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Ivy League schools share a tradition of academic excellence and broad-based, successful NCAA Division I athletics. The Ivy League annually finishes among the top Division I athletics conferences in national competitive rankings, and Ivy League student-athletes earn the country’s best records in the NCAA Academic Performance Ratings, operating under the Ivy League model of athletics as a significant educational component of the student's undergraduate experience. Ivy student-athletes grow from their athletics experiences to become national and community leaders across the spectrum of 21st century life in business and technology, education and philanthropy, law and government, medicine and research, and professional sports and entertainment.

As you pursue opportunities to study and compete in intercollegiate athletics, please keep in mind the following admissions and financial aid policies common to all Ivy League schools.

Ivy League schools base admissions decisions on each candidate’s academic achievements as well as personal strengths and accomplishments, such as athletic achievement, other extracurricular activities and community service.

  • Remember:  To best prepare for admission to an Ivy League school, and as a strong basis for a rigorous college education, you should take the most challenging high school classes available to you throughout secondary school. The following courses are recommended:
    • four years of English;
    • four years of a single foreign language;
    • three years of history/social science;
    • four years of mathematics;
    • four years of science;
    • frequent practice in writing expository prose.

Consult the website of each institution for more specific recommendations

Ivy League schools provide financial aid to students, including athletes, only on the basis of financial need as determined by each institution’s Financial Aid Office. There are no academic or athletic scholarships in the Ivy League. A coach may assist a prospective student-athlete to obtain an estimated financial aid award, however only the Financial Aid Office has the authority to determine financial aid awards and to notify students officially of their actual or estimated awards.

  • Remember:  A prospective student-athlete who receives an estimated need-based financial aid award is welcome to share it with other Ivy League schools. In some cases Ivy League financial aid offices may reevaluate and adjust an estimated financial aid award based on a written need-based award or estimate from another school.  Ivy League coaches may not discourage a prospect from sharing an award, or from obtaining an estimated award from another Ivy institution.

Ivy League coaches are knowledgeable about admissions policies, can be valuable resources in guiding prospects through the application process, and may offer advice and counsel based on feedback from admissions.  Coaches may make a commitment to support a prospective student-athlete’s application. However only the Admissions Office at each Ivy League school has the authority to admit an applicant and to notify an applicant of admission. Only formal correspondence from the Admissions Office should be considered an admissions decision. 

Beginning July 1 prior to a prospective student-athlete’s senior year in high school, an Ivy League coach may ask the Admissions Office to review the prospect’s academic credentials, such as transcripts and standardized test scores, for a preliminary assessment.  The preliminary assessment may then be shared with the prospect. Any further positive assessment by the admissions office requires continued strong academic and personal performance, and will be based on a thorough final evaluation of a completed application, including recommendations regarding both academic achievement and personal qualities.


Coaches may communicate to the Admissions Office their support for candidates who are athletic recruits. Candidates are encouraged to ask coaches directly about the coach’s level of interest in them as potential athletic recruits, and should be prepared for coaches to inquire about the candidate’s level of interest as well.  Ivy League coaches may indicate the extent to which a candidate’s interest will affect their willingness to support an application, so that candidates can make informed decisions about potential opportunities.  Please note that while a coach may ask whether or not his or her school is a candidate’s top choice, a coach may not require a candidate to refrain from visiting or applying to other schools, or to withdraw applications to other schools, as a condition for support during the admissions process. Candidates should expect Ivy League coaches to be honest and forthcoming during the recruiting process. We ask candidates  to be honest with  coaches as well.
  • Remember:  A “verbal commitment” by a coach is not an offer of admission, as only the Admissions Office has that authority. An Ivy League coach can only commit his or her support in the admissions process.

There are various options for submitting an application and receiving an admissions decision. Prospective students who have decided on their first choice may apply to one Ivy League school by November 1 in order to receive notice of Early Decision or Early Action in December.  Students may also apply under the Regular Decision application process to receive a decision in late March.  Under certain circumstances institutions may issue a letter prior to the final admissions decision indicating that a candidate is “likely” to be admitted. This letter means that as long as the applicant sustains the academic and personal record reflected in the completed application, the institution will send a formal admission offer on the appropriate notification date.  Only the Admissions Office can issue a likely letter, and only after receiving a completed application and all required materials. Likely letters may not be issued prior to October 1 of the prospect’s senior year in high school.

Good luck with your college search!  If you have further questions or if any problems or issues arise, please contact the Ivy League Office at