We understand. You are special. Everyone wants you, and considering the large volume of applicants you receive each year I am sure it is difficult distinguishing one amazing student from another. So while it is great that you want to give everyone a fair shot by accepting letters of recommendation from some applicants this upcoming fall, I believe that doing so will only increase students ' burden instead of alleviate it.
I know this doesn’t affect me, since I am already in college and do not have a time machine in my possession. However, let me tell you the story of Sally Earnestchild. You are her first choice for college because you are more affordable than an Ivy League but still possess similar prestige. Though Sally gets good grades and is active in her school, she is not exceptional. Lucky for Sally, her AP English teacher and her school counselor are willing to vouch for her amazing personality and work ethic. They will describe her as hard working and ambitious. They might even sneak in a cute little anecdote for a touch of familiarity. This letter of recommendation could be the thing that pushes her over the threshold, yes?
However, Sally 's AP English teacher instructs seven periods in one day, and her school counselor advises all the 300-something students whose last name begin with the letters E through F. Sally also only meets with the latter twice every school year. Sure, Sally could have asked her club advisors to write her recommendation-- but she does not really get along with them. In reality, Sally is merely another face in a galaxy of students. She might get good grades and participate in extracurricular activities but so does anyone else who is serious about coll...
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...olicy of requesting supplemental letters from students you are on the fence about. You say this new policy is an attempt at being more "inclusive", but here is a radical idea: perhaps you could lower your standards.
The comfort in applying to a public university is that although it is a selective process, it is also simple and intuitive. While grades, scores, and personal statements only provide a seemingly limited perspective on a student, they are still testaments to a student 's abilities and values.
This new policy will simply complicate college for all high school students aspiring to attend college in the University of California system. While your intentions behind accepting letters of recommendation are benevolent and thoughtful, if all the Sallys really wanted to get into Berkeley... they should have done better.
Peace, love, and light,
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