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Chico Escuela posted:
Gov posted:

Good information shared above.  Since RJM mentioned Duke, HC Pollard told me directly he is quite adamant of needing a min 26 ACT to play for his program. 

...

Another friends kid is being recruited by Penn, RC said his 27 ACT will suffice.

 

 

For those who may not realize:  There is a big benefit at many of these schools to being a baseball player, even if no athletic scholarship money is in the mix.  To take the two examples above, the Prepscholar web site says the Duke ACT mean is 33 and the 25th percentile score is 31.  At Penn the corresponding scores are 33 and 32.  A non-athlete applying to those schools with a 26 or 27 ACT has essentially zero chance of admission unless he has something else extraordinary going for him (a building on campus named after a grandparent, for instance). And non-athlete applicants with even 35s and 36s, can't count on being accepted-their odds still are much less than 50%.

From another angle:  A 33 ACT score puts a student in roughly the 98th percentile.  A 26 would be approximately in the 82d percentile--still a very good score, but not one that gets an applicant close at the schools Gov mentions. 

So a student can use baseball to help get himself in the door at a school he otherwise might not be able to attend.  With reasonable diligence and effort, a kid with a 27 ACT absolutely can graduate from Duke or Penn and do well--but there are so many applicants that few get the opportunity.  (Both schools accept about 1 in 10 kids who apply.)

Do those kids that get in with the lower scores get enough tutoring help to be able to keep their grades up since they’re in classes geared towards the more academically gifted students or is it a constant struggle to remain eligible and obtain a degree?

In our experience, the sooner you can secure a solid SAT or ACT score the better. For the Junior Fall Classic, a premier recruiting event, the minimum to qualify for Academic Game Try-Outs is 3.7 GPA or 27 ACT or 1200 SAT. So I think those are good gauges. Most of the HA coaches whom my son interacted with were primarily interested in weighted GPA because they want to see a level of rigor (honors/AP/IB). 

Last edited by BBMomAZ
KLL posted:

Do those kids that get in with the lower scores get enough tutoring help to be able to keep their grades up since they’re in classes geared towards the more academically gifted students or is it a constant struggle to remain eligible and obtain a degree?

A good question, but I think every student has to address his situation individually.  You need to talk with coaches and schools about graduation rates, resources, expectations...  Some schools provide tutoring and other academic support specifically for athletes.  So far as I know, the schools I would consider true HAs do not--but most of those schools make quite a lot of tutoring and other kinds of support freely available to all students.  (It's also true that there is no one definition of "High Academic School," so it's easy to end up comparing apples and oranges when discussing what "HA" institutions do.)

Similarly, the schools I'd call true HA generally don't limit what players may choose as a major.  At a Johns Hopkins or Dartmouth you'll find plenty of pre-meds and engineers on any sports roster.

My bottom line is that many kids with 28 ACTs and 3.7 GPAs can succeed at top-tier colleges if they have the right mind set.  These schools openly state that they every year they could fill their freshman classes many times over with highly qualified students.  Even for kids with perfect grades and test scores, to some extent getting in is a roll of the dice among others with qualifications that are just as good.  Many factors are beyond an applicant's control:  Are they looking for students from your state?  Have they already admitted 4 others from your high school during ED and want to get admits from other institutions?  Particularly at the top schools, admissions is a black box:  You need certain qualifications to get into the pool, but from there you really can't predict who will be selected.  I think it's a myth to assume that the kids who enroll are necessarily going to perform better in the college classroom than those who aren't accepted (and admissions staff generally don't make that claim).

So if your son is admitted with a 27 or 28 ACT and ends up sitting in a room with 40 other kids who earned 34 or higher, can he compete?  IMO it depends on how motivated your kid is, also on whether he just isn't great at standardized tests, how good his high school preparation was, etc.  I went to an Ivy and I firmly believe that getting admitted is the hardest part. Once you are in, if you put in the work you will not fail out.  And grades at top schools tend to be As and Bs--not many profs award Cs, Ds or Fs.  (There are schools that are exceptions to this rule...  Again, individual circumstances vary.)  At Harvard, for example, the average GPA of the 2016 graduating class was 3.65 and the median was 3.70 (yes, on a 4-point scale).  These schools are not using a grading distribution where the middle 40% get Cs and 10% fail out.  

That leaves the question of whether a person is better off graduating with a 3.3 average from a HA or 3.8 from a "lesser" school.  Again, I'd say it depends on the individual and his circumstances. 

Sorry for the long answer to say "it depends." But I do think there is no one-size-fits-all way to approach this.    

KLL posted:

Do those kids that get in with the lower scores get enough tutoring help to be able to keep their grades up since they’re in classes geared towards the more academically gifted students or is it a constant struggle to remain eligible and obtain a degree?

There aren't any classes geared towards more academically gifted students unless you're in an honors program at the college. The acceptance rates are kept low to keep the schools full of elite students and does not have as much to do with how hard it is once you're there. The difference between a student with a 27 and a 31 or a 32 and a 34 isn't that much of a difference, if at all. I'm sure there are plenty of students with a 24/25 that can manage perfectly fine at plenty of these schools, but they would never get thru the gates. The same way there are kids with 35s who won't last a full year. 

These small D3s aren't just taking dummies so they can win a few more games, they're taking perfectly capable kids who might not have got thru admissions without some help. For the most part many of these schools have very tough admissions, but not many notable programs once you're in. There are plenty of publics that aren't considered HA that are ranked much higher than some of these schools, especially in particular programs. Chem lab is the same at Party School U as it is at a NESCAC. 

If the player is struggling with classes and staying eligible, he most likely would have had the same problems elsewhere. Usually a matter of major more than it is the school. 

KLL posted:

Do those kids that get in with the lower scores get enough tutoring help to be able to keep their grades up since they’re in classes geared towards the more academically gifted students or is it a constant struggle to remain eligible and obtain a degree?

Good input on responses to this question so far but I thought I'd add my two cents. My 2019 had 3.6 GPA (with a rigorous schedule), a 31 ACT and, after touring Kenyon, Case, Middlebury, Trinity, Wesleyan, and Tufts, made a comment to me that he didn't want to be the "dumbest" one on campus. I thought that was interesting and a pretty good point, though he likely could have gotten in the door to most of these. I was in that boat at his age, having barely gotten into my #1 school of choice, and it was a rude awakening once I got there. These schools ended up all being well out of our price range having not qualified for any need-based financial aid, and merit awards coming in at the most basic level, so the problem took care of itself and he's now bound for what I would call a tier down from these academically but still playing baseball at a very good school in a top D3 conference.

Last edited by tequila
tequila posted:
KLL posted:

Do those kids that get in with the lower scores get enough tutoring help to be able to keep their grades up since they’re in classes geared towards the more academically gifted students or is it a constant struggle to remain eligible and obtain a degree?

Good input on responses to this question so far but I thought I'd add my two cents. My 2019 had 3.6 GPA (with a rigorous schedule), a 31 ACT and, after touring Kenyon, Case, Middlebury, Trinity, Wesleyan, and Tufts, made a comment to me that he didn't want to be the "dumbest" one on campus. I thought that was interesting and a pretty good point, though he likely could have gotten in the door to most of these. I was in that boat at his age, having barely gotten into my #1 school of choice, and it was a rude awakening once I got there. These schools ended up all being well out of our price having not qualified for any need-based financial aid, and merit awards coming in at the most basic level, so the problem took care of itself and he's now bound for what I would call a tier down from these academically but still playing baseball at a very good school in a top D3 conference.

Agreed -- good responses, my two cents is that my kid had a roughly the same HS academics and scores as yours,  but did go to a school in the same tier you mentioned.  After two years, he's not an academic all american or on the deans list, but he's taking very difficult courses with intense work loads, and he's doing fine with a respectable GPA. As for being the dumbest kid on campus, he'd probably say that's the LAX team.  JK - they don't have LAX.

If a kid is willing to work hard and can learn time management, he's well on the way.

Last edited by JCG

 I’ve sat on selection committees for all the Service Academies and we look for the min ACT combined with the absolute strongest weighted GPA reflecting a strong curriculum w AP/H classes.  That tells us the classroom work ethic and discipline of the student.

Ive seen plenty of 28-30 ACT kids who have a stronger weighted GPA than a 32-33 ACT kid.  We’ll take the 30 ACT kid over the 33 ACT kid in this case.  Doing well and staying in a Service Academy is difficult.  Limited sleep, limited free time, regimented mandatory activities every day after school...it takes a disciplined kid with strong study skills to survive.

Threshold ACT levels filter us to kids to be looked at closer, then weighted GPA will suggest if the kid has the chops to succeed at the school.

Just a reference to HA’s......

tequila posted:
KLL posted:

Do those kids that get in with the lower scores get enough tutoring help to be able to keep their grades up since they’re in classes geared towards the more academically gifted students or is it a constant struggle to remain eligible and obtain a degree?

Good input on responses to this question so far but I thought I'd add my two cents. My 2019 had 3.6 GPA (with a rigorous schedule), a 31 ACT and, after touring Kenyon, Case, Middlebury, Trinity, Wesleyan, and Tufts, made a comment to me that he didn't want to be the "dumbest" one on campus. I thought that was interesting and a pretty good point, though he likely could have gotten in the door to most of these. I was in that boat at his age, having barely gotten into my #1 school of choice, and it was a rude awakening once I got there. These schools ended up all being well out of our price having not qualified for any need-based financial aid, and merit awards coming in at the most basic level, so the problem took care of itself and he's now bound for what I would call a tier down from these academically but still playing baseball at a very good school in a top D3 conference.

I think this raises an important issue (and is another factor that will vary for different individuals).  I see elite college admissions as having so many back and side doors that no one should feel they don't belong if their test scores or grades are a little low; but I get it.  Choosing a school where you don't feel comfortable just because that school is "better" according to some ranking or other isn't necessarily a good idea.  (I also have seen kids who were the biggest academic fish in their HS ponds have a really hard time coping with being ordinary, or worse, students at a very selective college.  The world is larger than most of realize in high school...)  

Hi, great thread. My son is a 2020 RHP/OF and just starting to go thru the HA showcase process. Common sense would suggest that the higher the academic profile (GPA/SAT/ACT/rigor) the better, assuming kid has real baseball skills. But wondering if anyone has experience with a paradoxical situation where if the academic profile is really high (e.g., perfect test scores and grades with lots of APs and other academic awards), a HA coach might be reluctant to give up an official slot under the assumption the kid can probably get in on their own, thereby using his slot on a very good player with more borderline academic profile. Especially D3 that might only have 2-3 slots. Can HA coaches still provide admissions support to a very high academic profile kid if they don't use a slot? If so, would that simply just be submitting his name on their wish list, with no guarantee? Thanks for any advice.

Zoom 2020 posted:

Hi, great thread. My son is a 2020 RHP/OF and just starting to go thru the HA showcase process. Common sense would suggest that the higher the academic profile (GPA/SAT/ACT/rigor) the better, assuming kid has real baseball skills. But wondering if anyone has experience with a paradoxical situation where if the academic profile is really high (e.g., perfect test scores and grades with lots of APs and other academic awards), a HA coach might be reluctant to give up an official slot under the assumption the kid can probably get in on their own, thereby using his slot on a very good player with more borderline academic profile. Especially D3 that might only have 2-3 slots. Can HA coaches still provide admissions support to a very high academic profile kid if they don't use a slot? If so, would that simply just be submitting his name on their wish list, with no guarantee? Thanks for any advice.

My understanding is that D3 baseball teams don't have roster size limits so there aren't really "official slots" to speak of. The coaches have a recruiting board of course, and I'm sure they have a number at each position that they're shooting for, but admission at HA D3 schools is completely at the discretion of the admissions office.

Of course each school's admission criteria and HC's clout with the admission office varies.  My son did encounter a situation with a HA engineering school in the Midwest where the school got in trouble with the NCAA for having "too much" coach influence in admissions.  In that case, that coach was really looking for kids who were so strong academically that he would not have to worry about them getting through admissions.  So for that HA, a kid with really strong credentials is going to be a huge preference for the coach.  Of course, then the conversations turns to the coach pushing for the Early Decision application, which was my son was never going to do (too many uncertainties in his search and he did not want to be bound by ED).

I would never worry about a kid being so strong academically to not need the coach's support.  A coach should at least run the academic credentials (transcript, test results) through admissions for a "pre-read" and that way the student knows the coach is sincerely interested and both the student and coach can get  a non-binding but pretty solid read on his admission chances.  A positive read and then the coach can talk specifics about how firm the roster spot is.

tequila posted:
Zoom 2020 posted:

Hi, great thread. My son is a 2020 RHP/OF and just starting to go thru the HA showcase process. Common sense would suggest that the higher the academic profile (GPA/SAT/ACT/rigor) the better, assuming kid has real baseball skills. But wondering if anyone has experience with a paradoxical situation where if the academic profile is really high (e.g., perfect test scores and grades with lots of APs and other academic awards), a HA coach might be reluctant to give up an official slot under the assumption the kid can probably get in on their own, thereby using his slot on a very good player with more borderline academic profile. Especially D3 that might only have 2-3 slots. Can HA coaches still provide admissions support to a very high academic profile kid if they don't use a slot? If so, would that simply just be submitting his name on their wish list, with no guarantee? Thanks for any advice.

My understanding is that D3 baseball teams don't have roster size limits so there aren't really "official slots" to speak of. The coaches have a recruiting board of course, and I'm sure they have a number at each position that they're shooting for, but admission at HA D3 schools is completely at the discretion of the admissions office.

IMO, telling a kid to just apply and trust he will be admitted would be a pretty clear signal that a coach wasn't very interested.  Even for a recruit with perfect academic credentials, if a coach wants the player, I'd expect an offer for an admissions pre-read for ED admission.  There must be some limit on the number of recruits a coach can use this process for (I think D3 HA schools vary widely on this).  But if a coach wants a player, I don't think he'd say "you can just apply on your own."

It really is true that at elite HA schools, there is no such thing as having scores and grades so good that admission is guaranteed.  One source reports that "Harvard rejects one in four students with perfect SAT scores. The University of Pennsylvania and Duke University reject three out of five high school valedictorians." (   https://on.mktw.net/31vZgHL )  At top academic D3s, the hurdles are similarly high.  If your son wants to attend a (very) HA school, the pre-read/ED process has serious value.

[edited to fix broken link]

Last edited by Chico Escuela
Zoom 2020 posted:

Thanks for all the responses, agree that pre-read is essential. But if pre-read is positive, does that guarantee eventual admission without coach using a "slot"? In Ivy League, at least the "likely letter" is essentially a guarantee of admissions, but D3s don't give likely letters to my knowledge.

I haven’t heard of D3s actually issuing likely letters (although some may). But likely letters aren’t binding in any event. I’d feel just as confident relying on an email from a baseball coach telling me my pre-read was positive and assuring me that I’d be accepted if I apply ED (and keep my grades up, don’t get arrested, etc.).  That’s essentially a likely letter in email form.

But maybe I’m naive. 

A few D3s do give likely letters, but, as noted, it's not a guarantee.  This is why the whole thing is so complicated to understand.

D3 schools have no roster limits.  And "high academic," even if you start with an average SAT score of, say, 1250, covers a very wide range in terms of admissions percentages; anywhere from 7% to 50+%.  (Chapman, who just won the D3 World Series, goes to Headfirst).  Some D3 coaches (at all levels of selectivity) keep their rosters at 30-35; some (again at all levels) will put 50+ kids on the roster (although most don't play much, or get cut, or they have a jv team, or something).  Some D3 HAs have fixed numbers of slots/likely letters, some have "tips" or can put a player on a list they give to admissions, some have no influence.  Does your player want to be an active player, or have a shot at sitting on the bench?   Do you want academic merit money? 

So, at every school, you have to ask the exact very specific questions that you are asking here, and ask exactly how their admissions works, and then try to figure it out, before the Early Decision deadline.  It will make you crazy.  The only upside is that the HA D3 coaches themselves know all this, and are playing with the same variables as the recruits.

Hijacking the thread a bit (but this doesn't seem worth a separate post):  Did anyone encounter what we used to call "exploding offers" from HA D3s?  That is, did a coach say "you have to get back to me in X weeks or I'm going to move on to a different candidate"?  My son is just starting to visit schools and has one offer so far (D3, very good school and solid baseball program).  He's very happy about that, but says he wants to see more before he makes any decisions.  That coach did not mention any sort of time limit.  How long can a player sit on an offer, given no scholarships or roster limits in play? 

Re: if S gets in will he be ok academically.

The highest of HAs graduate something like 92+% of their class IN FOUR YEARS  and 96+% in six years. Those numbers tell the story; compare those numbers to lower academic tier colleges.

If a kid is good enough to have the academics and scores while developing his baseball skills to the highest level, he has earned his slot in an incoming class - by proving his devotion to an EC AND succeeding in academics. (As virtually every other kid.)

The Ivies DO NOT PROVIDE UNIQUE ACADEMIC ASSISTANCE to athletes; but the assistance available to all students is impressive: office hours, peer tutors, writing assistance, TA tutoring, occupational help- it's all there if the student seeks it out. Moreover, if for example, a kid isn't/doesn't want a math heavy major (e.g., Economics has become a math heavy major), history and Poli sci seem to attract many athletes. So, my answer is the kid will be fine if he simply continues his HS track record.

I submit, however, that the opportunities which await these kids dwarfs the risk that a kid goes off the rails and flunks out. (Which can happen anywhere.)

S was the recruited athlete, D got in on her own (with a set of very powerful ECs). Both were over the middle of the admitting class in scores and grades. S graduated dead middle in Econ; D a bit better as a ChemE. During the seven class years I knew Ss teammates, all remained eligible, all graduated on time (less two pro players who took an additional semester to finish), one left (out of 56ish recruits) due to MH issues.

But, the job opportunities; let me repeat: but, the job opportunities! Summer internships all over the world (or summer ball for those inclined), employment opportunities all over the world. Doesn't mean you can't return to your home town, but it means you can leave for anywhere you want.

For parents worrying about the kid being overmatched academically, the kids take some fluff courses (which actually can be fun); S took astronomy and History of Coinage, for example. He also wrote an original junior paper and an original senior thesis (as did every student) in economics. Prospective employers loved them and he learned how to do original research, communicate both in writing and orally, and apply his skills in the real world; he wasn't unique - every kid did it.

In another thread, I wrote about his teammates - five years after graduation. Look up that thread; as far as I can tell every Ivy is as impressive.

I'll leave with this moral: if a kid can leverage hs baseball into an Ivy do it; no baseball dreams are diminished and he gets a nice headstart in the job world. 

Re Chico's question about the deadlines, yes my 2017 got a few of those exploding offers from D3s when he was being considered as a catcher (he was a two-way and wound up as a PO in college). 

One coach was pretty honest about it and did not do the really hard sell--just said he only had room to add one catcher so if one of them goes Early Decision, they would have the slot.  Then my son could be considered among the pitchers.  I get that--a team can only have so many catchers. 

But another coach was really egotistical about it acting as if he could not understand why my son would not go ED if he wanted him on the roster.  I played bad cop and told every coach until my son heard from the UC schools, he was not making any decision about private schools that are $50K and up.  Most I would say were pretty realistic and would admit there were a number of kids where there was mutual interest but all things being equal, they would prefer my son, so please keep in touch.

The D3s are in a really tough situation in most cases for kids who do not qualify for need-based assistance.  Some of the HAs have no academic money to offer, so it is really hard to recruit when you have to tell a kid and his parents that it will be well over $200K if you want to play baseball here for 4 years. The coach at one SoCal HA admitted his team is made up entirely of really well-off kids who could afford the full tuition and then some low income kids paying almost nothing.  No players in between because of the lack of athletic and academic money.  Sad but true reality at many of these HA D3s.

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