Understanding the Likely Letter

by Scott Britton

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Best Book on Ivy League Football Recruiting.

Chapter Highlights

  • Understanding the Likely Letter
  • What to do with an Exploding Offer
Many people need help understanding the likely letter and how it works. Ivy league institutions cannot give athletic scholarships. Therefore the Ivy League substitutes the letter of intent associated with scholarship schools with a likely letter.

The purpose of the letter is to ensure faith in prospects that they are likely to be admitted. The letters state that you’re likely to be admitted so long as you uphold your moral and academic standards. Letters are typically sent out months before normal acceptance letters to provide athletes with confidence that they know where they will be going to school.

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Chapter Highlights

  • Understanding the Likely Letter
  • What to do with an Exploding Offer
Many people need help understanding the likely letter and how it works. Ivy league institutions cannot give athletic scholarships. Therefore the Ivy League substitutes the letter of intent associated with scholarship schools with a likely letter.

The purpose of the letter is to ensure faith in prospects that they are likely to be admitted. The letters state that you’re likely to be admitted so long as you uphold your moral and academic standards. Letters are typically sent out months before normal acceptance letters to provide athletes with confidence that they know where they will be going to school.

Ivy League football coaches typically have 30 recruiting spots. When a coach decides that they would like to recruit a certain athlete, they head to the admissions office and request a prospect receive a likely letter.

Next, the admission office reviews that candidate and determines whether they will send a likely letter. Although the process is initiated by the coaches, the admissions office makes the final call.

Although a likely letter is a strong indication, it doesn’t 100% guarantee that you are admitted. There is typically a clause in the letter that states you’re likely to be admitted if you “uphold your moral and academic standards.” If you get arrested or fail courses your senior year this can be grounds to revoke your admission. So finish strong and behave and you should be fine.

Students will typically receive likely letters some time in February or March. If you’re expecting one you should have been communicated verbally that you’re “likely” to be admitted far in advance of this from the coaches.

Following the likely letter and assuming all goes well, you will receive an acceptance letter when Princeton sends out decision letters to all students. This is typically some time in April, but can vary depending upon the school.
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