Kali's Letter of Recommendation
To Whom It May Concern:
 
My name is Kali, and I am a student at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.  First and foremost, please accept my congratulations for your willingness to expend so much time and effort in your search for a college-level education.  I fully sympathize with the stress and uncertainty that mark this process, and hope that an account of my experiences with Mrs. Murphy as a college consultant might help alleviate some of that pressure.
 
A year ago, I was convinced that College, capitalized, was this intimidating and incomprehensible monster of a goal, and that the College Application Process was an equally intimidating and incomprehensible ploy devised by the people at the Princeton Review to ensure that I never reach that goal. A year ago, my knowledge regarding College was limited to whatever information I had garnered from cautious investigations with my parents, vague discussions with friends, and questionable messages from movies and advertisements. And while saying that I was “unfamiliar with the procedure” is a gross understatement, I could not bring myself to believe that Harvard, Yale, and Stanford were the only colleges worth applying to because we’ve heard of them even before we came to America; that Notre Dame and the University of Puget Sound should be on my list, “obviously,” because they’ve provided the education for three-plus generations of my friends’ relatives; or that applying to any college below the “first tier” would put me on a fast track towards the fate of chronic drunken partying, drug dealing, and other unsavory habits that would lead to a guaranteed failure at life.
 
On the whole, all I had in the way of weapons to tackle this College monstrosity consisted of a handful of loose pamphlets and a truckload of suggestions and expectations, all from people who had promised that they knew me best and, consequent, knew the exact college experience that would lead me to happiness. I was distressed, to say the least. 
 
Then I met Mrs. Murphy. 
 
Not only did she reassure me that the College Application Process was neither a monster nor a ploy, but she also proved to me that the only weapons I needed to conquer it were wholly and completely within my reach. She cleared away my pamphlets and expectations, and emphasized the importance of choosing a college instead of letting a college choose me, of finding a fitting collegiate experience instead of fitting me to any experience I found. Patient and understanding, Mrs. Murphy inculcated in me – and my parents – an awareness of the fullness of a university, consistently reminding us not to overlook campus atmosphere in favor of academic standing, not to disregard social dynamic when considering the availability of pre-professional programs, not to equate the quality of professors with that of the students. She compensated for our unfamiliarity with the American college system with a wealth of personal experience and professional advice, and encouraged us to learn that procedure with as much enthusiasm and sedulousness as that with which she worked to clarify its steps.  
 
While Mrs. Murphy recognized my strengths, she never glossed over my weaknesses, and urged me to do likewise. In her approach, she brought optimism but never impracticality, commendations but never flattery, and encouragement but never dishonesty, and anchored all her counsel with extensive research and analysis. While she offered a range of advice only the most qualified and knowledgeable college consultant can give, Mrs. Murphy always respected the wishes of her clients. Her job, at least in my experience, was not to guarantee my enrollment in that perfect college that, unbeknownst to me, was the apparent key to my happiness, but to be a guide, an indispensable source, in helping me and my family make well-informed decisions and in providing me with choices and opportunities in which to maneuver.  In working with both me and my parents extensively, Mrs. Murphy was able to personalize the application process to answer all of our concerns, to breach the cultural gap between the American college institutions and our ideas about them, and to ensure that the conclusion of the process yielded results that satisfied all of our expectations and hopes.
 
Although it is difficult to determine whether her dedication and attention, her knowledge and experience, or her patience and honesty impressed me the most, I can sincerely pledge that all the virtues of Mrs. Murphy’s expertise and integrity were central to the ease that characterized my application process, and that even to this day, these virtues have never failed to exceed my expectations.
 
A year ago, College was a concept; but now, with Mrs. Murphy’s counseling, it’s a reality. A year ago, College was a near-fantastic goal, but now a sure accomplishment, a stepping stone to a better, brighter future. And while College, capitalized, is still slightly intimidating, college, un-capitalized, is nowhere near as incomprehensible. I might not have gotten into Harvard, Yale, or Stanford, or a school ritualistically attended by my relatives, but with the invaluable support and guidance of Mrs. Murphy, I can be reassured that I have discovered that perfect college, that key to vocational happiness, that I have been searching for; and in the process, I may even have narrowly escaped the fate of unsavory habits and a guaranteed failure at life.
 
With highest regards for and sincere recommendations to Mrs. Murphy and best wishes to imminent college applicants and their families,
 
Yours truly,
Kali
University of Pennsylvania
Wharton School of Business