Non-Nescac High Academic D3s that use slots

I have a track/xc kid and I’m wondering what other schools, outside of the Nescac, use a similar system of: pass preread, if the coach uses a slot for the applicant and the applicant applies ED, admission is nearly guaranteed (understanding that only AO makes official admissions decisions). Do the Claremont Colleges use this basic system? Hopkins? UChicago? Newmac schools?

We’re trying to figure out if coaches have equal pull (for the kids they really want) at non-nescac schools.

Claremont Colleges do, as well as many/most other academic D3’s across the country.


Thank you. I somehow had the sense that at many other academic D3s, coaches didn’t have the power to nearly assure admission to their top recruits. I had heard that at other D3s, a coach could flag an application, but that this notation of coach interest on an application didn’t carry all that much weight in the AO’s decision. I guess I’m trying to categorize schools into either (a) system where slotted recruits have nearly guaranteed admission vs (b) recruiting has little impact on admissions. Is it your sense @BKSquared that most D3s fall into the first category?

Our experience was along the lines of (a), but you need to check by school. Of the schools that recruited my kids, the 2 that did not guarantee more than an enhanced EC boost were Caltech and MIT. The schools offering slots included one of the Claremont schools (Pomona) and a Centennial Conference school (Swat). Other schools that actively recruited but which my kids did not pursue, included Grinnell, Carlton, UC and Vassar. If you read other threads on CC, there is plenty of discussion about other schools thoughout the country.

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My son’s experience last year with T&F recruiting was that the top academic schools that were closest to the Nescacs in terms of the significance of a coach’s support in the admissions process were Carleton, Grinnell, MacAlester, the Claremonts, Vassar, Emory, NYU, and Washington & Lee.

We got the sense from the Swarthmore, Chicago, Haverford, Johns Hopkins, and Wash U coaches that were recruiting him that things were less clearcut at those schools.

At Chicago, JHU and WashU that might have been partly (largely?) a reflection of him not being as highly sought by those schools, and I am not sure how much can be read into it.

But with Swat and Haverford I think it likely is the case that they are far from the NESCAC, MIAC and SCIAC schools in terms of importance of recruiting, and likely are also behind Emory, NYU, W&L, Vassar, and Grinnell.

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Thanks, @simon3! Really helpful info.

I hope others continue to add to the list. One of the schools she’s interested in is Wellesley and I can’t yet get a read on whether coach support plays much of a role there.

I would be surprised if they don’t offer solid support, although I have no first hand knowledge.

As I say all of the time, ask the coach. They will usually give an honest answer, if you ask the right question. Just asked them exactly what you need to know, don’t dance around it or sugar coat it. How many athletes do you support in admissions? Do all of them get admitted? Of the athletes similar to me in terms of grades and support, what percentage are admitted?

Most although not all coaches gave me an exact number to the first question. Everyone gave a direct answer to the second. The third kind of depends on where you are in the process if they can answer the question. But once you get there you absolutely need to ask.


Gettysburg, the southern D3 schools. Not sure if they call it ‘slot,’ but the coaches certainly have pull. Colorado College (D1 for men’s hockey and women’s soccer), Kenyon, Rhodes, Washington College (Maryland). I know athletes at all of these who had coach’s help.

@dadof4kids, absolutely. When we reach that point (it’s too early - class of 2024) she’ll ask those direct questions. Because I was curious before it was appropriate to ask the coaches, I thought I’d check here to see what others might have to offer re: how various AO treat full coach support. Thanks.

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For Swat, there were definitely if you apply ED, you will most likely get in conversations for baseball and softball.

The short answer is that most D3 schools recruit athletes and provide at least some degree of coach support. The longer answer is that many of the schools listed above support but do not support in the same way as the NESCACs. Take for example Chicago. The good thing is that Chicago does issue likely letters. The bad thing is that the number is circumscribed. By way of example, a coach may submit a list of 20 recruits to admissions. Two get likely letters, and a couple more are chosen by admissions. We knew folks who were told “they were on the list” by a Chicago coach, but in reality there was a very low chance of admission. They were disappointed.

Similarly, the reports from MIT coaches is that they have little pull to support recruits. The “support” described by coaches is as 50%, which means that you can flip a coin on outcome (and you have to have top notch academics to get that 50% shot). Some are heartened by the increase in odds of admission from 5% to 50%, but this is much different than the NESCACs.

The Claremont Colleges also seemed to over-recruit. The Pomona coach sent out an email (this was a while ago) that listed the recruit-addressees. There were a lot (maybe 100). This by itself doesn’t mean that there was over-recruiting, but son was told he likely wouldn’t get into Pomona and was pushed to apply to Pitzer. My sense is that the coach gets two, but can’t go down in academics.

Carleton, Grinnell, Kenyon, Macalester, Vassar, Dickinson, Gettysburg, F & M, Muhlenberg, Swarthmore, Haverford and Washington & Lee all can and do support athletes. The level of certainty and the number that can be supported may vary, however. It is best to drill down with the coaches at each school. Incidentally, we had plenty of coaches who told us point blank that they had little to no influence with admissions. One told us if we were being recruited by a NESCAC school, we should take it.


As others have said, most high academic Div III colleges use a system of coach advocacy that hugely increases an applicant’s chances of admission. However, here are a couple of additional thoughts (which you might already know):

  1. Coaches will push their recruited athletes to apply in Early Decision. They don’t want you to apply in Regular Decision, because then you might choose another college, and they wasted their advocacy on you. So don’t expect much advocacy in Regular Decision.

  2. The NESCAC is a really unusual conference because the member colleges are all very elite. That’s not true in the conference that the Claremont Colleges play in. Same in the Centennial Conference. The conference that is most like the NESCAC in terms of all members being strong academically and athletically (and Div III) is the University Athletic Association (UAA).

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Looking for some advice here. DD is a '23 soccer player looking at high academic D3 programs. We thought we’d have an offer by now. She is a very good player who was injured for most of last year so she pivoted to D3 and was not seen by coaches until late spring/early summer. She focused on a handful of schools (some NESCAC), attended camps, passed pre-reads, coaches have spoken to her club coach…and now we are just waiting…? All the coaches have said is “hang in there, we need a few more weeks…” She obviously was no ones first pick, which is fine, but has anyone had this experience and ended up ? I was under the impression that rosters were filled by now, is she a possible back-up? Are they still filling rosters into September? I am trying to manage expectations and prepare for Plan B but don’t know if we should remain hopeful…Ugh.

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We just got a positive read at Wellesly and my sense was that the coach had strong pull. We were test optional but good stats and very strong in the sport vs. current student athlestes, which I think mattered the most.


Congrats on the positive pre-read. If this was the academic pre-read only, there are still a few steps to go. Most coaches submit academic pre-reads for more recruits than the number of athletes they can support. Next step is to find out if and to what extent the coach will support your kid. This is a question that your kid should ask directly if the coach has not already committed to your kid that the coach will give full support if your kid applies ED. Not familiar with Wellesley recruit policy and levels of support. Many academic D3’s will have limited slots/full support where an ED app is almost guaranteed admissions and a number of supported slots, which has the effect of boosting the EC component of the app but admissions is not assured.