Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The college scholarship dream

Grooming a child to play college sports - and earn a full athletic scholarship - is a highly dubious proposition. Shall we review a few of the reasons? Kids who start in sports too early and train too hard are candidates for burnout and overuse injuries. The commitment in time and money - to pay for private lessons, travel squads, summer sports camps and the like - is startling. (See Monday's blog post). Even gifted athletes are prohibitive long shots to pay their way through college with their sports talent. Just one in 100 high school athletes succeeds.

These points and other good ones are made in an excellent three-part series in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The series started Monday with an installment on how elusive athletic scholarships truly have become - answer, very. I'm especially interested in the final installment in today's newspaper explaining the steps taken - and, often, money blown - by parents promoting their teen athletes to college coaches. I confess to having spent far more than was necessary or prudent on just this sort of thing. Anyone interested in a private screening of a professionally produced video: "My older son, the baseball catcher, blocking balls in the dirt"?

Here's a link to Part One. From this page, you'll be able to access the entire package of articles and charts.

Thanks to Lee Engfer, our Twin Cities eyes and ears, for passing along the articles.


Tom Scott said...

My 6'4" daughter has been offered a full ride to Baylor, Tulane, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and is likely to be offered by Emory, Georgia Tech, and Vanderbilt. For academics.

An academic scholarship is more likely to be obtained, more flexible in terms of school choice, and usually more lucrative than an athletic scholarship. It's not close. And if you qualify for financial aid (even upper middle class often does), an athletic scholarship is even less needed.

Athletic scholarships are about pride, not money.

Mark Hyman said...

Good point, Tom. If we're truly focused on merit scholarships, we should be training our kids in Biology.