Jack is eleven years old. He has been playing ice hockey since he was six. His parents take him to state and national tournaments and he free skates most mornings from 6:30 to 8:00 before school starts. His practices and games take up another seven hours a week. Jack's parents hope that the time and effort they put toward ice hockey will help Jack win a college athletic scholarship. They spend more than $7000 a year for Jack to participate in ice hockey. This is a financial sacrifice for them but they are willing to do it.
The question is: Is Jack truly a rising star or is it too early to tell? Does he have the potential to quality for a college athletic scholarship realistically? Maybe even more importantly, one must ask whether the intensity of the ice hockey program is good for Jack? He really enjoys it but are his parents too invested in the program and could it be hurting him physically, mentally, or emotionally? Too many children are.
As a private college counselor, I work with high school students athletes, but my goal is to help them find colleges that are a good fit academically, socially and athletically. Some will quality for merit aid, but most are not going to get athletic scholarships. I am not opposed to athletics at all; in fact, I was very involved in high school sports myself. However, I feel that many children are missing out on music, art, and other creative outlets because athletics seem to be pushed the hardest. What about academics? Does Jack have enough time to study and make the kind of grades he will need to get into college?
A recent quote from Kevin Charles put the whole dream of an athletic scholarship in perspective:
What are the odds of earning a college athletic scholarship?
“Most high school athletes are not going to play college sports. When I say most, we’re talking 90 to 95 percent will not play college sports. That’s just the way it is. And then, the percentage that will get a significant college athletic scholarship might be less than 1 percent in some sports, to 2 percent in other sports. The odds are not in your favor."