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For Parents Planning for college, academically

gym_dad32608

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Hi all, I have searched the forum regarding a discussion on how parents approach academic planning for their DDs and college with no success. My DD is in 7th grade currently and competing lv 9. While I know my child is capable, we (my wife and I) are planning as if she will not get an athletic scholarship. However, she is fully committed to the sport and trains at a level as if she is, if that makes sense. She is happy, loves the gym, and would not have it any other way. Given her training schedule and gym location (hour + away) she cannot attend traditional brick and mortar school so she is fully virtual now. I'm curious if folks have used college admission coach/counselor to help plan for their children in these unique dynamics? What approach or suggestions they might have on the academic planning front? Any consideration to some of these "sports" high schools (IMG Academy, Monteverde Academy, etc)? At the end of the day, academics will always come first for our family and we want to make sure, as I am sure any parent here does, that she has the best opportunity to succeed in getting into college, in spite of or in lieu of her participation in this sport. Thanks for any advice!
 
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MILgymFAM

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For my kids- and this doesn’t work for everyone at all- what helped them snag their college acceptances were dual enrollment classes in a variety of environments. My kids were able to show (prove) they were successful in college classes in-person, virtual, community college, four-year college, and abroad. Since we were homeschoolers (and not virtual schoolers) this was perhaps the most significant academic choice.
 
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Flicfliclay

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Can i just say BRAVO and that this is the way everyone should treat their athlete? I don't have any suggestions, but i loved what you said. I also have a daughter in 7th grade and a level 10, but we are planning for academics and if an athletic scholarship comes a long that will be great. We have always done brick and mortar schooling although it is not a traditional day.
 
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Aussie_coach

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It is smart not to rely on a sporting scholarship while your daughter is only in 7th Grade, lots of kids are fully committed to their sports at 12 but staying that way through the tumultuous teen years is quite different. There are injuries, distractions, body changes and so many things for a teen to contend with.

I don’t know a great deal about the college process because things are very different in Australia. But with things being the way they are now a record number of kids will be home schooling and virtual schooling at this point. It may take years for schools in the US to go back to the way they were, and many people may find this type of education suits them well and may choose not to resume brick and mortar schools.

Due to this, in the coming months/years, I believe a lot more information and support will be available for families who have chosen this path.

For your daughter to reach Level 9 in 7th Grade, she is obviously a hard working, dedicated and committed person, with good self discipline, goal setting skills and the ability to internally motivate herself. No matter what the path she has a great set of skills to succeed. I have never seen a young gymnast who reaches the higher levels at a young age who did not possess these skills.

I would be careful of the “academics come first” mindset. I assume it’s a common way of thinking in the US as I hear it a lot on here. That way of thinking is far less prevalent in Australia (although it is becoming more so), but our international results are very good. It can lead to a lot of stress and pressure and cause students to become overly focused on results and not enjoy their learning. I certainly don’t insinuate that is the case for you guys, it seems like you are working hard to ensure she has a balanced, healthy and happy life.

As virtual/home schooling parents you have the unique opportunity to help ensure that school stays a positive experience. Everyone does better when learning stays a positive, fun exciting adventure. Exploring the pursuit of knowledge in a way that promotes a lifelong love of learning.
 

LemonLime

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Watch dual enrollment for starting the NCAA clock. NCAA athletes are limited in how many college credits they can earn without their college 4 years starting. One of my children earned 18 academic units prior to college, BUT those units were earned from APs and SAT scores.

My two gymnasts dds went to top 20 academic schools. One college wanted one of them to show performance in live academic classes which she (and most others on her team) did sophomore and/or junior year. My daughter took math and science live junior year, for instance. She also attended a virtual school that had admitted athletes and non-athletes from that virtual program. Look at the rosters on teams you like to see what has been accepted in the past. Colleges also look to see that the student has taken a competitive load based on their high school. For instance, if the school offers 3 APs, your child should take them and score at least a 3.

Neither of my dds took Algebra until freshman year. Most of the SAT/ACT focuses on Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra II and I wanted them to have recently taken those classes. I recall one school required one of them take Physics senior year, but they didn't care that she had not taken Calculus.

One of my dds entered national essay contests and science fairs. She received some awards which helped.
 

skschlag

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Just for a slightly different perspective.

My gymnast did not take a single AP classes. He did take a couple of advanced classes. He has done well in all of his classes, doing a modified schedule at a traditional high school, working, practicing, and volunteering. He has a good GPA. And he has been admitted to almost all the universities he has applied to (hasn't heard from one), and has received some academic money to most of those. (still waiting to hear from a couple)

My point is, kids do not have to take all the top/AP/Honors classes to be admitted and/or receive academic aid from colleges. For my kiddo, taking those classes would have made high school a miserable time. We wanted him to be able to enjoy high school as well. Some kids can handle that, and it is great! But just know, that if your kiddo is not one that cannot or does not want to handle that kind of work load, it is ok, and they still can get in and get aid without it.
 

gymgal

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1. The top priority is that the school has mostly NCCA approved courses. Otherwise she will run into problems with eligibility.

2. If you are looking at a high academic school, then you will want to be sure she takes a few in-person courses either through a local school or through your dual enrollment program. For lower tier academic schools, this is less of an issue

3. Almost all school admissions counselors will tell you they should be taking the most challenging courses that they can do well in. That does not mean all APs/IBs, unless you are going after a high academic school. Makes no sense to take an AP and barely get a C.

4. What Lemon-lime said about the college courses - we did not run into this potential issue with our dual enrollment. I think as long as it is through a dual enrollment program and not done separately, they do not affect eligibility. But if this is a path for your child, be sure to call the NCAA eligibility center for clarification in her Freshman year

I would be careful of the “academics come first” mindset. I assume it’s a common way of thinking in the US as I hear it a lot on here. That way of thinking is far less prevalent in Australia (although it is becoming more so), but our international results are very good. It can lead to a lot of stress and pressure and cause students to become overly focused on results and not enjoy their learning. I certainly don’t insinuate that is the case for you guys, it seems like you are working hard to ensure she has a balanced, healthy and happy life.
Most people who talk about academics first are talking in relation to athletic aspirations. School comes first. They are not saying to put school above all else in their lives. Don't pick a college because you like the gymnastics team. Pick it because it has the major you want, feels like home, etc. But you are correct that the US places a much higher emphasis on college educations than most other countries and I do feel it is overkill particularly when more than 50% of students never finish their degree and end up owing more than $20k in loans. The ones who make it to graduation typically owe double that. It is nuts. We ought to be encouraging trade schools and apprenticeships just as much as 4 yr colleges.
 

ReluctantGymMom

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My kid is a long way away from any college scholarships but she’s academically gifted - I would personally rather she duel enroll and have an AA (or close to) by graduation without needing to pay for it instead of spending time on AP classes. If by some miracle she ends up with an athletic scholarship, being having most of the AA credits done would limit her NCAA eligibility years?
 

ldw4mlo

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1. The top priority is that the school has mostly NCCA approved courses. Otherwise she will run into problems with eligibility.

2. If you are looking at a high academic school, then you will want to be sure she takes a few in-person courses either through a local school or through your dual enrollment program. For lower tier academic schools, this is less of an issue

3. Almost all school admissions counselors will tell you they should be taking the most challenging courses that they can do well in. That does not mean all APs/IBs, unless you are going after a high academic school. Makes no sense to take an AP and barely get a C.

4. What Lemon-lime said about the college courses - we did not run into this potential issue with our dual enrollment. I think as long as it is through a dual enrollment program and not done separately, they do not affect eligibility. But if this is a path for your child, be sure to call the NCAA eligibility center for clarification in her Freshman year


Most people who talk about academics first are talking in relation to athletic aspirations. School comes first. They are not saying to put school above all else in their lives. Don't pick a college because you like the gymnastics team. Pick it because it has the major you want, feels like home, etc. But you are correct that the US places a much higher emphasis on college educations than most other countries and I do feel it is overkill particularly when more than 50% of students never finish their degree and end up owing more than $20k in loans. The ones who make it to graduation typically owe double that. It is nuts. We ought to be encouraging trade schools and apprenticeships just as much as 4 yr colleges.
This
 

gymgal

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My kid is a long way away from any college scholarships but she’s academically gifted - I would personally rather she duel enroll and have an AA (or close to) by graduation without needing to pay for it instead of spending time on AP classes. If by some miracle she ends up with an athletic scholarship, being having most of the AA credits done would limit her NCAA eligibility years?
I do not believe this is correct if the dual enrollment credits are on their high school transcripts. We did not run across anything stating this when we are in the recruiting stage. You would definitely want to confirm it with NCAA eligibility center though.
 

ReluctantGymMom

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I do not believe this is correct if the dual enrollment credits are on their high school transcripts. We did not run across anything stating this when we are in the recruiting stage. You would definitely want to confirm it with NCAA eligibility center though.
Thanks - I was just thinking about this and ideally she would be at least a year through her degree so I wasn’t sure if that would leave her the full 4 years of eligibility or only 3 years
 

LemonLime

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If you are using the dual credits for college units, they can trigger the start of your 4 years. Ask the NCAA and your college's Compliance Office for clarification if this is an issue. I'm not saying it is, but that it can. A 2016 high school graduate/NCAA scholarshipped athlete I know had this issue, but she took the classes off all transcripts and the NCAA accepted it after an initial challenge. The admitting college looked at the units to see how she was performing academically, but she never actually used the units.

Most state colleges and many private colleges allow AP units to count as college credits beginning with a 3 on the AP exam. California is one of those states and it is not unusual to graduate early for this reason in Cal State and UC schools. https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/admission-requirements/ap-exam-credits/
 

gymgal

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As Lemon-lime said, AP courses are a great option for those in a more traditional school setting and it alleviates the possible conflict with college courses messing with eligibility but be sure to check the college requirements. Our state's colleges give only general elective credits for 3's. To get core credits, you need at least 4s and sometimes 5s. It just goes to show your that it is important to research potential colleges and so that you know ahead of time what is likely to happen. BTW, this also happens with the dual enrollment courses if the students is going out of state or to a private school. Only a couple of dd's DE courses transfered as core courses because her college requires all students to take their Freshman English experience and Bio/chem courses. So those transfered as electives, which won't really do her much good in terms of graduation. Still, the DE experience was well worth it as it gave her in-class experience, which she had not had previously.

If your child is in a virtual setting or true homeschooling, having the dual enrollment courses, where they are in-person, provides the student with a more traditional college class experience, one that many colleges want to see with non-traditional learners. It also provides recommendation/reference possibilities from teachers/professors who have worked with them in person. Not all colleges allow recommendations from college level courses, though so you will want to double check that.
 
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LemonLime

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I looked at some college teams to see from what high schools their athletes graduated. Only around 1/10 graduated from a virtual high school which surprised me. Maybe this is indicative of high schools being flexible with schedules and/or coaches re-thinking how to manage training time? Not sure.

Various state iterations of Connections Academy seemed to be the most prevalent online choice. One of my children was a Connections student for one year in 6th grade. It wasn't our favorite, but some of my daughters' friends loved it.

 

Pigeon

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I have a son (non-athlete) who is currently doing virtual high school. Starting in 9th grade each student is a assigned a guidance counselor who will guide them from 9th grade to 12th grade - ensuring their goals line up with the classes they are taking throughout high school. You could always check in with the high school guidance counselors, and let them know your situation. They may have counselors that have experience in that area that your daughter could be paired with.
 

LJL07

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I looked at some college teams to see from what high schools their athletes graduated. Only around 1/10 graduated from a virtual high school which surprised me. Maybe this is indicative of high schools being flexible with schedules and/or coaches re-thinking how to manage training time? Not sure.

Various state iterations of Connections Academy seemed to be the most prevalent online choice. One of my children was a Connections student for one year in 6th grade. It wasn't our favorite, but some of my daughters' friends loved it.

Hmmm...not exactly. It looks to be more like half and half. For example, at least 7-8 of the gymnasts on the Pittsburgh team are doing online. Some of the options listed are private homeschooling options or charter or private schools that also offer an online option. I didn't look at each roster, but I did look at a few of them. It can be hard to pick out the online options with all of the private online options that are now available. This is good information though. Thanks!
 
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B&M's mom

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I just saw this. First, congratulations on understanding the need to focus on academics rather than gymnastics. As the parent of former gymnast who was on a similar path at the same age it seemed a given that she would be doing gymnastics in college. She's not. Injuries forced her out at the start of her junior year. Amazingly, she started diving that fall and she walked onto/was recruited (it was a very strange process) what is now her college team. What we learned along the way, make sure that all vitual classes are acredited by the NCAA. The information for every approved class is available in the NCAA clearinghouse website. Check it each semester as it does change and they can disprove previously approved classes. When she submits transcripts to prospective colleges/Clearinghouse (DI for certain, not sure about DII or DIII), she will need to submit one from every school she attended. In my DD's case, we ended up needing three as on top of leaving gymnastics, we moved across the country so she attend two brick and mortar high schools and one virtual high school. We thought that she would only need the transcript from her first brick and mortar as the virtual classes were listed on it but had to scramble when the Clearinghouse wanted an official transcript from the virtual as well.

My DD did a few AP classes but did not get credit for them as she didn't bother with the exam for what has ended up being her major in college. Even if she had gotten a 5, the college would not allow her credit because it was her area of study. For another she got a 4 but the school didn't allow AP credit as the class it should have replaced was a higher number of credits. So, you'll just have to decide if its worth the effort to take the courses. I know my DD who is an excellent student has repeatedly told me that she couldn't have done AP classes and her gymnastics schedule and done both well. But that may have also been influenced by her 24 hour a week gymnastics schedule, 8-2 pm school schedule and 35-40 minute commute each way to the gym each day. With an all virtual schedule, your DD may not have quite the same time constraints. And things may be changing, my youngest who is going to go to a smaller school, took no AP classes, she just did honors level classes, has been accepted at every college she's applied to so far. Those were a better fit for her and she had no intentions of going to a large school.

Realistically, there's no one right answer. Do what works best for your daughter and it will work out. Good luck.
 

LJL07

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I know my DD who is an excellent student has repeatedly told me that she couldn't have done AP classes and her gymnastics schedule and done both well. But that may have also been influenced by her 24 hour a week gymnastics schedule, 8-2 pm school schedule and 35-40 minute commute each way to the gym each day. With an all virtual schedule, your DD may not have quite the same time constraints. And things may be changing, my youngest who is going to go to a smaller school, took no AP classes, she just did honors level classes, has been accepted at every college she's applied to so far. Those were a better fit for her and she had no intentions of going to a large school.

Realistically, there's no one right answer. Do what works best for your daughter and it will work out. Good luck.
This is helpful info too. Just chiming in to say that my daughter is graduating 8th grade this year. We really wanted to send her to the high school her older sister attends, but there was just no way with our commute (about an hour each way) and the training schedule. My daughter is an honor roll student, but I would agree that attempting AP classes and the type of academic schedule my oldest daughter has maintained (non-gymnast) plus 20+ hours of gym and the commute would be near impossible for most kids. It was a hard decision, but we are sending her to a smaller high school that will allow her to take her foreign language online and everything else will be "in person." You are so right. There really is no "ideal" answer.
 

B&M's mom

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This is helpful info too. Just chiming in to say that my daughter is graduating 8th grade this year. We really wanted to send her to the high school her older sister attends, but there was just no way with our commute (about an hour each way) and the training schedule. My daughter is an honor roll student, but I would agree that attempting AP classes and the type of academic schedule my oldest daughter has maintained (non-gymnast) plus 20+ hours of gym and the commute would be near impossible for most kids. It was a hard decision, but we are sending her to a smaller high school that will allow her to take her foreign language online and everything else will be "in person." You are so right. There really is no "ideal" answer.
One other thing. Get all committments from the brick and mortar school confirmed in writing. When I enrolled my DD in our local high school, I met with the counselor to discuss her schedule and need to do some virtual classes. The counselor talked to the administration and got verbal approval for my DD to take more than the allowed number of virtual classes, two a semester rather than 4 over the 4 year period. That way she carried a full time schedule but had more flexibility timing wise. At the start of her sophomore year, we were informed that she wasn't allowed to take any more virtual classes, having met the number allowed. The counselor was upset but hadn't gotten the agreement in writing so we didn't have anything to work with. I had a very long meeting with the administration laying out the situation, providing evidence of my DD's grades, offering to have her coaches speak with the administrators but they wouldn't bend. So, she ended up carrying a full load at the brick and mortar school which made it really hard.
 
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