Ivy League recruiting

If your son is sure this is his #1, then he is all set. Applying before visits is only an issue if he wants to keep his options open. It will work for some kids, but not others. Coaches develop recruiting strategies that work to get good recruits for their teams.

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My Ivy recruitment data is a little dated, and obviously is highly sport dependent.

According to the Ivy League Agreement, the earliest an LL can be sent is October 1st, so for the sports that do their recruiting early, if you can get your full application in by September 15th, you can/may know by Oct 1st. After that, I think the LL letters go out every week or two.

The reason this is important, if anything goes wrong, as long as it goes wrong before Nov 1st, your athlete may have time to apply EA/ED somewhere else.

Our family had two Ivy recruits (different sports) and quite frankly, it was hard to relax until the LL was firmly in our hands. Our oldest did not take any OVs as most candidates in his sport make their commitments July 1st before senior year and this was back when the OV only happened early senior year. Our youngest took only 3 of 5 official visits in his junior year and had firm offers from 2 of them when he made his commitment. For him, the OVs were important as the first visit (which was the first offer), he learned things that weren’t generally known about practice times and acadmic course selection that influenced his ultimate decision.

Both kids had their LL in October.

As I said earlier, different sports have different timelines. In Ivy recruiting, the LL is the holy grail and the earlier the better. In our cases, everyone had worked too hard to leave anything thing to chance and we did not leave it to our athlete to interpret all the nuances and nomenclature. Ivy coaches do this every year and are fine meeting with the parents in the final stages to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Years ago, I wrote a story elsewhere on CC about a classmate of one of my son’s who thought he had committed to an HYP. I congratulated his mother and said, “it feels real when you get that LL.” She had never heard that term before, and when she asked her son, he said the coach told him he was “on the list of people he wanted”. No LL mentioned.

When she inquired with the coach, he said her son was 5th on his list, but he only had three LLs to give. The kid only heard what he wanted to hear and had no LL commitment. Fortunately it was early enough in the process that the kid, with his mother in tow, got a LL offer from a different HYP and that is where he ultimately went. Imagine finding out you didn’t have a LL after the ED/EA deadline had passed?

Athletic recruitment is an arcane process/ritual. You can never be to careful.

Anyway YMMV. Good luck to all.


If you’re submitting your app by Sept 15, does the student ask teachers to do recommendations before then or do they not have to do them?

Your student will need how ever many LoRs the school requires. Hopefully your student has already asked junior year teachers for LoRs.

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In my son’s case, admissions did not start to process his application until all of the LORs had arrived. I think he got the application in mid-October, but one of his letters didn’t arrive until the very last minute. It was fine, but he might have gotten his likely letter earlier if his references had submitted earlier. He didn’t make this clear to his teachers, so they didn’t know. Of course, his teachers have their strategies for getting all of their letters out the door, and they are on the hook for November 1st (or whatever) so that might just be when their letter was going to arrive regardless. In the end it was fine, but every day between committing and the likely letter is a little stressful. It wouldn’t hurt to let the letter-writers know the application will be acted on as soon as their letter arrives.


I agree it’s a good idea to let teachers and GCs know that this isn’t a typical ED/EA timeline so they know there’s value in getting materials in sooner than the hard deadline. Sometimes they can manage it and sometimes they can’t. I’ve always found teachers to be really enthusiastic about helping these kids out as much as they can, but at the same time a lot of them are very overloaded so it’s not always an easy ask.

Definitely agree that having the LL in hand is a great feeling. Just to emphasize what’s already been mentioned: the Ivy likely letter has the same force as a letter of admission; it is not a notice that you’ll probably be admitted but that you will be. It makes Dec 15 sort of anticlimactic, in a good way.