The Edge Our college admission blog

Mental Health Services For Student-Athletes

by Admitster October 27, 2015


Another great guest blog post from our friends over at NCSA Athletic Recruiting!

A Pixar movie called Inside Out debuted over the summer, looking inside an 11 year-old girl’s mind to show how her emotions – feelings of joy, fear, anger, disgust, and sadness – are triggered, and at which times and under which circumstances. Unless you have a younger family member, neighbor, or perhaps a babysitting gig, you may not have caught the movie. However, whether you’ve seen it or not (and, children’s movie though it may be, I highly recommend it), the film is groundbreaking in the way it introduces mental health and education to kids at a young age.

A recent column in The Huffington Post about the stresses student-athletes face got me thinking back to when I tagged along with a friend and her kids to see Inside Out, and how the topic of mental health and recognizing different emotions early on is not only an awesome initiative, but needs to be brought to life and destigmatized throughout other stages of growing up.

Mental health for student-athletes has been an up-and-coming cause within the NCAA and across various sports outlets. For decades, society’s view of student-athletes has been that of macho-men and infallible women. We’ve labeled student-athletes as a group who seemingly have it all. However, the hardships and anxieties that come with adolescence, growing up, leaving home, and trying to perform your best both on the field and in the classroom, are very, very real for many student-athletes, and they are something we can’t remain naïve about or ignore any longer.

While celebrating student-athletes and their dedication to their sport – and all that they do for their respective schools – are things I believe in whole-heartedly, it’s time we also realize the very real need of mental health support for these rock star young men and women.



As colleges and their athletic departments begin to build programs for student-athletes (or continue to develop programs already in place), let’s take a look at some things student-athletes can do to get help and comfort in the field of mental health.

Ask about the availability of mental health services for student-athletes while you’re on your campus visit.

Even if you view yourself as perfectly happy, perfectly stable, and perfectly perfect when it comes to your mental health and how you cope with ups and downs, I implore you to still inquire about this topic and the help a school offers their student-athletes. Take their services into account when you decide where to attend.

While the obvious hope is for a student-athlete to never have to utilize such services, the reality is that mental health, not injuries, has been declared the number one health and safety concern across the NCAA. Feelings can sneak up on us when we least expect them to, and they can prove to be harder to shake then we ever imagined. Find out, in the event you ever need to lean on a professional, how that would work at the schools on your college list.

What to do if you’re a student-athlete already in college and want to talk about mental health.

Every team – or athletic department – should have a doctor on-hand for their student-athletes. The misconception is that this doctor is only there for physical injuries. However, he or she is also in place to get you the right kind of medical care, period, and that includes mental health care. While a team doctor may not be the most qualified person to help meet your mental health needs, they are the most qualified person to help in referring you to the right care.

If you’re feeling ready to seek help but a team doctor is not an option for you, head to the student health center at your school. The staff of nurses and doctors at student health centers are great with caring for young adults and at addressing the many health issues and concerns that come up on college campuses. As a student at the school, you have access to the health center and, after making an appointment (or walking in if it’s a true emergency), the right professional can be appointed to work with you and be a liaison to the appropriate personnel from your team.

Never underestimate the power of taking a walk with a friend.

This statement is not meant to make light of mental health – or to insinuate that all it takes to cure feelings of anxiety or depression is a conversation and cup of coffee with a friend. However, there is something to be said for taking small steps to help relieve yourself of some of the thoughts and feelings that you’ve perhaps been internalizing. Opening up to a friend will also provide a reminder that you have people who love you and are there to support you. Talking about such personal things may not be easy for you. In fact, it can be really hard.  However, when done with the right person, it can provide you with some instant relief and needed support.

The mental health services a school has available for student-athletes are just one part of finding the right academic, athletic, and social fit for you. We can help you to determine which other priorities will help you identify the right match. The best way to get started is with a NCSA recruiting profile!

Reclassifying & Recruitment

by Admitster October 13, 2015

As you may well know from this earlier post, Admitster’s friends over at NCSA Athletic Recruiting will be regular contributors to The Edge!  NCSA Athletic Recruiting helps high school athletes to connect with college coaches.  If you’d like to join NCSA’s college recruitment network, click here!  Their post today is on the topic of recruitment and reclassifying.  Confused?  You won’t be for long!  Read on…

Reclassifying. It’s been a hot topic in the world of recruiting for a few years now, and has recently been getting more and more attention as high school student-athletes choose to reclassify. The common question for many, and rightfully so, is this: What is reclassifying?

Reclassifying is a confusing concept with many varying rules, regulations, red tape, and fine print.

Let’s start with the basics.

How Reclassifying Could Change Your Recruiting

Reclassifying can mean a few things.

It can be when a student-athlete and their parents make the conscious choice to be “held back” in high school (and, in some states, as early as middle school). That is, it’s registering with a graduating class later than your original, with the intention of developing better grades and habits in the classroom or, from a sports perspective, giving a student-athlete another year to get bigger, stronger, taller, and more mature on the court, field, pool, diamond; you name it.

Reclassifying can also be when a student-athlete graduates from high school with their original class, but then puts off going to college in order to pursue an amateur sports career.

Lastly, and less popularly, reclassifying can mean choosing to graduate early from high school. This particular post, however, won’t consider this final type of reclassifying.



What Are The Advantages To Reclassifying?

The main advantages of reclassifying are viewed as the following:

  • A student-athlete will get an extra year to develop as a student and player. This could mean putting on more muscle mass or weight, becoming more experienced and sophisticated in his or her sport, and doing better academically by taking a course over or by developing better study habits.
  • If a student-athlete is injured, reclassifying would give him or her the obvious advantage of recovering from the injury and then getting back that year or season that they missed.
  • When it comes to recruitment, some believe that with major programs recruiting 2-3 years out, adding an extra year of player development will give their son or daughter an advantage with college coaches at big-time programs.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Reclassifying?

A few main disadvantages of reclassifying are:

  • Watching your friends and teammates – those whose class you were once in – graduate ahead of you.
  • Some student-athletes actually wind up under-performing after reclassifying because instead of upping their game, they simply fall back with the younger group they joined.
  • An extra year of school or prep school and club sports can be expensive for parents.
  • It’s complicated. There are many, many rules and regulations to follow and to be aware of in order to stay both eligible in high school and college.

What Are The Middle School And High School Rules Surrounding Reclassifying?

They vary by state and by type of school. Any student-athletes’ school or local district office will have the rules and regulations for reclassifying in that particular area.

It is imperative that, in conjunction with the school(s), when a student-athlete is exploring reclassifying options, he or she takes into account any and all NCAA rules and regulations as well.

Is Reclassifying Approved By The NCAA?

Yes, when the proper rules are followed.

First and foremost, academic requirements must be upheld by the student-athlete who is reclassifying, and dates in regards to eligibility and deadlines (in most cases according to sport) must also be upheld. Good places to start are with online resources and a meeting with your high school counselor.

I like these tips about reclassifying from our partners at AthNet:

  • Make sure that your academics are in order. Once you change the date you plan to graduate, either earlier or later, your options for fixing eligibility issues are reduced quickly.
  • Check to see if you are allowed to graduate early or to take classes after graduation. The need for tax dollars means that some schools limit or prohibit students from graduating early. The lack of tax dollars means that classes for students who have graduated are disappearing.
  • Be sure to complete your eligibility requirements in an academically sound manner. Graduating from high school early might seem like a good idea until rushing through school work leaves you ineligible.
  • Consider other aspects of high school. Graduating early might mean no prom, no graduation ceremony, or even no senior year. Going to prep school might mean watching friends go off to college while you stay behind.
  • Watch your athletic eligibility. Delaying your enrollment for more than a year or graduating early to focus on your sport before starting college can cause you to lose some of your eligibility.

The whole recruiting process is a tangle of confusing rules and regulations. Our NCSA scouts can help you with this and with other difficult questions you might confront. The best way to get started is by clicking here!

The Cost of College for Athletes

by Admitster September 28, 2015


An earlier post told you the story of Admitster’s new partnership with NCSA Athletic Recruiting, a great organization that helps high school athletes to connect with college coaches.  If you’d like to join NCSA’s college recruitment network, click here!  NCSA will be contributing a number of guest blog posts to Admitster’s The Edge blog, the latest of which is below.  Happy reading!

College is expensive. I know I’m not the first to tell you this. It’s a fact many parents start thinking about when their son or daughter is just a twinkle in their eye.

It can also be a fact many parents choose to ignore, instead focusing on hopes resting on decreasing the cost of college for athletes. But the long and short of it is that you can’t ignore the cost of college for athletes, or for any student, or you risk impacting your life for years to come.

So where to begin?

Here are some facts about the cost of college for athletes.

Let’s start with some 2014-2015 averages. The average cost of public, in-state tuition is just over $9,000/year. The average cost of public, out-of-state-tuition is just under $23,000/year. The average cost of private college is just over $31,000.

Averages help explore a worst-case scenario for student-athletes and parents: if there was no scholarship or aid, could we afford the school (or will it be affordable to pay back loans for X amount of years to come)?

While so much more goes into the cost of college, and the opportunities for scholarship and aid at a particular school, cost averages are a nice way to get a very general sense of the baseline, and are also a very easy and non-threatening way to open up the discussion as a family. Where to go from here when beginning to evaluate what colleges are realistically affordable for you with or without scholarship?



Let’s start with beginning to think about some basics. The below questions are engineered to help you narrow down the type of college that will get you a degree in the field of study that interests you, an incredible experience as a student-athlete, and that comes with a manageable price tag.

What is important to you in a school?

Size of school, location, majors/degrees offered, class sizes? Take some time with this one, because it will really help shape and narrow down your search.

What types of scholarship and aid does the school offer to cover the cost of college for athletes?

This can usually be found on the college website. But if that proves to be tricky, college financial aid office contacts are listed on every school website and are often very easy to speak with or to set up an appointment with.

For athletic scholarship and aid opportunities, the coach and his or her staff will be your best resource, which is a discussion commonly associated with your recruitment.

How much money are your parents able to contribute across four years (in any)?

This isn’t always an easy conversation to have, but an important one. You’re going to have to complete a FAFSA to determine what the expected family contribution will be.

How much debt is the student-athlete willing to graduate with?

There are many loan calculators and other resources out there that will help you figure out just how long it will take you to pay off a loan at a certain interest rate.

Take some time to speak with your parents and other college graduates who have experience taking out, and now paying off, a loan. Factor in possibilities for your career ahead and what your salary may look like, and start to decide just how much debt you are wiling to take on in order to attend a certain school.

Recruiting opportunities are another way to affect the cost of college for athletes. Our scouts are here to answer more questions you have about your recruiting opportunities. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile!

If You Had An IEP or 504 in High School…

by Admitster September 22, 2015


We are very fortunate today to have as our guest blogger Debra I. Schafer, a Special Education Adviser in private practice who works nationwide with parents of children from elementary school through college.  She coaches high school students on the college preparation process and provides assistance to college students in need of accommodations.  She is also the Founder of Education Navigation, LLC, which provides special education services as a company benefit to working parents who have children with autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, and mental health issues.  You can reach her at:Debra      @EdNavigation      

By now, you’re likely settled into your dorm, know your roommate, and are figuring out your classes and professors.  All bases covered, right?  Well, if you had an IEP or 504 in high school, maybe not.

There are three things you and your parents (yes, they still play an important role even if you’ve heard otherwise) need to know to help ensure that you have every opportunity for college success.

Disability Services…Have You Been There Yet?

If you haven’t had a conversation with the Disability Services office, now’s the time to do so.  Accessing accommodations requires you to let them know that you had an IEP or 504 and that you may require similar accommodations now as well.

You — and ask your parents to assist — will need to provide them with a copy of your IEP or 504 and a recent Evaluation Report that addresses your disability, needs, and the college accommodations that may be required.

Though the laws are different when it comes to college, there are requirements that they accommodate a “documented disability”, and each college addresses this differently.  After they review your documentation, they will provide you with details regarding which accommodations they have approved.  Colleges typically provide you with a form letter that can be e-mailed or hand-delivered to your professors and yes, you want to secure these accommodations.  Being proactive and having them available to you is important, but remember, it’s up to you to decide in which classes you believe these accommodations will be needed.

You want to present this letter at the beginning of the semester, once you have a sense of the course requirements and each professor’s expectations and teaching style.  Some colleges require this to be done within the first week of classes, so you want to make sure you know ahead of time what’s required.  Also important to know is this: accommodations are *not* retroactive, so if you find yourself struggling around midterms, any accommodations you would need would only apply moving forward, not backwards.

Permission Forms…Have You Signed Them?

Ask about permission forms that allow your parents to speak with the college or university and visa versa.  One should be available in the Disability Services office and you want to sign this as soon as possible.  Similar forms should also be available in the Bursar’s Office, so sign them in any other offices where your parents may need to connect with them.  If you’re having difficulty locating these forms, ask your parents to contact the college or university to inquire about them.  It’s important to be proactive and to provide your parents with contacts should they be needed.

You’re In Charge Now, Yet You’re Not Alone

College means self-advocacy – securing accommodations directly with your professors; speaking with Student Services if an issue arises; and talking to your R.A. if there are issues on your dorm floor.  The start of college is a major milestone, and for students with a disability, this transition can create additional challenges.  If you have ADHD, securing an on-campus tutor to help with organizational skills would be a good idea.  If you’re dealing with anxiety or depression, connecting with Counseling Services would provide on-campus supports to help you before and during stressful periods.  Putting supports in place shows you have an understanding of yourself and your needs.

And remember…whether via e-mails, texts, Skype, phone calls, or a combination of all, remain in regular contact with your parents or other adults who are your personal support system.  Not only have they given you roots and wings, they’re also your most important safety net and biggest supporters.

When It Comes To Your Athletic Recruitment…

by Admitster September 14, 2015



Dear Readers, in an earlier post I let you know about Admitster’s new partnership with NCSA Athletic Recruiting, a great organization that helps high school athletes to connect with college coaches.  Today you’ll find the first of many guest blog posts by NCSA on our site – enjoy!

I’m sure a parent, coach or teacher has warned you about putting things online. Sometimes it feels like over time, various social media outlets have done more harm than good — for celebrities like Ariana Grande, as well as for student-athletes.

With college coaches and administrators heavily monitoring Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the other social media outlets of their prospects, we definitely hear more cautionary tales than smart social behavior when the topic comes up among collegiate programs.

But there’s good news. There are ways you can use social media to your advantage when it comes to your recruitment. Like various tips on posting that we’ve offered in the past, they’re all pretty simple.

NCSA image


Take a look at the top seven things you should do while you use your social media accounts so that you’ll help — not hinder — your recruiting.

Search your name and delete old accounts

See what comes up. If there’s anything you don’t like the look of, research where it came from and get it taken down or taken care of. Additionally, deleting old accounts minimizes different social media avenues that are putting your information out there – and getting rid of the ones you no longer monitor.

Follow coaches

Following coaches at colleges that interest you is good for a few reasons.

First of all, you get all of their updates so you can keep up with the team and what the program is up to. You can also get a feel for the coach and his/her personality. Even if they have someone else posting for them, chances are good that they have the majority of say over the voice and content they’re putting out there.

There’s also a chance the coaches will follow you back once you’ve followed them, which could help you to gain attention if you make the right kind of posts.

DM (Direct Message) coaches that follow you

While there are rules regarding when, where, and how a college coach can contact a high school student-athlete, a student-athlete can DM a college coach at any time. Depending on the time period or other factors surrounding NCAA rules, the coach may not be able to write the player back but, as with calling, a student-athlete can send a DM without penalty, at any time.

Take 30 seconds before you post anything

Ask yourself: “What is my message? Is there any chance this could be misinterpreted negatively? Is there any chance this could hurt my recruitment or reputation?”

Post updates on your recruiting

  • Academic and athletic awards or accolades
  • Recaps of combine/camp performance
  • College visits
  • Firm scholarship offers

Monitor the people you follow

As you do your best to keep your social media pages as squeaky clean as possible, pay attention to the people you’re following. A coach may check who you follow to get a feel for your interests. If you follow someone or something questionable, or with a crass handle, it makes the most sense to unfollow them for the time being.

Be gracious and humble

Remember: posts you put online have little-to-no tone in them, so coaches who haven’t met you in person might not understand your sarcastic sense of humor. Plus, this is just a good rule of thumb at all times.

Bonus tip!

Make sure you’re getting the best recruiting advice by following us on Twitter @ncsa, Snapchat and Instagram @ncsa_sports and on Facebook.

Our scouts can give you more tips about how to use social media to your advantage or improve your digital presence and connect with college coaches. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

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