Posts Tagged “Academics”



Our partner Matt Hunt from College Hunt helps students successfully navigate the college selection process. In his latest blog post he explains, what steps students need to take throughout high school in order to compete for an admission in the Ivy League.

Ivy League

“Give yourself the opportunity to compete!” The Ivy League consists of eight of the most competitive admissions and desired campuses in the country. Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, U Penn, and Yale are the schools that make up the Ivy League. Each year they receive thousands of applications for not nearly the equivalent of spots.

How does a student give themselves an opportunity to compete for admissions? There is a process to follow, first, it’s important to look at some admissions numbers, and truly understand how extremely competitive it is. Here is a snapshot of admissions applications at three Ivy schools last year, Brown had 28,742 applications and 2,627 accepted= 9.14%, Princeton had 26,641 applications and 1,983 accepted= 7.44%, and Yale had 27,283 and 2,109 accepted. As you can see the competition is steep.

Competition is not a bad thing, and if you’ve decided to apply to one or two of the Ivy Leagues schools great, just understand the best of the best apply every fall and in reality, it’s become a global competition.

Now that we understand the level of competition, what can a student do throughout high school to give themselves the opportunity to apply?

  1. A positive display of well roundness in all aspects of your life.
  2. Must enroll in highest curriculum possible, with continued rigor throughout four years (Honors and AP courses- go with strengths).
  3. Take advantage of the curriculum offered at your high school.
  4. Three or more years of World Language and Science.
  5. Extracurricular activities- 2 with sustained commitment and leadership roles (team captain, treasurer, etc.)
  6. Strong performance on SAT or ACT tests.

The Ivy Leagues schools use what is called a “holistic” approach when reviewing individual applications. A holistic approach is one that allows the admissions officers to dig deep into the application by reading letters of recommendations, multiple essays and short answer questions, and extracurricular activities.

“What separates you from other applicants?” Is a question that plays a major role throughout the holistic admission process and final decision? Did you participate in an internship that matches with your future major and career goals? Have you shown extraordinary initiative or creative thinking in seeking out or designing an opportunity for yourself?  Have you displayed the strength of character in overcoming adversity?

Many of the Ivy League school applications will require an essay and often more than one. This is a tremendous opportunity to express more about yourself, your future goals, a particular strength, or area of growth. Do your research- adding specific information about a major or program reflects well.

The Ivy League schools provide students an outstanding educational opportunity. Once a student understands and accepts the level of competition they should move forward with completing the application and wait for the final decision.

For more information about the college selection process check out his blog!

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College Coach shaking hands with Recruit

To greatly improve your chances of competing at the collegiate level, it’s critical to understand the importance of building and sustaining personal relationships with college coaches. This is sometimes the essential separator between two equal recruiting candidates.

Because player statistics and videos don’t tell the whole story about a student-athlete if a coach is interested in recruiting you, voice to voice contact or in-person meetings are ultimately necessary.   During these moments, it’s absolutely critical to make a good impression. Always be prepared for the encounter whether over the phone or in person. The most effective way to accomplish this task is to:

1. Take time to learn about the school, the coaches, and the sports program. Go online and read about the coaching staff backgrounds along with the programs’ successes and challenges. Learn about the conference they compete in and the other teams they play against. Understand the current roster of players and where you might fit in based on your specific position, measurables or stats.  Learn about the school academically and be prepared to share with the coach why it is a top fit school/program for you. Keep notes next to the phone to help remember key things you want to discuss with the coach. Keep a journal of personal notes about your calls for future decision-making purposes.

2. Ask intentional questions. Before a call or meeting, write out a list of questions that you want to learn about the school and the coach.  College coaches always appreciate well thought out and intelligent questions.  Some things to uncover in these conversations may include the programs’ graduation rates, team GPA, team goals, in-season and off-season training schedules/expectations, team bonding events and how the coach sees you fitting in the program.

3. Be memorable – write a hand written note. After a conversation or meeting with a coach, write a hand written note thanking him or her for their time. At the very least, send a thank you email within 24-48 hours.

4. Introduce yourself at camps. Don’t be intimidated or afraid to walk up to each coach and introduce yourself. Let them know your name, high school, grad year, position and that you’re excited to be there. To make this first introduction even easier, send the coaches in attendance a letter prior to the camp, along with your game video so they have a better chance of remembering you.

5. Stay connected. At the end of a call or meeting, ask the coach if it would be okay to email and update each other every 1-2 months.  Also, ask what social media platform they prefer and keep in touch that way as well. Monitoring the success of a college program and or congratulating the coach shows you have a strong interest in their school/program.

Maintaining consistent touchpoints and building personal relationships with college coaches will typically produce very positive recruiting results. Results that will help you to determine your best-fit school, best coaching staff, best athletic/academic programs, best offer and the best future career opportunities.

 

Over the last five years, SportsForce has helped over 1,000 student-athletes and families successfully navigate the college recruiting and athletic scholarship process while saving families on average $50,000 in college expenses.

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We at SportsForce would like to congratulate Patrick Davis on his commitment to Dickinson College. Here is Patrick’s recruiting story and interview from after he committed. Good luck as a Red Devil!

patrick davis
1. Share your recruiting story and status?
The recruiting process really began freshman year for me, when I quickly established playing college baseball as a priority for me. Freshman year I began researching a mix of schools I thought I would be interested in, ranging from high Division I to Division III. I wanted to view all my options and not set my sights on a small, selective group of schools so early. Throughout high school, I began reaching out to coaches and expressing interest in their schools and attending specific showcases in which I knew the certain schools I targeted would be attending. Attending these showcases gave me the opportunity to be seen by the entire Dickinson coaching staff and allowed them to fully evaluate the aspects of my game.
 
2. What school are you going to, and why did you choose them?

In 2016 I am thrilled to be attending Dickinson College because it encompassed everything I wanted in a school. Dickinson has already established a great baseball program, filled with very talented players and a coaching staff who will do nothing but support me on and off the field and help to improve my game. Just as importantly, Dickinson offers a very challenging and rigorous academic opportunity that I look forward to. Deciding to compete at the Division III level will really allow me to expand my academic horizons in ways such as studying abroad in Spain. Dickinson is the school that will support my two track mindset of hopefully playing Major League baseball, and being successful in the classroom and whatever work field I decide to be in.

3. How did SportsForce help in the process?

SportsForce was a huge help to me because it gave me guidance that was essential to the recruiting process. SportsForce was able to help guide me in the right direction when it came to reaching out to coaches, what showcases to attend, and it also helped to put my stress on hold because even though I was inexperienced in this situation, I had the guidance from SportsForce to help me along the way.

4. What advice would you give to other players and parents with the recruiting process?

I think the best advice I can give to other players and parents about the recruiting process is proactive, and RELAX. If an athlete has targeted a school as one they think they may be interested in attending, reach out to them, tell them that you’re interested. You can’t sit back and expect it all to come to you; scouts see thousands of kids over the course of a summer, and it’s tough for them to target a specific player unless you make it your priority to let them know that you are interested. Also, others may tell you that this process is going to be the most stressful one of your life, but it’s only as stressful as you make it. You need to focus on the things that only YOU can control: like playing as hard as you can, reaching out to coaches, and giving yourself the best opportunity to be seen by these schools. The moment you begin focusing on external things is the moment your performance will begin to decrease and your stress level will become unnecessarily high.

5. How excited are you for your future in college?

I couldn’t be more excited for my future at Dickinson. I think Coach Hanson and the entire Red Devil coaching staff is going to push me to be the best I can be on and off the field, and allow me to put myself in a position to be successful in whatever career I decide to pursue. I also think that when I arrive on campus in 2016, the teammates I’m going to have will push me as well, and become some of my best friends and brothers.

6. Would you recommend SportsForce to any other student-athletes? Why?

SportsForce is perfect for all student-athletes who are really serious about pursuing college athletics. SportsForce gives you guidance and insight that really cannot be found anywhere else. I think that SportsForce played a large role in my commitment to Dickinson, and I absolutely recommend this to any other student-athlete whose priority is to play in college.

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One of the keys to NCAA recruiting success is ACADEMICS!

A recruited student-athlete is 3 to 4 times more likely to get accepted to a more prestigious academic university then a non-recruited student or student-athlete.

To ensure you become a recruited student-athlete you have to perform in the classroom Here’s a link to the NCAA core class worksheet.  With this worksheet you can monitor how you are doing in your classes and make sure you are on track with your core classes.

Click BELOW for your Core Class Worksheet:
http://www.sportsforceonline.com/NCAA_Core_Class_Worksheets.pdf

 

Over the last five years SportsForce Recruiting has helped over 1,000 student-athletes and families successfully navigate the college recruiting and athletic scholarship process while saving families on average $50,000 in college expenses.

Learn How We Help Families

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Most student athletes have the dream of successfully being recruited and getting to play for their favorite Division I school. However, it’s a hard fact that this isn’t going to happen for everyone. Courtney shared last week about the benefits of DII, DIII and NAIA schools, but there was another great option we didn’t get a chance to learn about: junior college. Junior college does not have to be looked at as a last resort. In fact junior college can be a great time to knock out some core classes while developing your game to play at that DI school or wherever the next level might be for you. Below you will find some reasons junior college might be the right fit, and why not to rule it out.

Develop Yourself Academically

Like a four year school, you have to remember that your junior college experience isn’t just about sports. Junior colleges (JUCOs) offer an amazing opportunity for smaller class sizes and more professor interaction. The jump from high school to college can definitely be challenging academically, but junior college acts as a great bridge between the two. You’ll get used to the college workload, but your chances of being lost among hundreds of other students in a lecture hall are a lot slimmer.

Develop Yourself Physically

Sure, there are cases like LeBron James, who stood 6’7” weighed 225lbs as a 17 year old, but for many of us, we’re not so lucky (or such freaks of nature). Junior college is a great time to develop yourself physically and develop your game.  The junior college sports scene will give you a chance to play against some top athletes and develop a skillset to handle them. Staying engaged in your sport in the two years following high school will help you to increase your abilities and give you a chance to get your body in top performing shape as you continue to grow into it. Maybe it will even help you become the next Aaron Rodgers.

Show the Four Year Schools Your Commitment to Your Sport

Playing at a JUCO will show colleges how committed you are to your sport. The willingness to continue to train and compete show cases determination. JUCO gives you a chance to up your game, and in turn show college coaches how much you have improved and how dedicated you are.

Get a handle on your courses

Take advantage of the smaller class sizes and close knit environment by taking core classes to help you be prepared when you make the jump to a four year school. It’s important not to look at junior college as a lost opportunity and spend your time taking pottery classes (though one might be fun!) and find out core requirements or Gen Eds for you major and take those classes.  Many classes transfer over, but be sure to do your research about which credits will transfer to a four year school, so you don’t find yourself taking Writing 101 twice, because your first attempt didn’t transfer.

Lastly, Save Some Cash in the Process

Junior Colleges offer cheaper tuition than four year schools. As you play your sport for two years and knock out some core classes, you’re saving big bucks. Some state schools even offer programs for reduced tuition if you have completed your associate degree at an area junior or community college.

JUCOs are a great choice to ready yourself academically and physically for four year programs, they aren’t just a last chance option, they are a great option for many athletes. Don’t forget about Aaron Rodgers, either, he’s just one of many JUCO success stories.

Visit the below links for more information on Junior and Community Colleges

National Junior College Athletic  Association (NJCAA) : http://www.njcaa.org/

Junior College Football rankings, programs and more: http://jcfootball.scout.com/

Search for Two year programs at College Board: http://collegesearch.collegeboard.com/search/adv_typeofschool.jsp

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Your academic strength is just as important as your athletic strength. Take time to read the few tips to ensure your academic skills stand out as much as your athletics.

Find the time that works best

Figure out the time that your brain is most awake. We all had those friends rushing to get homework done in homeroom before school started, but for some, mornings may be good time to get work done. Just set aside more time than homeroom alone. If you’re always exhausted and feeling a little brain-dead after school and practice, get to bed early and wake up earlier to give yourself some time to finish assignments, study and research before you even head off to school.

Chip away at big assignments

Procrastination seems like something we all develop in our teen years and have a hard time getting over. It never pays off, but many of us push assignments to the last minute. Instead of ignoring an assignment until the night before, work on it in small doses. This will help for more balance, and help to ease the stress of a big assignment. It will also help you to look at things with fresh eyes and do a better job than if you had crammed all your work into the night before.

Set up study dates

Some of us prefer to work alone, but as you know from sports, things can get done more efficiently with the help of your team. This can also be true for school work. Find someone you know you can work well with, who is also a friend and set up times to work on assignments together. This way you will have something to look forward to come study time and also someone to help you out.

Treat school on the same level, if not higher

At SportsForce, we work hard to highlight your athletic achievements by showcasing your video. But as many of you already know, academics is very important in the recruiting process. It is easy to get in the mindset that your sport deserves all the attention because it is what will get you recruited, but colleges look for academic strength too. Don’t put your schoolwork on the backburner. Think of all the time you devote to athletic training and work to put in equal time towards your academics. Seeing a strong athlete and student is a great selling point for college coaches.

Get extra help when needed

This is a tip that can be applied to college and high school. There is absolutely no shame in going to a teacher or tutor for extra help; that’s what they are there for. In classrooms it’s sometime unavoidable that not everyone is on the same page understanding material. If you feel lost, ask your teacher to meet with you to get extra help. You will absolutely benefit and teachers will appreciate the initiative you put in.

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In today’s field of competition, having a solid game plan for athletics and academics is required for high school student-athletes to take their game to the next level. College recruiters are looking for skill both on and off the field. Fortunately, what may appear as two completely different categories actually can allow student-athletes to focus more effectively and perform well in both.

Athletics Improve Academics

Studies have proven that athletics improve academics. Physical activity advances brain function, concentration levels, behavior, self-esteem, and energy levels. Also, playing sports shows us the significance of commitment, cooperation, and can help reduce stress levels developed within the classroom. Everything you learn from athletics is applicable towards becoming a better student. In the area of college recruitment, you can use all of this to your advantage to stand out from the crowd.

Accomplish More Than You Think You Can

A great athlete has the potential to be a great student, and vice versa. Focus, discipline, and motivation are all essentials in the foundation of a strong athlete and student, and success does not exist without one of the three. If these qualities are already present within you, it is important that you apply these attributes to your entire life. You will achieve more than you’ve already achieved. Everyone possesses the ability to accomplish more than what he or she thinks is possible.

Enhance Your Future

Only a small percentage of high school athletes will actually find a career in professional sports. Regardless of this fact, all athletes can use the skills they learn in school to become successful for whatever their future holds. For example, thinking logically and quickly are abilities gained from the classroom that support a professional athletics career, as well as any career.

Success is a gift earned by those who strive for it. Use everything you learn from the books and from your athletic experiences to always improve who you are. Always remember, you carry the potential for greatness.

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” – Mark Victor Hansen

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Spotlight Sports shared this article with SportsForce. The article can be found in the February/March edition of the magazine.

By Elizabeth Marks, Instructor at Revolution Prep

From UCLA’s infamous “Undie Run” to “Floatopia” at UCSB the decision to go to college is considered a no-brainer. Moving away from home, meeting new people, pursuing your dream career, and experiencing all that college has to offer, culminates to create the experience that so many parents and college graduates fondly refer to as “the best four years of their lives.”

Unfortunately, college admission has become exponentially more competitive in recent years. And now with the economy in a state of disarray, budget cuts mean fewer classes, fewer professors, and ultimately, fewer enrollment opportunities.

So how can you compete? How can you compete against students with four-point-whatever GPAs who are the heads of every club and the captains of every varsity team? Simple. Ace your standardized tests.

Okay, easier said than done. But rest assured, it can be done. And while scores of people believe you can’t study for your SATs, I challenge you to try, and we’ll see who signs that college acceptance letter in the end.

Of course GPA and extracurricular activities are important. Roughly 50 percent of the admissions decision is based on GPA, and another 25 percent is based on after-school involvement – and rightfully so. The average student spends 8,000 hours over four years developing his or her GPA, and typically another 1,000 hours on sports, student counsel, volunteering, etc. However, in the 3-4 hours it takes to finish the SAT or any other standardized test, the entire remaining 25 percent of the admissions decision is determined.

So it’s obvious where you get the most bang for your buck. Standardized tests are the easiest way to drastically impact your application in a relatively short amount of time.

But conquering these tests doesn’t happen over night. It’s like running a marathon. You wouldn’t expect to wake up tomorrow and run 26.2 miles, so how can you expect to wake up and ace the SATs? The more you prepare and practice ahead of time, the more successful you will be.

Standardized tests are not a measure of your intelligence. They measure how prepared you are to take them, and that’s it. The majority of standardized tests are more deceptive than they are difficult; so don’t be fooled. Taking AP Calculus as a sophomore by no means guarantees a competitive SAT math score. Know the test you are taking. Be prepared for the types of questions it will ask you to solve, take practice exams to build up stamina for those Saturday, 8 a.m. four-hour tests, and study the specific material being tested.

There are a variety of ways to prepare for these exams. For highly studious, self-disciplined students, studying from a book is a very cost-effective way to prepare. If the mere thought of the SAT puts you to sleep, consider taking a course with a friend. Or if you play sports and hold down a part-time job, there’s always private tutoring.

So whether you study from a book, take a class, or hire a private tutor, proper test preparation is essential to being a competitive college applicant. Each test is different and requires time and thorough preparation to surmount. But your test scores are your competitive edge. Preparing for six weeks pales in comparison to the four years of reward. So reach for your dream school. Take the time to improve your scores and get that much closer to making your dream college become a reality.

Spotlight Sports is a bi-monthly magazine is dedicated to covering high school student athletes in the North County and parts of San Diego. Features a unique style and format whereby each school has a full page dedicated every issue. Each issue also includes a pro athlete interview, training tips, preparation for college info, and much more. You can also download the subscription form: Download

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I believe “the dream” for any athlete, started the minute he or she watched a game on tv, or was at a venue, seeing pro athletes for the first time, aware of what was happening. For me, I can point to three incidents.

1982, I was only in 2nd grade, but I remember watching Paolo Rossi lead Italy to the World Cup title in Spain. I remember the crowd chanting and the Televisa announcer’s high octane call of the action. The majesty of the Copa Mundial got me so hooked on soccer,  I got the rest of the kids in my section of the Imperial Manor apartments in south San Diego (right between Sidro and IB) into soccer. We played “metegol” (shootouts) everyday, wearing the low budget goalie gloves (they were gold to me) that my pops bought me at La Popular sports shop in TJ.

1983, Russ Hall (Dude was awesome, he went out of his way to make a bunch of us little Mexican kids love sports) our coach from the South Bay Rec Center league, took our flag football team to watch the Chargers and Rams scrimmage in Training Camp. The moment I saw Dan Fouts thread one into Kellen Winslow’s hands across the middle, I knew I wanted to be a QB (that thought was cemented after watching a young buck named John Elway with a rifle that left crosses on receiver’s chests).

Of course 1984, the Padres went to their first World Series, and I remember eating a Padres Pack from McDonalds, watching the man who would become my hero, Tony Gwynn, use that sweet cut as he went “oppo”. Padres became Cub-busters and everyone wanted that t-shirt.  By the way, former Dodger Steve Garvey may have been getting more attention, but TG19 was the one batting .350.

From those key moments, the little “guzanito” in me was born. The “guzanito,” is the little fire in the pit of the stomach that motivates you to do whatever it is you were born to do. It’s the feeling of “I can’t wait to pick up a bat, or a football, shoot a 3, or shoot on goal.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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One of the most important steps towards becoming a student-athlete at the college level is confirming your athletic eligibility with the NCAA. The process can be somewhat confusing, but the NCAA is taking steps to make it as pain free as possible.

The NCAA Eligibility center is unveiling a new website that hopes to make the eligibility registration process as easier. The site aims to aid coaches in accessing important information on student-athletes in order to help them with the amateurism certification process and academic registration. The site also hopes to offer a more interactive and inviting atmosphere for student-athletes and their parents.

The site will be launching on June 29th, 2009 and be accessible for student-athletes hoping to register and certify their amateur status for the 2010 season. The new site is www.NCAAstudent.org.

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