Ahead of the Game
High school basketball players can receive several benefits from attending a prep school. These include the ability to play against better competition, work with high level coaches, receive greater exposure to colleges, etc.
Below are some of the most common questions I am asked by students who are considering attending prep school in furtherance of their basketball careers.
How will prep school improve a player’s college recruiting?
Do I need to build a college recruiting website?
Prep school provides players an extra year to mature physically, emotionally, and academically. It also allows time to improve standardized test scores, get academically qualified, learn English, or earn college credits.
Prep school provides a more competitive athletic environment, plus an additional summer period of AAU providing more exposure to college coaches. It also can create lifelong connections with other prep school students.
We assist players by determining which prep school may be the best fit for the individual. We then begin the process of helping the player with introductions to coaches, the admissions process, etc . Contact us today.
Which basketball players should or should not attend prep school?
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Players should go to prep schools if they want to improve their chances of playing in college. The coaching, competition and exposure to college coaches are superior to your average public/private school in the US. If a player has potential, the prep school route is designed to give them opportunities to make it to the next level. Some players I have worked with in the past went to prep schools for better daily competition in practice, better coaching, a tougher competitive schedule, more challenging academics, and to mature away from home. One family chose this route to get their son away from the wrong crowd in his hometown. You have to want to better yourself in the classroom and on the court if you are willing to leave your family and school to reach your dream.
You should not go to prep school if you think just being there is your ticket to college. While the school and team might have good reputations, each player will have to fully commit to putting in hard work academically and athletically in order to succeed. And even then, they are vying for spots at colleges that applicants around the world want to take as well. In some cases, it makes sense for a player to finish his high school career at his current high school and then develop during a post-grad year. You have to really want to achieve your goal to leave your family and friends to go off to a prep school. It is not a decision to make lightly.
How will prep school improve a player’s college recruiting?
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Prep schools are set up to help their players get exposure to college coaches. Most of these schools have had success in placing their players at the next level. A majority of the prep schools are located in the Northeast and college coaches visit these schools each year during the open gym periods so they can recruit players. These prep schools work in conjunction with each other to schedule their open gyms in order for these coaches to be able to attend multiple workouts each day. One school may start the day with an early morning workout. Another school, twenty miles away, will have one at 3:30 and another school close by will have theirs at 7:00. College coaches can cross New England in a week and get a great bang for their buck seeing players at these open gyms.
Prep school coaches are constantly on their phones and reaching out to college coaches to get them to look at their players. A good prep school coach will talk to each player on his team about their recruiting goals and come up with a plan. This plan will determine what level the coach thinks the player will succeed at in college both athletically and academically. Getting seen by a college coach is all you can ask for as a player. The more coaches’ eyes that see you during the summer, open gym, and the season will only increase your chances of playing at the next level. Prep school does not provide guarantees of playing in college, but it will provide more exposure than a player would get in a normal high school.
Coaches at prep schools know their main job is to get their players better and get them to the next level. A normal high school coach might be doing his job just for the stipend, or has never placed a player in college before. College coaches might not return his calls. You want to go with a coach who knows what he is doing and has done it before.
There are also recruiters in the prep school world who write up reports on players and teams. These get sent to college coaches across the US. The key word in all of this is EXPOSURE!
How does prep school help basketball players with their academics?
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Going to a prep school can offer academic advantages. Classroom size will be smaller which allows each student more interaction with their teachers. Learning is increased in this environment versus classrooms filled with thirty-five students. Students at prep schools are living away from home and have made a choice to do so. It is less likely that these students will cause trouble or not take this opportunity seriously. Being away from home already makes each kid more mature mentally and emotionally. Students will learn study skills that will enable them to complete their academics without their parents looking over their shoulder. The quality of the classes taught will better prepare the students for the eventual case load in college. Almost every school requires ACT/SAT prep classes to ensure each student achieves their best possible score which will increase their college options. Most teachers also live on campus and are more readily available for academic help than a non-prep school.
What should basketball players expect at a prep school?
Once a student arrives at a prep school they will go through and orientation to get familiar with the campus, its student body and where everything is located. Schools start the year with ice breakers to ensure students make new friends early. Students will be assigned a room with a roommate and, at some point during this period, might experience homesickness. This is normal and part of leaving home for the first time. These schools see this happen every fall and are prepared for helping each student get through it.
If a student is an athlete then they will begin working out with their teams. Basketball will immediately start with conditioning and weightlifting. Open gyms will follow shortly thereafter. In November the season will officially start and games will be played until February or early March. Schools have Fall, Winter and Spring Breaks. Most schools have their players go home at these times.
The training, coaching and competition will be tougher than most non-prep schools. A majority of coaches in the prep school world either played or coached in college. They have all sent players to college and will most likely demand more from their players. Being on a prep school campus though offers more opportunities to get in a gym and weight room. It can be a short walk from one’s dorm room.
Academically school will be challenging. Some of the best high schools in the world are prep schools. Depending on which one a player chooses will determine how challenging it is. Balancing this new workload, plus basketball, and not having any parents around to ensure you are taking care of business can be a challenge. But this is how life will be playing a sport in college and every player that goes to prep school goes for this ultimate goal.
How will basketball families pay for prep school?
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There are multiple ways to pay for prep school. If a family has the means they can pay a school’s entire tuition amount. As of 2019 prep schools offer full tuition from $36,000 to $82,000. As each year passes these rates are sure to increase. There are other fees to budget for on top of tuition: insurance, fees for special courses, supplies, textbooks, athletic fees, travel costs, etc. A family will want to make sure they know the total cost of tuition that includes these fees.
Schools will require half of the tuition to be paid in the summer before school starts with the balance due in December before the second semester starts. Most schools offer a tuition payment plan that can break this up over ten months.
Families can also qualify for financial aid. Filling out a Parent’s Financial Statement online will help a third party company determine what amount they think each family can contribute. This number takes into account recent tax returns and a personal financial statement. They will then forward this number to all schools selected by the family on the PFS website. Schools will take this amount into consideration as well as see how much money is available in their financial aid pool. Each school has their own philosophies towards awarding it. Certain schools give full financial aid to families that make less than $75,000 a year. Be sure to check with each school you are talking to about how they award financial aid.
While some schools only offer money based on financial need, some award scholarships based on merit. This merit could be given based on athletic ability, GPA, standardized test scoring, nationality, extra-curricular activities and more. The more well-rounded a prep school candidate is the more likely a merit-based prep school will be motivated to give it. Knowing which schools are merit versus need based will save you a lot of time in deciding which schools to apply to.
How can athletes choose the right prep school?
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Choosing the right prep school is similar to choosing the right college. First you want to find the best fit athletically and academically. What is the style of play? Where has the coach placed players in the past? Do you actually want to play for him? What classes will you be taking? What are the options for college classes? If a student has a learning disability can they accommodate that? Where do graduates end up going to college?
From there you want to visit to ‘feel’ the energy of each campus. If you are going to prep school for more than just a post-grad year it is imperative to visit the school first. You can learn a lot from talking to coaches and viewing all of the videos on a school’s website. But visiting is the best way to figure out which school feels like the best fit. Distance to home could also be a factor that some families consider.
The final aspect to consider is financial. The school a player likes might cost ten thousand more per year than his second choice. Each family will need to determine their budget and see if the schools they like fall within that range. I help families negotiate with schools and get the best rates possible. Ideally a family has multiple options for which school to choose.
Why basketball players need a recruiting website
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Building a recruiting website is one of the best actions a player can take for his recruitment. The website can be very basic and even be built for free on sites such as Wix. All it needs to include is information that coaches would want to know about the player. Height, weight, position, date of birth, social media profiles, contact information, official transcript, highlights and full game footage.
Here is the beauty about having your own site. You can reach out to any college program in the US and send coaches your profile directly. In this day and age you don’t need a middleman. It might be tough to get a coach to respond, but you now have the power to be active in your own recruitment. While this will be used for college coaches, I require my clients to put one of these sites together for sending out to prep school coaches. The days of sending a word document are over.
Whenever your GPA or standardized test scores improve, you can instantaneously update that on your website. The same is true for when you have a good game. You can upload it immediately then send off to the colleges you want to recruit you.