Prep schools help athletes get ready for college in multiple ways. In this article we will discuss seven academic benefits that can be gained by attending a prep school.
1) Raise Standardized Test Scores – Pre-Covid, standardized tests were required by universities. While that requirement was dropped during the pandemic, some colleges are requiring them again. One reason is that not all GPAs are created equal. Taking standardized test prep can raise a SAT score on average 30 points. It will also help the students become familiar with the format and teach test-taking strategies. A score increase of just 30 points can get student-athletes recruited by higher academic schools than before. Students should take the SAT, and ACT. If they earn high enough scores it is worth submitting them to a college. If not, students can apply to schools that don’t require them. This article lists the schools that are no longer required a test score.
2) Retake classes – For NCAA purposes, if a student-athlete opts for a post-grad year at a prep school, they can retake up to one core class. If the student has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) designation, they can retake up to three. Students don’t need to retake the same class, but can take a similar core class. See more about retaking classes in this clip from NCAA eligibility consultant Holly Smith Abbott.
3) Take AP/College Classes – Student athletes at a prep school can take Advanced Placement (AP) and/or college classes if the curriculum offers them. AP classes, if passed, can count towards college credits. The university the student-athlete eventually chooses will need to be able to accept these credits. Some prep schools partner with universities and have adjunct professors come to teach in person. See this example. Some classes are taken via online courses
4) Emotional Maturity – Leaving home for the first time is challenging. Almost every student-athlete will get homesick. They will also learn how to do things on their own without parents around. This includes getting up on their own and being at practice/class at the designated times. This seems simple, but some teenagers are on autopilot and let their parents handle a lot of responsibilities for them. Prep school life will help with this. Once learned here, this maturity will lead to a more seamless transition in college.
5) Smaller Classroom Sizes and Accessible Teachers – In most public schools one can find classrooms that have thirty students per teacher. At prep schools, some classes only have five students per teacher. This small classroom setting encourages discussion and allows the teacher to know each student on an individual basis. This helps teachers tailor their instruction to each student’s needs. The Harkness Method was started at a prep school where students have discussions at oval tables. This method fosters deeper learning via this format. Most faculty also live on prep school campuses making them more accessible than their public/private school counterparts.
6) College Matriculation – Athletes that go to prep schools have 99% acceptance into a college. Those that don’t go straight to college defer to complete a gap year.
7) Smoother Transition to College Classrooms – Tougher academics, college-like settings of the campus/classrooms, and demands of teachers, will ensure prep school student’s preparedness to handle the rigors of a college classroom. Much more so than their peers coming from a non-boarding school. You can be from anywhere to succeed in college, but the transition into college life is easier after spending a year or more prepping for it.