NESCAC Schools

I have a son who is a Student Football Athlete started as Freshman On Varsity Football , voted an All star as a Sophmore and Team Captain for next year as a Junior. He has a 4.0 GPA but is on an IEP in school, and takes mostly College Prep and ACP classes. I can’t imagine great SAT coming due to IEP so figuring he will be around 1100-1200. Extremely determined boy. Defintely think he can play D2 and D3 he has his mind set on NESCAC schools. College tuition is not a problem so it is not like seeking money for school. Heard that some of the schools are test optional so hoping that his Grades , Athletics would out weigh his potentially low SAT scores. Concerned that he would be able to get into these schools and if accepted abletohandle work load. Anyone have any ideas ,thoughts or dealings with NESCAC

Wesleyan is test optional I believe. It’s also slightly larger than Williams and Amherst. Might be a good choice for your son.

My child is at a NESCAC school. The workload is intense.

Obviously, I don’t know your son at all, but I would be concerned if my child was considering attending a school where his SAT scores were 300 points or so below the median scores of the student body.


I am by ACP you mean Academic and Career Planning classes. I and most likely the admissions office, would be concerned about the class rigor more than standardized testing. First of course, you have to get the attention of a coach. Your son starting as a freshman likely tells us more about the strength of the team than his talent Has he received and interest from coaches? The athletic talent at the top academic schools is a lot better than most people think. At my DSs school, the top players go to power 5 and the next level goes to Ivy/top academic schools. All of these students are in all honors level or above classes throughout high school.

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Why NESCAC schools? I recommend you focus on academic fit first, especially if your son will also need academic supports in college…then see where there is overlap with football fit.

Consider D3 schools in other conferences, too. Note that some test optional (TO) D3 schools may not allow recruited athletes to apply TO, and many will require a test score upon matriculation. For DI/II, your S will have to fulfill the minimum test score requirements set by the NCAA.

Bottom line, your S will need to research schools, and reach out to coaches to see if he gets any interest. Most coaches will be able to quickly make the determination if your S’s stats/course rigor are likely to pass muster during an admissions pre-read.

It seems premature to assume your S won’t do well on standardized tests. With an IEP, won’t he get extra time on the SAT/ACT?

I would counsel at this point to worry less about whether he could get admitted and more about how well he’d do as a student there. My kid and his friends work very hard at their NESCAC school, and I think it’d be a tough path for a kid who wasn’t a solid academic fit.

If you do want to look at this conference, look hard at the graduation requirements at the various schools – they vary enormously from ones that require that all kids take calculus and FL to ones that have more latitude.

One general observation I have had is that kids who tend to squeak in to schools (for any number of reasons) often find they are more limited in what they can pursue there. Exploring outside their strengths is not a joy but a stress.

Now it could be that your kid is a good academic fit but tests poorly. In that case, all 3 of the Maine schools are TO as are all 3 of the CT ones. But also, these schools have widely different environments- I can’t imagine that every school in the conference would be appealing to one kid. Tufts and Williams are two vastly different, albeit excellent, schools that offer dramatically different experiences. Even Wes and Trinity, practically neighbors, are 2 different worlds.

I think that people have missed that your son is both on an IEP, and on college prep track. It is not his possibly low SAT scores that are the problem, it is that his learning disability makes it difficult for him to take the higher level high school courses, much less college level courses like AP classes, despite his IEP.

Because of this, I do not think that the NESCACs will be a good choice for him.

You had your son signed up for college prep courses, not honors and APs. So why are you looking to send him to a college at which he is expected to take classes that are far more challenging than those? Moreover, he is probably not prepared for the classes there, since students at those colleges are expected to have taken honors and AP classes. catching up, while taking the classes, and while having to spend a large amount of time training, will be a challenge that he may not be able to meet.

PS. There are students at the NESCACs with IEPs, however they are students who took honors and APs, so they can keep up with the requirements, despite their learning disabilities, AND have received the preparation they needed for their college classes.

Your son is smart, stubborn, hard working, and has many other strengths. Work with his strengths, but also consider his weaknesses, when deciding which college is the best for him.

Good luck!

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Your son has a 4.0 GPA which shows he is capable of working hard. That’s more than half the battle. I don’t know what ACP classes are. You don’t mention what his LD is, and that could make a difference. D’s friend at Bates is dyslexic and gets extended time. She’s had no problems. You should both find out about what support is available for students with LD’s.

I think a good idea might be for your son to get in touch with admissions officers at various colleges and ask them what you’ve asked here. They will probably be pretty honest with him. If they think he can’t handle the work, I expect they will be upfront about it.

Has he been in touch with any coaches yet? Coach support is helpful.

Bates has been test optional since the 80’s. My D knows a lot of kids who didn’t submit test scores and they are thriving. Yes, there is a lot of work. There is also a lot of support. Your son needs to do his homework to see if the support offered will be enough to help him succeed. His admission is going to depend on that. If the college doesn’t think he can succeed, they won’t admit him.

ACP Are what the school calls AP classes. His LD is speech and Language delay with processing. He does get extended time on tests but coupled with this he gets anxiety ridden on tests. All the coaches that have contacted him indicates he has a great athletic talent and personality. The fact that he has accomplished so much in such a short period of time. However it is still too early for him in College process.

Yes he does get extra time on standardized tests. The Language disability and hus anxiety on tests are his hold back. He is taking AP math only. Many coaches have reached out to him and indicated on their radar and proud of accomplishments to date. The problem is it is still too early for them. Do I beleive he can do the work in College yes. he has always sought out help and determined to do the best on the field and in the classroom.

We are looking into Weslyn and they also really have good support plans for their athletes

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he is taking AP math. His high school is ranked top two in the State. So he does get a heavy course load. I just have no idea how heavy the course load is in NESCAC

Most of the coaches should be able to give you good guidance. Things will become more clear in summer before senior year, when NESCAC coaches will ask admissions to do pre-reads on their list of recruits.

I recommend casting a wider net than just the NESCACs. Although there is a range of academics at NESCACs, they can all be intense. With that said, Trinity is probably the least academic of the subset of NESCACs that have football, but again, I would not call that an easy school by any means (many kids there have taken all honors/AP courses in HS, for example), nor do I know the extent of their LD supports.

Fit has to be the priority over football. I would be careful having an LD student use athletic recruiting to step it up in terms of school selectivity.

@shuttlebus I wholeheartedly disagree. People like you are the issue who value the score in a given test date WAY too much. I think standardized testing has no and I mean NO insight into how one will do in a certain acedemic setting. Despite this, My ACT scores most likely got me into my first choice school due to my lower GPA.

I think anything is possible. My daughter is at a NESCAC school and many of her friends are athletes. We know of one athlete that had an academic support class beginning their first semester. We could make several guesses as to why, but I will say that they are a hard working athlete and student and still thriving in their second year.

It’s early in the game and a lot can change, but if he keeps up the good work inside and outside of the classroom, the opportunities will come his way. I wish you the best.

I have heard that there is a great deal of academic support at most NESCAC schools might I inquire as to which one you have direct knowledge of

I think many of us misunderstood your description of your DS classes. At our local HS, CP level classes are below Honors level. That plus your questioning of the rigor made many of us jump that way. It now sounds like he is taking Calc as a Junior plus some other Dual Enrollment classes. That likely changes everything. You will have to have a conversation with coaches about standardized testing. Make sure that you you have good backup plans. The recruiting process can get squirrelly.

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I have a child at one of the top NESCAC schools. His workload is intense. I cannot imagine someone with an LD doing well with this workload and athletic practice/games/travel. Why should he make it so hard for himself?

College classes look different than high school classes. Students are required to do a lot more reading and analysis ahead of class and after class, but they are spending a lot less time in the classroom. Liberal Arts Colleges are especially heavy on reading and discussion of the material that’s read. My kid’s reading lists are very heavy, along with the requirements for analysis and discussion.

At my kid’s college, the standard course load is 4 courses a term, aside from J term. Courses are about three lecture hours a week, with science courses requiring a lab. This is considered a full load for this college, and most students find it challenging.

Oh stop! It totally depends on the kid and the learning difference, and the OP has not told us enough for anyone to make a judgement.

My son with ADHD and with very slow processing is thriving at Emory while also playing soccer. It. All. Depends.