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Articles / Applying to College / Will Duplicate Documents Hurt Admission Odds?

Jan. 10, 2013

Will Duplicate Documents Hurt Admission Odds?

Question: What do college admissions offices do when they receive multiple copies of the same document from an applicant, whether it be from an error or otherwise? One of my teachers accidentally sent 3 copies of the same recommendation letter to a college and, since this was a supplemental letter, this was done to confirm that the letter had arrived (1 was sent via fax during break, 1 was sent via fax after the admissions office returned from break, and 1 was sent via certified mail). Will the office add all 3 letters to my file or will they notice that the letters are exactly the same and toss them? Will admissions officers/volunteers in the office get annoyed with me for this?

“The Dean” is always delighted when the answer is shorter than the question. ;-)


All three letters will probably start out in your file, but then the duplicates may get marked as such and tossed out. The multiple copies will have no impact on your admission outcome whatsoever, so don’t worry about it. It happens all the time.

Good luck!

(posted 1/9/2013)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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