For College Admission Success, Mind Your Manners

You may be wondering how college admissions and manners could possibly be related. The connection is surprisingly clear. As you go through the college planning process, you'll deal with adults who have some influence on your future. How you handle these encounters can make all the difference.

Frequently, the college admissions process seems quite impersonal, but there are many interactions with college representatives, admissions officers, alumni and high school teachers. This is where manners and appropriate behavior play a role.

Read on to find out the five areas of college admissions where manners do matter:

Teacher recommendations

Students usually ask high school teachers for college recommendations. Obviously, if teachers are asked to write a recommendation in the spring of your junior year, they have plenty of time to get this done during the summer. If, on the other hand, you wait until the recommendation is almost due, many teachers resent the rush and pressure to get the job done quickly. Teachers are busy people, and they're doing you a favor. It's important to thank them for taking the time to write you a letter. Don't forget about your counselor, too.

Social media

Students don't always use the best judgment on their Facebook pages or other networking sites. Before you apply to college, clean up anything that could jeopardize your opportunities for college acceptance. Colleges DO care what you post and show online. If it's inappropriate, there's a good possibility it will be noted on your college application. A surprising number of college admissions officers reported social media sites have had a negative impact on a student's capabilities for college admission. Don't take that chance. It's poor manners to say things online that you might regret later.

Email and cellphones

It's wise for students to have a separate email address for all college correspondence. Your current address might be cute but does not transfer the image you want to project to colleges. It's also smart to review your cellphone message. College representatives will often contact students on their cellphones to set up interviews. Most college reps would like to know that they've reached the student for which the call was intended. If the college representative hears blaring music, he or she may not know whether to leave a message. You might miss an important opportunity to connect with someone from a school that interests you. Also, know how to answer a phone. When asked, "Is this Rob?" say, "Yes, this is he," not "Yeah, this is him." First impressions count.

College interviews

If you have a chance to interview with someone from a college or university, by all means do it. Dress appropriately, and be prepared with a few questions you would like to ask about the school. Arrive at the interview at least 10 minutes early. College officers are busy and can't wait if you're late. It's important to meet your interviewer with a firm handshake. You should also maintain good eye contact throughout the interview. When you return home, it's polite to send a thank-you note, not an email. Ask your interviewer for a business card so you know where to send the note. Show interest in the school and listen to what the interviewer has to say.

College visits

College admissions committees like to accept students who show an interest in their school. One of the best ways to do this is through a college visit. Call in advance to set up a tour, information session and possible interview. Avoid using your cellphone or texting while you are visiting a college campus. Pay attention to the guide, and don't talk with other people during the tour. Colleges realize that you're a teenager and don't expect you to act like an adult all the time. However, they do want to know that you can demonstrate appropriate behavior and know how to conduct yourself, so keep in mind that manners are important for college admissions.

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What Is The ACT Test? Know Important Facts For Your College Admission

What is the ACT test? The ACT test is a college entrance exam. It is used by majority of colleges and universities in the US to make decisions about student admissions in their institutions. Scores in the ACT or the SAT are required by colleges as part of their admission process. If you want to apply to your preferred college, you therefore need to take the ACT to be able to acquire a score.

The body that administers the ACT test is the ACT, Inc. The test is a paper and pencil test and is comprised of multiple-choice questions. When your target colleges ask you about how ready you are to study in their institution, you metaphorically reply with your ACT score. That's mainly because the ACT has been designed to measure the college-readiness of high school students. Admissions officers in accredited colleges review the standardized test scores of their applicants along with their GPA in high school. Additional requirements are your letters of recommendation, the high school classes that you attended, the extra curricular activities you took part in, your personal essay and your admissions interviews. The value imposed on ACT scores when it comes to college admissions vary from one school to another. However, it will be to your great advantage if you get a high score in the ACT so that you can avail of more options pertaining to your studies in college and paying for it.

When Is The Best Time To Take The ACT Test?

High school students typically opt to take the ACT and the SAT. They may take either or both during their junior year in spring, or on their senior year in fall. You must incorporate strategic planning for your college admission test by allowing time for you to retake it. You may need to raise your score according to the requirements of your chosen colleges. You can choose from the months of September, October, December, February, April, June or July to take the ACT test. It is offered nationwide every year. However, there are exceptions for the state of New York where the test is not available in February and July, and California where there is no ACT test date in July.

What Are The Different Sections Covered By The ACT Test?

There are four, and they are on the subjects of:

  • English
  • Math
  • Science
  • Reading

You have the option to take the 40-minute Writing test along with these. It depends on your goals or personal preference. Some colleges require their applicants to have an ACT Essay score, too. Primarily ask about the admissions policies of your target colleges about this matter. The ACT test is a strictly-timed test, with a total of 2 hours and 55 minutes to complete. If you take the Essay test, the whole time duration will be 3 hours and 35 minutes.

What Is The ACT Test Scoring System?

You'll be scored on a scale of 1 to 36 points for each section of the test. Your composite score will be derived by computing the average of all your scores in each section, and this is measured on a scale of 1 to 36 points as well. If you took the ACT Writing test, your score on it will be measured separately.

How Do I Go About With My ACT Test Registration?

It makes sense to register early for your test. Deadlines are typically set 5 weeks before the scheduled ACT test date. Registration materials can be obtained from your school counselor, or you can register online by visiting the official ACT website.

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Is College Worth the Cost?

It is no secret that college tuition and expenses have been on a steady rise for many years. This has many families worried that they will not be able to afford to send their kids to college. Many even shy away from encouraging their children to dream of a college education. Trade skills are almost being forced on the younger generation. The daunting and staggering college costs are changing the way that we raise our kids.

Imagine if you were told not to dream. What if you told your parents that you wanted to be a doctor and they just had to turn you down? What does this do to the self esteem of a young child? Many families, college educated or not, struggle to keep up with housing costs and the cost of living in general. Saving for college simply is not in the cards for a lot more families than many would like to believe. What does this mean for the future of our country?

We are trending towards generation after generation of minimum wage and poverty level workers. What happens then? They can not afford college for their children and so the cycle continues. If you have been worried about affording college for your children, then there are some things that you should realize.

So, you are wondering if college is really worth the cost. Consider college an investment. Not only is college an investment in your child's self esteem and job satisfaction, but it is also an investment in your family and country. College graduates earn an average of sixty percent more than their peers. This makes an earning difference of almost one million dollars over a lifetime. With all of the college grants, financial aid, student and parent loans, there is almost no excuse for denying your child this investment in their future.

You may have to make short-term sacrifices to afford loan payments, but it should be well worth the effort. Students can defer payments until after they graduate. There are even payment plans that are income based, which means that your child will not have to pay more than they can afford as they get older. If you are worried about being responsible for hefty loan payments between times of employment, do not worry too much. Most student loans have deferment periods that can put your payments on hold until you are employed again. The government and loan companies have all sorts of special benefits and payment breaks for student loans.

Our government does want our children to be able to afford college. We need professionals in our society to function. This does not mean that the rich are the only ones able to get educated and continue to be rich. Many loans are income based and your child can get just about as much help as they need. If they do not get as much as you need for actual college costs, then there are parent PLUS loans and private student loans to consider. These are available on top of Federal Student Loans, scholarships and financial aid. Do not stifle your child's dreams. Encourage them to make a better life for themselves as well as their children and grandchildren. Choosing to go to college can affect many generations to come and, yes, our families' futures are worth the cost.

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A College Student Hates Trump and Promises To Vote For Clinton – Why? It Might Not Surprise You Much

Not long ago, I met a nice and pleasant college student studying at Starbucks, she goes to the local 4-year State University here. Well, I thought she was a nice and polite college student until she started talking about her politics. Let me give you a run-down on all this because as a baby-boomer I am quite frankly a little appalled by the sense of entitlement going on with kids in college these days.

You see, she told me she wanted to vote for Bernie Sanders because she liked what he promised about health care and tuition free college, that is to say Free College for Everyone. Okay, lots of people feel this way but isn’t it just a bit self-serving – to vote for someone so you can get free stuff that everyone else will have to pay for? Of course this vote-buying game is something that the Democrats engage in early and often – and socialist leaning candidates around the world use this strategy as they come into power as populist leaders.

Since, Hillary Clinton is the nominee now, she said; “I am definitely voting for Hillary!” and “I like what she stands for with gays, minorities, free health care and college,” besides she is a Democrat nominee. I asked her what she thought about how Team Clinton and the DNC worked to shut out her former favorite candidate, a very deceptive and dishonest move. She told me; “That’s politics!” Really, a college student suddenly thinks she knows everything about politics? Also, where on Earth is her loyalty? No loyalty as long as she gets free-college tuition and doesn’t have to pay back here student loans.

And guess what, this sentiment is hardly uncommon. Did you know that college loan defaults have skyrocketed since the Democrats started talking about “Free Tuition” during this 2016 Presidential Election? It’s true, it jumped over 10%. The Wall Street Journal in an article titled; “More Than 40% of Student Borrowers Aren’t Making Payments – New figure raises worries that millions of them may never repay more than $200 billion owed,” by John Mitchell April 2016. Well, thanks a lot Bernie and Hillary, thanks for your undermining of yet another important sector of our society. The article stated:

“While most have since left school and joined the workforce, 43% of the roughly 22 million Americans with federal student loans weren’t making payments as of Jan. 1, according to a quarterly snapshot of the Education Department’s $1.2 trillion student-loan portfolio,” and “About 1 in 6 borrowers, or 3.6 million, were in default on $56 billion in student debt, meaning they had gone at least a year without making a payment, 3-million more owing roughly $66 billion were at least a month behind.”

Since many of these student loans are backed by the tax-payer and the rest turn out to be part of citizen’s stock portfolio, we are shifting all the current costs and past defaults to older Americans. Lastly, I’d like to add something here. Whenever the government helps create a “bubble” in any sector of our economy, it always double-downs and makes it worth, fails to rectify the problem, this is going to be a disaster.

Further, if college tuition becomes free, and if the government is involved, trust me; that is all it is going to be worth. And the Democrats they are busy attacking Donald Trump for his Trump University? Give me a break. It’s time for the Democrats to come clean on this problem they’ve created and stop promising things they cannot do. Didn’t they learn from ObamaCare?

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College Planning: How To Get The Most From A College's Website

Five "Must Do" stops you should make on every college website:

1. Locate the website search tool. Most colleges place this on their home page and it's the fastest way to find what you're looking for. Find it and use it!

2. Admissions Page. It's usually "Admissions" or "Prospective Students" on the college home page (if it's a University with graduate students then be sure you go to the Undergraduate Admissions). You should be looking for the following important information:

  • Freshman profile – you need to compare how you stack up to the "typical" admitted freshman.
  • "How To Apply" – get clear on what's required for a complete application. What tests, what applications, deadlines – all of it.

3. Financial Aid and Scholarships. If you need help in order to pay the college bill, then you MUST scrutinize this section of the website. You're looking for costs, what, if any scholarships are available, how competitive you are for those scholarships, etc.

4. Academics. You are going to college to actually learn something, yes? So once you've taken a look at all the pretty pictures of happy smiling students on a bright sunny day, it's time to dig deeper. You need to look at the department pages of the majors you're thinking of pursuing. What are the requirements for that major? What classes are required? Who teaches them?

5. The college's key selling points. Remember the admissions section of the website is a marketing tool. It's the admissions office's job to "market the college" to students like you. To make an informed decision about whether a college is right for you, you're going to need to get past the marketing glitz and glamor that's designed to convince you to apply. A college may be a Pinto or a Yugo (Google it) but the admissions office's job is to convince you you're looking at a Cadillac or a Mercedes.

Your Smart Plan for College Assignment:

Start evaluating college websites with a critical eye. Remember they are designed to make everything look good! You have to make an informed decision – there are lots of great colleges out there. Just because a college looks great on the website doesn't mean it's a great college for you. You've got to get beyond the glitz and glamor and dig in to find useful, relevant information that can help you decide if a college is worth your time and effort for further investigation or if it needs to be voted off your list.

And finally – do remember that the website is a good starting point. Looking at a college's website, by itself, is NOT enough to make a decision that will consume four years of your life and THOUSANDS of your parents' hard-earned money.

You wouldn't buy a house just from a picture on a website, would you? Of course not. You'd do further investigation.

You can't "buy" a college that way either.

Now, maybe you need help creating a list of colleges so you can start investigating college websites. Or perhaps you've gone to college websites and are wondering what you need to do next. Or maybe you're looking at college costs on the websites and trying to figure out how much you're really going to have to pay.

Maybe you're on the right track. But what if you're not? Don't you want to know now – while you still have time to do something about it? Or would you rather not know only to get blindsided by a rejection letter or a bigger-than-you-can-afford college bill?

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How to Be Successful at College Life

How to be Successful at College Life

In order to be successful at college life you must make a commitment to studying throughout the day. A lot of people have dreams of going to college but they never get started. Fear can be a big road block that will prevent you from reaching for your goal. Find positive people who can help you to overcome your fears. You may need a to meet all of your professors each semester. A good study group can give you the encouragement to keep going toward your degree. Once you have some ideas of what you want to do begin to write down all of your career goals. Look for people who are successful in your classes and meet with them. Ask them for advice. Don't be afraid to get the help that you need in order to be a productive and organized college student.

In order to be good at anything in college you must make sure that you have a good follow through on your goal. You must make all of your goals measurable. If you want to accomplish great things make your goals measurable. For example if you want to earn a college degree indicate how many years you will take to complete your degree. You must know what will help you to accomplish your goal and what will distract you. You can measure yourself by keeping track of your grades and the grade point average that you are earning each semester. You could also indicate how many times that you plan to meet with an instructor each semester. You can also write down how often you will meet with a tutor. Getting the help that you need right away will make you a successful student every semester.

Here are other tips:

1. Learn something new from your failures and successes

2. Write down measurable goals

3. Get organized and know where you are going

4. Have several professors who you regularly talk to

5. Hang around students who have more experience than you

6. Take action steps toward your goal every day

7. Attend informative conferences and networks

8. Have strong faith and give thanks for all things

Your level of success is up to you. Don't give up! Position yourself to learn and move forward. Obstacles are made to be jumped over or moved out of your way. Give your best and make a daily commitment to keeping your motivation and you can be good at achieving your goal to graduate from college.

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Why Trade School Is A Good Alternative To College

There was a time, not so long ago, when a high school diploma was all you needed in order to obtain a decent job. For several reasons, that standard has been raised. In modern America, a college education is now required for most entry-level positions. The only problem with that proviso is that higher education is no longer affordable for the masses.

College Costs

According to data from Bloomberg, a leading financial news company, the cost of a college degree in America has increased a whopping 1,120 percent in the past three decades. Now rising two and a half times faster than the rate of inflation, only about 10 percent of students can afford their tuition. The other 90 percent must take out student loans that saddle them with bills that can take years, even decades, to pay. At last count, the average college graduate left school with $28,000 of student debt. What’s the alternative?

Unfortunately, there aren’t many. Without a college education, many workers are doomed to a lifetime of low-wage employment. These positions offer little in the way of benefits or job security; not to mention that the stagnant wages that are a hallmark of these jobs often makes saving impossible. Even so, about 25 percent of Americans work these dead-end jobs. There is, however, one viable option many have not explored.

Why Trade School?

As incredible as it may sound, there are more than three million jobs openings in the skilled trades. According to employers, a good number of those high-paying positions cannot be filled because they can’t find qualified workers. Electricians, carpenters, plumbers, welders, and other tradesmen are in such high demand that their salaries are rising much faster than inflation. This is great news for the average high school grad who does not have the money or the desire to pursue a college degree.

The Benefits

Not everyone was meant to go to college. But, because parents and educators often push young people in that direction, many of them take classes just to avoid conflict. Not surprisingly, few of these reluctant students graduate. In fact, about 40 percent of all college and university students drop out before earning their degree. Most waste thousands of dollars on an education they will never use. If they had only been encouraged to attend trade school instead, things may have gone better for them for the following reasons:

Less Schooling

Because students are able to focus on a single subject or trade, instead of on a full course load, they can complete their training in only a year or two. They can then start working immediately without the extra years of education they would have needed at a four-year institution.

Less Expensive

Even an excellent trade school will only charge a fraction of the price of the average institution of higher learning. Expect to spend a bit more than you would on a new car, but not as much as you would on a new house, which is what you’d have to fork off if you pursued your four-year degree.

More Hands-On

Instead of learning theories and hypotheticals, aspiring tradesmen are prepared for the real world from day one. By the time they graduate, students have the training and experience they need to ply their respective trade.

For all of these reasons and more, trade school is a viable alternative to higher education for millions of Americans.

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National Scholarship: I Have to Pay for College

I Have to Pay for College … Part One: Student Loans

If you are like most high school graduates or thinking of going back to college, the prospect of having to pay for it can be overwhelming if you don't have a lot of money saved. According to a survey completed in 2015 of 5,000 Americans by, approximately 62% only had about $ 1,000 in savings, and another 20% did not even have a savings account. Additionally, the average cost of college tuition in America today according to for the 2015-2016 school year is $ 9,410 for in-state residents at a public college, $ 23,893 for out-of-state residents attending a public college, and $ 32,405 for private colleges. These costs do not include text books or living expenses if you are not going to be living at home or with family who can help support you. Finally, there are supplemental expenses to consider such as computers, lab fees, tutoring, etc. So, the big question is, how does a person pay for it all?

The answer is not simple; paying for college usually involves multiple strategies. Assuming you have nothing saved for college, the most obvious solution would be complete the FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, with the United States Department of Education on their website. By doing so, you will find out if and what types of students loans you may qualify for. This is usually the best option if you have to borrow money to help pay for college, because interest rates are typically lower and the term of repayment is more flexible. However, you should only borrow money if no have exhausted all other options in paying for your education, because a large student loan debt upon graduation can be burdensome. Interest will continue to accrue on your student loan if you wait to start making payments, only adding to the total amount you owe and make paying back your loan even more difficult. Consider any type of loan as if in the same category as an emergency; Don't borrow the money unless you absolutely have to!

I Have to Pay for College … Part Two: Free Money

Have you ever heard the term, "nothing is ever free"? Well, "free money" for college such as scholarships and grants are essentially "free money", with some other form of cost involved. For example, Fund for Thought requires that you complete and application and write an essay in order to be considered for a scholarship. The cost in this example would be the application fee ($ 20), and the time spent completing the essay packet. The "cost" is low compared to the possibility of receiving $ 2000 of "free money" towards college. Scholarships and grants are "free money" because you are not required to pay them back, they are an award for some sort of qualification or achievement.

You should apply to as many scholarships and grants as you can find. The best places to look are scholarship databases online, a high school guidance counselor, or the financial aid office of the university you will be attending. These places usually have extensive lists of current scholarships available, and can help if you have questions about the application. Additionally, local civic organizations, churches, and businesses will sponsor scholarships available to students in their area. Check your local newspaper and community announcements and you may find "free money" with little competition. The bottom line is that if you put in the time to search for scholarships and grants, the chances of receiving "free money" for college are greater.

I Have to Pay for College … Part Three: Scholarship Search

We wanted to elaborate on the scholarship search because there are so many resources out there, it can be a daunting task for the individual scholar. There are several different types of scholarships available, and be categorized by different attributes. We thought that it would be best to compose a list to help give you some ideas and direction when beginning your search.

1. scholarships for high school students
2. undergraduate scholarships
3. masters scholarships
4. national scholarships
5. international scholarships (Canadian scholarships, exchange student scholarships)
6. free scholarships
7. online scholarships
8. full ride scholarships
9. community service scholarship
10. company sponsored scholarships (Pepsi scholarship, Walmart scholarship, McDonald's scholarship)
11. race / ethnic origin scholarships (native american scholarships, Hispanic scholarship fund)
12. area of ​​study scholarships (journalism scholarships, law school scholarships)
13. scholarships in areas of need (teach scholarship, early intervention scholarship)
14. merit based scholarships based on academic or sports achievement

This list is by no means extensive, but the goal is to get you started. Receiving free money for college is possible for everyone. By applying to as many scholarships as you can, you will increase your chances of an award.

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20 Tips For Applying For College Scholarships

As seniors begin to celebrate their final year in high school, their thoughts quickly race to senior prom, senior pictures and grad night. However, it is just as important that they focus some of their energy into applying for college scholarships.

It is estimated that more than 9 million students receive grants or loans from the Department of Education each year. Despite the $83 billion that they will award this year, students and families must look at additional options to help pay for college including scholarships. Below are 20 helpful tips to begin the process.


1. Request packets in advance.

2. Make copies of the packet information in the event you make anY errors and need to redo the

3. Type your application packet.

4. If you do not have a typewriter consider having the document scanned and put on a disk.

5. Print your information on the application (only as a last resort).

6. Have your application reviewed for typos and clarity.


7. Send out the application a week before the application deadline.

8. Keep a copy of the completed application for your records.

9. If the packet needs to be received within a few days considering sending it overnight.

10. Do NOT send your application late, it reflects poorly on your organizational skills and ability to meet deadlines.


11. Request letters of recommendation well in advance of deadline.

12. Request letters from individuals that can speak to your accomplishments.

13. A generic letter is worse than having a missing letter.

14. Provide your writers with prepaid postage envelopes.

15. Provide your writers with a resume or brief portfolio of your accomplishments and activities.

16. Follow-up with your writers to be sure that your letters of recommendation have been


17. Include all extracurricular activities during high school.

18. Include activities that occur sporadically.

19. Service activities are necessary to be competitive.

20. Activities that demonstrate leadership qualities are also important.


FinAid: The SmartStudentTM Guide to Financial Aid

Website address:


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College Athletic Scholarships – The 5 Misconceptions

Families seem to be in the middle of a perfect storm as they look to send their sons and daughters to college. The stock market has wiped out a lot of the savings people thought they had; college tuition has climbed; the economy has wiped out millions of jobs; house prices have collapsed and destroyed equity; and more kids than ever want a higher education.

Maybe the promising circumstances for you is that your child plays a sport – even plays it pretty well. Sounds like you, right? You wouldn’t be reading this otherwise. So help in the form of an athletic scholarship may well be on the cards. You will need to navigate the recruiting process, and make some difficult judgments about contacting college coaches, bringing on college consultants, negotiating terms (if you are lucky enough to get that far) and all the rest of a potentially complicated process. But for those with prospects, and need, there is just no other way.

And there is no question that a sports scholarship can help pay for that college education. It may not be a full ride – but any contribution would be welcomed by most of us. The challenge for parents though, especially those new to the college recruiting process, is to navigate the unfamiliar terrain in a race where the stakes could not be higher. Hey, it’s only your child’s education!

Jennifer Noonan of College Sports Quest has been counseling high school athletes in Southern California for around 10 years and has advised over 500 families in that time. She warns against leaving everything to the student. It is just too important for the athlete not to have the full backing of the family.

And as Jennifer Noonan she sees it, there are five common misconceptions when it comes to college recruiting and sports scholarships.

Myth #1: If you are good enough, coaches will always find out about you

And all good things come to those who wait. In a perfect world, this is exactly what would happen. Alas, our world is less than perfect. And a college scholarship is too important to leave to chance. You must be proactive. I

Myth #2: You have plenty of time

Not nearly as much as you think. Around 25% of high school athletes are identified as college scholarship prospects when they are freshman. Another 35% are identified as sophomores. And another 45% or so are identified when they are juniors. Not that many get identified as seniors. So you don’t have as much time as you think. According to Noonan and College Sports Quest [], the time for you to start your own recruiting efforts – in most sports – is by September 1 of your junior year (or earlier).

Myth #3: Your coach has connections and will get you recruited

Coaches’ first job is to train you – so you can get recruited. And they are busy – many have teaching duties on top of their athletic duties. Not to mention families and personal lives and all the rest of it. Sure, use the help you get offered from coaches, even ask for it and leverage all the connections they have. But don’t make this your only recruiting strategy.

Myth #4: College camps and exposure tournaments mean you will get noticed

By the time most college coaches get to tournaments, they have a very short list of prospects in mind that they are watching. In a camp of 500 student athletes, a college coach may only be seriously looking at 2 or 3. The lesson is that you need to do the work getting on their radar screens before the tournament. And be realistic (but optimistic) about your abilities and the college tournaments you target.

Myth #5: Grades don’t matter

Colleges and the NCAA have high school course requirements and GPA/SAT/ACT minimum standards that you will need to clear. But meeting the minimum standard the NCAA and your college set does not mean you will be able to continue to meet the required levels of academics. And, all things being equal between you and another prospect, higher grades will count.

It always helps to visit the colleges you are interested in. Try to time your visit so you can see your sport being played. Avoid applying to colleges for sports scholarships that you would not consider attending otherwise. In other words, whatever happens with the team – you still have a degree to get!

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