The College Application Process: Do Letters of Recommendation Influence Decisions?

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Authors
Mulhare, Caitlin E.
Issue Date
2009-02-19T20:21:17Z
Item Type
Article
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Academic Department
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Keyword
college , applications , recommendation , letters , decision making , college acceptance , college rejection , implicit personality theory , likert scale
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Abstract
Seven male and 13 female participants read a fictitious student's application to college that contained either a positive or negative letter of recommendation. They were then asked to make a decision regarding admission and to provide their confidence in that decision using a six-point Likert scale. It was predicted that participants reading the letter containing negative information would be more likely to reject the student from college than would participants exposed to the letter containing positive information. However, participants in the negative letter of recommendation condition accepted the student to college with the same amount of confidence as did the participants in the positive letter of recommendation condition. The results are discussed in terms of the Implicit Personality Theory.
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