Tag Archives: Academics

Post #9 — 11/20/20 — Fall semester, ivy academic / admissions – understanding the process part-II, ncaa wknd schedule


  • Fall Semester Winds Down
  • Academics – Understanding The Ivy Recruiting Process
  • NCAA Weekend Slate of Games

Fall Semesters Winding Down…

As bleak as things seem, there does appear to be some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Recently announced is hope for two highly effective vaccines. Experts say ‘the average’ citizen could possibly get vaccinated by April. Should that be the case, life and college athletics we assume could get back to a more normal course of activity by next fall. But there is a lot that has to happen between now and then. In the short-term, we’ll work on keeping all of you connected with news and insight about the college hockey season.

Academics — Understanding The Ivy Recruiting Process

We announced a 4-part series called ‘Understanding The Process’ to aid coaches and parents with an understanding in certain areas of how the recruiting process works. Our first installment was how coaches go about player identification and evaluation. You can find that in Post #2. In our second installment below, we discuss how the academic and admissions process works for a very specific group of schools, ‘The Ivies’ – Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

To be blunt, very few athletes would be admitted to an Ivy League school on their own without the ‘support’ of their head coaches in the admissions process. We’ll talk about the term ‘support’ later as it’s important to know. No knock against these athletes and their academic aptitude but getting into to one of these institutions is truly an accomplishment. Heck, there are students with 4.0 GPA’s and perfect test scores who still don’t get accepted! In the admissions process, athletes who want to apply to an Ivy will have different timelines and evaluation opportunities than normal students would. A word of caution… all information below is ‘general in nature’. We cannot speak to how recruitment, academics and the admissions process may work at a specific Ivy institutions.

The Academic Process

The academic process for Ivy recruits has a few steps to it.

Step 1, Coaching Staff Academic Evaluation… for any player coaches have a real interest in, they’ll usually ask for transcripts and test scores as early as possible. It doesn’t matter how good of a hockey player a recruit is, if they aren’t close to having the grades and test scores a coach needs, most coaches won’t move ahead in the recruiting process. Does that mean someone after completing grade 9 with a decent but not great transcript and no SAT/ACT test get’s pushed aside? No, not at all. There is just only so much a coach can do with a recruit who is only in grade 9 or 10. But knowing where a student is trending academically can be reassuring for the coach. Coaches know what academic standards their admissions departments are looking for and know the ranges they can work with, most of the time. Some Ivy coaches get a little more leeway than others when it comes to academic standards. So what may work at one school, may not at another. Coaches are generally very careful about positioning whether or not someone is a good candidate for admission.

Step 2, Athletic Admissions Pre-Read… Under Ivy League admissions rules and beginning July 1 after the students grade 11 year, coaches can submit a player’s academic file to be evaluated by their admissions department for feedback to determine the likelihood of admissibility. Keep in mind this two weeks after June 15 with is the date coaches are allowed to communicate by phone/email/text with recruits. Important to note, this is not the official admissions decision, just a first-glance from admissions at the transcript, ACT/SAT scores, grades, and future class schedule. Turnaround time varies but generally it’s a quick process. There are usually three type of responses coaches get: 1) Continue to recruit 2) Recruit with some caution and 3) Don’t continue to recruit. Coaches may then communicate with their recruit to explain what admissions may be thinking and any next steps to take. These pre-reads are usually not for everyone though. Most coaches use them for players they are seriously considering making offers to or in many cases for players who have already committed to the program.

Step 3, Official Admissions Application Process & Head Coach ‘Support’… After a player has verbally accepted and committed back to the program, going through the official application process comes next. Most schools have a few different pieces to this process. The official application, teacher recommendation letters, student essay, and perhaps a personal interview all part of the official process. Some schools have different application options for students to apply to, different cycles like ‘single choice early-action’, ‘early decision’, are just a few. Coaches will direct players how to fill out the application and which cycle to apply for. As stated in Ivy League rules, all applications for regular decision must be submitted by January 1 – no later.

Head Coach ‘support’ as its called, is vitally important to a player winding up at an Ivy League school. Without it, it’s unlikely the athlete would get in on their own. And that’s because athletes are held to a different academic standard then traditional non-athlete applicants. Support of the head coach is ‘vouching’ for a specific player he or she would like as a part of their program and letting the admissions department know that. Coaches put their reputations with admissions and the school on the line when they support a player. Each admissions department has its own process of how they want their head coaches to let them know who they are supporting. Some coaches have to write letters, some may have a sit down chat with admissions, etc. Coaches can’t give their ‘support’ to just any player – only to players they feel have an excellent chance of getting in and they want in their program. Ivy coaches can only recruit so many recruits per year, they can’t take an unlimited amount.

A few things to keep in mind… Grades, Test Scores, Teacher Recommendations, and The Essay.

Players and parents often ask, what kind of grades and test scores does my daughter need for an Ivy? Our answer… too tough to say because each school has a different set of academic standards. Needless to say excellent grades in a challenging course load with honors and AP classes will go a long way. Coupled with high SAT/ACT scores (think high twenties and well above a 1200 on the SAT is also a good place to begin. Players should shoot for high GPA’s, north of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, or high 80’s and above for those on a % scale. If you have one or two C’s early in grade 9 or 10, you could still be okay. D’s and F’s are almost always tough to get by admissions unless there is a compelling reason behind it.

One of the most important parts of the application process has to do with evaluating the transcript and determining the academic ‘rigor’ of the students course load… meaning did the student challenge herself or take easy classes? a 3.9/4.0 in cake-walk classes won’t hold as much weight as a 3.7/3.8 in honors and/or AP classes. You want to take the most challenging classes and achieve the kind of GPA’s mentioned above.

Equally as important are the several application short answer questions and the longer essay. Also heavily valued are the teacher and counselor recommendations. Have great grades and test scores, but wrote a poor essay? Or have a teacher recommendation that says you are a smart kid but don’t apply yourself? That is exactly the kind of combination that will get you denied. Write a coherent (and grammatically correct) essay that answers the question asked Also, really think about who you want to write your recommendation letters. Best to get one from a teacher where you did really well in their class and you know the teacher LOVES you and won’t sell you out. And…

NEVER WRITE YOUR ESSAY ABOUT HOCKEY!!!! EVER!!!!!. The school you apply to already knows you play hockey and are pretty good at it–that’s why you are applying. Write about why the school should be lucky to have you or an experience outside of hockey/sports that really articulates who you are and the type of person the school is getting. Match your personal values, dreams, aspirations with that schools resources and explain why the school is such a good match.

NCAA Weekend Slate of Games…

In the absence of what would normally be a preview of our games for the coming weekend, we are going to give you this weekend’s NCAA women’s hockey schedule of games. Full recaps to follow next week.

Until next time… be well and stay safe!