How Strong is a "Supported Application" by a Coach?

<p>I am in the process of being a student-athlete at a Pac - 12 University for Crew. I have been in contact with the Assistant Coach of the University and she has agreed to "support" my application if I can lower my erg score. My academics don't seem to be an issue, although I don't think they are very "competitive" for this university. I'm just wondering how much I can rely on this university. Is a supported application by a coach basically a done deal? Or is the process more complicated than that?</p>


<p>This question seems to come up a lot and causes a great deal of angst for recruits. I wouldn't consider a 'supported application' a done deal. Just how much influence the coach has is practically impossible to determine. The NLI or the Likely (in the Ivies) is really the only thing you can hang your hat on. Here's the text of an email conversation my daughter had with a prominent PAC-12 coach a couple years ago:</p>


<p>(D to Coach)
" mentioned you could write a recommendation letter to help back my application during the admissions process. I was wondering how much weight something like that carried with admissions, or in other words, roughly what percentage of student-athletes that you recommend get admitted? Also, do I understand correctly that the coach’s backing only applies for early action applicants?</p>

<p>(Coach reply)
"I will be backing your application with a recommendation letter. I cant give you a percentage of student athletes that get in based on this because I don't know it. I do know that only a select few get to have a recommendation put along with their application. _______ is still a highly competitive institution that has its own guidelines for admittance. All we get to do is tell a bit more about you and let the School know that this person would be a benefit for our team. </p>

<p> are athletic and talented enough that I believe you would help out our team immediately. remember ...I didn't just pick your name out of a hat and start recruiting you. I am trying to get you here for a reason."</p>


<p>This school was in the top 2 choices and it was really tempting to read more into the coach's reply than he really said - all he could promise was that he'd back the ap and the rest was out of his hands. She decided that she didn't want to turn down the LL that was being offered at her other top choice to roll the dice with a 'supported ap'</p>

<p>Varska - nice reply! That email gives recruits a specific data point to evaluate. While I would not hang my hopes on that type of support, others might decide it's enough to give it an ED shot.</p>

<p>You have two issues here. The coach will support your app IF you lower your erg score. What is the time frame for this? How late in the game will coach support really help you? How much pull does coach support really have? As mentioned above, done deal coach support is a National Letter of Intent or Ivy League Likely Letter. Anything else, especially in schools that use these instruments, is a crapshoot. I do not believe you have anything to hang your hat on here, definitely NOT a done deal, by a long shot! You need to aggressively pursue options where your current erg score and academics stats make you a viable recruit. I am not saying give up on this school, but vigorously pursue your other options.</p>

<p>I am a 5ft 11, 178 lb women's heavyweight novice rower. The Coach wants me to be under sub-7:45 (though I suspect I should be at a time a bit lower) by March so that they may support me through admissions. From what I understand the coach will take all supported applications to admissions where they will make the final decision. I do have back ups, but they are just local state schools and maybe a few out of states where I am not looking to being recruited.</p>

<p>What would really help is to know where you stand academically relative to the school's profile. Your comment, "My academics don't seem to be an issue, although I don't think they are very "competitive" for this university" - is really vague. Where relative to the "middle 50" do your SAT and ACT scores sit? (By middle 50, I mean the 25th through 75th percentile as published at If you're in the 50th percentile, that recommendation could be just the tip you need; if you're in 15th percentile, it may not help much unless you've got more hooks (e.g., under-represented minority, legacy, great personal story, etc.). </p>

<p>And, of course, it depends on which school you're talking about. UC Berkeley and UCLA are huge schools using a variety of specific criteria to determine who to accept, and so a rec letter in a non-revenue sport for a non-recruited athlete probably won't carry much weight. Smaller schools (and, except for Stanford, the Pac-12 doesn't really have small schools) may take it more into account.</p>

<p>And, of course, recommendation/support letters can be both written and received in a broad spectrum of importance. The best would be a "Gee, Ms. Admissions Officer, I screwed up and this should have been my top recruit submitted to you and if you'll treat her that way I'll wash your car every week for the next year." Since you don't yet have the ERG score they're looking for, you're not going to merit that letter. </p>

<p>At the far end of the spectrum, there's the following letter: "Ms. Admissions Officer, here's a list of likely applicants who've contacted us and have a chance of being a part of this program. So, when they say that they are 'rowers', please treat them not simply as you would other applicants who put in their time in high school to avoid their PE requirement, but as committed and talented athletes who also would use that athleticism to contribute to the school while here." In other words, the coach is not using up any of his "chits" for you and the admissions office realizes that it's costing the coach nothing to make out such a list. That may help you a little too... but not a whole lot unless you're already on the accept/reject bubble.</p>