Instant Admissions

How different admissions processes can affect your athletic recruiting process

In 1991, I was faced with an extremely difficult decision. Should I attend the college I was enrolled in that didn’t have a baseball program, or should I try to find another opportunity quickly. My teammate’s mother was a professor at a local college and she set up an informal meeting with me with the director of admissions. His one real question was whether or not I was applying for financial aid. I answered no, and was offered acceptance to the school in the meeting. The key here was the school had spots to offer, and colleges will try to fill those spots up to the start of the class year. This is why it’s important to never burn any bridges with any college officials or college coaches. You may find yourself placing a last minute phone call in an attempt to find a place to play and a school to enroll in.

While not a path for high school athletes to pursue, an admissions policy that has been growing in the last several years is called “Instant Admissions.” The process is relatively simple. A prospective student meets with an admissions official at a particular school who reviews their standardized test scores (ACT, SAT) and transcript, then asks several questions regarding their academic record to date and their social activities. An on-site decision is then made whether to grant the student admission or not (usually within an hour).

In most cases students who are accepted through this process do not need to let the school know they wish to attend till late spring, leaving students with opportunities to pursue other schools if they like. One such school is Bard College in New York. Student send in their application about 7-14 days in advance then schedule a personal meeting with a school official for a one-on-one meeting. Bard is considered the founding father of instant admissions and has been admitting students this way since the 70’s. Other colleges participating in this process are Hood College in Maryland, Western Michigan University, University of Iowa, DePaul University in Chicago as well as many other colleges located in the state of Illinois as well as the Midwest.

Schools have also modified this procedure by hosting meetings at area high schools and conducting the interview process in the student’s own backyard. The majority of California’s state universities (there are 27 of them) now offer admission days on selected area high schools. Virginia Tech visits about 10 high schools located near their institution each year reviewing over 200 applications of students this way.