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Best way to handle Merit at D3 or D2

AlwaysMovingAlwaysMoving 213 replies2 threads Junior Member
My D has interest in a few LACs (Clark University for example) that she would be one of their fastest swimmers and near the top for academics. I'm wondering what is the best way to maximize merit money in this situation? She could check out the school and never mention swimming until after merit money is announced if that makes a difference.

Thanks in advance!

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Replies to: Best way to handle Merit at D3 or D2

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23378 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Merit money will be offered to your daughter under the same terms as any other student - based on academics and not athletics. IMO it will not matter if she mentions swimming at all.

    Where the coach can be helpful is in making sure she gets all merit she's otherwise entitled to. Is there a history department merit award that she might win? The coach may know about it and tell you to apply.
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  • AcersaccharumAcersaccharum 280 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @AlwaysMoving My D19 applied to D3 LAC’s (non-NESCAC, non-elite), and was offered merit across the board as suggested by the NPC’s. As @twoinanddone stated, her offers were the same as any other applicant.

    However, since swimming was so important to her, she had been in touch with the coaches and knew they had room for her on their roster. Once she submitted the application, she emailed the coaches and they contacted admissions, probably only to verify that she was in fact a “recruited” swimmer. None of the coaches had admissions pull, but they are great contacts to have during the admissions process.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4585 replies18 threads Senior Member
    I would do the opposite. As stated get the coaches involved with admissions. Once you get merit then the fun starts. You can talk to the financial aid /scholarship departments and see if one of the schools will increase money to you in any form.My daughter was an in demand theater design student. We actually raised what we were getting by sending one schools financial package to the other school that she really wanted to go to. They not only matched but exceeded the other schools package by an impressive amount. We emailed the head of her department along with the aid department and head of school. What we found out is that at a lot of lacs these departments talk. If they want your daughter they will make it happen, within reason. But you don't have to settle for your first offer. My daughter had 3 schools offering more money. Looking back on this it was sorta crazy.
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  • RuralAmericaRuralAmerica 210 replies4 threads Junior Member
    My daughter has received acceptance and merit to a D3 school and we attended their recruited athlete event about a week after her admissions decision came out. We’ve been just as much in touch with the financial aid office as we have been with the coach. Her offer came with a very generous merit award, and she’s been encouraged to apply for other scholarships offered. While we were there the coach said she had worked in admissions and to take the financial aid package received later in the year, much like you would the first offer when buying a car. She said there is always a little wiggle room and it is best to reach out to the admissions/FA office if you need to discuss finances to make it work. She said she rarely has seen the financial piece not working out in the end for someone they really want to be there.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4585 replies18 threads Senior Member
    This is what I am taking about ^^^
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  • eb23282eb23282 596 replies16 threads Member
    ^^^ is the same advice to any student. D3 athletes don't get any more/less merit offered than every other student.
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  • AcersaccharumAcersaccharum 280 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I should clarify that we were not applying for financial aid, so no “package” to compare. Merit aid in the form of school scholarships are available equally to all eligible students.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29654 replies58 threads Senior Member
    D3 athletes are not allowed to get merit money on the basis of their athletics. But the sport is not ignored in the process. It's counted as any EC. I can tell you that the athletes I know, get merit money and financial aid , a bit better if not a lot better than other students, if they have active coaches and Athletic DIrectors advocating for them.
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  • RuralAmericaRuralAmerica 210 replies4 threads Junior Member
    D3 athletes are not allowed to get merit money on the basis of their athletics.

    Absolutely! The merit money my DD has received is strictly based on her academics. The scholarships they’ve encouraged her to apply for are also for her academic work as well as for her service work and creative talents.

    The thing I like best about the D3 schools is they are really looking for more than just an athlete and are looking each student as a well-rounded individual that has something to offer even outside of their respective sport.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4585 replies18 threads Senior Member
    When we exhausted merit etc we asked for a housing allowance. They found extra money for help with it....
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  • recruitparentrecruitparent 60 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Knowstuff "When we exhausted merit etc we asked for a housing allowance. They found extra money for help with it...."
    Do you think that the found extra money is specifically because of athletics or theater design student in your D's case? Meaning for a non athlete/non-theater design student the college would not bother with or try to find extra money?

    cptofthehouse...."can tell you that the athletes I know, get merit money and financial aid , a bit better if not a lot better than other students,...."
    I am a bit skeptical of this, especially athletes getting "a lot better" aid for D3 schools or even lower end D2 schools than non-athletes. I think it is often over stated by parents around the sports fields, etc.
    Plus in this competitive college market, depending on the school, some schools are having trouble competting for students against the top-end well known schools so I wonder if it was a much of a function of the school needing students and trying to land an interested student than it is athletics.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23378 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Athletes are different than a theater student getting money for housing or the department sending a Mary A Smith scholarship her way. The NCAA does not allow more money to go to the athlete just because the coach really wants her. Fine for the music or theater department, not fine for the athlete.

    They really DO look at those things. They have to send in a report of who got what, and what were other non-athletes in the same position getting. The coach can make sure they get everything they are qualified for, but there won't be extras just because the coach wants it. I disagree with @cptofthehouse that athletes get "merit money and financial aid , a bit better if not a lot better than other students." In fact, I think other students benefit from the financial aid that athletes get (need) to go to that school. If the school wants to give it to athletes, they have to give it to everyone in equal measures.
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  • AlwaysMovingAlwaysMoving 213 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Thanks everyone for your advice and insight.

    Does all of this "negotiating" take place before EA/ED?
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4585 replies18 threads Senior Member
    @recruitparent. First off put the @ sign before the name without a space and then we will get notified just like you did now 😉.

    We were basically told she was in demand. She was accepted to 11/12 schools pretty much based on her skill set.

    So we wanted to capitalize on it. I had my son coming up in 2 years. So yes we played this game but it was well worth it. They wanted her. She wanted them but we had to get closer financially. So after they told us they maxed out with merit and adding some other awards I just asked the question. "How are you able to help us with housing" they came back with $3,000/year more.
    That sealed the deal. We didn't care where the money was coming from. It's the end result that's important.

    On the sports side my friends son had similar situation with 2 D3 schools after him for baseball
    . I gave him some advice and he gained something like $7,000/year more. Plus he loves the school.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4585 replies18 threads Senior Member
    @AlwaysMoving.. Some might disagree but both. When calling scholarship department then another department we found out that at some schools they definitely talk. Especially at small Lacs. So it kinda helps to let them know you have a true interest.

    @recruitparent. The money the baseball kid got was all merit /academic not baseball
    But the coach saying to admissions /financial aid, I want the kid make it happen doesn't hurt.. Lol.

    My friends kid is at Knox College and they also stack awards.
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  • recruitparentrecruitparent 60 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @Knowsstuff I agree with @twoinanddone
    Music and theater different than athletics.
    The coach can make sure they get everything they are qualified for, but there won't be extras just because the coach wants it...........If the school wants to give it to athletes, they have to give it to everyone in equal measures.

    @Knowsstuff ...On the sports side my friends son had similar situation with 2 D3 schools after him for baseball.
    I gave him some advice and he gained something like $7,000/year more. Plus he loves the school.
    This seems to imply that the D3 school gave your friend's son $7000/year More because of athletics/baseball. They may have received more dollars than they initally expected and it is great that he loves the school but all I am saying is that I am skeptical that it had to do with sports. If the parents of a non-athlete went back to the school and asked what could they do, I believe they would have ended up in the same place.
    I have often heard stories of D3 schools wanting their kid for a specific sport so they "find" extra money because of sports. Often it is a school that offers good tuition discounts or meritt & aid packages, which would go to all qualified students, regardless of sports.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23378 replies17 threads Senior Member
    It actually does make a difference if the money is given for housing or meals rather than tuition. It is taxable to the student if it is for room and board.

    My daughter had some awards that were just for tuition and some that were for meals (as part of her athletic scholarship). The school was very specific when breaking out the payments and applying the payments. We even asked them for a cheaper meal plan because she wasn't using all the funds since she'd be taxes on them, but they said no, that if she were to get a meal plan as part of her award, it was the $1800 plan. Taxable.
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  • LMC9902LMC9902 255 replies6 threads Junior Member
    I'm curious about this too. My D'21 is being recruited by two D3 schools that are strong academically and where she should be eligible for merit money. The coach of one school met with us at a tournament last week and told her that it would be better for merit if she applied ED next fall instead of waiting for RD. She said we would likely get more merit money (academic) then. This makes no sense to me though because they have no incentive to give her more money if she applies ED.

    Has anyone gone through this? I am confident she would get in RD because she is a top recruit, strong student and also URM. Should we believe the coach and go ED if she decides on this school? Or wait and go with our gut, which is tell me that's a better path to them offering more merit. She will be welcomed on the team either way and may even play two sports since another sport is also recruiting her at this school.
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4032 replies27 threads Senior Member
    @LMC9902 I would trust the coach as they have experience with admissions and merit money, and yes, some schools do give the same merit at ED as at RD (including my own D3 athlete's school). For my kid going through ED and recruiting, both coach and admissions officer projected the minimum merit he would get based on his academic record -- he actually got more than projected, which we attribute to a coherent application which emphasized what he would bring to campus beyond his sport.

    Depending on the school/sport/recruit, the risk for a recruit in holding off for RD is that the roster spot is given to someone who was willing to commit ED.
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  • LMC9902LMC9902 255 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Thanks @Midwestmomofboys I think we may need to wait until the fall to see how it plays out. The coach said that they don't do merit pre-reads anymore, whereas they did before. In that scenario, we won't know if she will be given anything in ED but maybe they will do it differently for an athlete who is being asked to commit.

    She has a roster spot, we have been told that already and this coach is very excited to have her on the team. It's a good fit all around so we will ultimately do what the coach says most likely but I wanted to see if anyone had been in that position.
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