Coach support @ UPenn - likely letters for specific schools/programs? Wharton vs CAS vs Engineering

Does anyone know if coaches at UPenn can offer likely letters for specific schools/programs? E.g. Wharton (or M&T) or Engineering instead of the College of Arts and Sciences?

Is it dependent on strength of the recruit and/or importance of sport?

Are there other Universities which distinguish between undergraduate school/curriculum and specific support by the coach?

Hi, I believe so. Our S21 was asked by the coach what school he plans to apply to as part of the preread process. Before the preread, the coach was also very straightforward as to the grades and test scores that would be needed for the two schools being considered. Sorry, no clue about other sports at UPenn or universities.

The coaches don’t offer or issue the likely letters, the admissions office does.

I did read on here last year that a coach at another school wouldn’t offer support for some majors. I was a little shocked by that.

Schools yes. Specific and selective programs like M&T I’d be surprised but I have no specific knowledge of that. Coaches will know though.

This is so important to understand. Student athletes are asking the coach for a spot on the team and full support through the admissions process…not for a likely letter.

Some accepted athletic recruits never even receive a likely letter due to timing issues.

I don’t have specific knowledge at UPenn in the sport I assume you are talking about, but agree with politeperson that the coach will know if it’s possible and what it takes for acceptance into certain schools. Then, admissions will be the final arbiters of the acceptance and school decision.

Good luck.

Thanks for all the responses.

I should have been more clear in my question - I do realize that the admissions office issues the LL, although my understanding is if the pre-read comes back positive and the coach is willing to provide full support that there are very few instances when a LL (and therefore admission) is not given by the admissions committee (aforementioned timing issues aside). So after the pre-read it really ultimately is up to the coach to select who they support (and hence, while semantically incorrect, it’s the coach’s decision who ultimately gets the LL).

Again, semantics. But if the preread is not positive, the applicant is DoA and no amount of pleading by the coach will result in a LL. So continue to split hairs on who wields the power. ?

I think the question here really is how much pull the coach has for certain colleges or programs within a particular university. I have wondered the also - like when submitting for a preread do you have a shot at Wharton, Dyson, an Engineering College or should you expect support for Arts and Sciences only for example - understood this is up to admissions generally but I’ve always been curious how much pull the coach has for the most selective colleges within a particular university/how much weight admissions gives to coaches in admissions to highly selective programs.

It may vary by university. For Penn, my understanding is the LL can be issued for any of Penn’s 4 colleges. Whether a couch will support an engineering candidate is another story and likely depend on the coach/sport. But if the question is can the coach get a LL for Huntsman? Then, no.

Beyond the coach support and pre-read process, it makes sense to ask coaches questions about the likelihood of future elimination of sports teams. Coaches should be willing to speak with recruits about this.

I assume we are talking about golf, but really any non-revenue sport is at risk for elimination…schools and conferences have already lost out on this past spring’s March Madness revenue. Now, many conferences will lose football revenue and quite possibly another year of March Madness $…we will likely see significantly more sports cuts in the coming year.

Dartmouth’s golf course had been losing significant money for years, so it’s wasn’t much of a surprise when they eliminated M&W golf this past spring. At Penn, the golf course is a 30 minute drive each way, which is less than practical for the athletes. It’s time consuming for the athletes to lose an hour in the bus each day (especially for those who can’t read while in cars/busses) and at least when my daughter was looking, there were very few upperclass students on that team…per some team members, the inefficiency of this commute was part of the reason students stopped playing. If I were AD, that would be low hanging fruit to cut a program like that.

My point is ask these questions of coaches, you don’t want to be in a situation where you are recruited and the team is suddenly eliminated. It’s certainly not 100% knowable, but doing research into athletic dept finances, facility and/or operational issues, and institutional philosophy/priorities can make a difference and impact one’s final decision where ultimately to commit.

If the recruit is a bit lower on the coach’s list and is offered a preferred walk-on spot, how does the level of support differ from an admissions standpoint? In other words, does it impact ED admissions likelihood in any meaningful way?

Asking specifically about UPenn…

Wouldn’t it go from “sure thing” to “strong EC” in admissions? I have no knowledge of Penn though.

Probably best to start your own thread…but I would ask the coach specifically what proportion of PWO athletes have historically been accepted. Did the athlete have a positive pre-read?

@HMom16 I would think that the LL process at UPenn is essentially the same and follows the same rules as other Ivys.
A PWO sounds like football, or perhaps hockey or basketball so others may have more insight for those sports.
My understanding is that assuming a positive pre-read, the question should be is the student being offered coaches support and a LL. If they are not being offered a LL, then I would think that a "PWO " would have the same odds in admissions as any other student applying and the same as other potential recruits/athletes applying without receiving a LL.

HMom16 - I do not know how it works at Penn, but . . . . you might be interested in looking at this from Penn’s Student Records System:

At that website, you will find what is described as the “SRS UNDERGRAD ADMISSIONS Table - Data Element Index.” Since your question is about ED admissions likelihood for a “preferred walk-on” athlete, look in the Table at Athletic_Rating, which says: “The student’s athletic rating established by intercollegiate athletics and undergraduate admissions. Non-athletes will have a rating of NULL. A rating greater than ‘2’ indicates that the students is considered a recruited athlete. Values: NULL; 1-6.”

My best guess at how much does being a preferred walk-on mean during ED, is “1 or 2, and 2 is twice as much as 1.” And, if a “preferred walk-on” gets a 3, because he/she is considered just barely a recruit, that is three times more than one.

My wild speculation, with no evidence to back it up, is that AthleticRating points might get funneled into consideration with the 1-9 AcademicRating and the 1-9 Non-Academic_Rating. Since 18 is a perfect combined Academic + Non-Academic Rating, picking up 2 or 3 extra points would be very valuable (if that is how it works, which I am only guessing).

@KaiserS Thanks - that’s a very interesting link. I wonder who assigns the score - the coach or an AO.


I would ask the coach directly about this. There’s disagreement here on CC about soft support at Ivies, whether it exists and how it would work if so. The coach should be able to explain the mechanics and his or her history of getting recruits admitted through that channel.

ETA: I’m in the camp that believes Ivy soft support, while it might help occasionally, is rarely reliable or predictable enough to pass up other opportunities. But I would listen carefully to what the coach says and make a decision based on that.

@daddycaddy to answer the original question…yes, the recruit is “approved” for a specific school at Penn. You can DM me for more specifics based on current experience - this is for wrestling, however, and not golf.

As for how admissions views preferred walk-ons at Penn…I have no idea.

The form says – “The student’s athletic rating established by intercollegiate athletics and undergraduate admissions. Non-athletes will have a rating of NULL. A rating greater than ‘2’ indicates that the students is considered a recruited athlete. Values: NULL; 1-6.”

The three categories are: (a) non-athlete (0); (b) non-recruited athlete (1-2); and, © recruited athlete (3-6). While the AO must ultimately assign a value, they have no basis for doing so without input from the coach. In order to get any athletic rating at all, the coach must communicate with admissions. Put another way, I don’t believe an applicant can get a 1 or 2 athletic rating by telling Penn admissions that he/she is talented enough to be recruited at some other ivy league programs, but that Penn’s coaches have no interest because they are stacked with amazing talent.

Perhaps you should ask the coach what athletic rating (0-6) he expects admissions is going to assign (and let us all know)!