Harvard Men's Golf Frequently Asked Questions
What grade point average and SAT/ACT scores do I need to be considered for admission to Harvard?
The answer is complex as the above-mentioned components of an applicant's academic performance are only a part of a broad picture that is considered when the admissions department reviews applications. For more information on Harvard admissions requirements, visit the Harvard website.
Harvard is one of the most respected and selective colleges in the world. Accordingly, Harvard maintains the highest standards for admission. The Harvard Admissions office has the expertise and experience to evaluate candidates holistically.
For our initial evaluation of golf prospects we typically look for individual SAT I & II scores above 700 and/or ACT scores above 33. We would like to see grades above 3.80 (unweighted) on a 4.0 scale or the equivalent while taking a rigorous courseload. There are many other considerations and other factors may be more important in individual evaluations. Harvard Admissions cares deeply about personal qualities such as character, leadership and interpersonal skills – it is not just about the numbers.
What golf scores do I need to have in order to be a strong candidate for the Harvard Golf Team?
In order to achieve our goals we need to continually attract and develop the best team members possible. As in the evaluation process for admission, there are many factors that affect an individual's ability to excel in our environment. We typically look for strong indication that the prospect can score in the low-to-mid 70s in college tournaments. National (USGA, AJGA, or similar) tournament experience is usually a good indicator of playing ability on the college level as these events are often contested at the same type of courses that we play at the college level. We believe that players can improve from high school to college with appropriate instruction, focus and effort. Qualities such as desire, commitment to be your best and character are evaluated carefully and are often more important than junior tournament scores.
How does the Harvard golf team establish and maintain contact with potential team members?
Because of the competitive nature of Harvard's admission process, we approach recruiting in a different manner than many other programs. We encourage prospective student athletes to make initial contact by the beginning of their junior year indicating interest in our program. We do not make many phone calls to potential student-athletes or bombard them with recruiting tactics. Instead, if we believe a candidate is a person who has the potential to help our golf program and has a good chance of gaining admission, we encourage the submission of an application. Contact is maintained on a regular basis with strong prospects.
We receive hundreds of requests for in-person meetings. To be efficient with our time and a prospect’s time we limit in-person meetings to those with prospects we believe could be strong candidates for our program.
We believe strongly in an honest and transparent approach to recruiting. Our goal is simple – that students attend the school they most want to attend. If you have a question and want honest feedback, please ask.
The following link provides information on the Ivy League Admissions and Financial Aid process. Reviewing the information therein will help you get a better sense of our approach to the Ivy League recruiting approach: http://www.ivyleaguesports.com/information/psa/index
Please direct all recruiting inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
What can I do to have Harvard coaches see me play?
Seeing a prospect in action on the golf course can be helpful for us in the evaluation process. However, it is not a primary evaluation tool for us and we rarely travel to tournaments outside of the New England.
We encourage our strongest prospects to play in a tournament near Boston in the summer before their junior or senior year so we can combine an opportunity to see them play with an unofficial visit to campus.
Even while we are interested in attracting the best players in the country to play at Harvard, we don’t believe that extensive travel to tournaments is necessary or an efficient use of our time.
There are a couple of reasons for our limited recruiting travel:
- Watching players who have not expressed interest in Harvard and/or have not provided academic information is unlikely to be productive given the academic standards for admission to Harvard.
- We cannot talk to prospects at tournaments to get to know their thoughts and internal reactions to how they are playing - we can only observe.
- Watching a couple of holes, or portions of 1 or 2 rounds, provides a feel for how someone moves, or how someone reacts to good or bad shots - on those given days. But it's just a snapshot. To judge a player in that short period of time is challenging at best and we don't believe that it is the most productive use of time.
Instead, we believe in evaluating a larger body of work as a student, golfer and person. We look at grades, test scores, leadership roles and extra-curricular activities to determine a prospect’s potential fit with Harvard. We evaluate your overall body of work as a golfer including long-term tournament results, length of time playing, practice routines, commitment to being the best you can be, etc. Finally, we use the quality of correspondence, phone calls, and in-person visits over a period of time provide a better evaluation for both parties.
All that being said, however, we know some prospects like to see coaches observing them at tournaments. It feels good to receive attention, and we know that not attending tournaments can be misconstrued as a lack of interest. We prefer a far more straightforward approach. We will tell you where you stand. If you are not sure, ask. You can count on honest answers; always.
Can a prospect's candidacy for the golf team
increase the chances of gaining admission?
We will support applications for admission by candidates for the golf team as appropriate. Support from a trusted and reliable source (including coaches, interviewers, alumni, faculty, etc.) will often make a significant impact on admissions decisions. However, since we are not admissions officers and do not make admissions decisions, we cannot and will not guarantee admission to anyone.
The amount of support we can provide and the number of candidates we are able to actively support is limited. Our support is generally based upon the following four criteria:
- the ability of a prospect to help our team achieve the mission, vision and goals we have established
- the likelihood of the individual's gaining admission based upon academic and extra-curricular factors;
- the likelihood that the prospective student-athlete will attend Harvard if admitted;
- and the prospect's desire to put in the effort needed to be the best college golfer they can be.
When is the Harvard golf season?
We have two golf seasons per academic year. Our fall season commences upon the students' return to school around September 1st. We typically compete in three or four fall tournaments in September and October. Between the end of our fall tournament season and winter break, team members take part in our TPI workout program three times per week and take advantage of our indoor facilities to work on their games. Over winter break -- late December to late January -- team members often play and practice in warm climates. We start our spring season February 1st by continuing our TPI workouts and using our indoor facilities to work on our games. We take a 9-day training trip to warmer climates during our spring recess. We are fortunate to have traveled to the following locations and courses on recent trips:
Phoenix, Arizona, including Desert Mountain and other area courses
Southeast Florida including PGA National, Medalist and other area courses
San Francisco and Monterey, Calif. (Cypress Point, Pebble Beach, Spyglass, Monterey Peninsula CC, S.F. Golf Club, etc.)
Orlando, Fla. (Mountain Lake, Black Diamond Ranch, Lake Nona, Interlachen, Faldo Institue)
Southern California (La Quinta, PGA West, LA Country Club, Riviera)
Upon returning from our spring trip, we compete in several tournaments including the Ivy League Championship. The winner of the Ivy League Championship receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals.
What is the Harvard Golf practice and tournament schedule?
We are fortunate that our home course for practice is The Country Club in Brookline - a course that is perennially ranked in the top 20 courses in the country and the site of several U.S. Opens, USGA events and the 1999 Ryder Cup. Occasionally we will practice at other areas courses. We also take advantage of our new indoor practice facility and our Trackman device.
During non-tournament weeks we typically practice 5 or 6 days per week. During tournament weeks we typically practice 3 days per week.
Practice time usually includes one 18-hole round, one day spent on individual swing work, short-game practice, individual goal-setting and review, and one day practicing and playing a nine-hole round. Practice rounds are also used for tournament qualifying. Tournaments are typically held on weekends and usually involve leaving on Fridays and returning on Sundays. Monday is usually an off day -- one day per week must be free of athletic activities as mandated by the NCAA.
How can I keep my golf game in shape during the offseason?
Our fall tournament season typically concludes by the end of October. Golfers in the northeast are able to play and practice outdoors until approximately Thanksgiving; for Harvard that coincides with the start of "reading period and exams". When the first semester exams end in mid-to-late December our students are on winter break until the end of January. Most team members play and practice extensively in warm climates during this time. We start our formal indoor practice routine on the first day of February with TPI workouts three times per week, practice in the stadium bubble 2-3 times per week and extensive use of our indoor practice area.
With the assistance of PGA fitness guru Randy Myers, our strength and conditioning staff has developed golf-specific workouts for our team, and the varsity weight room is available to the golf team at set times through the offseason. The strength and conditioning staff works directly with the team during the workouts to make sure that team members are receiving the maximum benefit.
Additionally, we have recently upgraded our indoor practice facilities to include a 2,500 square foot short game area for putting and chipping. We have multiple indoor hitting bays and can do detailed swing analysis with our Trackman game improvement tool. We also have access to the bubble that is installed over the football stadium during the winter months for short and medium range wedge work. If an individual wants to improve their game, we have everything necessary to accommodate that goal.
How do students manage their time between school
work and golf team commitments?
The ability to learn how to prioritize and manage time is an important part of the learning process for Harvard students, especially Harvard student-athletes. The amount of time team members commit to golf is significant and requires discipline on the part of the student athlete.
A significant percentage of Harvard students are involved in extracurricular activities and must plan their schedules accordingly. This planning and discipline is an integral part of the Harvard experience. We work closely with team members to help schedule and manage their time. Over 1,000 of the nearly 7,000 undergraduate students at Harvard compete in intercollegiate athletics, proving every day that it is realistic for Harvard students to be successful student-athletes.
Athletics is a primary component of the educational experience at Harvard. The abilities to prioritize and manage time effectively are learned through this experience and are useful life lessons. Learning to deal with risk and adversity is also reinforced through participation in college athletics.
With what other colleges do you regularly compete?
The typical tournaments include 12 to 20 schools from the Northeast/New England area including Ivy League schools (Yale, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, Penn, Columbia, Cornell), Boston-area schools (Boston College, Boston University), Big East schools (Georgetown, Rutgers, St. John's, Connecticut) and other New England schools such as Rhode Island and Hartford. We are fortunate to have the resources to travel to out-of-region events each season to test our games against national competition.
What are some of the results from tournaments in
which Harvard has competed?
Complete tournament-by-tournament results are available on Golfstat and GoCrimson.com. We have a long and storied history in our program, as Harvard was a strong regional and national power in golf through the 1970s. The results from the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s are not as impressive. We are committed to returning the program to the prominence and excellence that is appropriate for Harvard.
The tournament format used in college is best-four-out-of-five-scores from each school. Over the past five years, the average winning score of the tournaments we have played has dropped from 293 per round to 291 per round. During that same period, our average score for each tournament round has dropped from 301 to 296. We have closed the gap considerably and we expect to continue to improve. We continue to strive to be the best program in the Northeast.
In the fall of 2013, the men's team scoring average was 290. The 2013-14 team scoring average was 291 and included two team wins and three individual wins in the spring.
I would really like to attend Harvard, but I have
several offers for full scholarships to other schools. Can you
provide any information that will help me with this
This is a frequent and difficult question. Harvard and other Ivy League institutions do not offer athletic scholarships. Financial aid at Harvard is based strictly on need. Harvard has an outstanding financial aid program that allows people from all financial backgrounds to attend. Since Harvard applicants are the "best and the brightest," they frequently have other opportunities available to them. Recruited athletes are often faced with this decision.
Harvard's relatively recent financial aid initiative is quite
impressive. Students whose families make less than $65,000 per year
attend Harvard free of charge and students whose families earn up
to $150,000 attend Harvard for up to 10% of their family
Although Harvard (and other Ivy League schools) does not offer merit-based (athletic or academic) financial aid or scholarships, our financial aid program is outstanding. You are encouraged to review the following web page for more information on the Harvard Financial Aid program. I also encourage you to spend a couple minutes filling out the simple financial aid calculator.
I am confused by the Early Action versus Early Decision process. Can you explain the difference and how applying early affects the chance of gaining admission?
Early Decision is a binding commitment to attend the school if an applicant is admitted under the Early Decision program. Harvard utilizes the Early Action program, which restricts the applicant from applying to other Early Action or Decision programs but does not bind the student to attend. It is usually understood, however, that the student is applying Early to his first choice. The chance of gaining admission can be increased by applying Early depending upon many other factors including the size and quality of the Early applicant pool and the recruiting situation of the sport involved. Students are encouraged to make this choice carefully.
The Harvard College Admissions site can answer many of your questions about the application and admission process.
A few closing thoughts on Harvard and the Ivy
A top athlete and student should be sure he is choosing a school that will foster his personal growth in all areas. Ivy League schools have a unique view of athletics that allows its member schools to provide this balance and development. Visit the Ivy League's official website for more information about the league.
Within the Ivy League framework, Harvard is able to balance athletics and academics while being the best at both. Harvard teams traditionally win more than 25% of the Ivy League championships held each academic year and are successful at both the regional and national level.
Part of the reason for Harvard's success is the ability of
Harvard teams to compete with the best programs in the country -
including winning national championships and being ranked in the
top 20 in several sports each year. Our roster of 42 varsity sports
means that Harvard not only has a fantastic athletic department; it
is the largest Division I program in the nation both in terms of
sports offered and student-athletes served.
All the while, Harvard remains one of the best and most renowned academic institutions in the world.