School Fit [3.92, high level / recruitable baseball player, math / data science major]

I have a 2025 son who is a 3.92 uwGPA; 4.14 wGPA at a highly regarded HS (top 100 in US). Took PSAT 10 without studying 1330/1520. He is a fairly high level baseball player: will be a 4yr letterman; ranked top 1000 in US; with ability to play at lower half D1 (baseball wise) and down. Zero other extracurriculars aside from some volunteer work. I can’t get him to do anything else. I’m a broken record talking about how important it is. Wants to study math/data science/quant analysis. I’d prefer he go D2 or D3. Any suggestions on schools? I figure the Cal techs, MIT, JHU, U Chicago are tough admits. Can he pull off a high level school with just baseball?

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Forget the names. What does he want in a school ? Geography. Size. Environment - urban / rural.

What kind of budget etc

What is your weighting scale - the weighted seems low relative to unweighted but it might be the scale. In other words what kind of rigor ??


I do not think that we can predict whether a very strong student will be accepted to a university on the “Caltech, MIT, JHU, Chicago” level.

I do however support the approach that a student should participate in the extracurricular activities that make sense for them. Whatever they do, they should do it well. This is essentially the approach that I took and I did get accepted to (and attend) MIT for my bachelor’s degree. This is my understanding of the approach recommended in the “applying sideways” blog on the MIT web site, but my understanding is that this applies to other highly ranked universities also. Other family members have used this same approach to get into some very good programs, but what each of us did was very different. Excelling at a sport is IMHO one example of “doing what is right for you and doing it very well”. Volunteering is also a good activity.

Finding a university that is a good fit for you is a perhaps related but also somewhat different issue. MIT is for example a very good university with a huge amount of opportunities. However, it is also academically very intense. You need to want to do it. I would expect that Caltech would be similar, as would other highly ranked schools. I have said that just because a student can get accepted to a university at this level does not mean that they have to go there, and does not necessarily mean that it is the best fit for them.

I was a math major. I do not think that there are a lot of secrets in math that MIT or Caltech are going to teach an undergraduate student that they could not also learn at any one of a very wide range of other universities. When I was in graduate school the other students in the same program had come from a very, very wide range of undergraduate universities.

You might want to start with geography, budget, preferred size of school, and preferred type of location (rural, urban, …). Then we could suggest some schools that might be worth considering.


Your son may want to look into liberal arts colleges with available data science/analytics concentrations, such as Hamilton, Macalester and Denison. As other suggestions, Davidson offers a data science minor and Wesleyan University offers an interdisciplinary quantitative analysis center. It seems your son could find admission matches and reaches from this group. I am not familiar with the baseball programs of all of these colleges, however.


Will he be a recruited athlete? That could tip the scales in his favor.


Just as tough an admit as the others you mentioned, but Pomona (and Pitzer, since it’s a joint team) is great for analytics-oriented baseball players New Class in Baseball Analytics Could Launch Careers | Pomona College in Claremont, California - Pomona College


Does he even want to play in college? If not or not at a high level then he needs to keep his GPA high, study for the SAT and work on EC’s. If he does, then keep playing and work on recruiting. It’s his choice. Maybe he needs another year to let it stew.

He can do analytics with many different degrees. Math, CS, Industrial Engineering or other STEM majors. He can go to pretty much any size college for these majors. Good luck.


Is he taking AP or IB classes/ most rigorous courses available?

Thanks all. yes. sorry. not enough info by me.

He has no geographic limits but would probably prefer a warmer locale due to baseball. Prefers a school less than 8k students. Not limited by money. He will definitely go to a school where he is a recruited athlete. He views this as a core college activity. I suspect he will earn all conference and all state honors next year and be ranked in the top 5 at his position in the state? He has some schools (not matching his academics) kicking his tires for recruiting already.

I think his weighted gpa is affected bc his school doesn’t have a lot of AP or honors options until 11th grade. Even then I believe the valedictorian eventually graduates with a 4.5 weighted. So I suppose that is the max. His course load has been appropriately challenging so far.

He is not actually interested in those schools I mentioned above. I suspect he will end up with a high 1400’s SAT which is not enough at a couple of those schools even with baseball. So perhaps that next tier down is what he is interested in.

So I guess what I’m asking is that if he is a high enough recruited athlete, a coach can probably push him through admissions at the majority of schools even with weak other ECs? It sounds like he can get to a good career in data from differing routes.

More important for ECs are quality, not quantity.

Is he a captain? Does he play summer league, etc?

It’s more a thing of growth , tenure and impact - than quantity.

Many colleges don’t even look at ECs.

You’re likely not looking at those but if he’s a recruited athlete, he’s at a huge advantage.


That’s still a lot of potential schools….what level in college do his coaches think he can play?

At this point you just don’t know how recruiting will work out. Is he playing on a high level club team, like a Wilson Premier team, where he will get good visibility at the top tournaments this summer with college coaches? He should email coaches before tournaments, introduce himself, share academic and baseball stats and say he’s interested in their school and would like them to watch him play.

Are you ok paying $80k per year for 4 years?

Playing a sport at a high level is a demanding EC and doesn’t leave much time for other ECs (I’m assuming he plays club ball but please verify).

At most schools that will be enough in the way of ECs, especially if he has full support from a coach thru the recruiting process or signs an NLI.

Some schools have different admission hurdles and recruiting processes like MIT, where full coach support and a slot means best case a 50% chance of admission, whereas at other D3 (and Ivy) schools that would mean nearly 100% chance of admission.

Is he interested in these schools? What math classes will he have junior and senior years?

He can study math/data science/quant analysis just about anywhere.


This site, which includes the above examples, may offer you additional ideas:

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The NCAA recruiting rules for baseball have recently changed. You need to familiarize yourself with those changes and the whole recruiting process. Build a list of schools that have applicable majors and fit his other academic criteria. Figure out which of those schools would be a good fit for baseball.

And to answer your earlier question: yes, athletic recruits at highly competitive schools are sometimes below the average admitted student with regards to academics. But they are still looking for excellent students that can handle the rigors of the these schools. So keep that in mind when making your list. Good luck!

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In my opinion, there is no reason to push him to do ECs other than his baseball. I personally know people who were recruited athletes at Stanford, Georgetown, and Dartmouth, among others. In each case they had essentially nothing other than year-round participation in their sport, and they were substantially lower than unhooked students in terms of grades and test scores.


Agree that a high level athlete who is good enough to be recruited needs no other extracurriculars for college admissions (even at colleges that do not specifically recruit as an athlete, that is still a very high level extracurricular achievement compared to the usual stuff like starting high school clubs and the like). The only other focus in that area should be academic preparation both for college admissions and college itself.

In terms of the latter, how advanced in math will the student be by high school graduation?

Also, a student athlete may want to consider the frequency of upper level course offering in the major, since a course offered once every two years at a time slot conflicting with team practices and competitions would effectively not exist for the student athlete.

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But note that maintaining high level academic achievement as a recruited athlete could help in that the coach may not have to lobby as hard (or at all) for admissions to make an exception to the usual academic-related admission standards.

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I don’t know much about college baseball teams, but these are strong schools academically with varsity baseball teams that are located in warmer locales, with their division listed as per College Navigator. I suspect that Duke, Stanford, and Tulane have “top” D1 baseball programs and thus beyond your son’s recruitment level, so I did not include them below. If I’m wrong, though, those could be other schools to reach out to.

  • Colorado School of Mines: D2 with about 5500 undergrads
  • Davidson (NC): D1 with about 2k undergrads
  • Emory (GA): D3 with about 7100 undergrads
  • Loyola Marymount (CA): D1 with about 7100 undergrads
  • Rhodes (TN): D3 with about 2100 undergrads
  • Rice (TX): D1 with about 4200 undergrads
  • Santa Clara (CA): D1 with about 5900 undergrads
  • Trinity (TX): D3 with about 2500 undergrads
  • U. of Richmond (VA): D1 with about 3200 undergrads
  • U. of San Diego (CA): D1 with about 5700 undergrads
  • Vanderbilt (TN): D1 with about 7100 undergrads
  • Wake Forest (NC): D1 with about 5500 undergrads
  • Washington & Lee (VA): D3 with about 1900 undergrads
  • William & Mary (VA): D1 with about 6500 undergrads
  • Wofford (SC): D1 with about 1800 undergrads

I don’t see any reason that this student would need to cultivate EC’s that are completely outside his academic and athletic interests. But it could potentially strengthen his application and enrich his life (not necessarily in that order) to find some service opportunities that relate directly to his interests… whether that’s coaching/mentoring younger players, or volunteering to work on baseball analytics for a nearby team, or guest lecturing for a math enrichment program to get kids excited about how math and data analytics apply to sports. If he truly doesn’t have the time or the interest, he’ll probably still do fine as a recruited athlete, but it’s something to consider - would not have to be anything extremely time-consuming.


For a recruitable athlete I think having baseball as the only big activity is fine. IMO it is more important to keep a strong academic record than to add additional activities with minimal involvement.