Very smart student but only three star athlete

Discussion in 'College Tennis Talk' started by kumar157, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. kumar157

    kumar157 New User

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    Totally agree.
    Occasionally my son complains that there is not enough time to hang with friends and play ping pong or go with them to watch ball games. I feel bad for him as I did all that when I was in high school. (I never played any serious sport in my life though).
     
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  2. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    So your 3-star son has no life, takes AP courses since Freshman year and does well in them and the goal is to play tennis at SLU - pretty pricey university with academic rank of 92? I would say it does not make sense unless they give him a Presidential scholarship - free ride.
     
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  3. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    kumar157:

    I'll just add my own two cents about your situation, as I'm probably closer to your son's age than yours (I'm in my 20s) and my own father (who is chinese) had very similar motivations as you when I was growing up.

    I was never a national-level athlete growing up, but did play hockey at a fairly high level throughout high school (I went to a top-ranked private school in canada) and captained my high school tennis team in Norcal (moved to the united states after grade 11). Your son seems to be a better athlete than I am, at least in tennis, and is putting in roughly the same amount of time into sports as I did in my high school years, if not a bit more. In grade 12 my GPA was #12 or #13 out of a graduating class of 500, and my SAT I scores were the highest recorded up to that point (2350 if memory serves). I did well in APs and on the SAT IIs, but right now I can't for the life of me remember what my scores were or what I even took. Six years later I could care less - it doesn't matter at all.

    After graduating from high school, I went back to Canada to go to one of the better-ranked business schools in the country, graduated in 4 years, and got a job at a Fortune 500 company.

    Arguably, you could say that I've done pretty well for myself (I now work in marketing and cover professional tennis as a hobby), but the fact remains that I do have certain regrets about not maximizing my abilities and playing hockey or tennis in college (I tried out for my school's tennis team three times and never made it past the second round of cuts). Unlike things such as having a good salary or being a successful professional, this is part of my youth and thus something I can't have back. It's something I'll have to live with. Maybe one day I'll resort to projecting these unfulfilled dreams on my own kids (god forbid), which will create yet another set of problems, but I digress.

    You mentioned that your son wants to go into a medical program in undergrad, and that you are "strong enough" to impose your views on him. My parents wanted me to become a doctor too, and I made it clear to them that I was not interested. Please make sure that your son does, in fact, want to study medicine.

    Despite doing well and liking academics in general, I find that the emphasis on "what college my kid should go to" and "what major should he/she study" is overrated. As someone who's been through that, I'd advise someone younger to try out a few different summer jobs/internships and talk to professionals in diverse fields even before college so that you can have an idea of what you're good at and what you want/don't want to do. Find career paths that match those criteria, imagine what you want to do at age 30 and work your way back to determine what and where you should study. For things like medicine, the path is fairly straightforward, but not in business, for example. There were a few things I could have done differently to shorten my learning curve, even though I like where I am at right now career-wise. At 18 I had no vision of where I wanted to be at age 30, whereas now I have a fairly good idea. It's never too early to starting thinking about that and taking concrete steps to turn that plan into reality.

    Last note: when an employer, especially in my line of work, reads "NCAA Division I athlete" written on someone's resume, that person can assume that the candidate in question has a few important traits like good time management skills, commitment, good work ethic and possibly a valuable social network. That is something worth noting as well. Theoretically speaking, if I had the talent to play Division I tennis, then I would have done everything in my power to make that happen. At least in my case, it would not have hurt my career in any way, quite the opposite actually.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
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  4. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    ^^^ This was the guy I played with in December (and his father).

    I should mention that he is also one tall handsome dude and his father is as young and fit as a 25-year-old.

    I had no idea he was so academically gifted.
     
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  5. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    ha...thanks suresh
     
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  6. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I think OP will have to walk the fine line in the age-old debate: the paradigm of telling children what to do, and the paradigm of letting them figure it out by themselves.

    I think many kids enter the tougher professions due to a combination of both. I do not completely believe a kid who passionately wants to become a surgeon. Where is it coming from? How do you develop a passion even before your first serious Biology course?

    It is a combination of ability, some interest, parental influence, and social norms.
     
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  7. kumar157

    kumar157 New User

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    thejackal,
    I already read your note thrice and pondering on it. It gives me a totally different perspective about my son's future life(in a free world with plenty of opportunities and possibilities) and my own aspirations as a first generation immigrant parent.
    I cannot explain certain things as well as you did but I know one thing for certain, you are a good son of proud parents.
    When we talk about SLU, medical profession is not in our mind but rather a lower D1 school.
    Yes, sometimes I do give career advise to him but don't want to force anything on him.
    Thanks for your advise and I will definitely will tell my son to follow his heart.
     
    #57
  8. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    thanks for the kind words kumar. if your son needs any advice from someone who was in his shoes not too long ago, he can send me an email at kickservertennis@gmail.com. cheers
     
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  9. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    They both report that you foot fault.
     
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  10. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    actually suresh called me once, while I was warming up my serve, from the next court over.

    took it in stride lol
     
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  11. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    yes but only if he is good enough to make it there...

    Can you post a vid for Evaluation? maybe we can help you out with assessing his Talent.
     
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  12. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    !

    Well, as the parent you have to advise your son in making the decision,
    and I would suggest you help him with the decision by not doing what everyone else is doing ( or his peers),
    but what is right for your family and his long term goals.

    I hear you asking about doing more tennis/less schoolwork to get into a lower D1 school.
    Are his long term goals to play futures/pro tour or to be a doctor?

    He seems like he would be better situated at John Hopkins, MIT, etc...
    ( or quite a few of the academically D3 schools that top many of the D1 in academics)
    if he is taking all AP classes with A's and B's.

    But, make no mistake, regardless of whatever the coach promises,
    his grades will be the deciding factor for admission at a highly selective academic school.
     
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  13. tball2day

    tball2day Semi-Pro

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    You may want to go to tennis recruiting and scan the commitment pages of 3 stars to see what schools they go to. A lot of 3 star kids have great grades and just use tennis as the edge to get them in to stronger academic schools. Junior year is the big push academically where kids are taking 3 or 4+ AP classes rather than the one or couple in sophomore year. So he will have more academic demands next year. To move up to a tennis level that will make a difference will take more than a few hours a week. Your player is at the age where kids give tennis the push or academics the push. He has to decide which push he wants. I'm just thinking adding a little more tennis isn't gonna make a big difference to his tennis, it takes more than that at his age/level. I'm not hearing you say you want to sacrifice the hit to academics that it takes to really improve the tennis. Generally speaking, at the two and three star level I see more players fall off of tennis junior year, where the four and five put pedal to the metal.
     
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  14. tennisjon

    tennisjon Semi-Pro

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    I coach college tennis at a D3 school called Drew University. My top 2 guys for sure could play D1 as they were both 3 star level players. That being said, for the academic level of Drew there aren't many D1 programs that would offer full or even half-scholarships that a 3 star would get. We played a team this year that had 4 former D1 starters and of the 6 courts they played on, we won 5 of them. We are a good program that goes to nationals every year, but we aren't even nationally ranked. The bottom D1 schools are usually weaker academically and athletically and may or may not even offer scholarships. If you aren't at the level of going pro or getting a full ride to a good school, I would go to the best school that fits the academic, social, athletic, geographic, and financial needs. Academics, should take highest priority.
     
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  15. Vertiz

    Vertiz Rookie

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    I am not a parent but being a D1 athlete I can give you my personal opinion. If your son truly truly loves the sport and wants to play D1 tennis, let him devote as much time to the sport as possible while still maintaining above a 3.0 GPA. If he is in between or favoring education, do not let him play D1. Division 1 tennis will become his life (a lot of travel and missed classes) and he will burn out if his passion isn't there. There is no point in playing D1 if you don't want to be involved with the sport in some manner afterwards. I know many kids that are good players but not D1 level. They do not have a burning passion to improve and sit at the bottom of the ladder. They do not receive any scholarship, yet devote so much time to the sport. A top D3 tennis program is a great option if he is in between and wants to focus on his studies for now. He can always transfer to a D1 school if he performs extremely well at the D3 level and decides that tennis is truly his passion in life. Basically, D1 tennis is a way of life just as academics is a way of life.
     
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  16. treeman10

    treeman10 Semi-Pro

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    Great thoughtful post. As a parent of a D1 athlete I concur with what you are saying. It is hard to understand the sacrifices unless you are directly involved.
     
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  17. 2ManyAces

    2ManyAces Rookie

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    wow I should do that
     
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  18. jonkras

    jonkras New User

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    My S is a 3 star, a straight A student and is a senior. We are almost through the same process you are thinking about. He will probably make his final decision in April when the admissions decisions are mailed out. He will most probably wind up at a ranked D3 school. We have spent countless houses analyzing and thinking about this.

    In be end, as someone pointed out earlier, there are many factors to consider:

    Academics
    Tuition cost
    School location
    School size
    School social life
    tennis coach
    Team vibe/other kids on the team
    Will you be in the starting lineup?

    I think the most important thing to do is to drop all your preconceived notions about colleges and tennis programs and D1/D3. Just convince your kid to have an open mind and look at all his options. After a while, the best school for your son will sort itself out.

    If you want to contact me, pls pm me. I have probably looked at all the schools you will look at.

    Here is the one thing you should remember: your S is only going to have lots of good choices for college. He will be in a better position than 95+% of kids applying to school. Turn the whole college selection process into a fun thing and it will work out well.

    Good luck!
     
    #68
  19. Chemist

    Chemist Rookie

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    My son, a junior, is very much like yours. He did really well in all of his AP, on-line college courses and honors. He trains 2 hrs every day, Monday to Thursday; takes an hour private lesson on Tuesday; and hits 4-5 hrs more in the weekend if he is not playing tournament. He spends extra 1-2 hrs in the car every day as well, often taking a nap. He manages to get the school work done usually before 11, but some days he works until almost 2:00 AM like before a big test. BTW, during his high school tennis season, he usually does his 2 hrs a day clinics after school practice or match. It will be a big challenge for him this spring, since he also needs to spend time preparing for ACT, SAT, Subject test, and AP tests.

    Luckily, he has been able to improve his tennis game (raising his TRN ranking from over 300 to about 120 in 3 yrs), while keeping up with his school work. The following have helped my son improve his games.

    - Taking lessons from a good tennis coach, who not only has experience of playing professional or college tennis, he also has experience of developing top juniors. In addition, it's very important that the coach is willing to work with parents.

    - Training in a USTA regional training center, 2 days a week now and 1 day a week last year.

    - Keeping up fitness training, both endurance and strength.

    - Playing many tournaments.

    - For us, I am getting better as a coach/consultant. I take him to every tournament, practice and privates. I learn how to cheer him up, how to give him tips after he splits sets, and how to talk to him after each match with both encouragement and suggestions for improvement. I track his matches and share the stats with his coach.

    - Improving his mental toughness. This is the most difficult part. But he is getting better and better in staying cool.

    Agreed with many threads, many top D3 schools have really good tennis programs. Schools like Johns Hopkins, Amherst or Emory can beat most D2 and play competitively with many D1 schools. Your son can get great education while continuing to improve his tennis games in one of the top 25 D3 programs.

    Another suggestion, he may make better use of the 7 hrs by practicing in a better clinics, where 5 stars and 4 stars practice, and taking private lesson from a better coach, who can make him a better player.

    If you don't have many choices, I believe your son should be able to practice a couple of hrs more each week and still meet his school needs.

    Good luck!!!:)
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
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  20. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    Above a 3.0 is not ambitious enough. Many schools have academic merit scholarships that require a higher GPA than that. I have seen average schools that have good merit scholarships to lure good students that specify a minimum GPA of 3.5, and that is unweighted (no bonus points for AP or Honors courses).

    I think the father and son need to make a BIG list of schools, including all the schools the son likes and all the schools the father likes, and look into the GPA requirements for academic scholarships, and the GPA requirements for admission (not always specified as such, but you can find out what GPAs the admittees tend to actually have, which tells you what you had better have).
     
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  21. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    OP kumar157, I think these gents have spoken some true words. In my life I went to college for an education and tennis was an afterthought. Although I did enjoy playing for the team, I always knew it was just a hobby with some perks.

    Continue to think long and hard about why your kid is going to college and what it will reap for him decades down the road. After graduation tennis stops (at least for the college team) and it fades away as the new job, wife, house and life and other maturation events get in the way. Maybe tennis comes back in the mid-thirties after life is more stable.

    Sad it would be to have committed so much time and have such determiniation to play D1, actually play D1, and upon graduation look back and realize the wrong school was chosen all for the sake of hitting a ball over a net. Sports do help kids/adults with competition and energy release. Sports are great. Heck, we fill this forum based on a sport!

    College is about the other 50 hours a week and working on the mind for the future.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
    #71
  22. kumar157

    kumar157 New User

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    Great thought. Thanks
     
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  23. kumar157

    kumar157 New User

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    Thanks Coach.
     
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  24. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    I think your post, and the two others you cited, raise excellent considerations. But I would like to offer a parallel perspective.

    How can I say this? If a youngster has a choice between Harvard/Stanford without tennis, and D3 East Armpit U with tennis, I think the youngster should choose Harvard/Stanford.............all else, such as finances, being equal.

    Between the extremes of Harvard/Stanford type schools and EAU-type schools there is a vast middle ground where career prospects probably won't differ much for hard-working students.

    Of course, even in this middle ground it is important for a youngster to choose a school that seems a good fit, academically, socially, and for extracurriculars. But if playing a DI sport is the deciding factor in choosing such a school, I wouldn't deter the kid.

    In fact, as I believe someone else here has already said, having a D1 sport on the resume often is a valuable career-booster, and D-1 sports teaches unique life-lessons that can be productively applied in any career or profession..
     
    #74
  25. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    Depends on what line of work you want to be in. If you want a job in sales having a sport on your resume is an big asset because they want those competitive personalities.

    Otherwise sports on the resume is just for decoration. Icing on the cake. If you've got good grades and internship experience it makes you look better, but if you don't have the grades or the internship experience on your resume tennis isn't going to compensate for that.

    When I was interviewing early in my career, it went largely ignored. It's just another extracurricular activity. Maybe someone would ask a stupid question like if you ever played against anyone famous or if the interviewer played tennis they might jokingly ask if you would be a ringer on their 4.0 team.
     
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  26. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    This is contrary to my experience as both a job seeker and later in life an employer.....both in professional rather than sales settings.

    As a job seeker, maybe I was asked the very first time what my grades were. Was never asked after that. My college sports career (not tennis) was always brought up.

    As an employer interviewing job candidates, I inquired about relevant job experience and tried to judge character and work habits. I never asked for a college transcript. I always asked about activities, and sports in particular.

    How many out there have had to bring a college transcript to a job interview, except for maybe your first one? Yes, I know grades are important for acceptance to grad school
     
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  27. kme5150

    kme5150 Rookie

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    From SLU Honors Program website, "Composite ACT score of at least 30 or a combined SAT score of at least 1330 (math + critical reading) and an outstanding high school academic record (with an emphasis placed on the student having earned "A's" in math and science courses. Students with "C's" on their records will not be considered.)"

    "During their freshman year, Medical Scholars must attend a special orientation at the start of the semester. Medical Scholars must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.50 (with at 3.50 or better in math and sciences) at the end of each academic year. Scholars must also observe the recommended course sequence for the duration of study, formally apply to Saint Louis University School of Medicine and take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)."

    http://www.slu.edu/undergraduate-admission/honors-and-scholars-programs/medical-scholars-program
     
    #77
  28. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    Now that I'm on the other side of the table I find I might spend time asking about extracurriculars when interviewing interns and entry-level candidates but that's only because at that level there is usually a lack of work history to talk about it. Yeah, I'll ask about GPA if it's not right there on the resume but GPA is what it is. I'm not going to ask why you have only a 3.51 and not a 4.0 (although I was asked question like once that in an interview, and the interviewer followed up with 'I hope you do realize we expect A-level work out of you if you are hired. B work is unacceptable.').
     
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  29. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    Really good post. I really like this. Although instead of a 'hobby with perks' I'd say my college tennis experience was more like having a job while your in school.

    The other thing to add is that I felt like I was always injured. There is not a lot of downtime to heal, you are pressured to stay/get back on the court otherwise someone else will take your spot. Not many guys were 100% at the end of the season and we pounded advil llike it was candy.
     
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