Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

flyingiguana

Admissions person's rant

Recommended Posts

The obsession with college (and high school!) sports seems to be a uniquely American thing. How did this come about? In most countries college really is primarily about academics...

 

Do the sports provide real benefits? I see benefit to widespread athletic involvement, maybe through intramural sports....I'm just not sure how much real value is added by intercollegiate sports played by an elite few.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Commitment signings are big deals here.  Table cloths, balloons, college coach, current coach,  a flourish of the pen, big smiles and hand shakes.   Is it like that anywhere else?

 

I had never heard of a "signing" or a "signing party" until this thread.  Keep in mind that a full ride athletic scholarship, from what I understand, is not just free money.  Those poor kids must earn their keep while in school, and often their school work suffers for it.  Maybe others know more about college student athletes and can elaborate on their academic lives?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Signing is a big deal and some sports (football, basketball, women's volleyball and women's soccer) are indeed full rides. Other sports are equivalency sports and no one, except maybe Olympians get a full ride. Signing is a culmination of more than a year of recruiting efforts by universities and athletes. Athletic scholarships are based on performance, renewable year to year (and the amounts can go up or down). My ds1 received a good amount of merit aid, and he merely has to show satisfactory academic progress and the actual amount will stay the same. This is more than what dd1 will likely receive swimming DI. 

 

But dd1 wants to swim and she knows that her college experience will be very different, and yes, when push comes to shove, athletic performance is the key for the money, despite coaches requiring solid academics as well. Will she need a 5th year to graduate? Probably. Will she need to take some classes after she graduates? Maybe. For her, it is worth any and all sacrifices. For us, watching how hard she works balancing swimming and school, with the knowledge of such a small payout at the end is nerve wracking. She will have a signing party to celebrate the sheer hard work she has put into her sport.

 

There is no reason not to have a college decision party for every student. Athletes just tend to decide months before everyone else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had never heard of a "signing" or a "signing party" until this thread.  Keep in mind that a full ride athletic scholarship, from what I understand, is not just free money.  Those poor kids must earn their keep while in school, and often their school work suffers for it.  Maybe others know more about college student athletes and can elaborate on their academic lives?  

 

It can be very difficult because student athletes can spend many hours training, competing and traveling. They have to learn to manage their time well. Some schools offer free tutoring to players, though.

 

Injuries can also lead to losing scholarships. That happens now and then, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  We don't participate in any science fair or math league, so students can't even go that route to learn as activities like this aren't open to students whose school isn't participating..4H is where they go. Our jrs taking calc are doing so because there are no academic electives available and they fill an open spot frosh year by doubling in math.   Most seniors are attending half day, due to lack of desire to take nutrition and child development courses.

 

What you say when you know the chances are slim is that the school is a reach.  You can also start earlier and point the student to a website that has the criteria so that he can improve his chances. He can choose to get there or not. I hear this from the sons' friends frequently. One friends' parent thinks Julliard is within reach... friend does not know major scales, nor does he play at NYSMMA 5 or show up for lessons consistently (lessons are free here).   Another applied Early Decision to Cornell...in engineering with a 500 Math SAT.  All you can say is good luck and know that they will develop their talent some place else if they are truly interested.

 

You have to decide for yourself what the ethics of being 'in-the-know' demand of you.  For me, I beleive in the 'rising tide lifts all boats' idea.  Since the district won't provide academics appropriate for the top 25%, I've pointed fellow parents to the resources they need to get their child a real K-8 math education, so they can go the CC as seniors (high school seniors cannot take remedial courses at the CC) and move on.

 

 

 

The bolded above really bothers me.  There have been programs over the last decade that used to be open to homeschoolers, that became more difficult for homeschoolers to participate in.  Spelling bee, geography bee, science fairs, math competitions.  Sometimes the justification was that the organizations didn't want people to game the system or claim to be homeschooling just to get around the need to qualify through their school.  Sometimes the justification is that they don't want a "super team" of select students pulled from various schools to trump the teams that are fielded only from within a school.  But I never understood why interested students had to be captive to whatever level of interest did or did not exist within their school.  If there aren't enough interested or qualified students, if there are no teachers who want to be advisors, if the district puts more emphasis on running backs than rocketry, why should that prevent interested parents, community organizations, scout units, churches etc from stepping up to fill the void. 

 

One of the more interesting groups I encountered in Virginia was an academic study center where my kids and a couple friends took the AMC 8 math test.  The center was founded by a math professor who had tutored several students into local test required STEM magnet schools.  Word of his tutoring spread throughout the ethnic and religious community he was part of and eventually there was enough demand that the group established a physical tutoring center in a business park near the airport.  I chatted with some of the parents while the kids took their tests.  They knew all about the application process for these select high schools, including test dates and score thresholds.  Many of the parents had not grown up in or attended school in the US.  I see no real reason why such efforts have to be restricted to only a few ethnic groups other than interest level and effort.  The information is out there.  The required scores for schools is no farther away than the stats to build a fantasy football team. 

 

As a service academy BGO, I talk to a lot of high schoolers.  Many have no idea what a service academy is or why they might want to check it out.  I chatted with one sweet JROTC student about degree options and service selection and academics, and he finally said, "Wow, I'm really interested, how much does it cost?"  So here is a student who has spent a year or more in JROTC who has no idea that service academies exist or that they are in fact full ride scholarships for every student who attends.    On the other hand, I also talk to kids who are primarily interested because there is no tuition charge, but who are not informed about the academic challenges or what their coursework, grades or scores should be if they want to attend. 

 

I spend a lot of my time referring students to the admissions website and the page with the Steps to Admission.  I spend a lot of time going over the class portrait with students pointing out the stats for the students who get in.  I can't really do much about a high school senior with a 900 SAT and few leadership experiences.  I can hope to motivate and encourage a freshman who can decide to go get extra help in math, writing and science.  I can help persuade a student that sticking with the more challenging courses is worth it.  Even students who aren't accepted to the most selective colleges will benefit from the determination that keeps them on a more challenging track.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son is being recruited and will likely play his sport at some level.  His sport is not a full ride sport and he may or may not have athletic money.  I can envision a private celebration for our family for his hard work if he does get offered a roster spot on a college team.  I can also envision a more public party as a thank you to all the people that have supported him along the way.  There have been coaches, teachers, teammates,  and administrators at the school that allowed him access to play as a homeschooler that we will want to thank.   Lots of people will have played a role in making college athletics a reality for him and in our case a signing party would be for everyone that supported him, not just an excuse to brag.  I'd love to feed and hug these people and say "Thank you!!" It is good publicity for the schools, too, so I don't think these celebrations are always all about the kid that is signing.  That's just my take, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please remember I was not specifically  referring to my son but to the generic student in our area.

 

I will concede the athletic full ride as that is statistically improbable and poor wording on my part.  I'm not sure how to reword it at the moment.  There is a lot of tension in our area regarding this issue.  Every week the local newspaper, which covers the county not just our town, publishes articles with pictures of the signing parties.  Commitment signings are big deals here.  Table cloths, balloons, college coach, current coach,  a flourish of the pen, big smiles and hand shakes.   Is it like that anywhere else?

 

I have seen similar big deal ceremonies.

 

However, I've also seen the big spread in the paper when National Merit Semi-Finalists are announced.  In fact, in my football mad part of Texas (a descriptor which covers pretty much the whole state), all of the National Merit Semi-Finalists from all of the area high schools were invited to a city council meeting to be officially commended.  Our names were in the local paper.  In some cities I've lived in, there is a double page spread devoted to this.

 

Service academy reps frequently attend high school awards ceremonies to officially recognize students who were offered appointments to academies.  The typical remarks for this generally mention the estimated value of the appointment (around $350,000 last I checked), and the area I'm in now even makes up big mock checks to fill out with the value of the education. 

 

If this isn't happening in an area, then I would both press the local media to try to get it on their radar and solicit help from interested parties (parents, counselors, alumni associations, school reps, etc), and do their job for them (writing press releases, inviting media and politicians to events).  If the school doesn't recognize the students, then the parents association, Elks club, VFW, DAR, etc can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

There is no reason not to have a college decision party for every student. Athletes just tend to decide months before everyone else.

 

I remember reading about a school that posted a pennant up in the guidance office hallway for every school that a senior chose to attend.  I thought that was a clever way of putting the names of schools in front of younger students for reasons beyond who was playing whom in what bowl game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree wholeheartedly with the advice in the article flyingiguana posted. A college that provides the appropriate classes and level of challenge and helps to continue fostering and developing students' interests is the best choice. It doesn't need to be an Ivy.

 

Besides, when it comes time to get a job, interviewers are unconsciously influenced by a candidate's likeability moreso than their academics according to the following study.

 

http://www.psychologylounge.com/2010/02/01/hacking-your-next-job-interview-the-real-secret-to-getting-hired/

http://www.timothy-judge.com/Higgins-Judge%20IB-Recruiters%20JAP.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never heard of signing parties or getting-into-certain-college parties. Maybe I'm just out of the loop, but here at our school, which has one of the top athletic programs in the US, I've never heard of signing parties. I don't have a competitive athlete, though.

 

Our local paper prints a lot about athletic achievements but very little about academic achievements. There was no mention of National Merit Semifinalists, for example, and our school had about 20 who made it. There's definitely no party!

 

About the time kids start getting into colleges, though, it's fun to watch the parents at Panera Bread. This is when you'll see the parents wearing their child's college sweatshirt. According to my son, the kids themselves don't talk much about where they've applied or whether they were accepted but some parents do.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bolded above really bothers me.  There have been programs over the last decade that used to be open to homeschoolers, that became more difficult for homeschoolers to participate in.  Spelling bee, geography bee, science fairs, math competitions.  Sometimes the justification was that the organizations didn't want people to game the system or claim to be homeschooling just to get around the need to qualify through their school.  Sometimes the justification is that they don't want a "super team" of select students pulled from various schools to trump the teams that are fielded only from within a school.  But I never understood why interested students had to be captive to whatever level of interest did or did not exist within their school.  If there aren't enough interested or qualified students, if there are no teachers who want to be advisors, if the district puts more emphasis on running backs than rocketry, why should that prevent interested parents, community organizations, scout units, churches etc from stepping up to fill the void. 

 

 

Unfortunately it is not that students are captive to level of interest...their requests are being ignored for political reasons.  We had a large math team the year it was cut...as many members as the football team.  Math club came to be viewed as elitist, so it won't be restored. Same for other academic clubs and the marching band (and the organizations that sponsor many of these culminating contests do not welcome nonschool sponsored teams).  The price of an advisor is $5k per activity if done thru the school...and the school doesn't have the budget for that. To do these type of activities as a community requires a transportation infrastructure that does not exist, or large fees from the parents to cover the bussing, the insurance, and the room rental. So, now individuals do find opportunities on their own, usually at universities...we have some that drive for 45 min to hop the train in to NYC for math circles or science saturday enrichment; others are heading for youth orchestra. These activities, like club soccer and swimming, are now truly elitist, as so many are priced out since there is no affordable local availability. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know about families hosting signing parties, but high school kids signing to play collegiate level sports - particularly D1, though even for D2 and D3 - get a lot of press both in print and on local newscasts. They are always behind a table, pen in hand with the coach and parents standing behind them. The student is typically wearing a cap of the team with which he is signing. The newspaper does a good job of covering academic achievement as well. Ds's quiz bowl team won state the last three years - always in the paper. National Merit kids - always listed in the paper. They don't get on the local TV newscast though. ;)

 

We know a family from our old church (before we moved 30 miles down the road) whose son is a top ten kicker in the nation. He has already been extended an offer from Navy. Don't think that's where he wants to go, but I really don't know where all he is being recruited. Interesting twist on the money discussion since service academies are full rides anyway (sort of - you do come out "owing" the government your service). I don't know all his stats, but I do know his ACT score is a 29 as it's listed in his on-line bio. No idea if that is in range for a service academy or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately it is not that students are captive to level of interest...their requests are being ignored for political reasons.  We had a large math team the year it was cut...as many members as the football team.  Math club came to be viewed as elitist, so it won't be restored. Same for other academic clubs and the marching band (and the organizations that sponsor many of these culminating contests do not welcome nonschool sponsored teams).  The price of an advisor is $5k per activity if done thru the school...and the school doesn't have the budget for that. To do these type of activities as a community requires a transportation infrastructure that does not exist, or large fees from the parents to cover the bussing, the insurance, and the room rental. So, now individuals do find opportunities on their own, usually at universities...we have some that drive for 45 min to hop the train in to NYC for math circles or science saturday enrichment; others are heading for youth orchestra. These activities, like club soccer and swimming, are now truly elitist, as so many are priced out since there is no affordable local availability. 

 

I know that I'm preaching to the choir, but that is just silly.  And as you point out, to cut these activities from the school programming means that the only kids with access will be those whose families have the wherewithal to manage the labrynth of entry requirements, practice and transportation on their own.

 

DH often jokes that a school district would probably very quickly suggest that I homeschool, because the sort of conditions you describe (and other parents here with familiarity with their local schools describe) would leave me unable to stay in my shell.

 

 

ETA: Part of my earlier rant was actually against the organizations that preclude entry from non-school teams.  It's one thing for a sports league to limit competition to high school teams.  However, it's something different when Math Counts or the local science fair refuses entry to students who don't have support from their school. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please remember I was not specifically  referring to my son but to the generic student in our area.

 

I will concede the athletic full ride as that is statistically improbable and poor wording on my part.  I'm not sure how to reword it at the moment.  There is a lot of tension in our area regarding this issue.  Every week the local newspaper, which covers the county not just our town, publishes articles with pictures of the signing parties.  Commitment signings are big deals here.  Table cloths, balloons, college coach, current coach,  a flourish of the pen, big smiles and hand shakes.   Is it like that anywhere else?

 

Yes, and they sometimes include money, but not always, and definitely not always full rides.

 

These kids have worked hard to be top in their sports.  I don't begrudge them their moment in the sun any more than I would for an artist or musician.

 

Our paper also prints kudos colleges send out about any of their students in small blurbs (Dean's list, participation in plays/music deals, special awards, etc).  Our congressman sent my middle son a nice printed kudo for getting his college grades too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  However, it's something different when Math Counts or the local science fair refuses entry to students who don't have support from their school. 

 

Just to be clear, MathCounts has been only welcoming to our homeschool team.  But there are other math organizations who do make me jump through hoops just because my kids are homeschooled, and after all these years it's starting to wear on me.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't have time to look at this link until this morning. While I think Parchment's ranking system is rather strange and most definitely flawed (NC A&T ranked (184) signifcantly above NCSU (211) and VA Tech (240)??), I do think the article+list of schools does make you realize just how ridiculous the assertion is that only 20 schools in this country are great. There are literally 100s of great colleges/universities in this country.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to be clear, MathCounts has been only welcoming to our homeschool team. But there are other math organizations who do make me jump through hoops just because my kids are homeschooled, and after all these years it's starting to wear on me.

That's awesome. Thanks for the clarification. I was remembering a change from a few years ago but hadn't followed up. I'm happy to be wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...