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Helping Your Student-Athlete Choose the Right College (Part 2)

Academic Resources and the Student-Athletechoosing college

If your child chooses to play sports in college it’s best to have them ask the college athletic department if they provide athletes with tutoring and/or academic advising. Do they assist with course scheduling and graduation planning each semester? Being a college athlete takes dedication, motivation and organization–it’s good to have some help along the way.

More Academic Tips

Doing the research yourself may seem like an enormous project. It’s a good idea to have your child lead the venture since it is their future. Have them look into potential majors. Are professors at the school leaders in the field or even known in their field? If your student-athlete plans to enter college with an undeclared major, for instance, then attending a college with a wide variety of majors may be a better option.

How is the Track Record?

Also consider having your son or daughter contact colleges to learn about graduation rates and to see how many graduates are successful in gaining employment after graduation. Another statistic to consider: retention rates. This is the percentage of students who return to the college after the first year. Colleges will supply you with this information if you ask.

Be Prepared for the Transition

Being a student-athlete in high school can be a stepping stone for the student-athlete as he moves into college life. This new independence, however, may lead to trouble for freshmen who are not used to making their own choices.

High school athletes may not think college will be that different from high school. But having to manage time, study, meet and hang out with new friends, study, go to class, and study can be heady stuff for a new college student. And don’t forget that practice and travel for games can take a toll as well.

Some students thrive on getting to make their own schedule and are able to easily adapt to getting their course work complete while meeting all of their athletics standards. Other student-athletes will need more assistance in course scheduling and organization.

Why Academic Support is Important

College academic support can prove to be useful for your student-athlete. She should be aware of academic support and know where to go for help. By explaining to your child the obstacles they may encounter in college you are helping prepare them for a productive college experience.

Know where your child stands in terms of their academic eligibility. See how their GPA matches up to the needed collegiate qualifications for the different athletic divisions. The NCAA and NAIA have academic requirements that student-athletes must meet in order to play collegiate sports.

Plan Ahead

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Make sure your child meets with their high school advisor each semester to ensure they are on the right academic path to play college sports. If your child plans to attend a 4-year college they will also have to take achievement and/or aptitude tests that include the SAT, ACT and, in some instances, the SATII and the TOEFL (for non-English speaking international students).

All these tests cost money and depending on your child’s scores they may have to take them multiple times. Make sure that your child understands the importance of academics
early in the game. Most student-athletes begin scheduling their high school courses freshman year of high school in order to meet all the collegiate requirements that are in place by the NCAA.

Life Beyond Sports and Academics

Your student-athlete should consider extracurricular activities. The life of the student-athlete is a busy one so the last thing your child may be considering is the extras that accompany college culture.

It does help to understand and be aware of the activities the college provides to its students and, depending on what your child’s interests are, they may be more drawn to a particular college for the extra perks. Extras can include special campus organizations, religious affiliations and Greek life.

Read the first part of this article.

If you have any questions or comments about how to choose the right college please use the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

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