By: Rachel Fenton
University of Michigan 2015, B.A. in English

Despite great expectations, happy outcomes with your college applications will be largely dependent on your ability to stay focused academically while avoiding some of the common mistakes that doom otherwise very promising candidates. Keys to successful management of the process involve making good choices, building relationships with colleges and managing expectations.

Early in high school is the time for the student athlete to establish good habits, attitudes, and skills, so that when junior year arrives, they will hit the ground running with recruitment and the academic transition into college will be smoother.

Schools have far more qualified applicants than places in the incoming freshman class, so it can be a challenge for even the most qualified candidates to stand out. You need to “wow” the admissions committee with a compelling, cohesive, multi-dimensional self portrait by using all of the means available to you and especially starting the process early. In other words, you need to identify and tout your hook. “This includes setting yourself apart from everyone else,” says Tim Parros. “the applicants who stand out the most are not only great on the playing field, but also in the classroom.”

“There are a lot of really good athletes and a lot students who are strong academically, but if you have talent in both areas, it’s going to make you more attractive. This is fundamental in finding the best package for you. Someone who is great in the classroom, and pretty good as an athlete will usually play for a Division II or III team with a merit scholarship. Someone who is great on the field and pretty good in the classroom should be able to play for a Division I team. For example, one of our students is a decent baseball player but an amazing student and he got a full ride for a Division III school.”

To expedite the recruiting process, it is very beneficial to have a video made of you hitting strokes, sinking basketballs, hitting baseballs or playing a match and then uploading it on YouTube. Once you have this video, you can get coaches’ emails from the college websites and email them a link to your video. The coaches will review the link to see what your potential might be on their team. Hopefully, he or she will see your skilled ball handling, correct technique and good temperament.

We think you should be on the coaches and recruiters radar early so that they can keep tabs on you throughout your career. Once you have your list to about 10 schools and you are into the spring semester of your junior year, you need to find reasons to get your name in front of those coaches about every two weeks. You can say, for example, “I just wanted to let you know how I did in my last tournament.”

Being proactive as an athlete and a student early on will help you grab the attention of schools and recruiters. This means you will have more options and more ability to be selective in your final decisions. The time to start thinking about this is now and we can help.

How We Can Help

As the tips above reflect, Parros College Planning has much experience in helping student athletes and an understanding of how academics can get them on the team. We can also help them qualify for merit aid, or scholarships.
Some additional things that Parros College Planning can assist you with when you are navigating athletics and academics in college preparation:

  • How to best position your child for athletic and academic scholarships from colleges.
  • If your child is not offered the scholarship to play sports, are you prepared to apply to college without it?
  • Is this school still a good fit if you’re not playing a sport?
  • What it takes to gain the edge on the competitive collegiate sports platform.
  • How the NCAA “APR” (Academic Progress Rate) affects coaches’ decisions on recruiting.
  • The college admissions team does review your athletic student with an eye towards success in academics in college, we can assist you in your presentation.
  • The cost of private school can be more comparable to other colleges.
  • The focus of our company is on the ‘student athlete’ and it is wholly academic, we do not get involved in recruiting.