It was late December when a student (a senior) told me he wanted to attend USC and play football utilizing Rugby Scholarships.
His 1.82 GPA says otherwise. And he wasn’t on the football team. Ever. Not in all four years of high school. Add that he is no taller than 5’4” with a litany of behavioral offenses and the odds of his acceptance stand at zero. Not to mention, his chances for football or rugby scholarships isn’t even a option.
This is more common than you might think; he had assumed that since he aced a few summer classes heading into senior year that he was set for success. What he didn’t take into account was that the classes he had taken over the summer were all for credit recovery; he had failed multiple classes over the course of his first three years in high school.
The A’s he had just earned weren’t enough to make up for all the Fs on his transcript. In his head he had a 4.00 GPA; what he failed to realize was that his overall GPA was far lower, he didn’t understand that the Fs he earned as an underclassman were permanent. Making up for the damage was going to take way more than a few summer school classes.
The Reality of Securing Rugby Scholarships
I currently teach 150 freshmen and I shared this story with them (no names of course). A few of them scoff, but a few of them are confused.
They relate to this young man, they have questions, they don’t understand why he can’t be accepted to USC or get rugby scholarships flowing in.
It is at these moments that I am reminded how woefully prepared some of my kids actually are; how completely unaware of how this whole high school thing works.
I have kids who sit in class and assume that they can make it up later, that the F they earn in English is temporary and if they do it over the new grade will replace the old grade. It doesn’t work like this and some kids really don’t get it until they are faced with a really hard rejection.
1. Encourage Getting Involved Freshmen Year and Often
Here’s the takeaway. Day one matters. From the moment your student walks into high school it starts adding up; attendance, behavior, grades, sports, clubs, connections, social media, friendships and most importantly, belonging. Kids who belong to something, kids who engage in the high school world, first have more fun and second, are successful. When they belong to something, absolutely anything, they start to open doors for themselves.
2. Create A Plan For College Early
If your kid wants options when they graduate then everything from day one matters. In that effort, and this will seem a little crazy, but you must absolutely start talking about college as early as possible. It might seem aggressive, but in all reality the kids who show up in my classroom as freshmen who are having those conversations at home don’t need to be convinced that school matters. They have already bought in; they understand the value of learning.
It doesn’t mean that all those kids end up at a four year university but it does mean they do their homework; they ask questions and they are advocates of their own learning.
3. Work College Visits Into Vacation Time
My 15 year old wants to play sports in college, preferably soccer or water polo. We’ve started visiting college campuses. When we went home to Chicago for Christmas we took advantage of our time and visited Northwestern.
It was negative ten degrees, and we had nothing officially set up (no tour or guide), but simply walking around allowed her to see a future. She could start to imagine what it might be like to live there, to build her own life there and now Northwestern is at the top of her list.
We also headed north to Madison, Wisconsin; our friends live there and were able to gave us a tour. She quickly took Madison off her list. The campus was too big, the town too overwhelming and just not the right fit.
Both universities are top notch but now she can start to understand the differences between schools. There was no amount of talking that can replace those visits. She has first hand knowledge which is making all the difference in the world.
4. Talk To Your Kids About Success
When kids understand that every year of school is a rung on the ladder to higher education and that they won’t successfully scale that ladder without standing on every single step they are willing to work.
So talk. First, talk so much that your kids roll their eyes at you. Then, talk about grades, talk about higher education, talk about joining clubs and sports and interests. Ask them about their dreams which you can then foster into learning and about why school matters. Talk early. Talk often. Then listen.
Over To You
Tell us about your experiences and the steps you found useful to secure rugby scholarships or any college scholarshp to play sports. Leave a comment below.