We receive a number of great recruiting questions via Twitter. We wanted to take the time to address this question about committing before being accepted to school with a response longer than 140 characters, so here we go!
Regarding commitments, is there any reason to wait until you know you have been accepted first?
In general, college coaches will work with admissions to establish a range of what type of grades, test scores, and classes a recruit needs to have in order to be accepted for admissions. At some schools, it’s as simple as having the recruit meet the minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score requirements. At other, usually academically rigorous colleges, there may be other things, like AP/Honors courses and strength of course load requirements that recruits must satisfy. Some baseball programs will even have a certain number of admission slots they can use to get a recruit into school who falls slightly below the general standard of admission, but as a recruit you cannot count on this.
No matter what type of school it is, coaches will often be able to find out quickly if a recruit will be admitted, will not be admitted, or will be on the bubble and has some work to do.
If you are a recruit who falls into the bubble category, many admissions committees will tell the coach exactly what you have to do moving forward to gain admission. For example, get all A’s and B’s in your remaining courses and improve your SAT score by 100 points. Unfortunately, there are other times when the coach simply might not know until the official admissions decision comes back. If a coach has asked for your transcript and test scores, and still wants you to commit, it’s usually a sign that you are currently in good standing for admissions. However, this is not something you should take for granted! Although it’s unlikely, there could be reasons a coach would want you to commit even if they are uncertain about your admission status. Always make sure you ask and understand if they can ensure you will be accepted into school. Regardless of whether you fall into the bubble or the accepted category, it is imperative that you also understand what steps you will have to take and what standards you will have to meet moving forward to remain in good standing or get accepted (for bubble players). Ask direct questions, and make sure you get direct answers. It’s important that these expectations are made clear and are specific and measurable.
Lastly, it’s important to be aware of your NCAA eligibility status. Although rare, it’s possible that you can meet a school’s admissions standards, but fall short of the NCAA requirements. The last thing you want to do is commit and then find out you didn’t get in or are not eligible! You can find updated information about NCAA’s most difficult academic requirements here, and should check back regularly to make sure you are in good standing.
So, back to the original question: Can you commit before being accepted? Yes. Many kids commit before they are officially accepted for admission, so this in itself should not be alarming. Just make sure you are making a fully informed decision. We have addressed why it’s important to make sure you are 100% ready to commit and what it means to verbally commit and strongly suggest reading those articles before making a commitment. As long as you have a clear understanding of where you stand with admissions, are aware of the academic steps you need to take moving forward, and have all the information you need and feel 100% ready to commit, you should not feel like you have to wait for your official acceptance.