Sports and the Ivy League

Guides / USA

I get a lot of questions about two particular topics: sports scholarships to the USA, and the Ivy League. I’ve addressed both of these individually in other posts here and here, but what happens when you put the two together?

Sports at the Ivies is a very complicated issue, and regularly I hear and see schools report that ‘X gained a sports scholarship to Harvard’ or similar. Given that the Ivies don’t offer any sports scholarships (or indeed any scholarships at all), why does this myth persist?

Well, as this article explains, a high proportion (much higher than at other universities) of students at the Ivy League universities are recruited athletes:

if Columbia has a freshman class of 1,200, that means about 240 slots are allocated to recruited athletes

So, though there’s no money available because you are an athlete, the financial aid available at the Ivy League can make it very attractive. Then, when viewed against the hyper-competitive nature of these universities, having the extra hook of a sports coach wanting you to join their team can make the difference of standing out in this hugely competitive process.

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