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Since my son's first year in high school (now finishing up Sophomore year), I have strongly encouraged him to take honors classes at school. He's a bright kid, and I told him it was very important that he be challenged in both school and on the baseball field. I told him that challenging himself in school will help him discover his own character, and the honors classes will open up opportunities for him when he's ready to narrow down what major he wants to pursue in college. He has heeded my advice, and is on track to stay in all honors courses through the rest of his high school years. But I have a nagging question in the back of my head of whether this approach has unintentionally cost him some GPA points and scouting visibility in the process.

My question is this: Will this cost my sons when getting looked at by college baseball scouts? So often I hear the GPA numbers, and my son would likely be straight A's in a college prep curriculum. Instead, he has a mix of A's and some B's, but is still doing well enough for honor roll. Does the honors vs. CP classes get any leeway on the GPA for college baseball scouts looking at a kid's academics? I've tried to encourage him by saying that a college coach that sees an athlete taking all honors classes and doing well will know the the kid has discipline in academics and can balance schoolwork with sports. But honestly, that's the dad in me speaking. Have I screwed up here and hurt his options/chances for a baseball scholarship due to a lower GPA in honors vs. what he likely would have had for CP?

I appreciate any guidance or thoughts on this. The input is very helpful.

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First, congrats to your son for doing well in the classroom and agreeing to be challenged by honors classes.

You ask if by requiring this type of academic track you have hurt his options/chances for a baseball scholarship. Baseball scholarship monies are not tied to grades, although a college coach would probably think twice about giving any monies to someone with lower than a 3.0 GPA, as this type of student could struggle in college and penalize the team's scholarship allocation. The real question is, by taking honors classes, is he hurting his chances for an academic scholarship (on top of or instead of a baseball scholarship)?

I'm sure others can weigh in with much more info than I have, but here is what the NCAA says. As far as I know, these rules are still current:

In order for a baseball prospect to receive academic money and have it not count against the school's baseball scholarship allocation, the recipient must be ranked in the upper 10 percent of his high-school graduating class or achieve a core-course grade-point average of at least 3.500 (based on a maximum of 4.000) or a minimum ACT sum score of 105 or a minimum SAT score of 1200.

If your son can take honors courses and still achieve the aforementioned minimums, he should be okay.
Last edited by Infield08
As infield noted grades are not directly tied to athletic scholarships. The college will decide if he's academically eligible and capable of handling the coursework there.

From an academic standppoint, at some point high level courses add points and/or class ranking at the end of the year or upon graduation.

When you son talks to programs, if it's like the process my daughter went through, he will be asked first for an unweighted GPA. Then add the details.

I would never hold my kids back academically for the benefit of sports. The education will matter long after sports are over. Besides there's seventeen times more scholarship money available for academics than athletics.
Good for you for placing an emphasis on academics. My son is graduating in a week and I have always pushed him (just a bit) in the academic area, having read on here when he was a freshman that there is more academic money available than athletic money. This is especially important if your son is not a "blue chip" recruit.

My son got more academic money than baseball money. He also got an additional scholarship from an outside source based on his academics. So, bottom line is that he's got about an 85% scholarship to a private school. He is saving us a huge amount of money because of studying hard in high school.

He took many AP/honors classes that boosted his grade point average. Each college recalculates the student's gpa based on their own standards. So for the University of CA schools he applied to he had over a 4.0. Colleges want to see that the student has challenged themselves. We saw many of sons friends this year that had high gpa's and didn't get into many of the colleges they applied to. It may have been because they didn't take the most rigorous course load available to them.

So, no you have not hurt your son's chances with baseball recruiters. Send me a private message if you want more details.
You did the right thing. I wish I had pushed my son toward the honors classes. I thought the higher GPA would be more beneficial than the honors classes and pushed him toward the GPA. He graduated from HS with honors and received the athlete/scholar award from his HS because of his GPA and athletic ability -----BUT---- He was recruited on his baseball talent and not his GPA. No doubt the honors courses in HS would have helped prepare him for college academics and would have not have had ANY negative impact on him being recruited.

Understand too that colleges are different. There are weak baseball colleges and strong baseball colleges ---- There are also colleges with very high academic “requirements” well above the NCAA minimums. The phrase “student/athlete” varies greatly from college to college. There are many student/athletes in this world but very few that have the athletic ability PLUS the academic strength to play AND study at EVERY college.
Athletics v. Academics ....

Between travel games this weekend I was talking to the team sponsor/owner. We're sponsored by a baseball academy. He stated there are a lot of delusional parents out there throwing money away on kids at too young of an age and older kids without much potential.

I asked him if a kid is hitting .250 and getting a C in math, do the parents get a hitting instructor or a math tutor. He responsed they should get a math tutor but his revenues show they're probably opting for the hitting instructor.
As a parent who has spent considerable money on both hitting instructors and math tutors, I can say without a doubt that both are important, but a math tutor most likely is not going to transform a mediocre student into a summa cum laude graduate. Most of the time, high school tutors help to ensure that the student makes a "decent" grade, remains athletically eligible, and is able to get into a "decent" college. The student's academic struggles may stem from learning disabilities or simply from academic disinterest; regardless, securing a tutor most likely is not going to turn a "C" student into a whiz kid who can earn college academic scholarships.

On the other hand, a gifted hitting instructor can help transform a mediocre athlete into a fairly gifted one and boost the player's chances of receiving an athletic scholarship. In many cases, athletic accomplishment may be the only hope for a high school student desiring to get a college scholarship.

At a recent educational seminar, I was taken aback by one of the speaker's comments: "Academics are overrated." But I understood the message he was trying to convey when he explained that many successful entrepreneurs and corporate CEO's were poor students who simply lacked the interest or motivation to do well in school. Many kids, no matter how much tutoring money you pour into them, will never qualify for NHS, but will land on their feet one day when their passion for a certain subject or profession kicks in.
But I understood the message he was trying to convey when he explained that many successful entrepreneurs and corporate CEO's were poor students who simply lacked the interest or motivation to do well in school.
A person can go to an Ivy and have doors opened for him. He can go to Nowhere State and kick down the doors. Either way, once inside the person has to perform. Once a person is performing professionally, the college is only useful from a connections standpoint and applying to high profile grad schools.

A Harvard graduate friend of mine said his best friend from high school went to a nothing college in the mountains where he could ski, smoke pot and get by in school. At age thirty he woke up, got motivated and now makes more money than the Harvard grad.
Last edited by RJM
Well said 08. And don't worry PSD, you've pushed in the right direction. Most educators agree that academic rigor is the most important ingredient in preparing a young person for post secondary education, and success with rigor is perhaps the best predictor of success in college. Does this have anything to do with success in baseball? No, not without talent, but it sure opens a lot of doors.
I will offer an example of a young man from Albuquerque- Tavo Hall, a 5th year senior at USF where he started at SS the last two years, and last year was the class valedictorian. This young man has already accomplished a great deal in his life. He was very well prepared for college with honors and AP classes in HS.
Last edited by spizzlepop
I did the same thing with my son. In the end, they end up brighter and more motivated if they understand challenge and accept it.

However, there is a downside for California students. The UC system does not give any credit for honors classes or schools that have a track record for challenging kids.

Admissions is based on a formula utilizing GPA and SAT's. The higher your rank as compared to the applicant pool, the greater the probability of admissions. By discounting the value of hard work, you may have eliminated certain schools on a straight admissions basis.
ILVBB: Not sure I understand what you are saying about the UC admission process. As I understand it, theirs is a straight mathematical computation. To calculate the GPA based upon honors/AP classses, credit (one point per class) is given for 2 honors/AP classes per semester (all of these honors/AP classes must be on their recognized list in order to get this extra point per class) for a total of 8 extra points only, from the 4 semesters of your sophomore and junior year. The UCs do not consider grades from freshman or senior year in their application process. Then they do the regular multiplication and division to get the GPA.

So, I guess in that sense the more rigourous HS programs don't get full credit, because if you take 3-4 honors/AP classes per semester, the UC's only give credit for 2.
PSD: You are to be congratulated for your advice to your son. More rigourous academic classes will also assist with him getting higher standardized test results (SAT, ACT, SATII, etc). So, in the end he can present an overall nice academic "package" for a college. Also, while I have no first hand experience, I do believe that when colleges recruit, they consider the entire class that they are presenting to their Admissions offices - so if they want a stud who does not quite have the academics, then a kid with better grades who may not be quite as good on the field, may help lift the overall recruiting class academics, so they can get the stud in the same class.

Of course, if our kid is also a baseball stud, then you are absolutely on the right track!

One can never go wrong with stronger academics - just MHO.

In my son's experience, the first question the colleges ask him is "what are your grades and your SAT/ACT scores." His are great (and he has a strong mix of honors/APs), but he's a JR., so it remains to be seen if that works for him.
There are multiple routes into the UC system - but the most normal route uses a weighted GPA - from the UC Admissions website:

Grade Point Average

Only the grades you earn in "a-g" subjects in the 10th and 11th grades - including summer sessions - are used to calculate your preliminary GPA.

Honors Courses: The University assigns extra points for up to eight semesters of University-certified honors-level and Advanced Placement courses taken in the last three years of high school: A=5 points, B=4 points, C=3 points. No more than two yearlong UC-approved honors level courses taken in the 10th grade may be given extra points.

The courses must be in the following "a-g" subjects: history/social science, English, advanced mathematics, laboratory science, language other than English, and visual and performing arts. Also, they must be certified as honors courses by the University.

So No11 has it right.
08Son took a full load of honors classes - and it was extremely helpful in dealing with colleges over the last couple of years. Having sat through probably a dozen meetings with academic advisors, I would say that they would all prefer a more rigorous course load with a few Bs to a lighter load with all As.

In my opinion, if you don't take the more challenging route, you will be closing doors at some schools. The baseball coach can only push so hard on admissions - and will only do so for a few players each year.

Not to mention - academic aid can, and often does, exceed athletic aid.

Yes, and to expand just a little on what O8Dad has said, there are at least three routes in to the UCs. One is the ELC ("Eligibility in the Local Context"). For the top 3% of your HS, this means an AUTOMATIC admit to the UCs (it does not however mean an automatic into the UC of your choice, but you will get a letter in the fall of your senior year from the UC(s) that you are in to based upon this, generally the three-four impacted UCs do not do this (Cal, LA, SD, and now maybe even SB). You will know if you are close to the top 3% by the spring of your JR year, because your HS must get your signed permission to release your grades to the UCs, and that is when those HS letters come out (but they do slightly over-include because generally a HS does not calculate its GPAs like the UCs do, so you may just miss the cutoff in the fall).

Then there is the weighted GPA that 08 mentions - top 12% I think fits into this grouping, which means you qualify, but if the numbers of applicants are to high, you may not make it in. Then there are the athletes and others - and yes, athletes do have to make an academic criteria, albeit lower than non-athletes.

For admission purposes, almost every college/university ranks grades #1, then standardized test scores #2, then it can start to vary (like community service, letters of rec., etc.)
First, he will probably do better on the A.C.T or S.A.T. because he took harder classes - that is a huge plus. My son made a 28 and he totally credits his AP social studies classes for his very high reading score.

Second, I have read many times that colleges would rather see a harder curriculum and some Bs than easist classes and straight As.

Third, he will adjust to college courses better for having taken some harder classes.

You have done just right by encouraging him to take the harder classes. I wouldn't worry and I thnk you did what was best for him!!
I could be wrong, but most coaches seemed to be more interested in my son's sat score then his grades (i.e. if the player couldn't achieve a certain score they weren't ever getting into many schools nor matter the gpa or how it was calculated).

Ironcially my son got a 1260 (two part) sat score and didn't get into a certain impacted UC, however his recruited football teamate got in with an 890!! I am not sure what he is studyingSmile
CP, yep. Notice I said "lower", but not how low. I have no idea how low the UCs can or will go on the academic scale when they are looking for athletes, but my guess is that the academic standard is different for all sports - and football would probably take lower than baseball. I once heard a rumor that one athlete (cannot recall the sport) got in to one UC with a 1.9 GPA, but again, that was rumor...
I think you're on the right track and it doesn't hurt at all that he's a pretty darn good young ballplayer. My guess is that his toughest decision is going to be sorting out the offers in a couple years. Don't forget the SATs and he'll need to take the subject tests as well for the UCs.

ProudSoCalDad's sophmore son was one of the leading hitters on a team that won a prestigious HS national tournament mostly with their bats. At least 2 of the team's other hitting leaders already have scholarship offers.
Last edited by CADad
Originally posted by no11:
CP, yep. Notice I said "lower", but not how low. I have no idea how low the UCs can or will go on the academic scale when they are looking for athletes, but my guess is that the academic standard is different for all sports - and football would probably take lower than baseball. I once heard a rumor that one athlete (cannot recall the sport) got in to one UC with a 1.9 GPA, but again, that was rumor...
There was a bit of an uproar among the academia at UCLA when Kevin Love was admitted. He did not meet the academic standards combined with it was expected he would use the school for one year.

When Bob Toledo got the standards lowered for football, he nearly got a national title. But he ended up getting smoked by Miami and stuck with a bunch of thugs with arrest records.
Speaking in very general terms, SAT scores usually trump GPA because there is much more uniformity in the SAT, while grades can fluctuate due to course difficulty, school grading policies, etc. That is not to say you don't need good grades, but it is better to have higher SATs and lower grades than higher grades and lower SATs if you aren't flying high in both.
Batavia: With all due respect, I disagree. In fact, check out Princeton Review on line. Log on and locate any college/university, then click on their admissions section. At the bottom of each page, it will show you the rank of importance for candidate selection. Almost every single one of ranks grades/secondary school record first. In fact, for some colleges/universities, standardized test scores aren't even second on their priority list. Or better yet, call a college admissions officer and ask them what they rank most important. Bet their answer is "grades first".

Sizzle: Wake Forest is not the first to do this. Gettysburg made the same announcement last year, and I had heard that others were considering it (if memory serves, Bucknell was also considering). If I had to guess, it might have something to do with the problems the College Board was having with score reportin, etc. Recall the nationwide problems with incorrect score reporting, etc. last year. But that is just a guess.

When it comes to college admissions, the admissions officers are very much like college baseball coaches and pro scouts. They know the schools in their regions like the back of their hands - they know the academic strengths and weaknesses (actually they know tons about them - demographics, etc.) of each school, whether grade inflation exists on the campuses, etc. They make personal visits to many of their schools every year. So they are very prepared and competent to adjust the grade factors for the various high schools.
Oh, and while I'm at it, IN: college coaches care about grades because they have to (not necessarily because they want to) - they cannot risk loosing a scholly because of a low APR. Kids with poor grades put them into bad spots. Players must be able to maintain whatever the academic rigor of the college presents. If they cannot, they cannot play. If they cannot, colleges risk not meeting their APR. Coaches lose players and schollys. A bad, bad thing.

And if you don't think this year's compressed schedule impacted the academics of even the most academically gifted players, go find one and ask them. It has.
no11: I was just stating from experience. If a kid can get into college and maintain the lowest level, he WILL play if he is good enough. There are many kids that are barely eligible, but they are eligible. There area also kids that get their 3.5-4.0. You hear about it more in basketball and football, but it does go on in baseball.
IN, certainly there are examples of kids who can just barely make the academics at any given school, but who play because they are good. My comment was more toward the fact that a college coach would know he was taking a chance with that kid, but would do so to get the talent. I would bet he would prefer not to have to risk it. Does it happen, yes. Does the coach prefer that a kid have the kind of grades necessary to be able to play and maintain his academics, yes.

And I would have to agree that this is more problematic in football and basketball, but less so in baseball.
I think BB money and academic money have everything to do with it. Unlike the other sports coaches need to prop up their offers with as much academic money as they can. 11.7 doesn't go too far especially with the minimum 25% in place. The guys I know who were great ball players with poor grades went to JUCOs because they need only the required credits and no high GPA or ACT/SATs. I know several who tried to get into D1s and had to go JUCO. Several are very good friends and one I know very well just finished at a D11 after transferring 2 years ago with good marks and one of the top stats in his conference as a JUCO LHP. He was turned down by several MCAA teams even though he was throwing high 80s. He also was heavily scouted.
I understand your point but there are lots of great ball players turned down because of low marks.
Bobble, absolutely! However, I think the point IN makes is valid. A kid with lower academics MUST be a top player in order to play somewhere. But that player must still have the grade minimum the school requires. If you are an average student and an average player, you will play if you get yourself out there, but you will have to look and do the work. Either side of the scale - stud player weak grades, excellent grades - medium player - these kids may have more chances. Best of all, a great student who can play the game well - the best chance of all.

Remember - academics and athletics all are on a sliding scale, depending upon the unique requirements of each college/university.
I wonder if this is another indication of the downward economy and increased competition for students?
I've talked recently with two admissions people. The end of the boom of the baby boomer kids starts with the class of 2010. Many colleges are expecting the number of applications to fall.

There are college who have always thought the SAT process is flawed due to ethnic background and quality of education. One college my daughter talked to didn't care about SAT's. The third part of the SAT is a joke. How can a college quantify a subjective score? At least the Math and English are cut and dry correct/incorrect answer.
The coaches we talked to a few years ago all wanted academic info right up front. One had my son apply and get his student # before he would tell us what the package was he would offer. It was the largest scholarship my son was offered. In all cases the academic money was larger than the BB money. The coaches tend to look at all alternative sources of money before dipping into the meager BB 11.7.
RJM: I have heard this too that the class of 2010 is smaller nationally, and that graduating classes decline from there on. That does not necessarily mean that applications will be down, however, because the current trend is for each student to apply to more colleges every year. But there probably will be an overall slow decline.

As for the SAT, it is also true that a lot of colleges do not consider the new writing portion in their applications.

Bobble: We too have been told that college coaches will look for academic money first before dipping into their 11.7.
This regarding SAT requirements from CNN-

By Elizabeth Landau

(CNN) -- Jen W ang of Short Hills, New Jersey, took her first SAT when she was in sixth grade, long before she would start filling out college applications.

Wake Forest University recently announced it would no longer require the SAT for admissions.

"My family thought it was very important for me to do well on this test, and I basically obtained nearly every SAT study guide out there by the time I was a junior in high school," she said. "For Christmas one year, I received an electronic device that allowed me to practice the SAT's 'on-the-go.' "

After all that preparation, she ended up attending a school that has made the SAT Reasoning Test, generally known as the SAT, the most widely used college admissions exam in the United States, optional.

Her school, Connecticut College, is one of a growing number of colleges and universities that are making the SAT optional in the admissions process. In May, two highly selective schools -- Smith College in Massachusetts and Wake Forest University in North Carolina -- decided to drop the SAT and ACT, which some students take as an alternative to the SAT, as requirements for admission.

Wake Forest made the move as part of its efforts to increase socioeconomic, racial and ethnic diversity in the student body, said Martha Allman, director of admissions. Research has shown that SAT performance is linked with family income, and that the test by itself does not accurately predict success in college, she said.

Making the test optional "removes the barrier for those students who had everything else," like scholastic achievement and extracurricular activities, but who "maybe didn't do as well on a specific test," she said.

Smith College also cited the correlation between test scores and income as a motivation for making the exam optional, as well as a desire to take a more well-rounded view of applications. The changes at Smith and Wake Forest take effect for applicants seeking to enroll in the fall of 2009.

Several colleges and universities went test-optional in the 1990s amid concern that the test was a barrier to equal opportunity for minorities, women and low-income students, said Robert Schaeffer, public education director for FairTest. Some schools also dropped the test as a requirement with the explosion of test coaching, which gave upper-income kids an advantage.

Today, about 30 percent, or nearly 760 colleges and universities out of the approximately 2,500 accredited four-year institutions across America have made at least some standardized tests optional for some applicants, according to the nonprofit advocacy group FairTest.

Some of those schools, such as George Mason University in Virginia, still require the tests for prospective students who do not meet a particular GPA requirement in high school.

But Alana Klein, spokesperson for the College Board, which owns the SAT, said this is not a trend. While the news media have focused on recent moves to make the test optional, schools have been doing this for decades, and SAT test volumes are up 2 percent from last year, she said.

The poor performance of some low-income and minority students has to do with their lack of access to quality education, which is a national problem, but does not relate to the test itself, Klein said. The SAT is a fair test for all students, she said, and any test question that shows bias is removed.

"Not only is the SAT a critical tool for success in college, but also in the workforce and in life," she said.

At Bowdoin College, which hasn't required the SAT since 1969, the biggest benefit of the test-optional policy is the school's "unusually supportive community" where students don't compare scores, said William Shain, dean of admissions and financial aid.

But at this small liberal arts college in Maine, which admitted about 18 percent of applicants this year, more than 80 percent of applicants submit scores anyway, he said.

One of the downsides of keeping standardized tests optional is that it's harder to evaluate a large pool of candidates who all have high GPAs, he said.

Richard Atkinson, former president of the University of California, recommended in 2001 that the school system no longer require the SAT Reasoning Test for admission. He cited the concerns of African-Americans and Hispanics that these groups tend to perform worse on the exam than students of other ethnicities.

"The real basis of their concern, however, is that they have no way of knowing what the SAT measures and, therefore, have no basis for assessing its fairness or helping their children acquire the skills to do better," Atkinson said in 2001. The University of California system still requires the test today.

Several other schools dropped the test requirement for admissions after the revised SAT came out in 2005, after seeing that the new version did not address concerns about access and poor predictive value, FairTest's Schaeffer said.

Since spring 2005, 34 colleges and universities have made standardized testing optional for all applicants, according to FairTest. Four others made the requirement optional for students with a lower GPA, FairTest's data showed.

About 25 percent of liberal arts colleges have made a move in the test-optional direction, said Jack Maguire, chairman and founder of Maguire Associates. His consulting firm has advised certain colleges to become test-optional.

"I do think it improves a school's image," he said. "It shows what's important to schools, if they're really interested in increasing diversity."

****, who just finished her freshman year at Connecticut College, said she is torn on the SAT debate -- the test sharpened her vocabulary and test-taking skills, but preparation took up a lot of time that could have been spent doing other things.

"Applicants may take too much time on prepping for this test and their time can be better spent dedicating themselves to other activities that could show colleges what the applicants really find meaningful in their lives," she said.
Last edited by spizzlepop

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