Some freshman applicants to be asked to submit letters of recommendation

Campus admissions officials stated today (Friday, Aug.7) that UC Berkeley will be inviting some freshman applicants to submit letters of recommendation following an initial application review, though no applicant will be required to do so.

For many years, Berkeley has invited a small percentage of freshman applicants to submit recommendations. But this new process, which stems from a policy passed by the campus’s Academic Senate in April, expands the recommendations options.

“Any time we believe letters will help our review process, we will ask for letters,” said Anne De Luca, associate vice chancellor for admissions and enrollment. “It’s difficult to estimate how many applicants will be invited to submit letters after reviewers determine that they would like more information. No letters should be sent with the application.”

Following a review of the applications, various students will be invited — but not required — to submit two letters. One must be from an instructor, while the other can be from anyone the applicant selects, ideally someone who is able to speak to the student’s accomplishments, leadership abilities, love of learning and community involvement, De Luca said.

Initially, Berkeley had planned to invite all freshman applicants to submit letters of recommendation. However, after consultation with UC colleagues, the Berkeley Academic Senate has agreed that other constituencies across the UC system would benefit from time to consider the implications of these broad changes.

The vast majority of applications will be reviewed and decided by admissions professionals under the standard process – that is, without letters of recommendation. For more on admissions changes taking place starting in fall 2015 see: http://admissions.berkeley.edu/freshmanpolicy