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New England Small College Athletic Conference Colleges

New England Small College Athletic Conference Colleges

The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) is an association of 11 private liberal arts schools in New England, specifically Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. The conference stresses the importance of integrating athletics and higher education.

Schools from the NESCAC participate in 27 different sports throughout the fall, winter and spring. Since 1971, NESCAC teams have won five national championships and 19 individual national championships.

The NESCAC Schools

The first four NESCAC institutions to recruit athletes were Amherst College, Bowdoin College, Wesleyan University and Williams College, who formed an agreement in 1955 to constitute their own conference. In 1971, Colby College, Bates College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, Trinity College, and Tufts University joined the charter, followed by Connecticut College 11 years later.

Today, each college is individually known for fantastic academics. Some are compared to Ivy League schools in terms of prestige and selectivity. The sizes of the student bodies at NESCAC schools range from 1,700 to 5,100.

Academic Rigor and Campus Culture

Although each NESCAC school has its own campus culture and academic programs, the conference is generally known for a heavy emphasis on intellectual pursuits, student involvement and tradition. 

Most of the schools have small and congregated campuses, with academic buildings fairly close together in rural or suburban environments. The average NESCAC acceptance rate is about 18%. NESCAC campuses also are fairly diverse with generous financial aid opportunities available to applicants.

NESCAC Athletics

Since 1993, NESCAC sent teams to the NCAA Division III championships. In 2017, NESCAC announced it would change the previously eight-game football season to a regular nine-game schedule.

In addition to football, each school has teams for men's and women’s cross country, soccer, golf, basketball, swimming and diving, tennis, lacrosse and rowing. In the 2013-2014 season, nine of the 11 participating schools ranked in the Top 25 for total athletic spending amongst Division III schools.

Prospective Students

All members of the NESCAC conference agreed to review the application materials of student athlete applicants with the academic reputation and values of the program in mind.

NESCAC schools don't offer athletic scholarships, but they do recruit student athletes during their final years of high school, requiring that they obtain high test scores and meet certain transcript criteria in order to gain acceptance.

Throughout their time at the school, student athletes are carefully monitored in their classes, as athletic coaches and advisors expect that they fully participate in student life and academics. If your dream is to be a student athlete, consider the NESCAC schools.

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