So clearly all these years 15 has displayed the motivation described above on the football field, but never in the classroom. And while baby steps in terms of perhaps focusing on a desired area of study have been made, there has still only marginal improvements made on the grade book. He still declares that all he really needs is a 2.0 in order to play sports and that’s all he’s going to try and get (sigh…)
College was still too abstract for him.
I ran into a friend last weekend who told me that his son who 15 played sports with for years was also that way. They had hired tutors during jr high and then sent him to a private high school in the hopes of improving grades with similarly marginal success. So after another lackadaisical freshman year they decided to spend summer vacation touring college campuses. Show their son the possibilities out there. And that worked. He fell in love with a few of the schools, found out what grades he would need to get in, and this year he is getting straight As in 10s grade without any assistance from anyone. Oh, doesn’t that sound heavenly?!!
Of course, 15′s dad and I don’t have that kind of budget – BUT – I did see that the district was hosting a college fair and that over 100 schools would have representatives there. You know, the poor man’s version of a college tour :-)
Oh, how he whined about the idea! His dad, thankfully, thought it was a great plan and so we dragged the grumpy bugger there. First he whined that he would be the only 10th grader there. And then he ran into his fellow football players in his grade and his best friend. Ok, so now he wasn’t SO miserable since he could see there was some social acceptance to being there. He sees other kids carrying brochures from various schools making him a little more willing to at least stop at a few tables. We start joking about some of the locations. I suggest he should check out the Fashion Institute. Now he’s laughing and a little more open to the whole process. As we turn to the back row we pass the table for UCSD which I thought might be a good fit for him given his interest in computers, their stellar computer science programs, and the fact that I went there and it is local. Unfortunately the lady at the booth was pretty useless as a recruiter and once we talked about GPA requirements it was pretty clear the amount of change he would have to make in his study habits would be pretty intense (a 3.7! Yipes!).
And then….his dad walked towards the University of New Mexico table. Long ago he had considered UNM for law school due it’s pretty cheap tuition rates. The school offers some pretty easy to attain goals towards being granted in state tuition even coming from out of state. The minimum GPA for admittance is a 2.5 and a 3.0 gets you that in state scholarship. It’s a D1 NCAA school with a full regimen of sports. Basketball is huge there, but the important thing is that they have football. In fact, 15′s JV coach went there and played there primarily due to his speed. Like 15, he was a small but fast wide receiver. The recruiter was this really great older gentleman – not too pushy or sales weasly – just very enthusiastic about his school and also very good at finding out what the prospective student was looking for. 15 responded very well to him actually answering questions on his own vs deferring to one of us as he often does with strange adults in a new situation. 10 minutes at that table and we were planning a road trip to Albuquerque over next year’s spring break! They have an engineering/computer science program. It’s not anywhere near a frozen tundra or a snowy winter climate (must avoid for 15). Nor is it in the deep south or Texas (another avoid in his mind though his dad and I were pushing for Austin). It is driving distance for people like us who love to drive, but would also be a pretty quick flight if needed.
Bottom line? All three of us walked away thinking it was a very valid possibility for him.
The deal clincher MAY have been that no essay is required!!!!!!!!!!