Email of the Day: Problem Parents / Too Many Schools

These days it’s much more common than it used to be to find kids changing schools multiple times during their high school years. It’s something of an epidemic. I think it’s consistent with the overall mentality of immediate satisfaction in our society today, and it’s not good.

Here’s an email I wrote to some parents whose child must be close to some kind of record for number of schools attended (6 in 3 states), especially for a very good student.

 

Ron,

For 30 years I’ve guided families through the prep school and college process. It’s my full time job. I get paid to do it. I help families in similar situations every year, and my guidance almost always pays for itself. In your case, I wish I could help, but I can’t.

I’ve watched the highlight videos and I’ve been doing some homework on your situation. The pieces are coming together.

You and your wife are friendly, highly educated people. I’ve always enjoyed the conversations you and I have had, but you completely lost your sense of reality on this topic a long time ago. On my website, there’s a section of blogs entitled “Otherwise likeable, intelligent people”. You’ve made the list. If it’s accurate (or even close) that your son has attended six different schools in three different states since he started high school, that’s a huge red flag. It’s so bad in so many ways, I almost don’t know where to start, but here’s where it ends. I’m going to tell you what you don’t want to hear. You’re a problem parent, and that’s holding your son back more than anything else in this equation.

Your son has scholarship level athleticism (although he doesn’t play the game that well). It’s realistic to think he could get a D2 or NAIA offer, and he still might. However, if his academic profile is as you described (3.4 GPA, 1700+ SAT), the much better choice, the smarter choice, is a very good D3 school (a UAA, a NESCAC or similar school) for the next four years. He’d get a great education, have a great basketball experience, and, finally, get some stability.

Given your history, I expect you will choose a JuCo for a year or two, then yet another school after that. I said at the beginning I’d like to help, but I can’t. I’d have to tell college coaches about your son’s history and that they’re asking for trouble if they take him (although they almost assuredly would know it without me telling them). They’d ask me why. I’d tell them the parents are a big problem. Then they’d ask me why I bothered contacting them in the first place, and they’d be right.

Sorry for being blunt. I’ll call you later to discuss.

Thanks.

 

Mike

 

 

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Stat of the Day: Women’s Basketball Transfers

The transfer rate for women’s D1 basketball is up 33% over a ten year period.

In 2003 the rate was 6.8%. In 2013 it was 9.2%. Those numbers are still about 1/4 of the men’s numbers. As with many other parts of the game, the women’s game seems to be following the men’s.

Perhaps most interesting is that 6 of the top 10 rated girls in the 2013 recruiting class have transferred. A number of those 6 committed to colleges as sophomores (also similar to the boys) and some say they now realize that what they considered a dream school as high school sophomores is much different than where they want to be playing as 20 year olds. This is a pretty strong case that kids (and parents) are picking a college at too young an age.

 

 

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Today’s Quiz – Men’s D1 Basketball Transfer %

Question:     What % of all men’s basketball players who enter Division I directly out of high school depart their initial school by the end of their sophomore year?

 

 

 

Answer:     40%

Here’s the link to the complete article on the NCAA website.

http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/tracking-transfer-division-i-men-s-basketball

 

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Today’s Quiz – All-League Men’s D1 Basketball Players

There is a relatively small group of what many would consider top level prep school boys’ basketball programs, and a number of well known and successful coaches. Comparing programs and coaches is not easy, as each school has different academic and financial parameters. Athletic and academic success at the college level would seem to be one obvious measure. Still, the facts below are likely a surprise to most people, even many of those who are paying close attention. 

 

Question:     Which prep school in the last 15 years has had all-league men’s basketball players in the Ivy League (more than any other prep school?), Patriot League (including defensive player of the year), Colonial Athletic Association (two time all-league and academic all-league) and MEAC (including player of the year and HBCU player of the year), as well as a first team D2 all-American?

 

 

Answer:     The Hun School of Princeton, under coach Jon Stone

 

 

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Today’s Quiz – New NCAA Eligibility Rules

The NCAA uses a sliding scale to determine D1 eligibility and will be using one in the future to determine D2 eligibility. Today’s quiz regarding these eligibility requirements has two parts.

 

Part 1

Question:     What year do the new eligibility rules go into effect for D1 basketball?

 

 

Answer:     For students entering college beginning in August of 2016

 

Part 2

Question:     What year do the new eligibility rules go into effect for D2 basketball?

 

 

Answer:     For students entering college beginning in August of 2018

 

 

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Financial Aid Discovery

In November of their daughter’s senior year, the Powell’s weren’t sure about choosing prep school or college. They decided they wanted both options, so they pursued both and postponed the final decision until later.

As they applied to both colleges and prep schools, and started to negotiate financial aid with both, they discovered something they hadn’t expected. Worried the Powell’s would opt for prep school, colleges that were seriously recruiting their daughter offered them more financial aid to try to convince them to choose college. Just the option of seriously exploring prep school provided them financial leverage that was worth about $5,000 per year. While it’s not new for colleges to negotiate financial aid when competing with other colleges, competing with prep school is a different variable, and because it is it gave the Powell’s a different kind of leverage they hadn’t expected.

In the end, they chose college after getting an offer that was too good to pass up. Since they had opted for college, the Powell’s initially felt they had wasted the money spent on getting help with the prep school process. After some reflection, they came to the realization that it was a very smart move. They saved almost ten times what they invested by simply exploring the prep school option.

 

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Quote of the Day – Adjusting to College and D1 Sports

 

Last year it was just difficult with the balancing of school, being in a new city; it was a lot to handle and it’s tough for freshmen to play well in Division I

 

One of the top golfing recruits in the country talking about struggling to play up to his potential as a college freshman.

 

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Don’t Leave PG Year Early

Leaving a PG year before graduating is almost always a bad decision. Not only do student-athletes lose educational benefits, they also call into question personal characteristics like integrity and dedication when they fail to live up to their commitments. Ironically, those that leave early are usually the ones who need to stay the most.

Education is about life preparation. Prep school, especially a PG year, and even more than high school, is all about life preparation. It’s not just what is learned in the classroom, it’s about maturity, responsibility, decision making and character. It’s about teaching the student-athlete what to do in college when there are fewer rules and more choices. It’s about how the student will react in certain situations. What will he or she do when no one’s watching? Bad decisions such as leaving a PG year before graduating pave the way for bad decisions in college.

Here is just one glaring example of a poor choice by a student and family, both of whom should know better.

Derrick had no scholarship offers after his senior year of high school. An average student, his grades were not keeping him from receiving a scholarship, but he needed to learn what it takes to make his grades and test scores reflect his natural intelligence. He opted for a post-graduate year at a school with an excellent track-record in his sport and a level of education that matched it. Three weeks short of his prep school graduation, and just days after receiving a good, mid-level D1 offer, Derrick left his prep school and went home, claiming he wanted to spend more time with his family before starting college summer school the following month.

His prep school coach, a former D1 standout and excellent student at one of the academically top rated D1 schools in the country, talked to Derrick at length about the decision. He accurately pointed out the flaws in his decision making and urged him to reconsider. So did the Director at the school. What came out in the conversations was not an issue of time with family at all. As it turns out, a two week family trip to Europe was already planned for the day after graduation, so there would be plenty of time with family. What came out in the conversation, the real issue, was that Derrick had been slacking off in his classes and would have to work hard to catch up. In addition, he was going to have to take end of the year exams. Despite knowing this before he agreed to do a PG year, he now claimed that was going to be too much work, especially since he had already done it last year as a high school senior.

Teenagers make questionable decisions. Parents are supposed to know better. Any parent knows parenting isn’t easy, but it’s part of the job description. Derrick’s parents supported his decision. They invoked the all to common refrain “he’s 18, we can’t make him do it” and offered no resistance. His prep school coach explained to Derrick’s parents how much more difficult college will be given the increased demands of sport and classes, and how they were setting a bad precedent by supporting Derrick’s decision to not live up to his current responsibilities. Nothing changed. Parents and child missed a valuable opportunity to increase their chances of future success.

Another adult in the support system who failed Derrick was the post-graduate director at the prep school. Contrary to the coach and school Director, he offered virtually no resistance to the decision, begging the question of what exactly he is responsible for in his position.

Derrick’s future college coach, more than anyone, had the power to change the situation if he wanted to. One simple sentence telling Derrick to finish prep school and that would have been the end of it. A future college coach’s word is gospel to a brand new recruit, and Derrick would have done whatever his college coach told him to. Instead, the coach did what’s all too common. He took the path of least resistance by not challenging the family. Like many in today’s litigious society, he chose to avoid confrontation and the possibility of offending anyone. Ironically, he cost himself, his athletic program and the college in the process. Even though Derrick had accepted the scholarship offer, the university admissions department had yet do admit him. Leaving prep school early was not going to help that. In addition, Derrick’s degree from a prestigious prep school would have reflected very well on the college athletic program and the kind of kids the coach is recruiting. This college generally gets few, if any, students from schools of that caliber, the athletic program almost none. More importantly, Derrick likely might have received some college credits from his PG year. With the demands on time at the college level, along with the increased difficulty of the courses, many athletes drop courses during the season or take a lighter load and less challenging classes to begin with. Having credit for some courses before he arrived on campus would be a significant benefit. It also might have allowed him to take graduate courses as a senior, which would again reflect well on the sports program. Finally, college is an academic institution first. The idea of a college coach signing off on this type of decision is at best ironic, at worst unacceptable. Both the kid and college would have benefitted if he’d stayed just three more weeks at prep school.

Some would rationalize decisions like Derrick’s by saying the student will make the right decisions when it comes time in college. History shows that’s unlikely. As in sports, the sooner a child learns life’s fundamentals and forms good habits, the better the chances of future success.

Others would say the prep school coach and the school Director are biased, that their reasons for not wanting the student to leave school are motivated by self-interest. While there’s certainly some truth to that, it’s dwarfed by the objective facts as stated above. These are people in educational leadership positions whose job it is to provide the best guidance they can to teenagers and parents. They got it right.

Not only do athletes cheat themselves emotionally and educationally when they fail to finish a PG year, they exhibit a lack of work ethic, commitment and perseverance that should be concerning to college coaches. They’re going to get the sport benefit either way. They might as well get the non-athletic benefits while they’re there. By leaving school early, not only did Derrick forfeit a degree from a prestigious prep school that would have followed him for life, he and his parents missed a great chance to improve his chances of success in college and in life.

 

 

 

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Should Your College Coach Pick Your Prep School?

Sometimes athletes have already committed to a college when they decide to switch from high school to prep school. When their future college coach recommends a prep school or two, the natural reaction of the athlete is to accept the recommendation on faith. After all, if the athlete and family are willing to trust the next four or five years of the athlete’s life to the college coach, why wouldn’t they trust the prep school recommendation of that coach? This is a tough situation for the athlete and family. Here’s why.

  1. Most college coaches don’t know that much about prep schools
    1. Just because they know more than the families, doesn’t mean they know enough to offer complete, big-picture, objective advice
      1. Their knowledge of schools is limited to a relatively small number of schools
      2. Their knowledge of the aspects of the schools outside of the sport is limited
  2. Sometimes college coaches are looking out for themselves first. This is one of those times.
    1. They want the athlete at a school where the chances are smallest that the athlete will get recruited away by another college before the athlete actually signs and matriculates.
    2. They like the prep school coach and want to help the coach out.

Certainly there are times when taking the coach’s recommendation makes the most sense. Perhaps the prep school uses the same system, philosophy or training methods as the college coach. Maybe it’s physically located very close to the future college, allowing both athlete and coach great opportunity for a year’s worth of interaction that will provide an excellent head-start on their four years together. (The Hun School of Princeton and Princeton University are probably the best example of this).

There can also be other factors. For example, the athlete may be worried about offending the college coach by not taking the prep school recommendation. This could send the wrong message and no one wants to start off on the wrong foot. A simple conversation will usually relieve this situation quite easily.

As always, the choice of the best prep school should be one based on what’s best for the child and the child’s overall development, not simply on a sport. The process of picking a school should be one that minimizes risks while maximizing the possibility for success. In the reality of today’s world, where no one has enough time, most families will accept the college coach’s recommendation. Many don’t have time to go through the process the right way. Smart families will not put all their eggs in one basket. Instead, they will explore some schools in addition to those recommended by the college coach.

 

For a more in-depth version of this blog, including a detailed example, click on this link.

http://prepschoolsportsconnection.com/should-your-future-college-coach-pick-your-prep-school-2/

 

 

 

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Today’s Quiz – NCAA Core-Courses

Today’s quiz involves core-courses required by the NCAA to be a qualifier at the D1 or D2 level. This is a multi-part quiz.

 

Part 1a

Question:     What is the maximum number of core-courses the NCAA allows a prep school post-graduate student to get credit for towards D1 eligibility?

 

 

Answer:     1

 

Part 1b

Question:     What is the maximum number of core-courses the NCAA allows a prep school post-graduate student with a documented learning issue (LD, IEP etc.) to get credit for towards D1 eligibility?

 

 

Answer:     3

 

Part 2

Question:     What is the maximum number of core-courses the NCAA allows a prep school post-graduate student to get credit for towards D2 eligibility?

 

 

Answer:     Unlimited

 

Bonus

Question:     How may times does the NCAA allow a student take the SAT or ACT in order to raise his/her score as a post-graduate?

Question:     What’s the maximum number of points the NCAA will allow a student to raise his/her SAT or ACT score as a post-graduate?

 

 

Answer:     There is no limit to the number of times a post-graduate student can take the SAT or ACT or the number of points a student can raise his/her score.

 

 

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