Pride in the Classroom Equals Pride on the Field – #1
Last month our Coach’s Corner featured Yale University Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator, Tucker Frawley. Coach Frawley offered some great tips and the one I’d like to discuss this month is, “…don’t underestimate how many doors can be initially opened for you due to your academic credentials.” What’s the message here? Grades matter regardless of the schools on your list. ‘Good grades’ are not just for the kids going to Yale or similar high-academic colleges. There are a variety of different ‘doors’ that can open.
The first 3 questions most coaches ask us about student-athletes are:
1) What is his GPA?
2) Has he taken the SAT/ACT and what did he get?
3) Is he taking the ACT/SAT again?
Once these questions are answered, then we discuss the skill set of the player.
How do grades help if I’m not going to a high-academic school?
Strong grades can help offset the cost of college for you and your family. At the Division 3 level there are no athletic scholarships. The two main ways to get financial assistance for college are:
– need-based financial aid (Which you can find out more about by clicking here)
– merit-based financial aid (academic scholarship).
At the Division 1 & 2 levels some schools are allowed to give both academic and athletic monies drastically reducing the cost of tuition. Some programs that are not fully funded (meaning they do not offer the maximum number of scholarships permitted by the NCAA), are able to actually give better financial packages through academic scholarship than athletic.
What if my goal is the high-academic colleges and cost really is not a primary issue?
Grades are the most determining factor. Obviously, ability is a major piece to the equation, but high-academic schools have somewhat less wiggle room with admission standards. As we mentioned in the last issue, coaches rarely recruit exceptions to the rule when it comes to metrics. Grades and test scores are part of those metrics. If you want to go to one of the best academic colleges, you will need strong grades and a rigorous course load. High test scores might be able to shift the scales in your favor, but for these high-academic schools good grades are requirements, not guidelines. Often, we hear that one’s GPA isn’t as high as others because “my son goes to one of the best schools in the country.” It seems that each year, over 50 of our clients are all going to “the best school in the country.” Colleges and their admissions department know the background on every school in the country. Here is a good rule of thumb to try to follow regardless of how hard the school or the classes are: C’s are not good. Getting a ‘B’ in an AP-level course is solid and weighs the same as an ‘A’ in a non-AP course. While a ‘C’ in an AP-course may weigh the same as a ‘B’ in a non-AP course, it will ultimately do more harm than good…C’s are not good.
My GPA is high, but I did not do well on the tests. Can I get to a high-academic school?
Yes! Many colleges have gone “test optional”. These test optional schools have decided that the overall body of work (transcript) and other factors are better indicators of a student’s potential to succeed in college than the standardized tests. You can find a listing of test optional schools here.
My Freshman year had some C’s, but I picked it up Sophomore and Junior years
Remember, every year counts. Freshman through Senior year grades will matter. It is much easier to start off at the top of the mountain and stay there than it is to climb it for four years. Trending positively with your grades and increasing the rigor of your course schedule (AP’s/Honors classes) are major factors to the admission process.
Are there any other reasons grades help?
Aside from the tangible reason of helping chip away at the financial commitment to a school and meeting overall admission requirements, players with high grades are more attractive to college coaches for intangible reasons. There is something to be said about the work ethic and determination of a 3.5 GPA student versus a 2.5 GPA student. Coaches want to recruit good players. Everyone knows that. However, what a coach wants from his player goes way beyond his baseball ability. They want good teammates and good citizens on campus. They want guys that are a positive representation of their own family and their new baseball family. They want to go to bed at night knowing their players are making the right decisions. If grades are one less worry for a player then that player is more attractive than the guy who needs his hand held. Pride in the classroom equals pride on the field.
Coach’s Corner provides tips on the recruiting process from the viewpoint of the nation’s finest college coaches.
Coach’s Corner with:
Mike Leonard – Bates College Head Coach
“The most important piece of advice I could give to high school players and their families who are in the college search process is to keep things in perspective and ENJOY the process. I see so many prospective players who look stressed and beaten down by the entire process. These are great students who are considering some of the top colleges and universities in the country and who are involved in competitive baseball programs at the high school level. When players lose sight of baseball being a game that should be fun, they do not perform at their best. It seems that more and more players are caught up in the goal being recruited instead of focusing on developing as a baseball player. The irony is that players who focus on the process of developing as a player perform at a higher level, and usually end up as better recruits. ”
PLAY TO WIN
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