Do Varsity Letters Matter for College?

Do Varsity Letters Matter for College?

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Earning a varsity letter or a monogram in high school is an extreme honor. Varsity letters signify excellence in athletics, band, and academic subjects. However, you may wonder whether varsity letters will help you get into college. 

Varsity letters matter for college because they can help support your college applications. They help present you as a valuable candidate who’s dedicated, collaborative, and talented. They can also help you gain positions within college clubs and teams. 

This article explores how varsity letters can support your college application and how varsity letters can help you once you’re in college. Let’s get started.

How Do Varsity Letters Support Your College Application?

Varsity letters support your college application as they show evidence of perseverance, hard work, and the ability to collaborate with a team. Varsity letters show colleges that you’re a well-rounded candidate. However, varsity letters can only support, and not make a college application. 

Here’s how varsity letters can boost your college application: 

  • They show you have a range of positive skills. Typically, varsity letters are awarded when you’ve participated in a team sport, musical or academic pursuit. A varsity letter proves you can work effectively and consistently with a team, which positions you as a valuable candidate. 
  • They position you as a holistic achiever. Most universities look for individuals who have been involved in various fields. A varsity letter paired with a high GPA will present you as an individual with varied interests. 
  • They allow you to get recommendation letters. Teachers are involved with the process of selecting candidates who receive varsity letters. If you receive a varsity letter, you’ll likely find a teacher to write you a great letter of recommendation. 

A college will look at the school issuing the varsity letter and the number of letters a student has to decide the weight it’ll lend to the student’s college application. 

You can earn several different types of varsity letters, including athletic, academic, and band varsity letters. The following sections explore how the different letters can help your college application. 

Athletic Varsity Letters 

An athletic varsity letter is awarded to a student who has excelled in soccer, basketball, or swimming. Athletic varsity letters can be helpful in a college application, especially when you’re applying for a sports scholarship or to a university that places a high emphasis on athletics.

Band Varsity Letters 

Some schools award varsity letters to students who’ve been part of the school’s band. They’re commonly given to band leaders or conductors. Band varsity letters are helpful if you’re applying to music school, or even if you’re applying for an arts or humanities degree.

Academic Varsity Letters 

While less common, some schools may give out academic varsity letters. These letters can be given in several circumstances: 

  • For continued academic excellence: Varsity letters are given to students who’ve received a consistently high GPA for 2-4 years. 
  • For academic excellence in a particular subject: If you’ve done consistently well in a particular subject, you may receive a varsity letter in the subject. For instance, you may receive a letter if you got the top math scores in your year. 
  • For being involved in academic clubs or competitions: Some schools have clubs dedicated to subjects like math and science that may involve competitions against similar clubs in other schools. If a student has been involved with academic clubs and competitions, they may be given a varsity letter. 

Academic varsity letters can support any college application. However, if you’ve got a varsity letter in a particular subject, you can use it to support your application for a specific degree. 

Why Else Do Varsity Letters Matter for College?

As well as boosting your college application, you may also be able to use your varsity letter to join clubs in college. Having a varsity letter in athletics, band, or academic subjects may help you get the foot in the door for many competitive college clubs. 

However, it’s still likely that you’ll have to audition for them. 

Other Things You Need For Your College Application

Along with varsity letters, colleges will look at your academic record. 

They’ll consider your college application essay, which focuses on why you’re applying to a particular university and what benefits you can bring to campus. They’ll also look at the extracurricular activities you’ve done. 

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to support your college application:

  • Academic records: One of the first things that most colleges will look at includes academic records and transcripts. These include your GPA, mark sheets, and SAT or ACT scores. 
  • Recommendation letters: Colleges will look at recommendation letters from your teachers and others you’ve worked with. Recommendation letters highlight your personal and professional attributes and skills. 
  • Personal statements: All colleges ask for a personal statement that explains why you want to join a particular institute. The personal statement may also have a narrative about what has shaped you as an individual, your goals, and what you’ll contribute to the college you’re applying for. 
  • Extracurricular activities: You’ll want to list all activities outside of academics you’ve been involved in your school career. These may include being part of societies or volunteer work. Your varsity letters are excellent proof of extracurricular activities. 

You’ll also need to pay college application fees when applying to a college. Depending on the university and type you’re applying for, you may need to do additional tests. For instance, if you’re applying to a law course, you may have to do the LSATs and submit the results to your university.


Varsity letters can support your college application as they show that you’ve excelled in a particular area, and they can help you qualify for clubs once you are in college. 

However, varsity letters alone won’t help you get into college. 

To build on your application, you’ll need to provide your academic records, recommendation letters, personal statements, and evidence of extracurricular activities. Along with varsity letters, these will help present you as a well-rounded candidate that’ll be an asset to any institute.

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