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College Athletic Scholarships – The 5 Misconceptions
The families appear to be in the midst of a perfect storm as they seek to send their sons and daughters to college. The stock market wiped out much of the savings people thought they had; tuition fees have soared; the economy wiped out millions of jobs; real estate prices collapsed and destroyed equity; and more children than ever want a higher education.
Perhaps the promising circumstances for you are that your child plays a sport – even plays it quite well. Sounds like you, right? Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this. So help in the form of a sports scholarship could well be considered. You’ll have to navigate the recruiting process and make tough judgments about how to contact college coaches, hire college consultants, negotiate terms (if you’re lucky enough to go that far), and everything in between. of a potentially complicated process. But for those with prospects and needs, there is simply no other way.
And there is no doubt that an athletic scholarship can help pay for that college education. This may not be the complete tour – but any input would be welcome for most of us. However, the challenge for parents, especially those new to the college recruiting process, is to navigate uncharted waters in a race where the stakes couldn’t be higher. Hey, it’s just your child’s education!
Jennifer Noonan of College Sports Quest has been counseling Southern California high school athletes for about 10 years and has counseled more than 500 families during that time. She cautions against leaving everything to the student. It’s just too important for the athlete not to have full family support.
And as Jennifer Noonan sees it, there are five common misconceptions when it comes to college recruiting and athletic scholarships.
Myth #1: If you’re good enough, coaches will always find out who you are
And all good things come to those who wait. In a perfect world, that’s exactly what would happen. Alas, our world is not perfect. And a college scholarship is too important to be left to chance. You must be proactive. I
Myth #2: You have plenty of time
Not as much as you think. About 25% of high school athletes are identified as college scholarship applicants when they are in their first year. Another 35% are identified as sophomores. And another 45% or so are identified as juniors. Few of them are identified as elderly. So you don’t have as much time as you think. According to Noonan and College Sports Quest [http://www.collegesportsquest.com]the time for you to begin your own recruiting efforts – in most sports – is September 1 of your junior year (or earlier).
Myth #3: Your coach has connections and will get you recruited
The first job of coaches is to train you – so that you can be recruited. And they are busy – many have teaching duties in addition to their sports duties. Not to mention families and personal lives and everything else. Of course, use the help that the coaches offer you, ask for it and take advantage of all the connections they have. But don’t make it your only recruiting strategy.
Myth #4: College camps and exhibition tournaments mean you’ll get noticed
By the time most college coaches go to tournaments, they have a very short list of prospects in their minds that they are looking at. In a camp of 500 student-athletes, a college coach may only seriously consider 2 or 3. The lesson is that you have to do the work to be on their radar screens before the tournament. And be realistic (but optimistic) about your abilities and the college tournaments you’re targeting.
Myth #5: Grades don’t matter
Colleges and the NCAA have high school course requirements and minimum GPA/SAT/ACT standards that you will need to clear. But meeting the minimum standard of the NCAA and your university does not mean that you will be able to continue to achieve the required university levels. And, all things being equal between you and another prospect, the higher ratings will count.
It is always worth visiting the colleges that interest you. Try to time your visit so you can see your sport being played. Avoid applying to colleges for athletic scholarships that you would not otherwise consider attending. In other words, no matter what happens with the team, you still have a degree to earn!
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