Ok, so this is my wheelhouse. My DD is going NESCAC high academic. Coach Herman is great, strict but fair and honest. Has a bit of a dry sense of humor. She only recruits from her camps, and the few tournaments she attends. She can, because it's Williams, which is the number one rated academic D3 in the country per US News and World Report, and number 3 D3 in the country for softball.
So sign DD up for one of her camps this summer. Have DD fill out the recruiting form-Catchers are ALWAYS in demand. And absolutely make your DD take the ACT this spring. She needs a 29 or higher for Williams-if not, it's a no-go. A 4.0 would also help.
My DD was on Herman's list-played at her summer camp between Sophomore and Junior year, and then invited to her winter camp Junior winter. Didn't make the final cut...
Herman will have her list July 1st the summer before your DD's senior year. She will tell the girls-there will be 4-5. She will submit her list to admissions for the pre-read, and if it is favorable, tell the girls, and they MUST apply ED to get coach support to help your DD be accepted at Williams.
There is no scholarship money for sports, but Williams will meet 100% of demonstrated need, plus your DD will get to attend Williams.
If she isn't on the list Hermann submits on July 1, but Herman still likes her, she will offer her a "walk-on" try-out, but your DD will have to get in herself-less than 10% do, even with fabulous grades and test scores, so it's a crap shoot. Roster is usually 18 girls. Look at how tall they are and what positions will be needed for your DDs year to get an idea if this is possible.
The other NESCACs have a bit more leisurely approach. It's D3 high academic, so there is no such thing as an early commit with any teeth in it. The soonest date for a "pre-read" is July 1 between Junior and Senior year, and anything else is just a guess. if your DD doesn't have the academics, it just isn't going to happen. But most of the NESCACs have their lists by September first, tho spots come and go based on who gets likely letters from the Ivies, because it's the same pool of girls. ACT of 29 is rock bottom for all these schools, and some need higher.
A 29 on the ACT sounds fairly low for Williams - probably the bare minimum nonly if accompanied by other impressive attributes (high grades, AP classes, outstading ECs, recommendations, etc.). Check out the Common Data Set for any school you might be interested in to get a look at the make-up of the accepted student body and academic performance of accepted students.
I agree that a 29 is low. I am quoting Coach Herman directly. It definitely would be low for a player without truly outstanding abilities, or perhaps another "hook" like under-represented minority, first generation college attendence, or financially disadvantaged...However, the main point is that no matter what else, a 29 is the lowest they will accept. Amherst is also very public with needing a 32, Yale told us a 31. Georgetown "give me something with a 3 in it"....Point is, take the test, because without the scores, they can't do anything for you!