Author Topic: College Decisions  (Read 13820 times)

islandhockey

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College Decisions
« on: May 05, 2019, 07:57:40 AM »
I've been talking with a number of high school seniors parents as they are deciding on college for their sons which is important for me since I have a year to think about how to guide my son. I find this fascinating. Most of the Tier I kids did fair to mediocre in high school academically which quickly eliminated some of the better colleges except for the elite kids who are already committed, but I heard that number is tiny. I also heard Tier I coaches could care less about academics, so no study time is seriously done on any road trip. Most of the kids that are going to the college route are winding up at colleges are outside the top 100 - even the top 200 in the nation because of their high school commitment to hockey which took precedence over academics.  Others are going to have their kids give Juniors a shot hoping to get a pass into a D1 hockey, but even if that were to happen, there are no full ride scholarships AND, you will be competing with kids from around the world...something like a third or higher?  For those that know their kids are not going to the NHL, is playing juniors and sacrificing a top flight education truly worth it? As I look around at so many coaches who followed that same path and struggle to make ends meet and play the political game of promising every little Johnny the world to get that $70 an hour at stick time, I wonder why? Putting your kid's education on hold to play juniors, along with all the drugs and alcohol that many succumb to seems a huge price instead of keeping to the books and getting into a top 100 college that will likely offer a scholarship that will rival any D1 hockey scholarship.  In the end, my son will make that choice, but I will try my best to influence him to place academics above hockey.  Unfortunately, I know my son isn't going to the NHL and has virtually no chance at making one of the only 61 D1 hockey programs.  The junior year is the toughest academically and your son will have to study for the ACT/SAT as well as write essays over the summer before senior year.  Lots to think about.

KickSave

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Re: College Decisions
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2019, 01:40:09 PM »
We are having these same discussions. In the end, it comes down to your kid, your levels of sacrifice, your desired outcomes. If the only reason your kid is in AAA is to get a DI scholarship, you might be disappointed. If your kid thrives on playing at the highest level, and if you and the siblings don't need to sacrifice for it, then great. It's a shame the academics usually suffer, but having an unmotivated kid with no dreams or drive may be just as likely to lead down a path ending in drugs or alcohol as any involvement on Junior hockey. Having the courage to pursue his/her dreams may groom them for success just as much as a 4.0. What makes this tough is the outcome depends on the individual, and none of us has a crystal ball (that works, anyway).

CahaMama

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Re: College Decisions
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2019, 09:04:10 AM »
This is a great discussion. There are many ways to keep education at the forefront. There are so many things to consider for a high schooler...do they want to stay close to home? Do they want to continue playing hockey at a college level or will men's league suffice? D1 and D3 schools mainly pull kids for their teams from USHL and the NAHL. There is nothing wrong with going to a good school and playing club hockey. Lots of local universities offer that. The great thing is that there are many options. It's definitely overwhelming at times because we (the parents) don't want to make a mistake when it comes to our kids' future.

Nowhearthis

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Re: College Decisions
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2019, 11:03:49 AM »
It seems that every parent of a high school athlete is experiencing this dilemma.  Hockey seems to have the worst situation since the system directs you away from college early, where the emphasis is to drop a grade and play juniors with some sort of academic filler or drop a grade and join a prep, ... or just stay in Tier and let that commitment slowly erode the education until age out.  What shows of this is lower grades, lower level class selections,  lackluster SAT's, and off to community college.  I d I don't know of another sport with this clear divergence from a path to true higher education.  A lot of parents have differing views and opinions, and that is fine, they know their children the best and have their own risk/reward glasses on.
Many say it's their kids choice, but I have observed that most of the time the parents make the decisions, maybe appropriately so.


Only about 1.5% of players will be able to make hockey a lucrative career.  Combine that with the intense competition for the desirable college diplomas and the shrinking middle class, there really is a serious situation at hand,  one that most of our parents never imagined.

« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 11:14:47 AM by Nowhearthis »

Knuckle Puck

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Re: College Decisions
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2019, 02:49:59 PM »
academics should ALWAYS come first. even if your kid is truly a superstar athlete, every kid has to get decent to very good grades to gain admission to the majority of D1 schools. Put another way, sacrificing academics during the first two years of high school in favor of prioritizing hockey, as I’ve seen some do, is really dumb. very hard to climb out of that hole.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 02:52:22 PM by Knuckle Puck »

notTHATdad

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Re: College Decisions
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2019, 11:58:56 PM »
Just one Dad's opinions about education and older players...
 
Tier I...
Jr Hockey in Canada is a horrible throw back to the 50's. Old men in small towns making money off of unpaid 16 year olds. It wouldn't be allowed in any other industry. Kind of amazing. And let's face it, most of the kids are not chasing educational futures - they are chasing dreams of pro careers - it's hard to overstate how delusional some jr parents can be - particularly in Canada. So beware where you are putting your kid. Yes, there are scholarship funds. But your kid still needs to make it into the college, and that is simply secondary. You just have to hope your kid is mature and the billet is willing to make sure they study.


Jr Hockey in the USA is better, just because NCAA is more established and because of the stronger traditions of college athletics down here. BUT (and it's a big but...) it's much smaller. USHL has 17 teams. The CHL has 60 teams, and the number of players in the US is very similar to Canada. Far more kids as a percentage (almost all) go on from USHL to college than CHL. But remember, there are less than 1/3rd the spots in the USHL. Your kid better be good.


Tier II
Canadian Tier II (eg. BCHL) does not mess with your NCAA eligibility in Canada, so you will find more kids playing tier II up there with the intent of playing NCAA, and it does happen. Still a small minority.


US Tier II is also a way to get to the NCAA, I'm guessing more at the DIII level. I don't know what the statistics are though, and have never seen them mentioned. (There is actually a remarkable lack of information or focus on the 30 or so DIII colleges that play hockey.)


Tier III... Anything is possible I guess. But at that point you are paying for your kid to play at a much lower level, instead of paying for school. So be careful and set your expectations accordingly.


Prep schools.
Some of the prep schools have excellent reputations for getting kids in to the NCAA, and frequently combine with really great educational programs. Very little downside here, apart from cost, and the very real challenge of having to send your 16 year old kid off across the country to live by themselves. It's not for everyone. Something to think about though - including travel, it costs us westerners $15-$20k a year to play AAA. That's at least a start on the cost of a prep school (though remember you'll be shipping your kid back and forth from the prep school, so the travel savings may not be what you think).


Academy's.
There are a lot of these. Mostly in Canada, but also in the US now. I put them in the 'chasing dreams' category of logic because even though you may get a high school education, I don't see how anyone can think of that as the primary thing they offer. Education is often either online, or in conjunction with a local small town school. Not sure I'd choose either of those if my ambitions were for college.


AAA Hockey.
Kids DO get to college via AAA, but frankly it's tougher out here on the west coast. College scouts just aren't out here as much. A scout in one of the eastern states can watch those local kids every weekend. The advantage of AAA of course is you are tempering the 'dream' part and have the opportunity to focus on the educational aspect. Probably the safest bet for the vast majority of kids without the resources for prep.

Strawman

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Re: College Decisions
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2019, 11:35:35 PM »
Good perspective. At some levels AAA hockey in California costs closer to $30k than to $15k, and that doesn’t even include all the select camps, combines etc. that many AAA players do. That bill makes it really hard not to consider [size=78%]the other options you discuss.[/size]
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 11:21:06 PM by Strawman »

Hockeykid

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Re: College Decisions
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2019, 08:26:44 PM »
 Just my story of my son’s decision on academics over hockey. Sorry it’s so long.
My son is graduating from High School this month, and this fall he’ll be attending college at the number one ranked public college in the US & 15th in the nation (per Forbes). I’m not trying to brag, it’s just part of the story.
My son always dreamed of playing in the NHL & NCAA D1 College hockey, but around his junior HS year, reality hit. He realized the odds of making it big were against him.
I also wanted him to chase “the dream” as he’s always been obsessed with hockey! He puts in the work too, as he’s on the ice about 5 times a week & stickhandles, shoots pucks, and works out just about every day.
His sophomore and junior HS years he played AA hockey, driving two hours round trip to practices, three days a week & getting home at 11:30pm. He was able to keep up with his AP homework and maintain his GPA, but it was tough. He started progressively realizing playing up a level to AAA hockey his senior year season wouldn’t allow him to maintain his GPA. He knew it’d be too demanding on his time and would cause him to miss too many school days due to playing far away hockey tournaments, putting in more hours of windshield time, and attending showcases for a week at a time. So for his HS senior year he made a mature decision to play down a level from AA at the local club five minutes from our house, and concentrate on getting into a great college. He wanted to make sure he had time to raise his SAT score, keep up his GPA, take additional AP classes, and finish strong his senior HS year. At the time I wasn’t happy he decided not to play AAA hockey with teammates, but I couldn’t disagree with his logic.
While he was filling out his college applications, I asked him if he wanted to take a couple years off before going to college to chase “the dream”. He told me “I have no desire to go play junior hockey back east in the cold, with a bunch of kids who are just looking to have a good time. Plus, I don’t want to beat up my body with all the games and practices for the chance of playing NCAA D1 or D3 hockey.
His decision has really paid off, as he was accepted to many outstanding colleges.
Now my son plans on playing ACHA D2 hockey for his college, get his bachelor’s degree & then attend law school. This is now his goal and makes him extremely happy.
 
For my son, going straight into a great college to start his education and playing ACHA hockey is right for him. The California ACHA teams still get to play about 25 games a season and sometimes two or three practices a week (late night or early morning) for a total of about 30-40 a season. College ACHA teams are mostly self funded & cost around $3K per player, so the budget is only around $100K.
 
But I still feel like my son is missing out as he has the rest of his life to go to school and work, but only a few years to play junior hockey and have a great time. Just the other day, I read about a 21 year old junior hockey player who was accepted into the University of Utah to play ACHA D1 hockey. I would have loved for my son to follow this path, but it’s not what he wanted. This weekend it was extremely painful for me, as it was AAA tryout weekend & I felt he should have been attending the 18AAA tryouts (as he a 2001, and still has one year left of AAA eligibility).
 
BTH - Jr hockey may have bad influences that make your kid do stupid things, but frat parties in college are the same thing & can be even worse.
 

CahaMama

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Re: College Decisions
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2019, 07:36:31 AM »
Stick taps all around to your kid Hockeykid! He sounds like a mature, wise kid that you can be proud of. This goes to show that every family makes decisions based on what is good for their family. There is no formula, no guaranteed path to success. If you're a California kid, the chances of making it to the NHL or even Div1 are so small. Kids have to move back east to be seen. That's just a fact.


At least now you will have your weekends back and maybe find a hobby of your own. It's tough after years of sacrifice.

gr8wrk

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Re: College Decisions
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2019, 12:27:17 AM »
In the end only D1 or the WHL are roads to the NHL if you live in CA which means Tier1 Elite or Prep School at age 16.  D3 is mostly for kids who played Tier 1 elite or prep or played juniors in Montana or Texas (forget about playing in the WSHL).   ACHA D1 is gaining popularity as D3 kids switch to schools they would rather play at since D3 is a dead end too. 

cog254

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Re: College Decisions
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2019, 07:25:41 PM »
FWIW, My 2000 son spent his senior year playing in WSHL (gasp) and really enjoyed it, making some life long friends along the way. He knows he won't be the next Quick or Fluery and is okay w that. He wanted a "big college" experience and still be able to play hockey. He leaves for Ole Miss Aug 19th and will play for the ACHA team. The SEC has 16 teams and its pretty good hockey, plus he can enjoy all the fun of the big football games and join a fraternity and do ROTC, while still getting to play a decent level of hockey.  I am proud of him and can't wait to see him in net with an Ole Miss Rebels jersey on. I think he made the right decision over playing another 2 years of junior then going to some tiny D3 school on the east coast just to play.  Anyway, just my 2 cents.   

gr8wrk

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Re: College Decisions
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2019, 10:11:55 PM »
FWIW, My 2000 son spent his senior year playing in WSHL (gasp) and really enjoyed it, making some life long friends along the way. He knows he won't be the next Quick or Fluery and is okay w that. He wanted a "big college" experience and still be able to play hockey. He leaves for Ole Miss Aug 19th and will play for the ACHA team. The SEC has 16 teams and its pretty good hockey, plus he can enjoy all the fun of the big football games and join a fraternity and do ROTC, while still getting to play a decent level of hockey.  I am proud of him and can't wait to see him in net with an Ole Miss Rebels jersey on. I think he made the right decision over playing another 2 years of junior then going to some tiny D3 school on the east coast just to play.  Anyway, just my 2 cents.
I hope he has a great time and a great college experience.  Here's a good article on the growth of ACHA by no less than the NHL itself:
https://www.nhl.com/news/acha-seeks-to-shed-club-hockey-label-as-national-championships-begin/c-306098996


SkatingDad

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Re: College Decisions
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2019, 08:15:26 AM »
FWIW, My 2000 son spent his senior year playing in WSHL (gasp) and really enjoyed it, making some life long friends along the way. He knows he won't be the next Quick or Fluery and is okay w that. He wanted a "big college" experience and still be able to play hockey. He leaves for Ole Miss Aug 19th and will play for the ACHA team. The SEC has 16 teams and its pretty good hockey, plus he can enjoy all the fun of the big football games and join a fraternity and do ROTC, while still getting to play a decent level of hockey.  I am proud of him and can't wait to see him in net with an Ole Miss Rebels jersey on. I think he made the right decision over playing another 2 years of junior then going to some tiny D3 school on the east coast just to play.  Anyway, just my 2 cents.


There is nothing wrong with the WSHL especially if you are using it as a stepping stone.

Fowlmood

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Re: College Decisions
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2019, 04:02:15 PM »
The only thing that I would recommend is having your player play locally through the age of 18 before playing in the WSHL to allow for more physical and mental maturity.  Your kid will be playing against 21 year old men.

SkatingDad

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Re: College Decisions
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2019, 04:20:37 PM »
The only thing that I would recommend is having your player play locally through the age of 18 before playing in the WSHL to allow for more physical and mental maturity.  Your kid will be playing against 21 year old men.


21 year old men in any Junior league.  Your player had better be big and skilled if he is playing when he is 16-18, it's not for everyone.