Request to change app from EA to ED

My son is applying early action to all colleges (D3). One of the coaches told him he only has 3 spots and is only recruiting ED and my son needs to change his application to ED from EA if he wants a spot. We’ve visited the school this fall, met the coach in-person and had a favorable pre-read. I feel like this is a tactic to get my son to commit and he’s feeling really pressured to make the change. The other interesting thing is ED deadline passed and his EA application has already been submitted. I have a call scheduled to talk to the coach but am wondering if anyone has had this happen to them?

I haven’t had this particular case happen to me, but many coaches require an ED app for a slot…quid pro quo. Schools can certainly change apps from RD or EA to ED…if they want to.

Obviously you need to understand from the coach (your S must also be on the call with the coach) if your S still has a slot if he doesn’t change his app to ED.

Was any of this discussed before applying? Is it possible you might have the same issue at the other EA colleges (assuming he’s a recruit there)?

Good luck.

The coach said he will not have a spot if he doesn’t change to ED. Unfortunately, we did not discuss this prior to applying. My son told the coach he didn’t apply ED because of merit based aid/financial aid and the coach said we could “discuss” that on the call. My son will be their fastest swimmer in his stroke, so it just feels weird.

Well, it IS a tactic to get your son to commit. But a fair one in my opinion, if you want the coach to commit to your son. Commitment is a two way street, both parties, coach and player, have to commit.

The price for having a spot on the team and coach support with admissions is applying ED. If the school isn’t your son’s top choice, I’d think long and hard before switching to ED. If your son doesn’t have coach support can he get in on his own? Will he then still have a spot on the team? (Some schools have hard caps on their rosters, set by the school). There are many factors to consider in this decision.


We posted at the same time. I believe you can ask for a financial aid pre read at many schools.

It’s a top 3 choice for him and he can get in on his own. It’s a good school and he could be happy there. Great perspective about commitment being a 2-way street, thank-you. I filled out the school’s net-price calculator and have a good idea of what the merit based aid will be. I guess we just need to sit down and weigh the pros and cons.

If your S is the fastest swimmer in his stroke, then he will most likely have a spot on the team if he gets in EA without coach’s support. Obviously you need to ask if he could walk on to be sure.

Team sports are different because the coach might make promises to ED players. With swimming there is no playing time or anything like that.

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Asking the coach what he means when saying “he only has 3 spots” is a good place to start. It would be very surprising for the coach to directly say that this Division 3 College will take your $75K next year, but that he will not let an enrolled student who would be the fastest swimmer in his stroke into the pool. There are D-3 colleges that don’t need your money, but I think swim coaches rate lower than deans of admission and CFOs at all of them.

Your son is choosing a college and a coach with whom he will have more contact than any professor over the next four years. It is better to know now whether (or how much) the coach will pressure your son to make decisions that may not be in your son’s best interest. So be grateful, not upset.


thanks for the perspective regarding the coach/athlete relationship.

That is my thought too. I can’t imagine having the fastest swimmer in his stroke on campus but not on the team. My S is our first to go through the process so I am feeling clueless at times.

If he probably will get admitted anyway, the coach is just trying to lock him down. Which honestly is pretty understandable.

I tend to think he wouldn’t have a “guaranteed” spot on the team, but if he truly is the fastest option the coach will probably take him as a walk on. The coach may be petty about it for a bit, and you don’t want to start the relationship off on a bad foot, because that coach will control him more than any boss he ever has unless he joins the military.

However, coaches are paid to win. If your S will help him win, I’m guessing whatever rule he has against walk ons gets bent in this particular case.

@allthemoney I would not change my application from EA to ED , especially as you say he can get in on his own, and it sounds like there are other good options. I had not been in this particular situation but I did not like being pressured to ED, and would not unless it was a very top academic school, where support is needed by most everyone, and you are 100% sure. If necessary, your son could make you the bad person and tell the coach my parents wanted me to stay EA. I told my kids that if they felt pressure to commit early they could say they were very interested but my parents were making me consider other choices too, which was a true statement.
I am not sure of the roster sizes for D3 swimming but I know of recruits at top academic schools in other sports that did not apply ED and were still being courted after admittance by the coach. I am not sure about this school or swimming but it is not uncommon especially in D3 sports to have spots on the team open up as some athletes decide not to play, swim, run. etc. anymore, there are injuries, study abroad (in non-COVID), etc.
I think it is great that you have 3-top choices. Good luck, enjoy the process!