NESCAC Admissions Practices

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 offices may provide financial aid estimates to prospective students prior to students being admitted in accordance with the institution’s published policies and practices for all students. Institutions encourage prospective students and families to use the institution’s Net Price Calculator (or equivalent cost estimator).
  • All NESCAC institutions maintain Early Decision, Regular Decision, and Transfer application options.  Each NESCAC institution maintains its own application deadlines and decision notification dates, which can be found on the respective websites.

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 building communities that represent many dimensions of 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. In any given year, NESCAC member colleges will have institution-specific goals for the incoming class.

Standardized Tests

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.

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.