Choosing a prep school can be a very stressful time for players and their families. I have been involved with many families in their decision making and here are some mistakes one wants to avoid when choosing a prep school.
1) Choosing based on only tuition – Prep school tuition can be expensive. When some families are deciding between multiple schools they end up choosing the one based solely on the price of tuition. The school that is a better fit might cost more but they only see the net tuition amount. This is an area where basketball academies take advantage of families with more affordable tuition. But this is where the cliché “you get what you pay for” often presents itself.
2) Listening to a friend, teammate, or trainer about the one prep school they are familiar with – Everyone has heard of at least one prep school. Ask any player if they know one and they will mention some of the programs that have sent multiple players to the NBA. Did you know that there are around 100 prep schools that offer a post-grad year? While it is great that a neighbor knows a kid, who went to a prep school, that does not mean that this program is the right fit for each person. I find out when talking to players and their families that so many have chosen a school because it was recommended by someone who doesn’t know the entire landscape of the prep school world. If this choice works out, great. But there are many times it doesn’t. Do your research, call around, or reach out to me. I can help connect you to the right fitting schools.
3) Not knowing the difference between a brick + mortar prep school and a basketball academy – See this article for a detailed overview on the differences between the two options. It is very important to know that basketball academies are not prep schools. They do provide a place to do a post grad year, but each player looking at this option needs to do their due diligence.
4 Unrealistic expectations of what a prep school can provide – These are crazy times during Covid. Getting placed at the college level is harder than it has ever been. Now is the time to have a prep school coach advocating for you. The rolodex of college coaches that each prep school coach has is impressive. However just because a prep school coach knows Larry Brown, doesn’t mean he can get you a scholarship to Memphis. Some families reach out to me stating that they are D1 or bust. I like having that goal, as I had it myself growing up. But with it being tougher and tougher to find a spot at the college level, all families need to be realistic of what a prep school can provide. A player could spend $65,000 and nine months at a prep school and not end up at their dream school. A prep school year is not a guarantee of getting the exact school you want. But you will be placed at the right fitting program at the time. During these uncertain times I would put my faith in a prep school coach for placement. In addition to placement, a player will receive all the other benefits of attending a prep school: academics, improvement on the court, emotional maturity, being around other cultures, etc.
5) Waiting too long – There are only so many roster spots at prep schools and so much financial aid. Some prep schools fill their rosters by April. Some have roster openings up until the school year starts. If a player waits too long they will have less options and less aid available. I was still getting inquiries for prep schools up until December of this year. If you are wanting to do a prep school year don’t wait. Just so you know, college coaches are not recruiting high school games now. So many players and their families that reach out to me wait until after the season to start looking at prep schools. They were waiting for a college coach to give them an offer during the season. Then it is a mad dash to find post- grad options. If prep school is not an option here is an article I wrote on other alternatives.