Graduate school admission in the U.S. typically include some mandatory requirements like the statement of purpose (SOP) and 3 letters of recommendation (LOR). But which one is more important for school admission officials, an SOP or an LOR?
SOP or LOR
According to Stanford University Dean of Admissions Derrick Bolton:
If you asked me ‘could I make a decision on an application without essays?’ I would say ‘absolutely’, but ‘could I make a decision without recommendations?’ ‘No way.’ To me the recommendations are more important than the essays, but the essays get more attention.
- Derrick Bolton, ‘Faculty Spotlight: Interview with Derrick Bolton,’ March 13, 2006, The Stanford Business Reporter.
LOR is worthless
An LOR has high importance compared to SOP. But students applying for India have 100% control on the LOR.
Only a few selective professors and managers will give confidential LORs. Majority of the students applying at graduate schools in the U.S. will write LORs by themselves and get signature from their professor or lecturers.
Many universities in America might not be aware of such method. In such cases, an LOR is just worthless. Do you agree?
FYI: All elements of required admission documents are given equal importance during the admission process. Even a single negative comment from a recommendation letter can derail your chances of getting admission in the USA.