“Do these kids think they will be professional athletes?” This was a serious question from a European educator who was visiting The Learning Consultants and shocked at how much time and energy parents had invested in training for sports. No. But many believe that their children will get college scholarships for sports.
Small town Connecticut athletes do not get many Division I scholarships. The outliers tend to give false hope. Luke Schoonmaker, an Old Saybrook native who attended Hamden Hall, is playing at Michigan on a football scholarship. Luke – a great guy and hard worker who deserves the good things coming to him – is also extraordinarily athletic. I should also mention that he is 6 foot 5 inches and 250 pounds of solid muscle. Indeed, I often think of Magic Johnson’s line when a parent asked how best the 12 year olds in his basketball camp could put themselves in position to play college sports. “Grow!” was his funny but true answer.
In relation to football, California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and other big states with football intense populations have 5-10 times as many top players as does Connecticut. Last year, I was providing college counseling to one of the best football players in Southeastern, CT. He hoped to impress coaches during summer football camps. He came back disheartened realizing that his size alone – above average for a Shoreline, CT linebacker – made him small on a national level. His speed and strength – very high for Shoreline, CT – were average. A bright young man, he – and his parents – realized that he was more likely to gain scholarship money through test prep than through football.
I have, however, seen enormous scholarship success for Connecticut students with top SAT and ACT test scores, particularly in the last 5 years. Colleges – particularly private ones – are desperate to maintain their student populations. They also need to look “not desperate”.
To do so, they need to attract a student body that looks impressive. The most blunt force way to do so: give scholarships to those with top test scores. And the easiest way to improve scores.
And now that we seem to be back to normal (almost)…. post-Covid… assume that athletes in Connecticut shoreline are more likely to earn college dollars through academics than athletics.