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Ivy offer vs. Preferred Walk-on

mjddlsmjddls Posts: 4Registered User New Member
edited April 2011 in Athletic Recruits
Your options: a football offer from an ivy league school, or a preferred walk-on spot at a highly ranked in academics D1 school (such as Duke, Rice, Vanderbilt, Northwestern)?

There is a pretty big Ivy League bias in terms of where you get the best education. However, is the difference between an Ivy ranked in the top 10 or Vandy/Rice ranked at say #20 that big? Career wise, will an Ivy degree/connections make or break over these other schools?

Secondly, from a football standpoint, isn't an Ivy League offer the same as a preferred walk-on? Ivy's don't give schollys, so all your aid would be need/outside money at both schools. Are opportunities to play so much harder to come by as a preferred walk-on D1 that it isn't worth it over an "offer" from an Ivy?

If anyone has some special insight for me, send me a PM and I'll give you all the details. Otherwise, just start posting your opinions. I hear this question a decent amount.
Post edited by mjddls on
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Replies to: Ivy offer vs. Preferred Walk-on

  • trackpoptrackpop Posts: 157Registered User Junior Member
    Which school does he like best? Which school best fits his academic interests? Does he have strong feelings about the location? My son just did not want to go to Yale. Is money an issue? If so, compare the offers as ivies are often quite generous. If it were my son i would be focusing on the after college especially given that he does not appear to be a highly rated recruit going in.
  • sherpasherpa Posts: 2,611Registered User Senior Member
    I don't know the full meaning of "preferred walk-on", but I assume it means no athletic scholarship, no guaranteed spot on the team, and no help with admissions, whereas "Ivy offer" probably means help with admissions, probable spot on team, and of course no athletic scholarship.

    So much depends on other things: the kid's academic stats, academic aptitude, and athletic goals, the family's finances, etc.

    If it were either of my kids we'd probably opt for the the Ivy. But even as I say that, it depends on a lot of other things as well, such as which Ivy and how that matches the kid.

    Edit: It's not that I have some sort of Ivy worship syndrome; DD will be attending one of your above listed schools as a student/athlete next year.

    I hope this is helpful. Good luck.
  • TheGFGTheGFG Posts: 4,484Registered User Senior Member
    Well, it would seem to me that the Ivy offer is the better deal: superior academics, greater likelihood of playing time, and much better financial aid if you're eligible. And since injuries in football can be serious, I'd go with the higher-ranked school. However, I obviously don't know all the details and personal needs and preferences relevant to this situation.
  • mnmomof2mnmomof2 Posts: 806Registered User Member
    If $ is not an issue and the kid likes the ivy, I say go ivy. Preferred walk-ons at DI are often the practice or scout team. It can be quite disheartening (my "manny" was one). Practically the same time commitment (except for away games), but no $ and hardly any glory. Definite injury risk to consider as well. Constant worry about what the next recruiting class will have in kid's position. Two to five years after graduation, would there be a regret at passing up chance to go to the top ten school? I am not an ivy worshipper either, but this one would be pretty clear to my D.
  • Cardinal16Cardinal16 Posts: 139Registered User Junior Member
    Go with the Ivy spot for everything mnmomof2 said. Preferred walk-on = scout team and holding bags.
  • Runners2Runners2 Posts: 308Registered User Junior Member
    "However, is the difference between an Ivy ranked in the top 10 or Vandy/Rice ranked at say #20 that big? Career wise, will an Ivy degree/connections make or break over these other schools?"

    I don't know that the overall difference in quality of an Ivy in the top 10 or Vandy/Rice would be a make or break issue in our house, that would probably depend on the specific schools and the departments the athlete is interested in.

    "Secondly, from a football standpoint, isn't an Ivy League offer the same as a preferred walk-on?" No, these offers are likely not the same. As others have said, the Ivy is likely to give better financial aid - though not necessarily true for all Ivy's. Also, a likely letter from an Ivy (if available) is a much better option in terms of an admissions advantage than a spot as a preferred walk-on at another school.

    "Are opportunities to play so much harder to come by as a preferred walk-on D1 that it isn't worth it over an "offer" from an Ivy? " - yes, opportunities to play as a preferred walk-on may be pretty slim. Having a firm roster position at an Ivy would be our clear first choice among these options.
  • varskavarska Posts: 1,084Registered User Senior Member
    As others have said, the correct choice is the school / academic program that he feels is best for him. He certainly won't be held back in life because he chose Northwestern over an Ivy.
    If playing ball is a very important part of the college experience, he will be expected to play and contribute from day 1 at an Ivy (no redshirt bs, except for an injury). A "preferred walk-on" at Northwestern will probably have a very clean uniform at the end of his career. Plus, the money at an Ivy will be at least as good as other schools, and better if the family AGI is under ~150-180K.
  • ihs76ihs76 Posts: 1,506Registered User Senior Member
    If playing ball is a very important part of the college experience, he will be expected to play and contribute from day 1 at an Ivy

    I have no direct experience/knowledge, but the following was a surprise to me when I saw it. Very long, opinionated and obviously with a bias and a grudge, but has interesting data and information buried in the text.

    College athletic recruiting lessons learned by a Miramonte Dad

    Again, reinforcing the meme of choose academics first.
  • authorauthor Posts: 215Registered User Junior Member
    Preferred walk on will get help with admissions, at Duke, Vandy, Stanford, Rice. and Northwestern.

    Preferred walk on are assured a spot on the team and some travel and dress for the games.

    The reasons athletes choose to pursue the path of a preferred walk-on:

    The athlete targets a team considered more athletically prestigious. Preferred wallk ons do go to conference championships, bowl games and get the gifts of participants and champions.

    Targeted team may already be saturated at their position, doesn't mean it won't open next year.

    Athlete chooses school for purely academic/geographic reasons.

    Athlete rather carry on tradition of being part of a particular team (scion of alumnus) rather than being placed in a starting position.

    Depends on your career choice .... going phD=academics are ivy snobs.
    I know Duke, Rice, Northwestern, Stanford Vandy alums with snobby jobs too.

    Harvard Isn?t Worth It Beyond Mom?s Party Chatter: Amity Shlaes - Bloomberg
  • riverrunnerriverrunner Posts: 2,707Registered User Senior Member
    ^^Ironically, the author, Amity Shlaes, is a 1982 graduate of Yale. Maybe Harvard wasn't worth it, but apparently Yale was. You can't tell me her career wasn't informed by her university experience...

    Full disclosure: one kid at an Ivy, another at a non-Ivy. They are both at schools that are a great fit for their needs, preferences and interests. We never considered future income as a factor in college selection, but rather the best place for each kid to spend the next four years of their lives. We thought a lot about the peer group, academic/athletic opportunities, and for one of them, the weather. Really. She needs to see the sun every day....

    Every kid and family should consider their unique little darling and own financial constraints as they go through this process. I do agree with those who say massive debt is a mistake. That sucks the fun out of college, no matter which one you pick.
  • fenwaysouthfenwaysouth Posts: 859Registered User Member
    My two cents......

    My son had similiar choices for baseball. For the sake of disclosure, he selected the Ivy school. If it was his decision to make again, it would be the same criteria:

    1) Go where you can play or have a chance to play soon. This was a huge factor. Now that he is in college, it is even a bigger factor than previously thought.
    2) Go where he is wanted by the coaches
    3) Go where the academic fit is best, and he feels most comfortable socially

    My son had no intentions of being drafted or going pro. If your son has his sites set on going Pro, then I would go to the non-Ivy school.

    Feel free to PM if you want to discuss.
  • authorauthor Posts: 215Registered User Junior Member
    The "preferred" term is added to walk on because the coach DOES want/invites the athlete on the team.

    Ivy Offers, like scholarships, do not equate to playing time. Coach will insert Best player.

    Similarly Profs give A's to best students, academics are rewarding at Harvard, Yale, Rice, Stanford, Duke, Vandy, Northwestern, Williams, Amherst, Emory.
    I do think IVY degree will open doors the further away from the NorthEast a grad moves.

    Shales married a Harvard grad. Maybe this, too, informs the writing? :)
  • riverrunnerriverrunner Posts: 2,707Registered User Senior Member
    ^^ author, love it. Credibility on this article just left the station.
  • 3togo3togo Posts: 5,265Registered User Senior Member
    edited March 2011
    The "preferred" term is added to walk on because the coach DOES want/invites the athlete on the team.

    Ivy Offers, like scholarships, do not equate to playing time. Coach will insert Best player.

    This may only be semantics but if this were my kid I would not describe the situation in the terms above at all.

    Being a recruited walk-on does mean you are wanted ... but that is after the 85 kids who are on scholarships ... so as others have mentioned playing time might be a pretty uphill battle.

    IVYies have limited recruiting slots ... I believe less than the 85 scholarship spots ... the IVYies also ask people to walk-on.

    So to me being a recruit certainly seems to imply your son is much higher on the pecking order at the IVY than the other D1 school.

    I know someone who was a recruited walk-on bball player at Duke ... 4 years of varsity ... 4 NCAA tournies with multiple final fours ... multiple friends in the NBA ... and played maybe 100 minutes all 4 years combined where he would have been a stud at all but about 50 schools ... and he absolutely loved the experience. It's all about what is most important to the player.
  • Cardinal16Cardinal16 Posts: 139Registered User Junior Member
    ^^ I agree. Clearly the coach wanted a lot more kids more. And when a coach gives a kid a scholarship, he's looking for those kids to end up being the ones that contribute to his team. They get more chances and are favored, as they should be. To say a walk on has equal chance at the D1 level is ridiculous, it's very possible...not likely. It matters what you want out of your experience.

    I know kids who's parents could very very easily afford the education that walked onto teams and became role plays. They don't need that scholarship at all, but the scholarship represents truly being apart of the team at a lot of schools, so the coach awards that minimal role player instead of using it on another freshman with high potential.
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