Varsity Letter


Jan 15, 2017
I apologize if this question has been asked before, but I couldn't find a sufficient answer.
I go to a large, single-gender high school, and all of our sports teams are very competitive. Obtaining a varsity letter in track(which I am currently involved with) would be pretty difficult until I reached junior/senior year. I understand that letters are an important area in the application, and I am worried that I wouldn't have one before I submitted my application. I wouldn't have much trouble with the CFA, but not having a varsity letter may look weak.

It is possible to obtain one by being a team manager. Should I go this route?

By all means yes but explore other athletic opportunities like club / travel etc. If you can't get a letter be prepared to highlight your athletic experience and participation however else you can. As example the best HS soccer and hockey players in my area don't play varsity at all but are all in club / travel programs.

Don't know what events you like but I would start running in every competitive 5K / 10K / half marathon etc etc etc that you can and build up your resume. Be sure to keep records of all your official entries and results; anybody can pay the entry fee but SA wants to see some results.

In my area there are competitive indoor track events over winter; explore that option too.
I am not sure a "letter" in a sport is all that important, but MidwestDad is right - participation and results are.

In my tiny school district, the sports "letter" is given to everyone who participates for two years, and also goes for managers, band members, cheerleaders, and the AV squad.

Try to expand your horizons here, as MidwestDad suggests, and don't rely on just school events. There are many track & CC clubs and travel programs, many local competitions, in which you can participate year-round. I do not think the "letter" as a manager will have anything but a negative impact; you give up a sport to become a manager?

USAFA will know all about your school.
True, letters mean different things in different districts. For football here, lettering requires Varsity summer practice attendance, 100% game dress (unless injured), and no policy violations. It's not easy. Track lettering is all metric based along with attendance and can take 3 or 4 years to obtain.

Lettering just shows participation amd dedication, imo.