A lot of news outlets started out this week reporting a strange, borderline feel-good story this week – that star football player Jay Harris from Downingtown High School East in Exton, PA turned down a full football scholarship from Michigan State to pursue his dreams as a rapper.
It turns out that the real story is somewhat different.
If you are a high school senior pondering a change of plans about where to go to college next year, it is not too late. If you thought you weren’t going to attend college next year, but have had a change of heart, you may be in luck. Also, current college students wishing to transfer may still have time. Some institutions still have availability for incoming freshmen or transfers.
According to NACAC:
“At least 210 colleges and universities still have space available for qualified freshman and/or transfer students and all have financial aid to offer, according to the results of the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual Space Availability Survey: Openings for Qualified Students. The survey queries NACAC member four-year colleges and universities on the availability of space, institutional financial aid and housing as of May 1, 2013. Now in its 26th year, the survey is designed as a tool for counselors, parents and teachers as they assist students who have not yet completed the college admission process.”
There has been a dramatic increase in the lengths to which college recruiters go to vet scholarship candidates, including looking at their online activity.
If you are a high school athlete dreaming (realistically) of landing a scholarship, you have probably spent thousands of hours in practice, games and the gym. A free ride to a great school would be a tremendous boon to your and your family, and a handsome repayment for your effort. If you’re a typical American teenager, you’ve probably also spent a lot of time online.
The fact of the matter is, the folks who will decide whether to give you an athletic scholarship or move on to the next guy will look at more that your sports stats and your GPA.
“We look at social media constantly,” one Mid-American Conference School’s recruiting coordinator said. “We have several eyes looking at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all the time. Most of the kids seem to not get the fact that social media is open to the public. They also seem to not understand that scholarship offers have been lost because of things we’ve seen on social media.”
Even if you think that your social media history is clean, it might make sense to have someone take a second look before a college recruiter does. There might be an account on a network that you’ve forgotten about or don’t use any more, or perhaps an online argument that you had with someone might be viewed as a bullying incident. Even the amount of time that you spend online could raise questions. And don’t forget that people won’t just be looking for things posted by you, they also may find something posted by others about you.
At JD College Consulting, we partner with a technology expert to audit high school prospects’ social media profiles and history to make sure there is nothing that will preclude a student athlete from being offered the scholarship that he has worked so had to earn. Contact us now for more details.
Listen up, high school students. I know you’re busy. I was a high school student once too. Even though you’re busy, you should consider making time to do some volunteer work before you even think about college. You may not have considered some of the benefits.
It looks great on a college application – Volunteer or community service work is one of the best ways to show college admission officers that you take initiative and are willing to work. In a competitive application environment, this can separate you from other applicants.
It can give you an idea of what to pursue in college – Volunteer work is work after all. You can either pursue volunteer work in an area that might interest you as a career post-college, or end up working in types of jobs that you find you have no aptitude for or interest in, which could affect what you study in college.
It exposes you to new people – in the course of you doing volunteer work, people will notice you. Perhaps they will be your supervisors or someone for whom you perform a service. You never know when one of these people will offer you a paying job, provide a reference or help you in some other way.
It makes you appreciate your free time more – In the same way that having too much free time leads to boredom, having less free time makes you value it more highly.
Your parents will cut you more slack – I’m a parent, and I know from personal experience that when I see my kids do something “good”, it makes me more likely to say yes when they ask for something later.
It’s good – It never hurts to do something just because it helps someone else.
April is National Volunteer Month. You can start now and get a jump on the process.