Varsity vs Sports Letter

Feb 16, 2017
This may seem like a silly question, but on several of the SA & ROTC apps it asks if DS/DD played sports. Sometimes it has different options: JV, Varsity, Varsity Letter. What is the difference b/t varsity & varsity letter. DS is going into Sr year and has been a starter on both baseball & hockey since freshman year ( no hockey this year due to injury), but has never been given a "varsity letter". I remember back in the day I earned a letter to put on my high school jacket, but not even sure that's a thing it? My point is, DS school does not differentiate athletes at the varsity level ( that I am aware of), is this going to look poorly for DS?
At our High School, kids could be on a Varsity team, but earned a Varsity letter based on playing time during the season and maintaining their eligibility. Rules for earning letter varied by sport. JV players could not earn a letter. Kids in the Varsity team picture in the yearbook may not have earned a letter.
Not sure if getting a varsity letter is a thing anymore in most schools. My son played varsity baseball for 4 years. If they wanted one, the players could buy a high school leather jacket that had what you would call a letter. Never got one.
My DS's high school held an athletic awards night each year. Only a varsity team could award letters to players and those players had to have a certain amount of time on the team to qualify.

It was still a big deal to receive a letter or even better yet letters in multiple sports.

Letterman's jackets were the standard for athletes. DS rarely wore his as it was usually worn by his GF. The jackets are horribly over priced.
Letterman's jackets were the standard for athletes. DS rarely wore his as it was usually worn by his GF. The jackets are horribly over priced.

Agreed! DS opted for a sweater. Only $89 shipped and custom made, and retro! Since he first wore his to school, 3 others have purchased sweaters.

I need to sew in his football and academic awards still... hah.

In our district you get your letter after so many seasons of being on the team, academic standing, and leadership. There is a whole point system involved and the athletes have to also have a certain amount of community service hours.
Sports like hockey and soccer usually have JV and Varsity. When you receive x amount of playtime, you can "letter" (as compared with being on the JV team and occasionally pulled up or being on varsity and riding the bench all year). It gets more confusing for sports like track and cross country because you can have 100+ participants all "varsity" based on age and age alone. But those large programs will give out a letter for the (objective and subjective) standouts; hence the "letterwinner" gets a piece of paper award saying it is o.k. to put it on a letter jacket.

In summary, the Academy wants to know the applicants athletic caliber.
It tends to vary by school, but many have criteria for achieving a varsity letter that signifies a higher level of accomplishment then just being on the varsity squad. If a particular school doesn't give out varsity letters, the SA applicant should be prepared to discuss their accomplishments vs just 'being on the varsity team'.