College Admissions Guide for Student-Athletes
Gain Admission To Your Dream School
College Admissions for Student-Athletes
A recruited athlete is an athlete who is asked to join a university sports team on an athletic scholarship. The athlete and their parents work with the coach of that team to ensure that the student meets the appropriate academic benchmarks to gain admittance to the university. Why would this type of athlete need Ivy Scholars’ help? Ivy Scholars can improve a recruited student athlete’s experience in a number of domains:
1. Improving test scores to meet benchmarks
2. Offering evaluation of application strength
3. General application guidance
Even recruited athletes can face stiff competition, given that they are often pitted against similarly high-level athletes. When there are two athletes with roughly equivalent abilities, the athlete with the better grades, test scores, and overall well-roundedness will receive the final offer.
Preferred Walk-On Athletes
Walk-on athletes apply to universities regularly, with no coach involvement. Once they begin their freshman year, they attend an open tryout where they are athletically evaluated. The coach then decides whether to extend the student an offer to play for the team.
For athletes who want to continue with their sport above all else, joining a club or intramural team is another viable option.
More About Divisions
Student-Athlete Admissions FAQ
Is it easier for athletes to get into college?
While some believe that athletes have huge college admissions advantages, it isn’t always that simple. As an athlete, your admissions chances will depend on the divisions of your schools of interest, your athletic desirability, and of course your academics and other extracurricular activities. If you are a recruited athlete, your university may have lower academic expectations for you relative to the rest of their student body. While these expectations will be easier to meet, each university also has minimum academic expectations that all athletes that must meet.
The power of university coaches in advocating for athletes can vary widely across institutions. The only criteria that must be universally met are set by the NCAA, and these rules and regulations are specific to each division.
What is the college application process for athletes? Do they have to apply?
What are the best sports for Ivy League admissions?
When and how should a student-athlete start engaging with schools they are interested in?
In a perfect world, by the end of their freshman year, an athlete will have begun to think about universities they are interested in, toured campuses of interest, and possibly met a few coaches. While coaches are prohibited by the NCAA from reaching out to student-athletes until their junior year, high school athletes can contact and meet with coaches as long as communication is initiated by the student.
Depending on the sport, high-demand athletes can be unofficially recruited starting in eighth grade. This may sound excessive, but the earlier a student begins thinking about college, the more opportunities they will have to engage with interested coaches. Even if you are still a few years out from applying to college, putting yourself on a coach’s radar at a college of interest is always a good idea.
Is a coach required to stand by a verbal offer?
The truth of the matter is that much of the college athletics world goes on behind the scenes. Athlete trades, changing scholarship amounts, and newly announced admission requirements may be entirely out of the student athlete’s purview. While coaches do have the power to change their mind about a recruit, the student athlete also has the power to change their mind about an offer as long as they have not signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI). Once a student signs an NLI, the offer becomes official, and the terms are set.
Every year on the third Wednesday in February, student-athletes begin to receive and sign NLIs for their intended college. NLIs are only signed by D1 and D2 athletes due to the possibility of financial gain associated with their contracts. These contracts are valid for one year and prohibit any other school from contacting the athlete once he or she has signed an NLI. Nonetheless, athletes are sometimes contacted by other universities and may change their decision if and when this is approved by the original university.
Ivy Scholars Athlete Success Story
Graduation Year: 2020
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Professional Aspirations: Mechanical Engineer or Manager
GPA and SAT Score: 4.0 GPA; 33 ACT; 1440 SAT
Extracurricular Activities: Fencing, robotics, women’s empowerment initiative, NHS, school magazine, and debate
After working with Sasha, Charly, and Mateo, Nika achieved a test score increase and was admitted to Columbia University.
Nika’s experience with Ivy Scholars in her own words:
“This process – from the day I first met with Ivy scholars in 10th grade to reminiscing with my mentors today as I graduate high school – has been a whirlwind of progress and self realization. I knew nothing about the college application process before starting with Ivy Scholars and never dreamed I would be accepted to an Ivy. I was a good student with all As and participated in a few extracurricular activities, but I lacked vision for my future and doubted my abilities nonetheless.
Two years after starting with Ivy Scholars, I got into my #1 dream school: Columbia University. I was over the moon with excitement and couldn’t help but run circles around the house while I called every family member in my contact list. However, I also felt my acceptance was well earned because I had developed a new set of skills, including self confidence, great time management and organization, a compelling writing style, and an open mind to the world’s opportunities. Ivy Scholars taught me more about myself than I ever expected and through the process I made valuable connections with my mentors, whom I now consider my friends. Whether it was math review for the SAT or editing application essays, my mentors pushed me to my full potential while supporting me. The greatest impact they had on me was helping me realize that the only thing holding me back from success was my own vision for myself, and they helped me set my goals higher than I ever believed achievable.”