process had become,” says Linda Abraham, founder of accepted.com, an admissions consulting firm. “Several of the leading schools, to their credit, took that information and decided to ask the same questions to reduce the burden on recommenders and increase the likelihood that recommenders will actually be the authors of the letters bearing their signature. This move may also increase application volume because some applicants didn’t apply because they simply couldn’t ask their recommenders to write additional letters.”
When AIGAC again asked this past year’s applicant pool the same question about recommendations, 36% of 815 responding applicants said they were asked by recommenders to draft or write recommendations letters for them. In 9% of the cases, applicants admitted that every one of their recommenders asked them to do their own letters (see graphic at left).
When asked what applicants would like admissions committees to know about the recommendation process, many expressed that the process is onerous for recommenders. “The most common response was a call for schools to adopt a shared, standard set of questions,” according to the survey, which quoted one responding applicant in support of that notion.
“They should really work together to use a common recommendation system,” wrote one candidate who filled out the survey. “The questions each school ask are virtually the same. It was a lot of duplicative work and a major inconvenience to my recommenders, so much so it is directly related to me choosing not to apply to more schools because of the amount of additional work I’d have to ask them to do.”