The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) includes eleven of the finest liberal arts colleges and universities in the United States. The conference enjoys a long tradition of success both in meeting high standards of athletic performance and in helping every student realize his or her full capabilities. NESCAC is committed first and foremost to academic excellence, and has established common practices to keep athletics strong and in proportion to the academic mission of the member institutions. Admissions offices work closely with athletic departments to ensure that students on all intercollegiate NESCAC teams are representative of each institution’s student body and are admitted with the expectation of their full participation in the life of the college.
Student-athletes applying to NESCAC institutions should be aware that, although each college has its own distinct admissions process and requirements, the following guidelines have been agreed to by all eleven members regarding all candidates for admission:
- All admissions decisions are rendered and delivered in writing by the admissions office only. Any communication regarding the status of admissions decisions conveyed by non-admissions personnel should be considered preliminary, unofficial, and subject to change.
- No admissions decision, including an Early Decision, will be made until the candidate’s application is complete and all necessary supporting documentation has been received.
- By NCAA and conference policy, there are no athletic scholarships awarded at NESCAC institutions. Financial aid awards are offered in writing only by the institution’s financial aid office and not before the student has been admitted. Institutions may not provide written or oral financial aid evaluations to prospective students prior to being admitted.
- All NESCAC institutions have an Early Decision Round One option with a mid-December notification date. All NESCAC institutions except Amherst and Williams have an Early Decision Round Two option with a notification period between February 1 and February 15. All NESCAC institutions have a late March-early April Regular Decision notification period.
Factors in Admissions Decisions
All NESCAC member colleges enroll students who will enhance and enjoy the intellectual, social, and extracurricular communities our campuses provide. We seek students who are interested in the wide range of rigorous intellectual experiences offered, and value the role that extra-curricular activities, such as music, debate, theater, political action, and athletics, play on campus. In addition, NESCAC member colleges are committed to racial, ethnic, socio-economic, and geographical diversity.
Differences in Evaluation
Despite our common goals in creating a campus community, the ways by which NESCAC colleges recruit, admit, and enroll students vary both by institution and over time. Each NESCAC member college maintains its own set of practices to select a class. Differences are reflected in how applications are read, which application materials are weighed most heavily, and even what information is used in the selection process.
NESCAC member colleges vary in terms of which standardized tests, if any, are required of applicants, and how the results are evaluated. It is important to understand and fulfill the specific requirements of each NESCAC school to which you apply.
In any given year, NESCAC member colleges will have institution-specific goals for the incoming class, goals such as increasing the number of majors in a particular discipline, adding diversity, or creating gender balance.
Financial Aid Considerations
Some NESCAC colleges are completely ‘need-blind’ in their admission practices, making all decisions without regard to the amount of financial assistance a student may require. Others are ‘need-sensitive’ in the selection process, factoring student aid needs into some of their decisions. Some NESCAC colleges award financial aid strictly on the basis of financial need and pledge to meet each student’s demonstrated financial need. Others award a variety of merit-based scholarships based on their evaluation of a student’s academic accomplishment and potential. No NESCAC college, as a NCAA Division III member, offers athletic scholarships of any kind.
The Coach’s Role
While admission decisions are made exclusively by the admission committee, the coach’s assessment of the athletic ability and potential contribution of each candidate is considered. Be aware that coaches at different colleges may evaluate the same student-athlete’s ability differently. Positional considerations may also lead to different assessments of an applicant’s value to a team.
It is important to remember that this is a college admission process with an athletic component, not an athletic recruiting process that comes with the opportunity to attend college. NESCAC coaches actively identify and recruit student-athletes and act as advocates for them; but no coach at any NESCAC college has the authority to offer, promise, or otherwise guarantee a spot in the incoming class to any recruited student-athlete.