Should you send supplementary materials like additional recommendation letters, portfolios, etc., to US colleges?

As the application process gathers steam, there are daily questions from students as to what they could add to make their application stand out.

Please note that most Admissions Committee give greatest weight to the required documents. Hence, we recommend that you focus your energy primarily on those elements of the application that are so important.

Most of you are taking your half-yearly or mid-term examinations in India. It is critical to do well in these exams as most schools use the results to indicate predicted grades as they send your reports and recommendations to colleges. US colleges would have made their final decisions on your application (except for waitlist cases) before the results of your school leaving examination are declared next summer. Hence, the predicted grades play a critical role. And for those in grades 9, 10 & 11, please focus on doing well in the final examinations.

Please think very carefully before starting work on that additional recommendation or the portfolio. Will it matter?Complete the necessary parts of the application – focus your energy on ensuring that your essays help you stand out and your application is carefully crafted.

And, while Stanford would that additional recommendation, getting one from your father’s best friend’s wife’s brother’s company’s CEO is NOT useful! Send additional information which is pertinent to what you wish to study, presents new and important facts, about your application and, is credible. Most importantly, work on it only after you are convinced that you have put in your best effort in the entire application and required materials to create the best application you can!


Author: Mrinalini Batra, Founder and CEO of International Educational Exchange (IEE). For over 22 years now, IEE has been helping Indian students find and pursue great overseas educational opportunities.


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