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Do You Need Help with the College Admissions Process for Your Junior Golfer?

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Two months ago, I typed “college golf scholarship” into Google. When the results came up, I was shocked. All the easily accessible content, in my humble opinion, was misinformation or bad information. So, in short, the answer is “yes,” you need help. No wonder parents are going crazy; they crave information, but what is available is either incomplete or simply misleading. With all this misinformation, many juniors and their parents feel lost and think they need help in the process. This article is going to address the question and help provide you with the feedback you need to make the right decisions.

With a lack of information, many parents resort to the cognitive bias known as anchoring, which is defined as the use of irrelevant information as a reference for evaluating or estimating some unknown value or information. For example, you are at a junior tournament with your son who is 15. He places 6th, two spots ahead of a young man who you hear is attending Duke on a full ride. You share this data with your son and now he starts thinking about major schools like Stanford or UCLA based on one data point and some hearsay.

Before addressing the idea of help, I want you to know that I have done some data collection in preparation for this article. Based on speaking to 50+ families, they report spending an average of 60 hours on the process. My own experience suggests that this number has a large standard deviation depending on the student, their skills, the strength of the market that year, luck and their academic/athletic credentials. However, assuming it is close, you need to start by asking “do I or my young golfer have 60 hours?” Please note this assumes that the adolescence in charge has the personal responsibility to handle the daily emails, phone calls and texts from coaches on top of their current academic, social and athletic responsibilities.

Let me now introduce you to Dr. Richard Thaler. He is a current professor at the University of Chicago, as well as the winner of the 2017 Noble Prize in Economics for his contribution to Behavior Economics. Of his many contributions, the one that Golf Parents need to be aware of is the Binmore Continuum which suggests we do small stuff such as buy milk or eggs or gas often enough to learn to get it right, but when it comes to choosing a home, a mortgage, or a job, we don’t get much practice or opportunities to learn. And when it comes to something like the college decision, barring reincarnation, most of us do it once. Because learning takes practice, it is likely we are going to struggle with the nuances of the decisions which makes it logical to inquire about help on something so important.

Now let’s assume that you agree; we have a lot of bad information out there and you want help! How do you go about finding good help? Let me tell you that professional help is not cheap; someone with a background in the business should charge approximately $4000-$5000 for the process which should include an in-person evaluation, personal introduction to coaches and help through the process. When considering different candidates, parents and student athletes should consider:

  1. Why will this person make an excellent reference? Are they a skilled swing coach? Why will coaches value their opinion?
  2. Where does the person get their clients? Hint: the more diversity, the more likely the person is going to have strong connections
  3. What is their personal philosophy on education? Hint: A great answer would include sending your young golfer to a place they can acquire a variety of developmental assets across a broad spectrum of skills including leadership, time management and growing friends among diverse populations.
  4. What makes the person an expert? What have the accomplished this week or month? Who endorses them? Do they pay for the endorsements?

Above all else, ask about how the person will make introductions. As I demonstrated in my article last month on GolfWRX called “Stop Bothering Me! Why NCAA Coaches Already get too many emails,” coaches already get too many emails with a sizable percentage from “recruiting services.” Most of these emails, up to 90 percent, are simply deleted by coaches. So, make sure, anyone you work with can be personal introductions via phone or text!

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Brendan is the owner of Golf Placement Services, a boutique business which aims to apply his background in golf and higher education to help educate players, their families and coaches about the process! Website - www.golfplacementservices.com Insta - golf.placement.sevices Twitter @BMRGolf

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Nat

    Jan 6, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Ive had two sons go through the recruiting process for football, and it is true. The second time I was much smarter and efficient in my time. O e of the best comments my oldest received (from a starting DE at Maryland) was to go to a school you could imagine be happy at if you never played a down. This decision, for most, is about School and education, not only about golf. If you’re a slam dunk PGA tour pro, you’re kidding yourself. I watched 3 star juniors grow up, and the least talented as a junior is now a PGA tour winner. So you never know. But the odds are not in your favor. So chose a school to get an education , and enjoy golf.

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