I am a 2021 INF interested in the University of Chicago baseball program. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with the program (academic requirements for acceptance, baseball requirements for recruitment, how serious baseball is taken, etc.) 

I will most likely contact them sometime during the spring/summer. I will probably be attending a Headfirst Camp this summer, but I am waiting to see what schools are attending before I register. My measurables in the spring will most likely be 90+ EV, 80-83 IF velocity, 7.3-7.5 60 yard dash. 

Any insight would be appreciated.

Original Post

You should reach out to Zoom2020 and Pitcherparent2020.  Both their sons got into U Chicago to play baseball this past December.   That is a tough one to pull off but clearly doable.  U Chicago will be at headfirst for sure.   Your academic measurables will be as important as your athletic measurables.  Best of luck.  

12whitesox12,

The most important recruiting measurables with Univ of Chicago is going to be your grades, academic rigor and SAT/ACT scores.  Very difficult school to get into with or without baseball. If you currently have desirable academic numbers for the Univ of Chicago and it is your top school, why wait?  Try to start a dialogue now with the coaches in advance of HeadFirst or other academic showcases.    Take the initiative.

Over the last 4 years, I've known a couple people that were seriously recruited by the Univ of Chicago. Both loved the campus and liked the Coaches a lot.    Both had extremely complimentary things to say about the school and the program after their sons visits.  I was led to believe the Coach has a little "academic latitude" with 1-2 players per year with Admissions, but not a lot.    This is why it is so important that you start a dialogue with the coaches to find out exactly what it is they are looking for, and if you have what they are looking for.  

Good luck!    

Here are some visuals:

2019 Player Distribution by State

 

Chicago 2019 Player Distribution by State

2019 Player Distribution by Position

Chicago 2019 Player Distribution by Position

2019 Team Roster Insights

- Player Attrition

- Graduation Class   under vs upper

In-State vs out-of-State

Head Coach Tenure

Chicago 2019 Team Roster Insights

Team performance last 5 years

Chicago Team record Last 5 year

2018 Athletic budget

Chicago 2018 Athletic Budget

Baseball budget last 2009 - 2018.

 

2019 baseball budget will be available in March

 

Chicago 2018 Baseball Budget 10 yrs

 

Hope this helps.

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Am I behind the 8 ball though? Seeking HA D3s, JUCO, and HA D1s. How many opportunities will I have the summer of my junior year if I attend these camps, am realistic about my level, and contact coaches at target schools?

The absolute first cut for these HAs are academics: GPA, ACT/SAT, rigor of curriculum. What are your stats in this arena?

The hot time for D3 recruiting is as a rising senior; Ivies begin as rising juniors, but continue through the next summer.

Are you sure you feel academically challenged at a JUCO? I know of no JUCOs which are on the same level as UC or HA D1s; you're at two different ends of the spectrum.

Any HF camp will be chock full of D3 and D1 HAs; don't limit yourself to specific HAs yet.

Last edited by Goosegg

@Goosegg Would only go to JUCO to develop as a baseball player. Took ACT end of last year and got a 27. That score was without studying, and I am now in a class. Next ACT I expect to be in the 30s, hopefully 32+. GPA and class rigor are all good. 

Thanks for the quick update.

Others will chime in; I view a 32 as the minimum AND that needs to he coupled with D1 skills to be realistically considered by an Ivy. (There are lower scores admitted, but it's a sliding scale with the lower scores being reserved for potential All-Americans. If you haven't done so, do a quick search for, and fill in, the Ivy Academic Index to see your score. Also, research the concept of "Ivy Bands." Here you can develop an understanding of the sliding scale.)

UC and its peer schools (e.g., Amherst, William's, Haverford, etc.) probably don't have the latitude the Ivys do with a super stud, so I'd speculate you need to be in the top half of the admitted class academic stats to have a legit chance to pass the admissions barrier. (The Common Data Set of each school will provide this info.)

Above all, hitting (for position players) is the real benchmark to be recruited, so I'd really focus here. Do you regularly square up against hi-velo pitching? 

Heading to a JUCO to improve your baseball is high risk, limited reward for a HA. Some HAs dont take transfers; most of the rest have standards higher than simply getting admitted as a regular freshman. Many JUCOs have more than enough players competing for a limited number of slots (search some of the threads here to get a feel for JUCO baseball), so there is no assurance you will make a team, much less get coaching which elevates your game.

If you're in no particular rush to get to college, consider either a PG year or a gap year dedicated to improving your game to a recruitable level. (Personally, I think a gap year for any reason is great; I offered my daughter one, but she was in a rush to join the working world, for some unknown reason.)

@Goosegg I appreciate your response as well. Do you think the measurables listed in the OP would be enough coupled with a 32 ACT for Patriot League, Ivys, and other HA schools? Last year was a rough year for me hitting wise. I completely revamped my swing and have improved my EV off a tee from around 80 at the beginning of the summer to around 87-89 today. I assumed that my numbers would be good enough for UC and schools of the like just from comparing them with PG and PBR stats. Big focus for me will be ACT. I've been told 5 point increases are common, so I hope this class I am in can help me. Thanks for the help.

12whitesox12 posted:

@Goosegg Would only go to JUCO to develop as a baseball player. Took ACT end of last year and got a 27. That score was without studying, and I am now in a class. Next ACT I expect to be in the 30s, hopefully 32+. GPA and class rigor are all good. 

12whitesox12,

Based on the College Navigator, you'd probably want to shoot a little higher ~34 Composite, 35 English, 33-34 Math on the ACT scores to put you at 50th percentile.   This is assuming you have the baseball skills the Univ of Chicago is looking for.  If you have these two things covered then you have a fighting chance with Admissions.   This is an extremely selective University.

https://nces.ed.gov/collegenav...amp;id=144050#admsns

Best of luck going forward!

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@fenwaysouth UC is test optional too. My grades are good, but I do have a few B+s. Is test optional really test optional? What other things would they look at and could it possibly help athletes?

Goosegg posted:

Thanks for the quick update.

Others will chime in; I view a 32 as the minimum AND that needs to he coupled with D1 skills to be realistically considered by an Ivy. (There are lower scores admitted, but it's a sliding scale with the lower scores being reserved for potential All-Americans. If you haven't done so, do a quick search for, and fill in, the Ivy Academic Index to see your score. Also, research the concept of "Ivy Bands." Here you can develop an understanding of the sliding scale.)

UC and its peer schools (e.g., Amherst, William's, Haverford, etc.) probably don't have the latitude the Ivys do with a super stud, so I'd speculate you need to be in the top half of the admitted class academic stats to have a legit chance to pass the admissions barrier. (The Common Data Set of each school will provide this info.)

Above all, hitting (for position players) is the real benchmark to be recruited, so I'd really focus here. Do you regularly square up against hi-velo pitching? 

Heading to a JUCO to improve your baseball is high risk, limited reward for a HA. Some HAs dont take transfers; most of the rest have standards higher than simply getting admitted as a regular freshman. Many JUCOs have more than enough players competing for a limited number of slots (search some of the threads here to get a feel for JUCO baseball), so there is no assurance you will make a team, much less get coaching which elevates your game.

If you're in no particular rush to get to college, consider either a PG year or a gap year dedicated to improving your game to a recruitable level. (Personally, I think a gap year for any reason is great; I offered my daughter one, but she was in a rush to join the working world, for some unknown reason.)

 

Below is any example of Parkland, 2019  ~31 players were on 4 yr rosters

 

Parkland 2019 Juco Players at 4yr schools

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12whitesox12 posted:

@fenwaysouth UC is test optional too. My grades are good, but I do have a few B+s. Is test optional really test optional? What other things would they look at and could it possibly help athletes?

Test optional is if you don't play baseball. Maybe someone else can correct me, but I believe you need to take the ACT/SAT if you plan to play D1  baseball.

12whitesox12, it sounds from your posts that you have high aspirations for school and baseball, and are wondering if your baseball abilities will be able to get into a super-selective school.  No-one can really say, because it will depend on lots of things, including (especially since you're a position player) how you play (hit) in front of coaches, at Headfirst or elsewhere.  The best advice is not to put all your eggs in one basket, or even only a few baskets.  There are a lot of great schools with baseball teams, you may not have heard of many of them.  Headfirst is great because it has a wide range of HA schools (in terms of, e.g., average ACT), and you will be seen by schools you haven't considered.  There are also some HA showcases in the spring and summer in Chicago (Scholarcase, Play to Win - I have no experience with these, but my son got their announcements), in addition to Headfirst/Showball on the coasts.

Do you have high school or travel coaches you can discuss this with?  Ask them what they think, and if they are willing to be references for you.

HA D3 recruiting gets very active in August before senior year, and you may not know where you stand before that.  Certainly you can email the UChicago coaches (and others) right now, tell them your measurables that can be backed up by your coaches whose contact info you provide, tell them what your schedule is for the summer, and ask where they are going to be recruiting.

nycdad posted:
12whitesox12 posted:

@fenwaysouth UC is test optional too. My grades are good, but I do have a few B+s. Is test optional really test optional? What other things would they look at and could it possibly help athletes?

Test optional is if you don't play baseball. Maybe someone else can correct me, but I believe you need to take the ACT/SAT if you plan to play D1  baseball.

UC is test optional. There are a few D1s that are also test optional. 

nycdad posted:
12whitesox12 posted:

@fenwaysouth UC is test optional too. My grades are good, but I do have a few B+s. Is test optional really test optional? What other things would they look at and could it possibly help athletes?

Test optional is if you don't play baseball. Maybe someone else can correct me, but I believe you need to take the ACT/SAT if you plan to play D1  baseball.

Test optional really means test optional and it's not an "extra" requirement to play D1 baseball.  There are a lot of colleges that do not require the SAT/ACT for admissions.   If the school doesn't require the SAT and you don't send an SAT it will NOT impact your chances to get into the school.   Below is a link to a listing of test optional schools.  For instance 12whitesox12 you mentioned the patriot league earlier you have Holy Cross and Bucknell who are optional.   You correctly point out U Chi is as well.  Good luck.

https://blog.prepscholar.com/t...tional-colleges-list

RoadRunner posted:
nycdad posted:
12whitesox12 posted:

@fenwaysouth UC is test optional too. My grades are good, but I do have a few B+s. Is test optional really test optional? What other things would they look at and could it possibly help athletes?

Test optional is if you don't play baseball. Maybe someone else can correct me, but I believe you need to take the ACT/SAT if you plan to play D1  baseball.

UC is test optional. There are a few D1s that are also test optional. 

I recall my son had to report his SAT score when he applied for the NCAA clearinghouse for D1 athletic eligibility.  I recall this was not an optional box.  Am I mistaken about this?

Smitty28 posted:
RoadRunner posted:
nycdad posted:
12whitesox12 posted:

@fenwaysouth UC is test optional too. My grades are good, but I do have a few B+s. Is test optional really test optional? What other things would they look at and could it possibly help athletes?

Test optional is if you don't play baseball. Maybe someone else can correct me, but I believe you need to take the ACT/SAT if you plan to play D1  baseball.

UC is test optional. There are a few D1s that are also test optional. 

I recall my son had to report his SAT score when he applied for the NCAA clearinghouse for D1 athletic eligibility.  I recall this was not an optional box.  Am I mistaken about this?

I just looked and it does seem to be some kind of eligibility factor for the clearinghouse.  This is not my area of expertise in the least so I look forward to the answer.   The school's admissions though wouldn't use these scores, I mean how could they if test-optional but NYCDad may be right that you have to take the test.   The OP  has likely already met the min standard for the clearinghouse with a 27 ACT.  Again though not my area of expertise.

A 32 ACT with solid baseball skills will be attractive by HC Fitzgerald.  Once you hit the academic benchmark, please remember these guys are true baseball guys looking for the best players they can get.  As pointed out, as a position player you've got to be a hitter! Other metrics: get the IF velo up to mid  80's you'll be fine, as long as: You have quick fielding actions, quick to the ball and athletic. Get your 60 speed down to 6.9 should be the goal, a 7.3 is not attractive.  Working on your start and finish will help immensely. It takes WORK and a PLAN to get there.

Plan to go to the June west coast HF event, then go again in July so the coaches have multiple times to see you. 

If you live in the Chicago area, inquire with your HS Varsity coach about the Chicagoland Classic. It's an event for the top 2-4 players of each team, as well as the top couple of players who have strong academics. (the event has a single day event just for top academic players)

Did you start on HS Varsity last year?  Are you a starter on your club team?  Does your club team play against strong competition?

 

Whitesox, listen to Gov.  Also, pretty sure Fitzgerald has fewer slots with admissions than some other HA academic schools.  Also, if he doesn't follow up with you after he's seen you play, and you've let him know UC is your top choice, then move on.  There are other great options out there.  

One other thought.  Try the SAT in addition to retaking the ACT.  My son scored 27 on ACT his first go around, too, then after having a tutor for six months, scored a  28. Yippee.  But then he took the old SAT a month later and got a 1440 which at the time = a 33/34 on the ACT. Go figure.

Last edited by smokeminside

Several D3 schools got in trouble several years ago, when using the test optional admissions for athletes. When considering Financial Aid for those who went the test optional route, Athletics were taken into consideration That is a big no-no in D3. 

Similar to the old Leadership scholly's, form long ago. FA departmanets were granting them based on being a captian for the prospective students sport. 

Now D3 has a better handle on that, and Thletics cannot be considered for FA, even in these cases. 

Won't  name, names because it was an innocent mistake. 

The test optional strategy is intended to boost the pool of underrepresented applicants. First gen, kids graduating from poor schools, socio-economically challeged (think Appalachia or inner city), etc. The purpose of broadening out the application pool was not to enhance or give any advantage to athletic recruits.

"The University of Chicago, which made the SAT and ACT optional last year, reports a record enrollment this fall of first-generation, low-income and rural students and veterans."  https://www.google.com/amp/s/w...uestions-of-fairness

Most, but not all, college baseball aspiring kids, will not fit into those categories (except -  maybe - first gen). 

 

Goosegg posted:

The test optional strategy is intended to boost the pool of underrepresented applicants. First gen, kids graduating from poor schools, socio-economically challeged (think Appalachia or inner city), etc. The purpose of broadening out the application pool was not to enhance or give any advantage to athletic recruits.

"The University of Chicago, which made the SAT and ACT optional last year, reports a record enrollment this fall of first-generation, low-income and rural students and veterans."  https://www.google.com/amp/s/w...uestions-of-fairness

Most, but not all, college baseball aspiring kids, will not fit into those categories (except -  maybe - first gen). 

 

Yes, and the schools did not intend to grant an athletic advantage. Athletics were not the goal. They just thought it was a good idea. They did it without running it past the NCAA compliance department at the schools. It did not even cross their minds. They just considered ti an extraciricular, like playing an intrument or taking part in Debate club. 

The pentalty was not harsh. They had to void any post season play that the ineligble students participated in. 

Good luck. Non-baseball anecdote, my daughter had perfect grades, 5s in 4 AP exams, and 1 4 in the 5th ones, and superb SATs. She really was interested in U. Chicago. Until she realized her academics were still in the bottom third of applicants. 

Goosegg posted:

The test optional strategy is intended to boost the pool of underrepresented applicants. First gen, kids graduating from poor schools, socio-economically challeged (think Appalachia or inner city), etc. The purpose of broadening out the application pool was not to enhance or give any advantage to athletic recruits.

"The University of Chicago, which made the SAT and ACT optional last year, reports a record enrollment this fall of first-generation, low-income and rural students and veterans."  https://www.google.com/amp/s/w...uestions-of-fairness

Most, but not all, college baseball aspiring kids, will not fit into those categories (except -  maybe - first gen). 

 

Goose -  I  follow your logic but read on....   I agree that test-optional was put in place to boost the pool of underrepresented applicants and therefore not intended to enhance or give advantages to athletic recruits.   When you say most baseball kids won't fit into these categories, while a broad generalization, it's likely very true.   

However unless I am way off base, test optional is for all students applying not just first gen, kids from tough socio-economic backgrounds, its also for baseball kids, kids from well off families etc.  You may not be making this point but I thought I would seek clarity.   My daughter applied and got into her school which was a test-optional school without shooting in her ACT (which was quite good but on the average). 

The point of clarity is for the OP.  He's Junior in HS trying to process this information.  His application will be treated just like every other student who applies test optional no matter what his economic, first language or athlete vs non athlete status might be.

Interesting Study

https://www.insidehighered.com...esearch-still-needed

Relevant part: 

What are the characteristics of students who choose not to submit test scores? Twenty-five percent of the students in the study were nonsubmitters. Women choose not to submit scores at higher rates than men. Black or African American students are twice as likely to be nonsubmitters, and underrepresented and low-income applicants are more likely not to submit scores than the general population.

Nonsubmitters are more likely to major in the humanities, social sciences or liberal arts. The study found a surprising number of students with access to good college counseling choosing not to submit, and concluded that these students appear to be “accurately playing the corners” in applying to college. As a counselor at an independent school, I find that interesting, because I have always suspected that admissions officers may assume that nonsubmitters from good public and private schools may have lower scores than is actually the case. I also wonder how many of those students may be appealing applicants because they have low financial need. The other interesting nugget was that a number of coaches at Division III colleges encourage recruits not to submit if they have modest test scores (Division I recruits are required to report test scores).

[my daughter played the corners accurately, low financial aid - that's another can of worms, lastly the D3 coach angle] 

Another reason why I like UChicago is because if I get in, tuition is paid for. Pretty sure anyone with a household income of less than $100,000 gets their tuition paid for, if I'm not mistaken.

12whitesox12 posted:

Another reason why I like UChicago is because if I get in, tuition is paid for. Pretty sure anyone with a household income of less than $100,000 gets their tuition paid for, if I'm not mistaken.

They guarantee free tuition for families that make up to $125K: https://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/cost-aid.

You would probably want to use their net cost calculator to get a better idea though. In addition to tuition, there is also fees and room & board which cost around $17K per year.

Chicago is among the most generous, but many other schools also have very generous need-based aid, and/or also academic scholarships.  I found a list here: https://studentloanhero.com/fe...ancial-aid-packages/.  There are other lists/calculators out there.

Don't narrow yourself too early; if you need to stay in Illinois, look up all the schools around you to see what they say about financial aid.  Keep your grades up and you will have many options.

"The point of clarity is for the OP.  He's Junior in HS trying to process this information.  His application will be treated just like every other student who applies test optional no matter what his economic, first language or athlete vs non athlete status might be."

Yes, absolutely unless coach supported, his application will be treated as every other applicant (i.e.  into the black box of an admissions committee).

I have no knowledge of that process; but I do note that UC admissions standards haven't dropped AND the pool has grown much larger. This implies that an already very low acceptance rate has dropped even further.

If a kid isn't coach supported, his baseball is viewed as an EC and will be measured against other ECs. Schools like UC want more than "just an EC;" these schools want to see ECs wherein the applicant was in leadership, passionate about the EC (e.g., nationally recognized [model UN, Seimens or ISEF, published author, etc.]), and stands above other (tens of thousands) of applicants. These schools want to see perseverance and a kid who "beats the odds;" that could mean a homeless kid heading toward valedictorian, a rural kid inventing a method to heat chicken coops, really anything which separates applicants. (And, if the coach isn't supporting you, you haven't separated in baseball, leaving other ECs to carry the load.) These schools want quality, not quantity type ECs.

As for cutting the FA corner, UC is need blind. 

OP re: financial aid. Most peer schools to UC have very similar FA - meaning middle class (and lower) families receive steeply discounted to free tuition maybe even extending that aid to room and board.

 PS. (From Gunner article: "Students who chose not to submit were admitted at lower rates than submitters. . ." So there is no advantage to a high scorer leaving that box blank.)

Last edited by Goosegg

Just replied directly to the OP by DM but thought I should put this information out there to help others that are interested in Chicago.  My son (RHP, 6'1" topping at 87) was accepted ED this fall.  The HC told us he gets a green or red light from admissions in the beginning of the process based on test scores and GPA.  Red is a hard stop but green is no guarantee - just gives the HC the OK to continue the recruiting process.  My son superscored at 32 and 1470 and had an inconsistent GPA (near 4.0 at public school for 2 years but dropped after he transferred to a top private school).  We never got a definite yes from the HC but he said he would advocate for son with admissions and recommended that he get his application in early so he would have time to do that.  I heard that another player that was admitted received a likely letter but the coach never mentioned that as an option to us (though we also never asked for it).  I believe the player that received the likely letter had a 35 and close to a 4.0. The HC said that the essays would be really important so son spent a lot of time on those.  It was risky and stressful applying ED without a definite yes, but UC was son's top choice and he had other schools/coaches that told him he would be admitted ED2 or RD to their schools if he didn't get in to UC, so we felt like he had a fallback position.  Son is also a legacy (grandparent and older) so that may have helped some.  

UC baseball admissions is flakey. Not sure if it's the admissions or coach who is the source for the lack of clarity. Strongly suggest that you have a backup plan if ED'ing with them.

Still a little confused with test optional. I know for D1/D2 it is necessary but I haven't found any concrete information on D3. It would seem unlikely that UChicago would allow test optional for baseball players but with the virus already cancelling the April ACT and possibly even the June ACT, does anyone have any information or guesses on how admissions would work for athletes?

Tests are necessary for D1 and D2 because those players have to go through the NCAA clearinghouse and be approved to be eligible to play.  SAT/ACT is part of that process.  It has nothing to do with any particular school.  Also, there are all kinds of technical details about what money can be given at D1 and D2 schools, that partly depends on the test scores.

D3 doesn't have any of that.  Eligibility is up to the school, so is financial aid (with some NCAA rules that BishopLeftiesDad mentioned).  So in theory, if the school is test optional, then no-one is required to submit tests for admission.

However, High Academic D3 admissions usually do a pre-read (where they tell the coach you are admissible) based on test scores and transcript, in the summer/early fall.  Coaches recruit players who pass the pre-read.  If you don't submit test scores, a school's admissions office might not be willing/able to completely do that pre-read.  In that case, the coach might decide to recruit other players that he can get a clear answer about.  I wonder if anyone here has experience with that?  My son did have test scores, so it wasn't an issue.

I do also know that this year, many schools are dropping their testing requirements, because so many are being cancelled.  So, it could be that HA athletic admissions will change the way they operate, too.

Great question.  I feel for the students that were trying to get those tests in only to have them canceled.  With a 2022, I'm wondering if the testing companies are going to come up with an online solution in case we deal with this again in the fall/winter of 2020.

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