COLLEGE PLANNING FOR SERIOUS ATHLETES


ADVANCE PLANNING IS THE KEY TO BEING PREPARED RECRUITED ATHLETE:

Successful athletic recruits are well underway with the recruiting process  in their Junior year. Indeed most coaches identify their strongest prospects  about 15-18 months before entering the university and offer places and scholarships 12 months before college matriculation. Consideration by coaches involves a complicated formula of academic as well as athletic compatibility. All serious athletes are training hard to improve at their sport. Successful recruits will be applying equal dedication to their school work in order to insure they have completed courses and testing in a timely fashion with standards commiserate with the requirements of the colleges in which they are interested. 

The athlete identifies and pursues college placement at least a year before the normal student. This means recruited athletes must have a plan in place insuring they are ready to complete applications in the early fall of their senior year if not before.

College coaches are very consistent on one critical perspective relating to the recruiting and admission process. They fully expect the student-athlete to take on the majority of responsibility as it relates to contact and recruiting. The coach prefers to work directly with the student on these matters rather than the student's parents. We can help your student become self-sufficient in these matters, thereby putting forth a more independent and mature appearance. This is a very important goal of our program. We will give your student the tools to better manage this process in a fashion that fits the expectation of college coaches.


NCAA RULES GOVERNING HIGH SCHOOL PREPARATION FOR COLLEGE ATHLETES:

 To participate in college athletics in the freshmen year the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) states that students must meet three requirements:

  • graduate from high school
  • complete the minimum required academic courses
  • have qualifying grade-point average (GPA) and SAT or ACT scores.

The 16 academic credits are:

  • four courses in English
  • two courses in math
  • two classes in social science
  • two in natural or physical science
  • one additional course in English, math natural or physical science or another academic course such as foreign language.

For the SAT test, only the scores from the math and verbal/critical reading sections are used. The lower your GPA, the higher your test score must be. For the detailed qualification chart and more information about NCAA requirements please refer to the NCAA Guide for College Bound Athletes.

Prospective recruits should note that the NCAA requirements are the absolute minimum standards allowed to participate in college sports.  Most schools expect recruits to have completed a significantly more rigorous high school program combined with an excellent GPA and testing results. Indeed some schools will not even consider a recruits application unless their unique course and testing requirements have been satisfied.


 

GRADES AND COURSEWORK

Successful recruits should have a four year plan for their high school coursework which incorporates the academic requirements and expectations of their target schools. Ideally high school student athletes should strive to excel in the most challenging classes offered in order to maximize their college opportunities. Performing well in the high school classroom is a strong indicator of your college academic performance. If you are  weak student, a college coach may have reservations on your ability to handle the increased academic and athletic responsibilities of of the college student-athlete. A struggling college student-athlete will be in ineligible college student-athlete and of little value to their college team.

Take challenging high school courses and make sure your standards of performance are as high in the classroom as they are in the swimming pool or on the court. 

The standards at most elite colleges in the United States will require SAT scores of of 650, a GPA of 4.0 and a generous record of AP courses reflected on your high school transcript. At many elite colleges these are the MINIMUM standards to be an eligible recruit. Your swimming skill level can be a strong factor in admissions if your scores are slightly lower than the above and may help you in the admissions process. Striving to achieve the above standards will enhance your odds of getting into the school of your choice. One of the many "tips" we can offer you in this process is to make sure you continue taking a heavy load of AP courses in your Senior year. This shows your prospective coach and admissions officer that you are serious about your education and will continue this goal once admitted to the school.


 

ACCELERATED TESTING AND APPLICATION CALENDAR

TESTING:

The NCAA has minimum  testing requirements for all entering college athletes. It must be emphasized that these are MINIMUM requirements with the vast majority of schools expecting much higher test scores and even additional tests.

Many college coaches will not consider a prospect until they have seen  their SAT scores. They do not want to invest time in recruiting an athlete whose academic performance does not meet the standards required by the admission office of their university.  Thus, prospective college athletes need to ascertain and take the required tests  far in advance of the normal admission deadline, usually  by the winter of their Junior year.   Only with submission of these test scores will many coaches start to consider a prospect.

Stronger test results will strengthen your candidacy and give a coach more confidence that you will be able to handle your university academic responsibilities as well as your athletic responsibilities. It is prudent that you spend adequate time studying for all tests and even consider completing a college testing course.  With an athletes intense schedule, finding time for test preparation requires advance planning.

APPLICATION CALENDAR:

Many college programs will determine  a recruiting class early in the fall of  a prospects senior year. But before   the "letter of intent" or "likely letter"  can be offered, a prospect must submit   an application to the admission office for university admission. This vetting process takes place many months before the normal application deadline so recruited athletes must be prepared  to complete the admission process on an accelerated calendar. This includes all preparation of forms, essays, reference letters, and testing. 


 

MANAGING YOUR TIME: JUGGLING THE ATHLETIC, ACADEMIC AND SOCIAL BALANCE:

School work, testing,  training, competitions and travel, communicating with coaches, completing applications, recruiting trips, a bit of a social life.

What are your real goals?

What tasks are most important when?

What  are the important deadlines?

How do you manage your responsibilities and commitments and make sure everything gets done in a timely manner?

How do  you maintain your sanity and enjoy your junior and senior year so that high school and the recruiting process might even be fun?


HOW WE CAN HELP YOU NAVIGATE THIS PROCESS:

TIME LINE:  Setting a recruiting time line is a major emphasis of our service. We have found swimmers more successful in the recruiting process if they have an organized approach with specific tasks and deadlines established. This helps us stay focused on our end goal and allows us a better ability to assess our overall progress. Having a specific time line also helps the swimmer better manage their time and efforts as they still have many other daily responsibilities they must attend to.Time lines will include academic tasks, recruiting readiness tasks, athletic markers and successful compliance with all admissions and testing deadlines.

PRIORITIZING TASKS AND RESPONSIBILITIES. TAKING ON SOME OF THE INFORMATION GATHERING PROCESS: Training, studying, competitions, a social life. A serious high school athlete has  a lot to think about and tasks to take care of. We can help you to prioritize what needs to be done when. What tasks and responsibilities are most important in  reaching your goals? We will take on much of the information gathering to help you make your own personal decisions.

COLLEGE CHOICE LIST: This is your master list of all possible college choices

COLLEGE OPTIONS: We will suggest other options for you based on our in depth interview process. Your skill level, academic scores and records will be compiled and a list of schools generated which meet your predetermined criteria.

IN DEPTH ANALYSIS OF EACH CHOICE: is provided with a myriad of critical parameters. You will have a visual picture of how you will fit in to each of your choices to better rank the best fits for you. We will also provide information on what schools you stand the best chance of being admitted to.

FINDING THE RIGHT MATCH: is the most important aspect of your college search. You want to have the most update and available information on hand to make this life changing decision. Being at a school where you are not happy,  not excelling in academics and suffering in your sport will only create undo hardship and set you back in your goals of achieving a successful college experience. Let us help you get it right the first time.

THE RIGHT FIT:  will take into consideration the level of academic commitments  at your particular choice, the responsibility of being on the team and what this requires time-wise. The right fit also considers your personality and that of your prospective coach, the type of training program you will train in, and the overall work level required to be an active member. Other issues to consider are the social opportunities, climate, geography and school size. These are all important factors to consider when prioritizing your best choice.


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