Can I Reach My Goals With a PG Year?

For athletic and/or academic reasons, many players consider a post-graduate year at prep school. Part of this consideration includes the question “can I reach my goal if I do a PG year?”. It’s not always an easy question to answer. With some athletes it’s easy to see that a PG year could get them to their goals. With others, they could do three PG years and still not get there.

If you are considering a PG year for athletic reasons, ask yourself how many of the categories below describe you.

  • Do you have a lot of upside (potential)? This is the most important of these and the hardest one to determine. Listen objectively to what the college coaches have to say on this topic.
  • Are you young (turn 18 after graduating from high school) for grade?
  • Are you physically underdeveloped compared to others, or are you still catching up to your body?
  • Have you been under-recruited in high school due to injury, missing the recruiting periods, low level of competition?

If you fit any of these, a PG year is worth considering.

If you are considering a PG year for academic reasons, make sure you know where you stand. Most of this is within your control, yet we talk to too many people who don’t know. Many of them could have known before ever wasting the time and money that a PG year wouldn’t be enough to help them reach their goals.

If you goal is the Ivy League or Patriot League, know where you stand on the Academic Index (AI) and where you need to be to get recruited. If you can, get one of the coaches to tell you your AI number. If not, we can help you calculate it.

If your issue is becoming a qualifier, know where you stand with the NCAA Clearinghouse. If you don’t know, we have a spreadsheet that can tell you. If you need a higher GPA remember, you can only get credit for one course after you graduate high school, unless you have documented special academic needs. The days of making up for many years of poor high school grades with one PG year are over. If you need higher SAT scores, make sure you understand what a realistic jump in test scores after a PG year is.

A PG year is a great option for a lot of athletes. Make sure you do your homework first.



Who’s Really Recruiting Me?

We hear it every year. Parents and players tell us coaches were watching games, calling, asking for transcripts, sending personalized letters and e-mailing regularly. Then, one day, it just stopped. There was usually no indication why, or clue that it was about to. It leaves players and parents confused. They want to know what happened, and why.

Think of the recruiting process like dating. The goal isn’t marriage, more like living together for four years. You’re going to go on at least a few dates. Some will be better than others. You’re likely to get “dumped” by some schools. There will be some unanswered questions, emotional decisions, maybe a few disasters, possibly some bad feelings, along with many very good experiences. At times you’ll wonder who you can trust. There is one thing you can count on. You’re going to learn a lot – about schools, people and yourself. Right or wrong, it’s all part of the process.

This is not a fair fight. As much as college coaches might seem like nice people, good people, and many of them are, they are professionals. They do this every day, for a living. If they don’t do it successfully, they don’t have a job. For most players and parents, this is the first and only time you’ll go through the recruiting process. This is not a fair fight.

So, how do you know who’s seriously recruiting you? It can be hard to know. Ask five different people and you’re likely to get five different answers – most of them wrong.

Talk is cheap, as the saying goes. Well, in recruiting, the only thing cheaper than talk is mail. There’s no question that mail, phone calls and other types of communication are all indicative of some level of interest. So are games or practices the coach watches. None, of these, however, is a definite indicator of serious interest.

There is one simple way to tell if they’re serious. Thankfully, it’s not subjective or based on anyone’s opinion. It’s an official visit. If the coach offers you one you can be sure they’re serious. Each school gets only a limited number of these to use each year. (Do yourself a favor and make sure you know how many. Doing your homework on details like that can allow you to use process of elimination to determine what you’re not being told). Coaches only use official visits when they’re serious or about to offer you a scholarship. Up to that point it’s all been just getting to know you. Think of it like dating.

If they don’t offer you an official visit, and you want to try to gauge where you stand, ask for one. You can also ask for a home visit, though they’re not as common as they used to be. The response you get will tell you everything you need to know.

If the answer is no, and you want to know where you stand, ask direct questions like where am I on your list. If you know what to listen for you can usually know where you stand. A coach who really wants you will not have any reservations about telling you. You’ll know the difference once you’ve heard the two different versions at least once. It’s in the way they say it.

Try using this method. You probably have some schools that you know would love to have you, but that you, for whatever reason, are simply not interested in. Maybe you have a couple D1 offers but some D3 coaches are still trying to get you. Conversations with these coaches can be very valuable. In the big picture they’re a great and underutilized part of the process. Take advantage of them. They are situations where you are less nervous, more on the offensive, and therefore act differently. Think about how these coaches sound when they talk to you. Because of your lack of interest, what you hear is not influenced by what you are hoping to hear. Now compare how they sound to the sound of the schools you hope are recruiting you. If you can do this, you will be in good shape. You’ll also be way ahead of the curve.

There are other factors that can be considered, but to the untrained ear they are more confusing than not. Stick with the official visit rule. That doesn’t mean schools that haven’t offered one won’t eventually offer one. It does mean you’ll know how to separate the two and, therefore, how to treat the two. This is critical to achieving your ultimate goals and avoiding major letdowns – or worse.

This is a long-term process. For most, it will take 3-6 months, or more, to find the right school. Even though the thrill of letters and phone calls is undeniable, try to treat it as a long-term process.



The European System – How We Can Help

For a while now, Europeans have been coming to the States in large numbers to attend prep schools and play college sports.

Because of the distance, it’s harder for many to get the information, and make the connections, needed for a good decision. Many rely on information and advice from European professional sports agents. This can be a problem.

Let’s look at one recent example.

A young man from Scandinavia with mid-level D1 talent and excellent grades and test scores wants to play in the States. He ends up getting his guidance from a professional sports agent. The agent has ulterior motives. He guides the player to a school that’s academically much lower than his grades and test scores would have otherwise earned him. Compounding the issue, the player redshirts a year, in order to have a better chance of getting any significant playing time.

You could say everything worked out fine. After all, a lot of parents and players would be happy to have that opportunity. The problem is, there were two better scenarios. Both were presented to the agent, who wouldn’t even present them to the player and his family. Why? They didn’t suit the agent’s motives – getting clients in exchange for guiding the player to a college. Here’s what should have happened.

The player should have been guided to a college with world class academics consistent with his previous academic achievements, where he could have still played at the same D1 level. Better still, he should have been guided to prep school.

Here are some of the benefits he would have gotten out of prep school:

  • Another year of physical, academic and athletic maturity
  • Much greater awareness of the college options available to him
  • A dozen or more offers all better than the one he took
  • More time and opportunity to explore those options (schools visits, etc.)
  • A college that was a much better fit
  • Reduced need to redshirt in college
  • Reduced chances of sitting the bench in college
  • Increased chance of excelling in college

All of these benefits were available without losing any eligibility or spending any significant money.

We understand it’s not a perfect world, but this isn’t twenty-twenty hindsight either. This is where we can help.