Postgraduate Year or Gap Year for Ivy League Recruiting (2019 Grad)

Hello everyone,

I was wondering if anyone had any experience or advice for someone considering a PG or gap year to increase likelihood of being recruited to an Ivy League School.

In my case, I am a young 2019 (turned 17 recently) OF that got considerable interest from a few ivies, but ultimately just wasn't good enough baseball wise to get an offer.

Academically, I have a 3.85 UW GPA (4.4 Weighted) and 1560 SAT with many APs and honors classes. I also have a huge legacy at Columbia (brother, sister, dad went there and grandpa was a professor) so I did not really consider any schools that are substantially worse than Columbia. (hope that doesn't come off as pompous... my family is just very academics first)

In terms of baseball, I showcased well this summer(6.63 60-yard dash at Stanford Camp and 91 mph from OF at PTW),  but I just did not have the consistency I needed at the plate or any baseball awards/invitations to invite-only events. I still did well enough to garner genuine interest from a couple low D1s, a few D2s, and several high academic D3s, but unfortunately not MIT, which is my first choice for non-ivy.

 

That being said, I also have couple of questions about PG/Gap Years in general:

1. Does taking either of the aforementioned options mean that I do not apply to colleges this fall? (might be a stupid question but wanted to make sure)

2. What are some of the differences between PG/Gap year and reclassing to the 2020 class?

Thanks in advance. I don't normally turn to forums but there didn't seem to be any advice for people in similar situations as me.

 

 

 

Original Post

Most of the athletes I know/know of who prepped a year between high school and Ivy were already recruited athletically and screened by admissions as likely to be accepted. Often the Ivy wanted to see the kid perform academically in a more challenging environment than his high school. The kids I know/know of that went to ISL’s didn’t prep for a year regardless of their age. 

Have you considered NESCACs or Centennials? 

You grades are amazing, congratulations!  Your baseball measurables are also very strong.

Before you consider a PG year, are you sure you're no longer being considered as a 2019?  As the bright kid you are, I would first take a leap and call these Ivy coaches and see if you can get some insight, a campus visit, etc.

Sorry I didn't address your question, I just wouldn't assume the 2019 door is closed until you exhaust all options.

BTW, the PG I know we're neither good enough academically nor athletically, so they bought themselves another year.  I know you pass one test, it's the latter you need some confirmation with. 

RJM posted:

Most of the athletes I know/know of who prepped a year between high school and Ivy were already recruited athletically and screened by admissions as likely to be accepted. Often the Ivy wanted to see the kid perform academically in a more challenging environment than his high school. The kids I know/know of that went to ISL’s didn’t prep for a year regardless of their age. 

Have you considered NESCACs or Centennials? 

Thanks for your response. I guess I don't fit the description of those who prepped before going to an Ivy since my grades are fine but my baseball skills are lacking.

In regards to your question, I am currently talking with the Johns Hopkins coach which is in the Centennial and should take a visit some time this fall. I know that the NESCACs and other Centennials are fantastic schools, but they seem to be very liberal arts focused which I am quite confident I do not want to study (I think I want to study computer science or engineering). I've done research on the schools in both divisions, and it seems that JHU is the best out of those schools for what I want to study but still a tick below Columbia. Obviously, please correct me if I am wrong.

CTbballDad posted:

You grades are amazing, congratulations!  Your baseball measurables are also very strong.

Before you consider a PG year, are you sure you're no longer being considered as a 2019?  As the bright kid you are, I would first take a leap and call these Ivy coaches and see if you can get some insight, a campus visit, etc.

Sorry I didn't address your question, I just wouldn't assume the 2019 door is closed until you exhaust all options.

BTW, the PG I know we're neither good enough academically nor athletically, so they bought themselves another year.  I know you pass one test, it's the latter you need some confirmation with. 

Thank you very much for your kind words! I have worked very hard for the past couple of years in the classroom and in the weigh room to improve my athleticism.

Essentially, I've talked the most with Columbia and Princeton as they both came to a couple of my summer ball games. Columbia coach pretty much told me a few days ago that they had committed their eighth 2019 and were done recruiting. I didn't talk as much with Princeton, but ~2 weeks ago the Princeton coach told me they were still looking for a catcher and an "impact bat". Checked Perfect Game a couple days ago and they just committed an OF and a C so I'm guessing their done too. I was also initially interested in Harvard, but I performed really poorly at their camp so I kind of just gave up (which I regret in hindsight).

So one route for you to consider is walking on. Columbia gets 8 recruits per year (due, I'm told, to having no men's lacrosse team), most of the other Ivies have 7 most years (can be lower). Anyway, that means there are players on most teams who got in as regular students and tried out and made the baseball team. I know two current Ivy players who made a roster that way (warning: they got almost no ABs last year). The coach might even say around this time frame, "If you can get in we have a roster spot for you" (I know an uncommitted 2019 who heard that recently from an Ivy which already has 7 commits).  With your grades, SAT, and at Columbia legacy status, that might be a viable path for you, without doing a PG year.

I am going to be devil's advocate for a minute, but please read all the way through as I will answer your questions too.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results.  If you were not recruited by the 1-8 schools (9 including MIT), then taking a gap year JUST to try and get recruited to these 1-9 schools -- all who saw you and did not/have not offered you a slot, is insanity.  You may improve over a year, but they already saw you and did not offer, knowing you could add strength etc.  Actually a gap year is a great things to do, so if you want to take a gap year for other reasons then this could be an excellent opportunity to work/travel or do something wonderful before starting the 4 year grind.  

A PG year is, IMHO, a unique opportunity for some athletes who, often because of injury but also can be for maturity or academic reasons as mentioned above, to give themselves another shot at recruiting.  Happy to talk more about PG years as I happen to know a lot about them.  I am not sure your circumstances warrant a PG year, which of course comes with a hefty price tag at the top schools and also means you have to apply to them...

Your grades and outstanding test score means you are academically admissible anywhere in the world, except you are also smart enough to know that these grades and scores do not guarantee admissions at the very small window of schools that have single digit acceptance rates (with many many kids with great grades and scores and most who do not get in) that would please your academics first family.  Did any of the Ivies you were speaking to say that you would have a spot if you were to get in on your own?  Some will say they will give you a tryout, some will say they will keep you all fall and decide, and some might give you a spot as they have seen you play already but just have only 5-7 golden tickets to hand out and liked those guys (or needed those guys, as half are likely PO) just a bit more.  The Ivies typically do not have 35 guys, though Penn (and maybe Columbia) had to cut guys last year...

The thing about your post which makes me a little worried is your speed is amazingly fast, as is your arm strength.  No one gets recruited because of awards so stop worrying about that.  But yet you had some interest but not from the handful of schools you think you want.  Maybe you should look a little closer to the HA D3 who actually want you!  Some of the best advice on this board is to go where you are loved.  If MIT is acceptable to you, how about UChicago, Wash U, Hopkins, Swarthmore, Pomona, Claremont or Mudd if you are looking at engineering, NESCAC schools.  All are prestigious and then some!  There are many others too!  Go to NYU and see what your Columbia family does!  They will love and support you, I promise.  

Imagine going to one of the schools you think you like and getting cut, or riding the bench and never playing.  Would that be OK for you?  Many Ivy athletes of all sports get in as recruited athletes and then quit because it is tough to balance the demands of school and sport (and for other reasons too of course, including the fact they do not play).  Son #1 had the chance to be at several Ivies for a different sport, but the coaches were clear to him that they were taking him just for his grades and scores (and I am quoting one top prestigious Ivy almost verbatim) --  "We'd offer you a spot so we could get the two guys we really want."  Except he actually did not say guys, he said dumbasses.  That HC is no longer there btw, and my son did not take him up on his kind offer.

So to answer your questions, though I would urge you to consider following up with those schools that expressed interest if baseball is important to you and also expanding your very small net:

Many who take a gap year, in fact MOST, apply this year when they have the resources of teachers and their school to do their end of the process (recs, transcripts etc).  There is comfort to have a few acceptances (hopefully!) in your back pocket when you are out there in world working or traveling or whatever.   You can always defer at ANY school for the most part, for any reason with a small deposit to hold the spot as an insurance policy.  Most who do a PG year wait to apply until the fall of their second senior year.

And (2) they are vastly different years.  A PG year means applying to a school which takes PGs and in your case, talking to the baseball coach ahead of time to know it is a good fit (usually PGs are expected to play 2 sports btw).  Plus it is a lot of money so this has to be OK for your parents if they are supporting you or perhaps you have independent means....Plus it means another year of high school and all that this entails, including papers and exams etc when you already have stellar academics, you will need to do as well.  There are many advantages, ie going to a top prep school brings a whole network of new friends and a lifetime affiliation even as "just" a one year PG, most of the top prep schools can challenge you academically with deep class offerings.  

A gap year can be anything, and I mean anything.  Some prep schools have FT gap year advisors as many kids opt to take a year off before going to school.  It can mean getting a job, traveling, taking an intensive language course or teaching English somewhere.  You could go surfing for the year.  Anything goes, depending upon your passion, interest, finances etc.  However if the year is meant to help you get stronger and improve your hitting (seemingly your weakness given the speed and arm strength), then you will need a gym/program/private coaching etc. and maybe surfing for the year won't work.

Please feel free to PM me with any very specific questions...

 

Feelgood77 posted:
RJM posted:

Most of the athletes I know/know of who prepped a year between high school and Ivy were already recruited athletically and screened by admissions as likely to be accepted. Often the Ivy wanted to see the kid perform academically in a more challenging environment than his high school. The kids I know/know of that went to ISL’s didn’t prep for a year regardless of their age. 

Have you considered NESCACs or Centennials? 

Thanks for your response. I guess I don't fit the description of those who prepped before going to an Ivy since my grades are fine but my baseball skills are lacking.

In regards to your question, I am currently talking with the Johns Hopkins coach which is in the Centennial and should take a visit some time this fall. I know that the NESCACs and other Centennials are fantastic schools, but they seem to be very liberal arts focused which I am quite confident I do not want to study (I think I want to study computer science or engineering). I've done research on the schools in both divisions, and it seems that JHU is the best out of those schools for what I want to study but still a tick below Columbia. Obviously, please correct me if I am wrong.

Tufts has engineering and computer science majors. It’s a very good (often ranked) D3 program.

If you aren’t familiar with ISL’s they’re the 9-12 or 7-12 elite privates in Eastern Massachusetts. They’re similar to The Hun School. Kids get in for being very bright or from wealthy families.

Twoboys posted:

I am going to be devil's advocate for a minute, but please read all the way through as I will answer your questions too.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results.  If you were not recruited by the 1-8 schools (9 including MIT), then taking a gap year JUST to try and get recruited to these 1-9 schools -- all who saw you and did not/have not offered you a slot, is insanity.  You may improve over a year, but they already saw you and did not offer, knowing you could add strength etc.  Actually a gap year is a great things to do, so if you want to take a gap year for other reasons then this could be an excellent opportunity to work/travel or do something wonderful before starting the 4 year grind.  

A PG year is, IMHO, a unique opportunity for some athletes who, often because of injury but also can be for maturity or academic reasons as mentioned above, to give themselves another shot at recruiting.  Happy to talk more about PG years as I happen to know a lot about them.  I am not sure your circumstances warrant a PG year, which of course comes with a hefty price tag at the top schools and also means you have to apply to them...

Your grades and outstanding test score means you are academically admissible anywhere in the world, except you are also smart enough to know that these grades and scores do not guarantee admissions at the very small window of schools that have single digit acceptance rates (with many many kids with great grades and scores and most who do not get in) that would please your academics first family.  Did any of the Ivies you were speaking to say that you would have a spot if you were to get in on your own?  Some will say they will give you a tryout, some will say they will keep you all fall and decide, and some might give you a spot as they have seen you play already but just have only 5-7 golden tickets to hand out and liked those guys (or needed those guys, as half are likely PO) just a bit more.  The Ivies typically do not have 35 guys, though Penn (and maybe Columbia) had to cut guys last year...

The thing about your post which makes me a little worried is your speed is amazingly fast, as is your arm strength.  No one gets recruited because of awards so stop worrying about that.  But yet you had some interest but not from the handful of schools you think you want.  Maybe you should look a little closer to the HA D3 who actually want you!  Some of the best advice on this board is to go where you are loved.  If MIT is acceptable to you, how about UChicago, Wash U, Hopkins, Swarthmore, Pomona, Claremont or Mudd if you are looking at engineering, NESCAC schools.  All are prestigious and then some!  There are many others too!  Go to NYU and see what your Columbia family does!  They will love and support you, I promise.  

Imagine going to one of the schools you think you like and getting cut, or riding the bench and never playing.  Would that be OK for you?  Many Ivy athletes of all sports get in as recruited athletes and then quit because it is tough to balance the demands of school and sport (and for other reasons too of course, including the fact they do not play).  Son #1 had the chance to be at several Ivies for a different sport, but the coaches were clear to him that they were taking him just for his grades and scores (and I am quoting one top prestigious Ivy almost verbatim) --  "We'd offer you a spot so we could get the two guys we really want."  Except he actually did not say guys, he said dumbasses.  That HC is no longer there btw, and my son did not take him up on his kind offer.

So to answer your questions, though I would urge you to consider following up with those schools that expressed interest if baseball is important to you and also expanding your very small net:

Many who take a gap year, in fact MOST, apply this year when they have the resources of teachers and their school to do their end of the process (recs, transcripts etc).  There is comfort to have a few acceptances (hopefully!) in your back pocket when you are out there in world working or traveling or whatever.   You can always defer at ANY school for the most part, for any reason with a small deposit to hold the spot as an insurance policy.  Most who do a PG year wait to apply until the fall of their second senior year.

And (2) they are vastly different years.  A PG year means applying to a school which takes PGs and in your case, talking to the baseball coach ahead of time to know it is a good fit (usually PGs are expected to play 2 sports btw).  Plus it is a lot of money so this has to be OK for your parents if they are supporting you or perhaps you have independent means....Plus it means another year of high school and all that this entails, including papers and exams etc when you already have stellar academics, you will need to do as well.  There are many advantages, ie going to a top prep school brings a whole network of new friends and a lifetime affiliation even as "just" a one year PG, most of the top prep schools can challenge you academically with deep class offerings.  

A gap year can be anything, and I mean anything.  Some prep schools have FT gap year advisors as many kids opt to take a year off before going to school.  It can mean getting a job, traveling, taking an intensive language course or teaching English somewhere.  You could go surfing for the year.  Anything goes, depending upon your passion, interest, finances etc.  However if the year is meant to help you get stronger and improve your hitting (seemingly your weakness given the speed and arm strength), then you will need a gym/program/private coaching etc. and maybe surfing for the year won't work.

Please feel free to PM me with any very specific questions...

 

Wow. 

I usually don't use the quote feature as it takes up a lot of space but i did here because there's a huge amount of expertise and good advice in this post. I hope you read it closely and take advantage, FeelGood77.

 

 

 

FeelGood77,

I would read TwoBoys post and consider doing what 2019Dad suggests.   Possibly you have the academic credentials and "hooks" to get into one of eight ivys today then walk-on, or play club ball then possibly walk-on later.   PG or gap years can be a great thing for the right reasons.  You've clearly shown you can handle yourself in the classroom.  There are a handful of top D3 academic schools that may be looking for a young man like you.  Listen to what they have to offer for both academics and baseball.  Find the "diamond in the rough".

JMO and good luck!

Lots of good advice here. My kid is a very young 2022 and will start college at 17. I am surprised by the Lions lukewarm reception considering your academic and baseball metrics. If Upper Manhattan is where you want to be, I hope you would consider being a walk on, continue to improve and keep in contact with the coaches demonstrating your improvement.   

Something to keep in mind in applying to the elite schools with no athletics:

My non-athletic daughter graduated high school with a 4.596 weighted GPA and 1490 SAT (not super-scored).  She was President of her class since the 6th grade and many amazing EC, such as Girl Nation (one of 100 girls), HOBY, endless volunteer hours , etc

Here's how her application results ended up:

Rejected: Swarthmore, Harvard

Waited Listed: Georgetown (her top choice, cried for weeks), Dartmouth, Cornell, Tufts

Accepted: William and Mary, Colgate, Nova, plus safeties.

As you can see, she didn't get into many top schools, and they weren't even the high elites, other than Harvard.  Getting into college these days, with the global demand is extremely difficult.  Having a sport helps.  If you can get into a Tufts or Swarthmore, using baseball as an aide, jump all over it.  Provided, you like the school, coaches, etc.

To add on to the last post I know a kid who blossomed senior year as a LHP at an elite private. He was a two generation legacy at Penn. His father is a well known, prestigious lawyer in Philadelphia. The coach told the kid at the late date he was out of sway with admissions. The father pulled every string he had. The kid didn’t get accepted without baseball.

Admissions has changed over the past two generations. More and more people are trying to go to college. It’s become world competitive for US colleges. Two generations ago my average student father waltzed into a NESCAC on legacy status as a transfer after soph year at a Big Ten (football player).

In my generation UMass was Zoo Mass the last chance safety school. Now it’s academic rating is much higher. I know kids who didn’t get accepted. The qualifications used to be “can dad write the check.”

There are many Stem schools in D3. Some have already been Mentioned. One that is often overlooked is Rose-Hulman. They are always ranked very high in Engineering. Here is the ranking from US News.

https://www.usnews.com/best-co...e-of-technology-1830

https://www.usnews.com/best-co.../engineering-overall

The conference they play in is not exactly know for Rocket Scientists, however it is a Geographic fit. And they do reasonably well in there conference. They may not have the pedigree of the Ivies, they are still one of the better engineering schools.  

Colleges recruit kids based on how good they are and how good they project them to be. If you were not offered, they do not see you developing into a player who can start on their team. A postgrad year of high school won't do much to change that. However if you end up at a prestigious boarding school as a postgrad it can help in admissions as they will most likely see an older, more mature student, capable of living away from home. 

Baseball can still be an option for you but you will have to look at D3s or Patriot League. Unclear if you want to do that, but if it came down to attending an Ivy as a regular student or playing ball at a D3 you would get a mixed pot of answers. The good news is the student body probably won't be loaded with OFs throwing 91 so you chances of walking on are better than most as long as you can hit with authority. There isn't any scholarship money invested in the recruited athletes so if there is a walk on that is better than a recruited player, they will keep you in the mix. 

For reference, my eldest son ran 6.8, threw 92 from the OF, and is a terrific gloveman (SS/CF). He got some interest some lukewarm interest from Columbia (partly our fault because we left things too late), but mainly, I think he was too small, and his bat didn't show enough power(exit velo/batspeed). At his large public top 10 in-state HS he played as a Varsity regular, batting over .400.

You have to be honest with yourself. Do you have the bat, and the glove for D1? In general, I've found that most D1 RC's want to see big strapping dudes.

  He had multiple offers from some superb HA D3's. Slight nibbles from a couple of HA D1's, lots of interest from D2's that were of no interest due to their academics. His test scores were in the same neighborhood as yours...a little bit lower, but real close(33ACT, etc.).

 Son's studious friends had mixed success in the ED round. Almost all had  35-6 ACT's, 3.8-4.0 GPA's, 12-15 AP courses. One got into Yale, one to Harvard, one to Columbia. The rest struck out, and are getting Full ride's at the State flagships in an honors program. 

 

It's tough out there!

1. Re: Gap year or PG. There are at least a few programs which have begun in the last few years which take a gap year and focus on building and improving baseball skills (dont remember the names, but a google search would uncover it).

2. During my sons years (10 - 14) one of the players a year older didnt quite have the skills as a HS player to be recruited and was told that if his skills improved, he would be recruited. He did improve as a senior, had a PG year and was recruited. He had a good career in college.

3. If you have legacy pull at Columbia (and that means more than having family members graduate, it means having those alums giving big $$$ year after year), speak with the coach.  If the coach sees a way for you to be recruited following a gap/PG year, get a firm understanding of the milestones you must reach (see 2, above).

4. Most (but not all) IVYS dont carry 35 players; as such, coaches will often commit to a spot IF YOU GET IN ON YOUR OWN. While some have noted (correctly) walkons generally dont get any action, at Princeton their starting catcher several years ago was not a recruited player. Christie quite simply worked his tail off for three years - his reward was starting catcher who won the league. So unicorns do exist.

(You already know the odds of going through admissions as a regular applicant. I'll add this: D was straight As, most rigorous cirriculum, 34 ACT, head of local food bank for several years, had the local CIF recognize her sport as a varsity sport, head of both yearbook and literary journal (two years), a first place grand prize award winner at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair [winning over 20k], and was granted a patent out of her work (all done in a HS lab) AND she didnt run the table in her applications.)

4. I am not saying give up on baseball. I am saying that you have to have more then a vague goal of getting better baseball skills.  You need a hard "yes" from a coach that "if you do such and such,"  you'll have an offer.

5. I personally think that a gap year is a fabulous idea - no matter what. I took mine at the beginning of my junior year in college. Five years later, upon returning, college was a breeze. 

6. Unless you harbor hopes of proball, time isn't of the essence. Imo, too many kids just auto-pilot to college (my D did despite my entreaties to stop, look up, smell the air). The last big chunk of time you'll have in early adult life will be that gap year - follow your passion for that year - there is no lifetime penalty. 

7. Keep your options open and apply to college. See what happens - you can always defer matriculating for a year or simply reapply the following year

 

 

Feel Good77;

have you considered a year at a Japan HS? We have traveled with our Goodwill Series American teams. Several Japan HS have welcomed American student/athletes. We are playing two Prefecture {State] teams this year in Brisbane, Australia. They are very strong baseball and academic programs. The August National Baseball tournament draws 40,000 a game at Koshien and 40 million on TV.

Bob

FeelGood:

I can say that I don't see Gap Years much in Ivy League baseball. Some may have occurred upon transferring HS (repeating freshman or sophomore year). I have seen PG years in other Ivy sports (Lacrosse, swimming). The prospect will take the extra year, not due to grades or physical shortcomings, but because the school had no more spots in graduation year, but can offer one the following year.

Son had a player on his college team (high academic "public ivy", mid-major D1) that took a PG year.  I wish I knew all the circumstances because he was a good player (got drafted after his senior year of college, which meant that he was 2-6 years older than most in his draft class).  My guess is that he may not have been recruited much out of HS, and the family had the resources for him to go to a wonderful school for PG year.    

I heard a new (to me) term recently.....taking a "glide" year between college and graduate/medical/other school.  Friend's son is going to do that before medical school while he pursues some wonderful research project for a year.

 

If you are all in on playing baseball in college, what about a gap year at IMG?  You've got the academics, focus on the bat and strength.  The HC for the PG team is a solid guy, and accessible for a conversation.  

Just a thought, others have provided excellent feedback.

This just dawned on me, as a former HS teammate of my son is doing a PG year.  How does a PG year help the baseball player?  Don't they still have to apply for a college this winter, which is before the PG baseball season?  Or do you hope that you have a good spring and roll the dice and not apply to a college until that summer?

I can see where PG can help a football or basketball player.  Just don't see it for baseball.

Because if they commit to PG before their regular senior spring season, that season essentially becomes like a second junior spring in terms of baseball.  That summer before the PG becomes like a junior/senior summer.  The spring season of the PG year likely would have little/no impact on the baseball recruiting outcome.

9and7dad posted:

Because if they commit to PG before their regular senior spring season, that season essentially becomes like a second junior spring in terms of baseball.  That summer before the PG becomes like a junior/senior summer.  The spring season of the PG year likely would have little/no impact on the baseball recruiting outcome.

Gotcha, thanks. 

FeelGood - For the incoming 2018 class, Columbia took its "preferred 8" (for lack of a better term) plus two ballplayers were told that they would get no admissions help, but if they were accepted, they would effectively be on the team.  Both got in and are on the squad.  This was an exceptional class of recruits and there was not much separating the 8 from the 2 adds.

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