The Ivy Coach Daily

March 8, 2021

Harvard Senior Athletes Applying to Graduate Programs

Let’s just say we wouldn’t be surprised if a few top Harvard senior basketball players and football players were enrolled in Harvard graduate programs next year (photo credit: Chensiyuan)

Can a current Harvard senior athlete who wasn’t able to play tennis this year due to the pandemic compete for Harvard’s team next year as a graduate student? The answer is yes. Ivy League senior athletes who were not able to compete this past year in their respective sports due to the cancelation of Ivy League athletics on account of the pandemic will be able to complete their eligibility as graduate students at their institutions. But, of course, this requires the athletes apply to — and earn admission to — such graduate programs. So are these institutions streamlining the process for athletes so they can complete their athletic eligibility with their current teams?

As Benjamin L. Fu writes for The Harvard Crimson in a piece entitled “Following Ivy League Policy Shift, Harvard Athletics Helps Athletes Navigate Grad School Admissions Process,” “In light of the Ivy League’s sudden policy change allowing senior student athletes to compete next year at their respective universities as graduate students, Harvard Athletics is supporting interested athletes by answering informational questions and writing recommendation letters, according to Harvard Athletics Director Erin McDermott…Notably, the decision came at a time when many Harvard and Ivy League graduate programs’ application deadlines had already passed. University President Lawrence S. Bacow signaled in a webinar with student athletes last week that Harvard’s graduate programs will not extend their deadlines for senior athletes in light of the League’s new policy. McDermott said in an interview last week that members of her department ’haven’t had conversations’ with the University’s graduate programs regarding athletes’ admissions into their schools. Rather, McDermott said Harvard Athletics is helping a ’handful’ of students who have expressed interest in using the waiver by offering advice and providing written support through normal admissions channels.”

Uh huh. Harvard’s PR spin calls for a translation. And so we wish to offer our interpretation of the words of Harvard’s athletics director: “If you’re a rower or a swimmer or a squash player, we’re not going to be pushing too hard for you to line up your graduate school plans here at Harvard. If you’re a top Harvard basketball player or a top football player, yes, we’ll pull some strings where we can. If you want an MBA, we’ll give the dean of HBS a ring. A master’s in philosophy? We’ll make a call.” But, hey, that’s just our interpretation of the words of Harvard’s AD. Agree? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts by posting below. We look forward to hearing from you!

You are permitted to use (including the content of the Blog) for your personal, non-commercial use only. You must not copy, download, print, or otherwise distribute the content on our site without the prior written consent of Ivy Coach, Inc.


If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s college counseling,
fill out our complimentary consultation form and we’ll be in touch.

Get Started