Do athletes compete directly with scholars for college admission?

Do athletes compete directly with scholars? Obviously, more athletes and less scholars get accepted but if athlete and a scholar from the same high school apply to the same college, do they affect each other’s chances?

From past experience, that seems to be the case. Now that so many qualified students are applying from New Zealand, especially with Ivies, they don’t need to accept two from the same school. The competition may actually be more direct in the early round, as that is when all the athletes will be applying. In many of the cases for Ivy League admits, the athletes are also scholars in that they have a very high GPA.

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Great answer, @Dan_Valenzuela. You’re correct in stating that there is an influx in outstanding students applying to the US - making acceptance incredibly tough. However, it is important to note that although Ivy League’s don’t offer Athletic Scholarships; it is easier for an athlete to get in.

If an Ivy League coach wants you, they will do everything in their power to ensure that you end up on their roster. This includes “waiving you through admissions” with guaranteed admission, typically dependent on an academic prerequisite. This academic prerequisite varies from athlete to athlete and university to university. I recall the Columbia Track & Field and Cross Country Coach offering a place on their team to an athlete, the place was dependent on an 1800 [old] SAT score (600, 600, 600).


Asher is correct about waiving athletes through admissions. If an athlete is being recruited by a team they will have a much easier time getting in. In the Ivy league, admission will typically be contingent upon the athlete attaining a certain SAT score. Because the average SAT score of a team’s entire intake of recruits must meet a certain minimum, individual SAT requirements will reflect the desirability of the athlete. For example, if Harvard’s swimming team need an average of 1900, their top swimming recruit might need an 1800, whereas the slowest swimmer might need a 2000. Nonetheless, both of these SAT benchmarks are much lower than those applied to regular applicants. If an athlete is not being recruited they will be competing against regular applicants for places–though their sporting background may improve their general candidacy.