Coastal College Counseling’s Class of 2018 is moving on!

We are so happy for our awesome, unique, intelligent senior class of 2018! We’re also excited by the cool list of the schools they’ll be attending next year— their list of colleges is exactly what we aim for: diverse, wide-ranging, and a perfect fit for each individual student. Our kids will attend urban, suburban, and rural schools of all shapes in sizes across seventeen different states. They will attend liberal arts colleges, research universities, and even a military academy. They are scholars, artists, athletes, programmers, and adventurers. While many plan to major in the arts, music, business, or STEM fields, many more are entering undecided in order to further explore their options. They are our students, and we couldn’t be prouder!

Number of states our students will attend college in next year: 17

Students admitted through a binding ED program: 11

Students who submitted more than 10 applications: 0

Students attending extra small and small schools (less than 5,000 undergrads): 9

Students attending medium sized schools (5,000-12,000 undergrads): 18

Students attending large and extra large schools (13,000 or more undergrads): 15

**bold denotes matriculating,  others are the schools where our students were admitted this year

Belmont University

Bentley College

Boston College

Boston University

Bryant University

Bucknell University

Carleton College

Coastal Carolina University

College of Charleston

Clemson University

Cornell University

Drexel University

East Carolina University

Elon University

Emory University

Endicott College

Fairfield University

Florida State University

Fordham University

George Mason University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Gettysburg College

High Point University (2)

Indiana University

Jacksonville University

James Madison University

Lafayette College

Lehigh University

Loyola University

Miami University

Muhlenberg College

Northeastern University (2)

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Northwestern University

Ohio State University

Pace University

Penn State University

Providence College

Purdue University

Quinnipiac University (2)

Ramapo College

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rowan University

Rutgers University

Sacred Heart University

Saint Joseph’s University

Seton Hall University

Stockton University (2)

Susquehanna University

Syracuse University

The College of New Jersey (2)

Tulane University

Union College

United States Naval Academy

University of Connecticut

University of Delaware

University of Florida

University of Maryland

University of Miami (4)

University of Michigan (4)

University of New Hampshire

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

University of Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh

University of Rhode Island

University of Richmond

University of Scranton

University of South Carolina

University of Tampa

University of Vermont

University of Virginia

University of Wisconsin

Wake Forest University

Washington University in St. Louis

Wheels Down: Tour d’Admission Rolls Again

This July, twelve counselors gathered at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA with bags strapped to their bikes, preparing to set off on the 16th edition of the Tour.  The Tour was founded by Taylor Smith in 2002 who saw a chance to combine his love of cycling with his professional desire to better understand colleges throughout the country.  Since 2002 it is estimated that 35 different counselors have ridden nearly 4500 miles, visiting schools in 23 states.  Many of us have heard about the Tour during NACAC National or Regional Conferences and through the listserv.

The current leaders of the Tour who spend an enormous amount of time plotting cycling routes, connecting with college representatives, and assisting participants in all aspects of the experience are Kirk Blackard, Director of College Guidance at Christ School in Arden, NC, Bruce Hunter, Director of College Counseling at Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN, and Bill Dingledine, a Certified Educational Planner from Greenville, SC.

This year’s tour stops:

·      Dickinson College (Carlisle)

·      Susquehanna University (Selinsgrove)

·      Bucknell University (Lewisburg) also had the opportunity to meet with the Admissions staff from Lycoming College (Williamsport) and attend the PACAC reception while at Bucknell

·      Penn State University (University Park)

·      Juniata College (Huntingdon)

·      Franklin & Marshall College (Lancaster)

·      Gettysburg College (Getysburg)

Some of the highlights of this year’s tour include:

·      12 counselors from 9 states representing Public Schools, Independent Schools, and Independent Counseling covered more than 255 miles in 7 days.

·      A mix of seasoned veterans both on the tour and in the saddle as well as some new members to both the Tour and cycling.

·      Having dinner with three college presidents, two of whom had been in their position for less than a month!

·      Riding with members of admissions offices and faculty members from 4 of the 7 schools we visited.

·      And, most importantly the chance to spend time together as professionals and friends combining our passion for cycling and college counseling.

It was a great pleasure riding with such awesome colleagues and we are already looking forward to the next Tour!  

Coastal College Counseling’s Class of 2017 is moving on!

All of our students from the Class of 2017 have deposited (although a couple remain on waitlists) and the final results are in.  Our first takeaway this year is the percentage of our students who will attend large research universities.  This is a bit of a shift from years past where we found more students focused on mid-sized universities and smaller liberal arts schools.  In thinking about our students from this years class our feeling is that one of the reasons we experienced this change is that a number of our students were on specialized tracks throughout high school (primarily engineering and business) and this led them to finding an area of study that they were excited to continue to pursue at the collegiate level.

Other interesting facts about the Class of 2017:

States our students will attend college in next year: 16

Percentage of students attending their first choice school: 83%

Students admitted through a binding ED program: 6

Students attending extra small and small schools (less than 5,000 undergrads): 12

Students attending medium sized schools (5,000-12,000 undergrads): 4

Students attending large and extra large schools (13,000 or more undergrads): 21

Students who submitted more than 12 applications: 0

Students admitted off of the waitlist: 1

Coastal College Counseling Class of 2017 Matriculation List

Boston University (Boston, MA)

Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA)

Clemson University (Clemson, SC)

Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)

Duke University (Durham, NC)

Fairfield University (Fairfield, CT)

Fordham University (Bronx, NY)

High Point University (High Point, NC)

Indiana University (Bloomington, IN)

Ithaca College, 2 (Ithaca, NY)

Kenyon College (Gambier, OH)

Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA)

Penn State University, 2 (State College, PA)

Rice University (Houston, TX)

Roger Williams University, 2 (Bristol, RI)

Rowan University (Glassboro, NJ)

Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)

Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY)

Susquehanna University, 2 (Selinsgrove, PA)

University of Delaware (Newark, DE)

University of Georgia (Athens, GA)

University of Maryland (College Park, MD)

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)

University of South Carolina, 3 (Columbia, SC)

University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)

University of Wisconsin, 4 (Madison, WI)

Villanova University (Villanova, PA)

Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 2 (Blacksburg, VA)

Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC)

Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT)

A CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE, OR: DON’T SWEAT THE TECHNIQUE

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain”

  • Frank Herbert, “Litany Against Fear” from Dune

“Cool, ‘cause I don’t get upset”

  • Eric B. & Rakim, “Microphone Fiend”

We’re often confronted by students with the same concern in many different forms: it goes along the lines of “I don’t know what I’m doing” or “I’m a bad test taker” or “I straight up blank out the second I’m in front of a test.”

For as long as there have been tests, there has been test anxiety; for as long as there has been test anxiety, educators have been attempting to cure it.

WHAT IS IT THOUGH??

Well, first off, it’s real-- but it’s very rare that you’ll need to see a doctor to deal with it.

Test anxiety manifests in many different forms, all generally following the ancient “fight or flight” defense mechanism we’ve all dealt with.

Your body, registering something as dangerous or potentially damaging, begins to shift from its parasympathetic nervous system (the system that slows our metabolism and allows us to chill out) to its sympathetic nervous system (the system that prepares the body for intense physical activity). Hands become clammy, cold sweats break out, breathing rate is increased, and sometimes full-blown panic attacks set in.

OKAY, BUT HOW CAN I DEAL WITH IT?

Through practice and repetition.

Have you ever prepared yourself (usually in school or with your family at home) for a disaster, natural or otherwise? Doing things like fire drills prepares people for a fire because they have pretended many times that they’re actually dealing with a fire.

The same logic can be directly applied to test anxiety. How does your test anxiety manifest? What explicit symptoms do you deal with? Take some time

THREE HELPFUL STRATEGIES…

  1. Mens Agitat Molem-- No, this Latin adage doesn’t translate to “Men Agitate Moles,” though it is a hilarious mental image-- it’s better known as “Mind Over Matter.” Your body can’t tell the difference between anxiety and excitement. What does this mean? Well, it means that you are (consciously or otherwise) making a choice to be excited or anxious about a given situation.

  2. Shake it off, as T.Swift so famously advises us all. Really, shake it off. Science can’t explain it, but professionals from athletes to concert pianists alike all experience a reduction in performance anxiety by shaking their hands vigorously for a few seconds at a time.

  3. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. We’re beginning to sound like a broken record, but simply engaging in daily practice to prepare yourself for taking the Big Test will eliminate test anxiety bit by bit until you’ve completely eliminated any possible source of stress.

Check out the following resources for some additional angles on overcoming test anxiety:

http://www.testanxietytips.com/alleviating-test-anxiety-with-sufficient-rest/

http://www.studypoint.com/ed/test-taking-anxiety/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chuck-cohn/4-strategies-to-overcome-_b_5429070.html

As always-- if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to email us at

tim@coastal-college.com

tony@coastal-college.com

The only bad questions are those that go unasked!

 

THIRD QUARTER IS DANGEROUSLY BORING, OR: TOMORROW AND TOMORROW AND TOMORROW

April is the cruelest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

-       T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time [...]

-       Shakespeare, Macbeth

1.) We all go through cycles every year, but students are aware of them more than most: the changing seasons, the changing holidays, the changing weeks... The younger you are, the longer the years seem: think about it.

Take your age, and picture it as a pie chart. Let’s say you’re 35: in 2017, you’re experiencing 1/36th of your entire lifetime. (Yes, 1/36th-- when you were born and approaching your first birthday you were experiencing a year as well!)

Now picture the “pie chart” of someone that is 15-- experiencing their 16th year-- and compare the two charts.

The “slices” of each year that compose the totality of the 15-year-old’s experience are MUCH larger than our hypothetical 35-year-old. Interesting, no?

2.) Consider your memories of December as a kid, counting down to whatever holiday it was your family celebrated-- didn’t it seem like years before it came to pass? The same dilation of time is experienced by children and teens the world over. The younger someone is, the slower the passage of time is perceived. An hour to a child seems like mere minutes to us; it is no coincidence children often ask “are we there yet?” when in the car for a long ride.

3.) Third quarter-- the beginning of second semester--that absolute low point after major holidays and before warm weather-- is crazy boring. There’s very little to look forward to, and very little to punctuate the school cycle with. So what’s a bored student to do?

Nothing.

That is, nothing but confront the possibility that their grades may slip. Even the most studious of students might find their resolve growing weaker, and it’s for them that this article is being written. (Sorry, parents-- there’s no good knowledge here for you!)

4.) Students, remember your purpose. While it may feel like each day drags on for an eternity, I promise you that you’re on the right path. You’ve fought your way through first semester, and are staring down summer at a distance that’s closer than you can imagine: don’t relax just yet.

There’s more work to be done, and if you can kick the same (or greater) butt you kicked during first semester, you’ll be on the fast track to killer grades that will pave a smooth road to a great college experience.

Each day is a brick, each week is a layer, and I promise you that your conscious construction of a foundation of knowledge will benefit you immeasurably in the “long run,” as tough as it is to see now.

5.) REMEMBER your purpose, BELIEVE in your power, and ASK your teachers for any pieces of knowledge you don’t quite grasp-- if you can make it through the total desert that is the third quarter, you can make it through anything.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to email us at:

tim@coastal-college.com

tony@coastal-college.com

The only bad questions are those that go unasked!

Here to help,

--Coastal College Counseling

Tips for Completing Your College Applications and Essays

At Coastal College Counseling we are committed to the individuality of our students. As such, we work hard with each and every one of them to make sure their voice is present throughout their applications and essays.

Follow these 7 simple steps to get the most out of yours!

1.) Take Your Time: There's no need to rush. If you slow down, you're much less likely to make a mistake or omit something important about yourself. This is also very important as you plan to write your essays: it's beyond necessary to give yourself enough time to step away from your work.

2.) Make a Plan: Creating a schedule can help to alleviate much of the stress that is typically associated with this process. Here's a brief outline of how we typically do it: create a chart with your list of schools, identify the admissions plans available at each school and the deadlines associated with these plans, determine which application you will use for each school and what the essay requirements are for every school you're applying to, and create a calendar based on all of this research. Keep the first step in mind, and don't try to tackle too much at once. Spreading out your work is an effective antidote for anxiety.

3.) Understand the Requirements: Testing, essays, resumes, interviews...there are a lot of moving parts in this process. Focus on the specifics of each school: theCommon App writing supplements, for example, will be found in different places for different schools. Most schools will require official transcripts from a high school, and others will ask students to self report their grades. It is your responsibility to know what you need to do!

4.) Decipher the Language: "But it says it's optional!" is a statement we hear over and over every fall. We follow a rule of thumb here at Coastal: Required means required, recommended means required, optional means-- you guessed it-- required, for the most part. Optional essays are a chance for you to show interest in a school as well as different facets of you. Optional test scores, on the other hand, might not present you in the best light, and for some the option to not submit is healthy choice. Educate yourself before making a decision

5.) Writing is Not Easy, But You Have to Start Somewhere: Some of our best students struggle mightily with writing: this is not uncommon. The personal statement is an essay unlike any that you've ever written, and it should be. We spend a lot of time with our students figuring out what they want to say about themselves, but we also understand that the essay rarely makes or breaks an application. Be honest, have fun, and be confident in what you write. Humor and heartache are not easily manufactured, and don't need to be! The personal statement is ultimately just that: a personal statement. It should sincerely reflect you!

6.) Focus on Your Strengths: Whether in the Activities Section of an application or in an interview, first address the things that you're most passionate about. Your commitment to these activities will be both seen and heard.

7.) Proofread, Follow Directions, and Answer the Questions Asked: My dad used to tell me often that the first sign of intelligence is the ability to follow directions. If you can get that right, you'll be just fine.

Let's Chat: The College Interview

While the number of institutions using college interviews as part of their admissions process continues to diminish, there are things every senior (and even junior) should know.

First and foremost, I love a quote that one of my former colleagues used regularly. "An interview should be viewed as a conversation; not a confrontation." This resonates with me because I firmly believe that interviewers are not trying to stump interviewees with their questions but rather they are in search of candidates that fit their institution...just as you are in search of institutions that fit you. Keep this in mind as you enter any interview, be calm, confident, and most importantly be yourself...if it is a fit, you'll both know it.

There are essentially two types of Interviews; Evaluative and Informational.

Evaluative Interviews are used as one facet of the admissions process for the schools that use them. While they rarely get a student in or get a student denied they do offer students and schools the opportunity to get to know each other in a more personal way. Take for instance what Georgetown University says about their required, evaluative interview process.

Informational Interviews on the other hand are typically opportunities for applicants to learn a bit more about the school to which they are applying. The goal from the college side is to provide information to prospective applicants as they continue to work through their decision-making process. We really love what Colgate University has to say about their informational interview process (and all of the other tips they offer as well)!

So, if these are the two types of interviews, who conducts the interviews. Well, that all depends. The most common interviewers are Alumni. Alumni can often offer local interviews to applicants, they also have a deep desire to stay connected to their school. A good example is what Vanderbilt University offers.

Other schools offer interviews with members of the admissions staff. Take, for example what Wake Forest University says about their Admissions Committee Interviews that are offered either in-person or via Skype.

And then other schools might have current students conduct their interviews. There are not many schools that offer these as an option but some still exist, take for instance the on-campus interviews offered by Yale.

When to interview? The timeline for interviews is very institution specific. Interviews can take place at anytime from late spring/early summer of junior year through mid-senior year. It is massively important to track these dates especially if you're planning summer/fall visits to schools and on-campus interviews are an option.

What will be asked? As we mentioned before, the interview is a conversation and really there are two general things to know: yourself and the school where you are interviewing. In knowing yourself think academics, extracurriculars, what can you add to the college you're interviewing with, and why is it a fit. You might also think about the last book you read, current event stories you're following, your experiences over the summer, and why you're unique. When considering the school don't ask questions easily found on-line, don't ask about rankings, think more about opportunities you're looking for, undergraduate research opportunities or most popular study-abroad destinations.

Most importantly I advise interviewees to make it personal. To find out what I mean by this contact us and we can discuss. The ability to connect with an interviewer can be important and give you the opportunity to stand out amongst your fellow applicants.

Post-Interview. Get a business card, prepare a thank you e-mail, possibly a follow-up question and get it out within 48 hours.

ROAD TRIP: Follow these tips for successful college visits

Do’s:

·      Schedule your visit with admissions (never visit anonymously).  As we are well aware many schools closely track visits by potential applicants.

·      Ask about College/School specific tours (some schools offer supplemental tours of their Business, Engineering, or other schools).  If they don’t have any be sure to swing by certain areas of campus that may not have been covered by the general tour but are of interest to you.

·      Take some time to yourself pre/post tour/info-session to experience the campus.  Sit under a tree, grab a meal in the Dining Hall, or just relax in the Student Union.  Eavesdrop, talk to students, or just keep an open eye and make note of what you see.  So often students tell me they just “had a feeling” that one school or another was the right place for them and it grows out of this personal time a lot.  

·      Jot down specific notes right after your visit.  The more schools you see them more information will run together so having a clear idea of what you liked/disliked is important as we continue to move from a working list to a final list of schools.  Last month I forwarded the College Visit Checklist (and I’ve added it again this month).

·      Ask to either speak with, or at the very least get the name and contact information for the Admissions Representative who covers your high school.  Send a quick follow-up email post-visit letting them know of your interest in the school (if you are) and/or thanking them for taking some time to meet with you.

Don’ts:

·      Ask Admissions Officers questions you can easily find answers to on the website (what’s the average class size, how many students go here, do you have a business major).

·      Eliminate the school because the tour guide wasn’t great or there was bad weather the day you visited.

·      Constantly check your cell phone while on the tour or in an information session.  You just never know who is watching!

·      Try to see too many schools in one day or on a single visit.  Give each school the necessary time to really consider it and compare it to other schools you’ve visited.  Good rule of thumb: no more than two schools in a single day and a maximum of 5-6 (and this is a lot) on a single trip.

 

What Juniors Should Be Doing Right Now!

Ah, Springtime...the weather is warming up, flowers are coming into bloom. Spring Break, prom, and graduation dot the calendar. But, for many these highlights are overshadowed by AP Exams, ACTs and SATs, PARCC testing, and the growing anxiety of the college admissions process. Fear not, we've added some ideas for our juniors out there to stay on track as they navigate this process. Searching for the right fit college should be a fun, exciting, rewarding experience and if you stay on track, it will be! So what to do now:

  • Identify your wants and needs when it comes to your college search. The real goal at this point is understand what it will take for you to be both happy and successful in college and build your list of schools around your list of wants and needs.

  • Visit schools that interest you or schools that might offer the things you have identified. Think academic and social offerings, the location and setting of the school, the size and spirit of the student body. Plan to visit a couple more over the summer.

  • Finalize a challenging yet balanced senior year schedule. Now is not the time to over (or under) extend yourself. Striking a balance is key, talk to your counselor, teachers, and parents about the courses you're considering.

  • Sit for your tests confidently; do some prep work, understand both the content and the style of the tests you're sitting for (AP, ACT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests).

  • Create your summer plan. Summer does not need to be all work, work, work, work, work (yes cheesy Rihanna reference here) but it also shouldn't be all play, play, play, play, play. Strike a balance have some fun, recharge, but know that this is also an opportunity to display some depth to your activities and experiences. For some this will mean attending a summer program while for others it might mean spending some more time volunteering with a local organization.

Most importantly, take a deep breath and understand that if you plan thoughtfully you will undoubtedly be ready as you move into your senior year!

Navigating the College Process

Join us for a discussion concerning all aspects of the college process: from the importance of course selection and extracurricular involvement, to creating your balanced list of schools and understanding financial aid.

THE SPRING LAKE COMMUNITY HOUSE

300 MADISON AVE. SPRING LAKE, NJ

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11th @ 7:00 pm

SPONSORED BY THE MANASQUAN HS PTO

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 732/685-6401

Conquering the College Admissions Interview

Every year students and parents alike stress about impending interviews. 

  • “Will I make a good impression?”
  • “Will the interview help or hurt my admissions chances?”
  • “Will I have all the answers?”
  • “Will I ask the right questions?”

Here are our tips to not only interview well but to have fun doing it.

1.  Approach the interview as a conversation not a confrontation.  The college interview is a chance for the interviewer (be it an alum, an admissions representative, or a student) to get to know you better and answer any questions you might have about the institution they represent.  They are not crafting questions to try to stump you but rather to better understand you, your interests, strengths, and even weaknesses…all of this is GOOD. 

2.  Know whether the interview is evaluative or informational.  Different schools use the interview in different ways.  For some schools, it is merely a means to answer questions of the applicants, for others it is an integral part of their holistic review.  Knowing how a school uses their interview can be really helpful.

3.  Don’t expect to know all of the questions or have all of the answers.  Every interview is different and they should be. Rather than trying to guess potential questions work to organize your thoughts around certain topics that will surely come up.   Here at Coastal we look at four such topics and help our students organize their brains around them.

Academics:

Think through such things as your favorite (and maybe even least favorite) class or subject, the type of learner you are and the best learning environment for you, the best assignment you’ve ever had, and your biggest academic struggle.  You also might consider how your teachers might describe you and whether or not your transcript is an accurate description of you as a student (if not, why not).

Extracurricular Activities:

Zero in on the activities or experiences that have been most significant to you (these should also be near the top of your resume and activities sections of different applications).  What have you spent the majority of time doing outside of class: these can be formal and informal activities, they might also be work or volunteer related.  If you’ve not been overly involved, what has prevented you from doing so and how do you plan to change in college?

Family, Morals, Values:

Interviewers will want to know where you come from, how you were raised and what is important to you.  Think about whom in your family you’re most like or who has influenced you the most.  How do you define success, what adjectives best describe you, what current event are you most closely following?

Why Us:

Spend some time really working through why the school you’re interviewing with is the right school for you.  How will you contribute to the school community (what will you get involved in), what has stood out in your research and/or on your visit, how will we help you reach your goals?  You might also consider questions like, do you have an idea of what you might want to major in or what most influenced you to apply to our school?

Having worked through these topics and questions you should be able to answer the question that many of us dread during an interview, “Tell me about yourself.”

4.  Make it personal, questions to ask.  We talk to often about an interviewees opportunity within the interview to make it personal and thus memorable.  Sure, there are stock questions to ask during an interview but it is much better to personalize your questions.  Here are some examples:

  • What did you major in, how did you decided on this major?
  • What was the best class you ever took?
  • Who was your favorite professor?
  • What is your favorite tradition or memory from your time here?
  • What sorts of things were you involved in?
  • Why did you decide to attend (or come to work) at this school?

5.  Most importantly: Be yourself and enjoy yourself!

8 Things to Consider when Creating Your Initial List of Schools

Let’s address the creation of the initial list of schools.  There are many different ways to go about creating this list and more than anything when doing so always keep in mind that this is a starting point.  I’ve worked with many students whose final list looked nothing like their initial list because throughout the process their understanding of their needs and wants changed as they more clearly understood themselves.  It is this process that will undoubtedly lend some clarity to those things each individual is really searching for during their four years of college and beyond.

Here are the primary wants and needs (early on you may not know which of these fall on your list of needs and which are part of your list of wants…and that’s okay but think hard about which of these will help you find happiness and success…that may help you better understand the ideas of wants and needs) to consider for the student include (during this process they may be very gray or might have very little direction at all.  Clarity will come after visiting schools, conducting more research, and further thinking about your future):

Location: Is this a Regional, National, or even International search and how might that impact other aspects of the search process (for instance the idea of cost of attendance or cultural differences).

Size: What size of a community are you looking for, we typically think about sizes from those that are XS to those that are XL.  Colleges can range from a couple of hundred students to more than 60,000 and everywhere in between.  How will the size of student body and the campus itself impact you as a student. 

Setting: Easily broken don into the basic ideas of urban, suburban, and rural but within those heading there are vastly different institutions.  Some urban schools have defined campuses while others blend right into their city surroundings, other schools are located in the suburbs of major cities while others have access to smaller towns.  Finally, how might you be impacted by attending a rural school where there isn’t a whole lot around other than your campus. 

Major: Rather than a focus on major especially in the early stages of the creation of a list we talk a lot about strengths and interests for two reasons; there are more than 1500 different academic programs at the college level and nearly 80% of college students change (or adjust) their major at least once so think more closely about what you like, where your strengths lie, and what different possibilities are open to you within these areas. 

Culture (Social and Academic): What type of campus community are you in search of? From the social side are you in search of the Liberal or Conservative, Greek or Non-Greek, and how is this culture dictated by location and type of school.  Academically would you prefer a Core Curriculum, Flex Curriculum or Open Curriculum are you looking for a competitive or collaborative environment, how do students and faculty interact?  All of these are questions of school culture.

Athletics: For the student-athlete this can oftentimes drive the search process.  Most important, especially in the early going, is being open to the different possibilities and honestly assessing yourself throughout the recruiting process. 

Academic Support Options: This is especially important for those students who have received support while in high school or understand what kind of learners they are and thus what kind of learning environments best support them.  For student-athletes the idea of support can also be important especially during the season. 

Cost of Attendance: There might also be a need to consider the COA (Cost of Attendance) in the early going, we oftentimes tell families to be conscious of the COA but in this early stage don’t let it dictate the search.

The creation of the initial list should lead to research, visits, and the goal of a better sense of where you will find happiness and success!  

NCAA ELIGIBILITY RULES CHANGES COMING FOR THE CLASS OF 2016

One of the first things that all potential student-athletes (and their parents) should do as they prepare for the college application and athletic recruiting journey is understand the NCAA Eligibility Center rules as they pertain to every student athlete.  Beginning with the Class of 2016, the NCAA Eligibility Center has instituted a new set on rules for potential Division I student-athletes and they will do the same in 2018 for potential Division II student-athletes.  Below, we have outlined the key rules and terms to know and understand as you embark on this process:

Division I

Student-athletes must complete 16-core course in grades 9-12 (and must do so in 8 semesters)

Ten of these core courses must be completed before the beginning of senior year

Seven of these ten courses must be in English, Math or Science

Core GPA must be at least a 2.3

SAT/ACT score must fall in line with the core GPA on the sliding scale

Potential Outcomes   Athletic Scholarship      Ability to Practice      Ability to Play

Full Qualifier                         Yes                                  Yes                            Yes

Academic Redshirt              Yes                                   Yes                            No

Partial Qualifier                     No                                    No                             No

Division II 

Currently require 16-core courses and that will remain the same post-2018

After 2018 Division II will move to a sliding scale rather than the current SAT/ACT marks of 820/68

Will continue distinction between a full qualifier, partial qualifier and non-qualifier

Division III 

Division III universities and colleges set their own standards and thus DIII student-athletes need not be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center

Let’s also take a quick look at the recruiting calendar most specifically for potential college soccer players:

Sophomore Year:

Can receive brochures for Camps, Questionnaires, Student-athlete can call coaches but coaches cannot call prospective student-athletes, no off-campus contact, yes to unofficial visits, no to official visits

Junior Year:

Can start to receive recruiting information and phone calls beginning on September 1st, Off-campus contact allowed starting July 1st of junior year, yes to unofficial visits, no to official visits

Senior Year:

Off-campus contacts allowed, official visits allowed (up to 5 for DI, no limit for DII) 

The most important thing to keep in mind as you move through the process is that this is your responsibility to know and understand the rules that will affect you as a potential student-athlete.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek answers.  A great place to start is at www.eligibilitycenter.org

Non-Cognitive Skill Development for Students and Athletes

I am a huge fan of non-cognitive skill development.  Non-cognitive skills include memory, thinking, planning, attention, and language skills.  They are the skills not born out of the acquisition of knowledge and/or understanding but rather they are the patterns created out of thought, feelings, and behaviors.  They are often not objectively measureable but many argue that they are the true predictors of success in school and professionally.  I’ll suggest they can translate to success on the pitch as well.

We’ll focus on three of the primary skills; adaptability, perseverance and, communication.  While there are many more, these should serve as a starting point for our understanding.  Adaptability is the ability to adjust to new conditions.  Adaptable skills with regard to education might include the ability to thrive in different subjects, teaching styles, or on varying types of assessments.  This is transferable on the soccer field where a s a player you must be able to adapt to different types of defensive pressure, varying styles of play, or having the ability to play different positions.

To persevere is to continue on even when facing difficulty.  As a student this includes everything from the unrelenting pursuit of understanding the structure of  sonnet to the binomial theorem.  In practice it also means continuing to work at this understanding even when it’s late after a long practice but your assignment is due the following day.  Perseverance is also important on the field; this is true for a lefty tying to learn to bend the ball with their right foot or a defender working to understand his responsibility in a zonal back four.

Finally; and perhaps most importantly is the development of effective communication.  We will focus on just two skills included within this heading, listening and non-verbal communication.  Listening is one of the most important skills one can develop and it entails not just hearing the words being spoken but understanding the message.  In class teachers often focus on those subjects where they are most passionate and a strong listener understands the importance of the material.  This can also be found during halftime of a game when coaches focus on the key areas the team must work on in the second half.   A strong listener will not only hear the message but will be able to put it into practice when back on the pitch.  Non-verbal communication includes just about everything not spoken; how you sit in class, react to an assignment, or your eye contact when speaking to a teacher.  This can also guide you on the field with how you react to not receiving a pass when you feel like your wide open in front of the goal to how you position yourself when not in the game. 

Understanding what non-cognitive skills are and how they relate to you as a student and athlete will add tremendously to your success both in the classroom and on the field.  The beauty of these skills is they can be learned so be ready to adapt, persevere, and communicate!