Congrats on the commitment! I’m no expert on the Juco experience, but my son just finished his first semester at a top Juco baseball school. He is in the middle of a 4-2-4 Transfer. He has signed an NLI to return to a D1 Program this fall. Over the holidays, we had a chance to talk a lot about his Juco experience. Here are my takeaways on his observations:
Overall, he (and I) are very pleased with the experience. He is glad he made the jump … The Juco program delivered on exactly what they said they would deliver: the opportunity to grow physically/mentally, improve as player, easy access to the classes he needed, and (most importantly to him) exposure to D1 Programs and MLB Scouts.
Having spent his Freshman year at a D1 4 year school, he said that while the academic demands were easier at the Juco, the baseball demands were much higher. As I’m sure you know, there are little or no limitations on Juco programs when it comes the number and length of their practices. In addition to 6:00 AM daily lifts, they had practices of 3-5 hours everyday. In fact, from mid-August through mid-November, they practiced 88 of 90 days! I’m guessing this isn’t the norm, but be prepared for that kind of demand.
As far as recruiting for the next level, after baseball talent, Academics was still at the top of the list. Coaches want kids that are academically solid. My son’s always been a good student, but one of the added benefits of the year at a Juco is that the D1 he is transferring to awards academic money to transfers solely based on the GPA from the Juco. He was able to take advantage and REALLY maximize his academic money at the D1. As far as transfer credit goes, CabbageDad is correct: You need to stay on top of it. It was helpful for my son to connect with academic advisors at his new D1 school early in the year. He was able to map out exactly which courses to take. Not sure this is the case at every Juco, but at my son’s, his scholarship covered all of his classes … as many as he wanted to take. He carried 18 credits in the Fall and has 17 credits this Spring. Not always easy, but this will keep him well ahead of pace to graduate in 4 years (important to Mom and Dad!).
One note of caution, the Juco he attends has dorms, and the baseball team lives together. As the “mature” Sophomore he is (lol) he noted there were a handful of Freshman, that weren’t able or willing to manage their academic, athletic and social demands adequately, and 5 of them did not return for the spring. His observation is that while the baseball dorm is fun, it's not a great place to develop time management skills and discipline … you need to bring those skills with you! Again, Congrats and best of luck!