People regularly ask, often incredulously, why anyone who already has offers would do a post-graduate (PG) year. The better question is, why wouldn’t you?
Asking why is a pretty clear indicator of goals and perspective. All most families can think of is getting a D1 offer. They’ve hardly considered, and have little understanding of, what happens and what it takes to be successful once you’re actually in college and playing a D1 sport.
Survival is a big part of sports at the D1 level. Everyone at that level has talent. Everyone is on a scholarship. Everyone thinks they will play. Not everyone will. Nobody thinks that will be them.
If your goal is just to get the offer, there’s no reason to do a PG year. If you want to maximize your success and get the most out of your college experience, there’s every reason. Here are the main ones:
- There is virtually no downside to a PG year
- You will still have all the offers and options you have now, plus five times more
- You will get higher level offers
- The additional year makes you a better athlete and gets you better exposure
- You will have more choices and options, which leads to a better decision
- You will have a better idea of who you are as a person and an athlete
- You will be better prepared to live away from home
- Better handle the reduced supervision and increased freedom
- You will become a better student
- This is true for all levels of students, even the best ones
- You will have an additional year of education and credits
- You will be much better at recruiting process the second time around.
- This is one of the most overlooked reasons to PG
- Most families are fairly clueless the first time they go through the process
- It’s not a fair fight.
- Coaches are professionals. If they don’t recruit successfully, they don’t have a job.
- You will get more out of college and increase chances of success
- Remember, you only get four years
- Achieve higher grades in college
- Achieve more success in your sport
- You will minimize the risks
- Lower risk of transfer or bad experience
- Lower risk of failing out
- Lower risk of sitting on the bench the first year or two, or never cracking the lineup
- You will have a much better chance of thriving in college, instead of just surviving
These reasons all pertain to students in general. If you’re young for your grade or a student at risk (ie: a weak student, marginal recruit or received offers based more on potential than current ability), that’s all the more reason.
Why don’t more families take advantage of this opportunity? Lack of awareness, lack of patience, lack of perspective. Some don’t know the opportunity exists. Some are too impatient to get to college. Some don’t see the big picture. Ask yourself this: what is your decision going to look like when you look back a year from now?
If school and sports are really about life preparation, then this truly is an easy decision. A PG year better prepares the student for college and life after college. There’s no question about it.
If you think this is all hypothetical, consider one example. I worked this past year with a young man who said no in the summer before his senior year to the first D1 offer he received. During his senior season many schools came to look at him, some as many as a five times, but no one offered. Finally, late in the season, he received one very low level offer.
When they asked to speak with me about their prep school options, this family of very little means was worried about passing up the one offer they had. We sat in their living room when they nervously asked me if it was reasonable to think that they might get more offers. They decided they believed in themselves and opted for prep school. Five months later they had over 20 offers. The schools that had watched him five times, and to whom he would have quickly said yes any and every day during the season, now could barely get the family’s attention with their offer. In the end, this athlete ended up jumping all the way to high level D1 and a top 25 program.
Having offers gives you leverage. Use it. A PG year reduces variables and risks. You only get four years of college. A PG year is the best way to maximize those years.