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Swarthmore or Ivies?

CollegesearchingforeverCollegesearchingforever 22 replies5 postsRegistered User New Member
edited November 2013 in Harvard University
Hello,

I'm a recruited athlete for Swarthmore, and I've been having trouble with this question-

Swarthmore, or Ivies/Stanford?

I visited Swarthmore, and I liked it overall; campus was extremely beautiful, people were very down to earth, and it had a pretty calm vibe -- something that I liked alot(I'm more of a sedate kind of person, even though I can be very outgoing and enthusiastic). One of the main reasons I'm applying there is because I got recruited; I had a couple of other offers from schools but Swarthmore was the best option in terms of academics/athletics. I want to give atleast a shot at going pro after college, so going to a school where I was recruited was were necessary.

I know it's a weakness, but I've been addicted to the Ivy Brand-Name since I was young, that's just how I grew up. Of course, they have prestige for a reason -- an academic environment with the greatest resources/funding, famous professors, and extremely smart people. And an Ivy League Degree is the most attractive Bachelor's degree you can have, whether people like it or not.

So we come to the crossroads of Swarthmore and Ivies. Since I am recruited, my admissions process at Swarthmore would be alot easier -- the closest thing to guaranteed admission as I could get. I could risk this opportunity and make my application process alot harder and apply to the Ivies(especially Harvard, Yale, etc.). Considering the Swat coaches only recruit people who they think can get in, I think my academic credentials have a good shot at the Ivies/Stanford as well. And oh, going to Stanford would mean having no shot at playing on the varsity team -- their teams are just too good. However, I do want to major in science-related field, and we know Stanford(and Harvard and Yale) are much more ahead of Swarthmore when it comes to research,resources, and the number of experts in the field.

The debate comes down to this- having a much more stress-free application process with Swarthmore and a guaranteed chance of playing varsity level, OR risking it all and applying to an Ivy(I wouldn't leave Swarthmore for Brown, Cornell, or Dartmouth. Only Harvard,Yale, Princeton, Columbia, or UPenn), hopefully getting in, and trying to play for their DI team. Obviously, going to Stanford would eliminate my dream of giving pro sports a shot, but it also would bring in opportunities than I'm not sure Swarthmore could provide.

So, what are your guys opinions? The only things going against Swarthmore are prestige(I know I've mentioned it alot, but when it comes down to it, all these colleges provide excellent undergrad experiences, and if one college has more prestige and name-recognition than the other, it doesn't hurt), the fact that it has less resources and does not do research in science at the level that the Ivies/Stanford does, and my slight wariness of its small-ness. I go to an extremely small school, and I might end up really liking the small population, I don't know. But this last consideration is really small, just FYI. The big things going against dropping this opportunity and applying to names that are better in science related fields is the fact that my dreams of giving a shot at pro sports has a good chance of being destroyed. I know playing DIII sports and trying to give pro sports a shot is impractical, but I'm willing to work for it, if I see that I am improving at the pace needed through college. Also, that's another thing, I'm not sure the courseload at Swarthmore would fit with my athletic endeavours; I know applying to Ivies would mean maybe not having a spot on the team at all, but I have heard that their courseloads are easier, which means a better chance at a higher GPA. A 3.9 from Harvard and a 3.5 from Swarthmore sound really different when you're applying to Grad school(assuming i can get into Harvard). And yeah, if sports dont work out after college then I'll go to grad school.

Let me know what you guys think! Also, as you can tell, my top choices, excluding Swat, would be Harvard or Stanford.
edited November 2013
41 replies
Post edited by Collegesearchingforever on
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Replies to: Swarthmore or Ivies?

  • gibbygibby 10528 replies246 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    First off, not one Ivy (or Stanford) is similar to Swarthmore's campus -- not one.

    Most of the Ivies -- Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Brown, UPenn -- are located in major cities, which is the antithesis of Swarthwmore. Princeton, Dartmouth and Cornell are closer to the "vibe", but you do not get the "calmness" found at Swarthmore.

    So, the one side of debate comes down to this: Are you a city mouse or a country mouse? Each has their pluses and minuses.

    Secondly, Swarthmore is a division 3 athletic school, while the ivies and Stanford are Division 1. Are you are a competitive Division 1 athlete?

    If I'm reading your post correctly, an ivy league coach HAS NOT seen you play in a showcase, and you HAVE NOT been contacted for your sport by an ivy league coach . . . so you chances of being a recruited athlete at a Division 1 school are absolutely zero (sorry, but this is the reality). The best you could do would be a walk-on, but then you would have to be admitted on your academics, which you have not listed in your post. What are your ACT/ACT scores? GPA? Rank?
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  • gibbygibby 10528 replies246 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Sorry, my time ran out on the above post. Are you a competitive applicant for an Ivy League School without your athletics? What are your ACT/SAT scores? Your GPA? Your Rank? How many AP's have you taken? AP Test Scores? What are your SAT Subject Test Scores? Do you think your teachers will rave about your scholastic ability in the classroom? If an ivy league coach is not using one of their slots for you, your academics matters more than your athletic ability.
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  • Falcon1Falcon1 1919 replies31 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @golfguy123 I hope your sport is not golf because the scores shot by Stanford (or even Harvard) are far cry from those at Swarthmore. Then again, I don't even know if Swarthmore even recruits for golf.
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  • SoCalDad2SoCalDad2 854 replies14 postsRegistered User Member
    I don't understand how you think you have a chance to be a pro after college, yet you state you can't even make the varsity at Stanford. I think you need to be more realistic about the pro thing.
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  • CollegesearchingforeverCollegesearchingforever 22 replies5 postsRegistered User New Member
    @gibby. SAT: 2260. GPA: 95.73 out of 100. Rank not calculated. I will have taken 6 AP's by the end of High school. I have two 5's and one 4 so far. SAT II Chem and US History 710 and 780 respectively. Yes, I would have to walk-on, sorry if I wasn't clear about that.

    @Falcon1 Stanford is one of the best teams in the country. Not every pro golfer was Stanford-good when he played college golf. My average is about 1 stroke off the Harvard players(I wouldn't be their best player nor their worst), and they have also had 2-5 years to develop their game from the point that I'm at. Also, at Brown I could probably eventually make it to the best on their team, it would probably be after sophomore year of college though.



    @SoCalDad2 As I said, many pro golfers who are currently successful could not have made the Stanford golf team. Yes, I know, the chances are slim. But you also have to realize that there are golfers who have made it to the PGA tour from DIII. Also, there is a golfer who was a 4 handicap(approximately low-D3 golf level) and is now top 20 in the world. Finally, there is a golfer who STARTED golf when he was 19, and beat Tiger Woods at the age of 37 to win a major championship. Yes, my chances are alot slimmer than those in D1. But I do believe there is a chance, and I'm willing to give a shot at it. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. If it doesn't work out, I'll go to grad school.

    Also, if I haven't made it clear already- if I go to an Ivy and don't get on the team, I won't give pro golf a shot. Thanks for the advice everybody.
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  • Falcon1Falcon1 1919 replies31 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I don't understand. If you're scoring essentially the same as the Harvard guys, why weren't you recruited by them or any of the other Ivies on your list? Columbia, for one, could definitely use you.

    Without the golf hook, you are just one of thousands upon thousands of competitive applicants at these schools. Would you really pass up the opportunity to attend a fantastic school like Swarthmore (and definitely playing golf) just for the small chance that you might be accepted to a school like Harvard which you desire mainly for the "Ivy Brand-Name" as you put it?

    Tough decision, one that only you can make. Make sure you have safeties if you go with the Ivy strategy.

    Btw, for every unlikely success story you can come up with, there are a thousand that didn't work out - especially in golf. In our town, there was a kid who was a golfing prodigy winning state and national events. He was recruited to play for a powerhouse school down south. He played in a few tournaments his freshman year and was benched his last three years. He finally gave up on golf a few years after graduating.
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  • gibbygibby 10528 replies246 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @golfguy123: If you're really interested in Harvard, get off of CC. Call (do not email) Kevin Rhoads, Head Coach of Men's and Women's Golf (781) 487-2510. Be ready to supply him with film and stats. If you're as good as you say you are, he might be able to fast track the recruiting process for you. At the very least, you will be able to get a feel for Harvard Golf vs. Swarthmore Golf. As much of an athlete's time is spent with the coach and team, you really need to do more investigation to see what school is the best fit. If the coach can't do anything for you this year, you might be laying the groundwork for a successful transfer for your sophomore year.
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  • DunboyneDunboyne 1155 replies4 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Isn't there a large difference in the scoring between Harvard and Swat? Aren't the Harvard guys shooting low to mid 70s far more often than Swat, who are more like high 70s to low 80s? There must be 5+ strokes difference. Doesn't that, and the D1 vs D3 athletic environment, offer a sharp contrast in the type of competitive environment that you'll be facing?

    Your decision revolves around future pro potential, cost of attendance, the logic of turning down an acceptance to Swat for a possible acceptance to an Ivy, prestige issues, and what you want to do if golf doesn't pan out.

    Let's start with the future pro potential. How good are you? This isn't rhythmic gymnastics. What's your scoring average on the last 10 different courses you've played? Honestly, are you at 82.3 or 74.5? Big difference.

    If you cherish discretion, just do what gibby suggested and get on the horn to the Harvard coach.
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  • CollegesearchingforeverCollegesearchingforever 22 replies5 postsRegistered User New Member
    @falcon1 @gibby @dunboyne

    You all bring up very good points. I am not a newbie to recruiting. I've emailed many many schools, and I know the in's and outs.

    @faclon1 The guys they recruited might have been better than me by a stroke or two, and/or played in bigger tournaments. There's only 2 recruited spots available per team, and dozens of qualified players. There are many, many qualified players who don't get recruited.

    @gibby I have contacted Harvard golf, and they picked up other players. He said that my academics were good enough but my golf needed to improve a little bit. Yes, I'm thinking that if I improve enough to please the coaches, I might transfer.

    @dunboyne Yes the average guy on the Swat team has much higher average than the average harvard player. However, I'll be the best player on the Swat team coming in to my freshman year. My average is about a 77, so while I might need improvement for harvard's team, there are many, many DI players that have worse averages than I do. If I didn't see potential to play on a DI team I wouldn't be going through all this hassle. one of the main reasons I chose Swat is cause I know I'd play every match. In DI teams, even the best recruited athlete has to qualify for next week's tournament every week, meaning if he has a bad day, he might not play. Swat plays the same number of tournaments as the IVies, and I know I'd play all of them. That's one of the reasons I chose to play golf for it.

    I think I've pretty much decided. Swat's the best option considering everything. If I improve my game enough to the point of harvard's best players by the time sophomore year comes around, which is very possible, I'll see my options in regards to transferring.
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  • gibbygibby 10528 replies246 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I have contacted Harvard golf, and they picked up other players. He said that my academics were good enough but my golf needed to improve a little bit.

    Well then, you have your answer. If you want to play golf, Harvard is not an option. Even if you were admitted to Harvard on your academics, and walked-on the team, the coach would not be using you all that much, as he will have made commitments to his recruited players. So, if you want to play golf, Swarthmore seems like your best option!
    I'll be the best player on the Swat team coming in to my freshman year.

    That is fabulous! I don't know of many freshman who could make that claim. Be well, be happy!
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  • DunboyneDunboyne 1155 replies4 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    A 77 average is good, no doubt about it, but it also depends how old you are. If you're 17 or 18, so much the better. I encourage your pro dreams. Stranger things have happened. This is why you have to think about how best to improve your golf game. Look at what you're getting at Swarthmore: assured acceptance, the chance to play much more, the cost is probably less, and it's a fabulous academic environment. We're not talking about the 20th ranked LAC vs Harvard. Many kids would donate at least one thumb to attend Swarthmore. Maybe even a few golfers.

    If you're not a shoe-in for regular action at an Ivy, then Swat is very likely going to help your golf game more. I wouldn't say that if we were talking about a sport like tennis where quality hitting partners are critical. It's golf. It's pretty much you against the course, so it really doesn’t matter if the competition is lower at D3. The competitive fire inside of you makes all the difference. Not totally, because it’s also important to be challenged on the leaderboard, but your own desire is going to help you more than any outside competition.

    I think you’re making a great choice.
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  • CollegesearchingforeverCollegesearchingforever 22 replies5 postsRegistered User New Member
    @Dunboyne FINALLY SOMEONE GETS IT. DI and DIII matters little in terms of your own improvement-- it's only a marker of how good you are at that point. You can still work hard and improve and give a shot. If it doesn't work out, oh well! Atleast you won't have the regret. There's no harm. I don't know why people think of chasing your dreams as a bad thing if you have a backup plan(aka education/grad school).

    What you've been talking about is exactly what I've been thinking for the past days. It's not like I'm settling for Swat academically. There are many students with grades better than me who would give alot to get into a school as selective and good as Swat. Going to the Ivies might have some more benefit for me in terms of name-recognition and such, but I can go there for grad school. Ivy admission, Ivy golf, etc. are not guaratnees -- golf and admission almost are guarantees at Swarthmore -- or the closest thing you can get to a guarantee.
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  • CollegesearchingforeverCollegesearchingforever 22 replies5 postsRegistered User New Member
    @gibby I could play harvard golf, but that would mean walking-on and being one of their best players. I would improve alot more at Swat I think, cause I'd definitely play all the matches.
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  • gibbygibby 10528 replies246 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^^ I don't know how Harvard's golf team works, but I have known student's who have walked-on to Harvard's baseball team. Harvard's coaches are more committed to their recruited players than their walk-ons because the recruited students could have gone elsewhere to play ball . . . and may do so if not given the playing time they were promised. Consequently, while a walk-on practices with the team, they spend most of their time on the bench, and get to play a few innings in games where the score doesn't matter. Does the golf team work the same way? You would know better than me.
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  • Falcon1Falcon1 1919 replies31 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    "A 77 average is good, no doubt about it, but it also depends how old you are. If you're 17 or 18, so much the better. I encourage your pro dreams. Stranger things have happened. "

    I don't know if I'm reading the junior rankings right but wouldn't a 77 put you about 700th in country?

    Good luck at Swarthmore, you've made a great choice! Hope you have a fantastic season and get to where you want to be. I'm thinking you'll end up loving being at Swarthmore and also being a being the big fish in a small pond.
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  • Falcon1Falcon1 1919 replies31 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^^ Sorry typed on phone
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  • DunboyneDunboyne 1155 replies4 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Falcon1. I believe golf rankings don't go exclusively by scoring average. They take into account placings. Strong correlation, yes, but it's just that. You might find kids in the top 50 with a 75 because they place and compete well. It's not impossible that a young golfer could shave a couple of strokes off his average in a year because something starts clicking for him. Putting, for example, makes a huge difference to scoring, and that can come and go mysteriously.
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  • Falcon1Falcon1 1919 replies31 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Dunbpyne Well, i defer to you as someone who seems to know what you're talking about. I am an expert, however, in putting as well as all other parts of my game mysteriously coming or going.
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  • JHSJHS 18324 replies71 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    If the OP really wants to pursue the possibility of a professional golf career, don't a lot of things besides playing in college matches matter? For instance, the playable golf season during the academic year at Swarthmore is probably a few weeks longer than at Harvard, but it's months shorter than at Stanford, or, say, Duke, or Davidson or Rhodes.

    I know Stanford has an amazing course the golf team can use. Where does Swarthmore play? How much access to the course does the team have?
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  • Falcon1Falcon1 1919 replies31 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Very good point @JHS. Another thing to consider is that college golf in the Northeast is often played in brutal weather such as howling wind and driving rain. When the OP is comparing his scores to say the Harvard team, under similarly harsh conditions and 7000+ yard courses, could he honestly put up the kinds of scores they do?

    It also raises the question of how realistic OP's goal of becoming a professional really is, even if he was in a warmer climate.

    An informal poll of professional athletes from all different sports found that the majority believed that golf was the most difficult sport to play. I don't know of any sport where a kid who is not one of the top HS players coming out of high school has a viable shot at becoming a pro. According to OP, you can be a 4 handicap in college or start at age 19 and be a top professional or beat Tiger Woods. These anecdotes aside, however, I firmly believe that all endeavors require the proverbial 10,000 hours of practice; and after logging those kind of hours, if you're not near the top of the pile, it is most likely not meant to be.
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