The college admittance process is not all about having the best stats in the classroom or on the golf course. College presents new challenges on and off the course that parents and junior golfers need to consider during their search and selection process. The lack of supervision, ample distractions, and a significant amount of unstructured time can be a disaster for some student-athletes if they’re not in the right environment. It can be devastating to a student’s self-esteem if they go to college unprepared, not to mention if they fail out, have to return home, and the financial repercussions.
Think bigger next time you think getting into college is all about having the best grades, test scores, junior golf rankings, and scoring averages. Instead, please focus on the preparation needed to make your child self-sufficient and ensure their safety and successful college life acclimation. For example, your child can have a 4.0 GPA and 36 on their ACT, but if they are not emotionally and socially mature, they are not guaranteed to be successful in college. Vice versa, your child could be a B/C average student in high school that is hardworking, has strong study skills, and is academically independent, each of which is transferable to being successful in college. Regardless of your child’s current situation, it is never too late to start learning, practicing, and refining these skills.
Two main factors determine your child’s preparedness for college: independent academic and life skills.
Does your child have independent academic skills?
- Can your child initiate and complete their homework with minimal reminders?
- Do they turn their work in on time?
- Do they know how to study and adequately prepare for tests?
- Do they over-rely on support from parents, teachers, and tutors?
- Are they able to advocate for themselves and ask for help when needed?
- Are they aware of personal academic strengths and weaknesses?
Has your child developed age-appropriate life skills?
- Are they able to set the alarm and wake up on their own?
- Do they go to bed at a decent time without being told?
- Does your child know how to cook simple meals and do their laundry?
- Do they know how to manage money – do they have a checking account and credit card?
- Do they know how to be social and make friends?
Here are some suggestions of everyday examples of how to teach and practice these skills with your child:
- Plan out the week – tests, assignments, due dates, extracurricular activities/practices
- Use a planner or reminders on the phone to keep track of important deadlines
- Contact a teacher about a missing assignment or ask for clarification on an assignment
- Create a personalized study plan with a menu of study strategies (highlight notes, make flashcards, quiz yourself, etc.)
- Plan a social gathering for friends, including a guest list, invitation, food, and entertainment
- Give your child a grocery list with a budget and have them do the grocery shopping for the week
- Have your child call and make their doctor appointments
- Teach them how to do laundry and have them practice
- Make a list of 5 simple recipes that they can learn how to cook
Parents tend not to want to see their children get hurt or fail. However, in doing so, they often enable their children and do not adequately prepare them for success in college and later in life. The first day of college shouldn’t be an “a ha” moment for incoming college students, let alone student-athletes. Just because your child has made it to college doesn’t always mean they are prepared and equipped to stay. If you value your investment, you’ll plan and prepare wisely, which often means double-checking the foundational skills.
Best of luck in your pursuits!
Daniel Jermak – Founder, Albatross Junior Golf
Rachel Bretz – Educational Specialist, Albatross Junior Golf