community service for athletes | The Smarter Recruit

community service for athletes | The Smarter Recruit

community service for athletes | The Smarter Recruit

February 27, 2009 · 8:00 am


You Don't Need an Orange Jumpsuit

You Don’t Need an Orange Jumpsuit

Last night I met with a great family of an up and coming high school athlete.  One of the questions that they asked me was, “Should our son be doing anything else besides playing high school sports, and doing his homework?”  What they were in-essence asking me is, “Are high school athletes expected to engage in extracurricular activities outside of their sport?”  The answer, in my opinion is a resounding YES.


The biggest change between high school and college is time management.  Throughout the developmental period in our educational system, everything is scheduled out for students.  School starts at 8:00AM gets out at 2:30PM and all the time in between is filled-up by administrators.  If you’re a high school athlete, you will also have practice or games in the afternoon.  That leaves time for homework at night before repeating the cycle all over again.  When you get to college as an athlete, the only mandatory thing that is scheduled will be your practices and games.  Your classes will be scheduled, but it is up to you to make it there on time.  It is up to you to figure out if you need to study in the morning before class, or after class, or after dinner.  When road trips arise, you need to be able to schedule your test schedules, and homework schedules accordingly as well.  This freedom necessitates strong time management skills.

What am I getting at here?  How does this have anything to do with Community Service?  College coaches and college admissions officers know you’re going to be very, very, busy in college.  They want to see that you can handle the workload; high level academic institutions also want to see that you can excel with a full schedule.  If they see that you’re only involved in one sport a year, than they may have doubts about your ability to perform in the classroom and on the field when that sport becomes year-round.  You want to demonstrate to colleges that you can balance a school, sport, and social calendar, because that it what you’ll have to do once you get to your college campus.

Nobody is asking you to get involved in something every day of the week.  I tutored low-income middle school students when I was in high school.  The time requirement was 2 hours, once a month!  Not that tough.  

Here are some ideas for extracurricular activities that will strengthen your “admissions resume”:

  • Boys and Girls Club- They are always looking for coaches and tutors.
  • Private Tutoring/Mentoring- A lot of parents need help with their middle schoolers.
  • Church/Religious Organization- Youth leadership programs are a great way to get involved.
  • Retirement Homes- I used to go once a month to retirement homes and the residents loved the company.
  • Create Your Own Club- How hard is it to create a club at school?  Simple.  Start your own.  
  • Tutor at Your Own School- Underclassmen need more than just punches to the arm; tutor during study-hall.

The amount of time spent doing Community Service is really up to you.  Whether you commit yourself once a week or once a month is irrelevant.  The point is to be involved.  Admissions reps and coaches love well-rounded student athletes, and parents do too.

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