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Get a system!

10 Sep


As you are amassing stacks of brochures, applications, and other paperwork relating to your college search and financial aid process, you will quickly find you’ve got a giant mess!

The following office supplies can help you create a simple system:

  • File box (with hanging files) or large accordian file
  • Box of file folders

Then organize your materials like this:

College info:

  • Create a separate file folder for each different college.
  • Write passwords and other important access info on the inside of the file folder.
  • On the COVER of the file folder, write the due date of the application along with a checklist for every item you need to complete the application.
  • When  you have completed the application, print out a copy and keep it in the file.

Scholarship info:

  • Create a separate file folder for each scholarship.
  • On the COVER of the file folder, write the due date of the scholarship along with a checklist for every item you need to complete the application.
  • Keep a hard copy of all scholarship applications and responses.

Financial aid info:

  • Create separate file folders for any financial aid paperwork: FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and state grant info, as appropriate.
  • Write login info and passwords on the inside of the file folder.
  • Keep hard copies of all paperwork.

Order the files in the box, according to due date. The nearest due date should be in the front, followed by the next due item and so forth.

Then, check your file system on a daily basis, so that you stay on top of what needs to be done. You can also calendar these deadlines in your planner or on a calendar on your phone.

It’s not rocket science, senior — but this simple system will keep you on track!


How to Get an Athletics Scholarship

15 Oct

Do you want play a sport in college?

Many high school student athletes and their parents are banking on an athletics scholarship — and perhaps a career in sports.

In the 23 years that I have taught school I have had two students from my small high school who have played Division I sports — both at a nearby university.

The chances are slim. According to a U.S. News and World Report article there are about 138,00 athletics scholarships for Division I and Division II sports. Actually, your choices are about one to two percent, at best, and you may find the average scholarship is only about $10,000 a year. Full-ride scholarships are typically only offered to athletes in four sports: football, men’s and women’s basketball, and volleyball.

It is YOUR responsibility and YOUR responsibility alone to proactively pursue your dream of playing college sports.

Some quick info:

There are two overall divisions — the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for bigger schools and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) for smaller schools. This column will only focus on the NCAA programs. (Go directly to NAIA colleges’ athletics departments for eligibility for their programs.)

The NCAA has three divisions and four for football:

Division I:

  • Largest schools
  • Full scholarship awards
  • Competition is primarily against Division I schools
  • Generate the largest media coverage and revenue and exposure for the school

Division II:

  • Fewer sports
  • Fewer full scholarship awards
  • Athletics often funded by campus departments, not just athletics

Division III:

  • Fewer intercollegiate opportunities
  • For the [achieving] STUDENT who desires to play sports
  • No athletic scholarships
  • Focus more on athletes than on drawing fans for income
  • NCAA Eligibility Center not a factor for admission (regular admission requirements must be met)

For the athlete who wants to play sports in NCAA schools, he or she must do the following:

  • Graduate from high school AND
  • Be a qualifier based on the NCAA Eligibility Center OR
  • Be accepted through regular admissions process (Division III only)

The NCAA Eligibility Center certifies the academic and amateur status credentials of all college-bound athletes who wish to compete in Divisions I or II schools. Certification is based on three areas: academic core classes (listed below), GPA (2.0 or better) in those courses alone, and SAT or ACT scores.

The required 16 NCAA core classes are as follows:

  • 4 years English
  • 3 years math (Algebra I and higher)
  • 2 years of natural/physical science (1 year lab)
  • 1 year additional English, math, or science
  • 2 years of social science
  • 4 years of additional courses from any area above, foreign language, or comparative religion/philosophy

What do I do now?

  • You can start at the beginning of your sophomore year.
  • YOU can contact coaches! Prepare a well-written email introduction with your stats, GPA, leadership involvement, and contact information.
  • Register NOW at the NCAA Eligibility Center: This will cost a $70 fee, but if you have used a fee waiver for the SAT or ACT, this fee can be waived.

That is about all I have gleaned from a recent training for counselors given by the California State University. Please see the NCAA website for more info.


Just because you’ve gotten a letter from a college’s athletic department does not mean you are being recruited. That just means your information is in a data base, because your school or coach sent information about you. This is VERY common. Don’t sit back and wait. You are not being recruited until a coach comes to see you, emails you or calls you. Then GO for it!

Many blessings in pursuing your athletic dreams!