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Being a great student/athlete or well rounded student.

Tofinoguy36Tofinoguy36 Posts: 1 Harvard Champion
edited May 2013 in Parents Forum
My son had a tremendous experience at his high school scholarship awards night. He is #1 in his class out of 400. All league in two sports (total of five times). Team captain. Over 2300 SAT's. He collected a whopping $700 in two small scholarships. Some of his friends who were not even close academically and non athletic were awarded tens of thousands. I was shocked at the disparity, and yes, so was he. However, I learned something, in our town, the scholarship committees want you to be more than just a smart jock. It's almost not worth playing sports to an excessive degree. You could volunteer a fraction of the hours at a church or be involved in a club five hours a month and it seems to look better. Just a word of advice to those seeking those elusive scholarship dollars and looking for the best way to find them. Okay, all is not horrible for him. His sports were a hook into getting into an Ivy league school, so shed no tears for us. But wow! Talk about getting almost nothing for four years of rigorous academic effort.
Post edited by Tofinoguy36 on

Replies to: Being a great student/athlete or well rounded student.

  • blueiguanablueiguana Posts: 75 College Search & Selection Champion
    edited May 2013
    Your student worked hard, I assume played and was validated in a sport he enjoyed, and by your own admission this sport was a hook at an ivy league university, and yet you still can say this:
    But wow! Talk about getting almost nothing for four years of rigorous academic effort.

    It sounds like he had a very successful high school career and is going to an ivy. Is that not a big enough piece of the pie? Why disparage what others were awarded when it sounds like your son has done very well. Yes, this sounds very petty.
  • Niquii77Niquii77 Posts: 81
    edited May 2013
    In all that time that your son dedicated to sports, he never spent time volunteering? Could he have coached youth sports teams? Helped out with the little leagues? Mentored someone?

    I have friends who are going into college and playing on their soccer teams and they have coached teams for years upon years. I even coached a soccer team for a season!

    What's success when you don't help someone on the way?
  • BTMellBTMell Posts: 18
    edited May 2013
    I have a agree with blueiguana - your posts sounds petty. Your son sounds like a superstar. He's going to an ivy, is an excellent student and athlete. You have much to be thankful for. Nothing for four years of academic effort? I'd say anything but!
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 252
    edited May 2013
    OP, where was all of that money coming from for those other students in tens of thousands of dollars? I've never seen this in my 40 years of award dinners at public, independent and catholic schools. High schools don't tend to give out a lot of money,if anything. Maybe a small PTA or mother's club or alumni scholarship, but I've never known a high school that gave out scholarship money in any impressive or even noticeable amounts.

    I'm particularly confused about community service money awards. Usually, one does community service at venues that need money. They aren't going to be paying out money. I have a kid who worked and ended up running a soup kitchen, and the idea that he would get a cash award for that is laughable. They have trouble getting enough food to give to those who need it. No money scholarships to anyone.

    Now, at my son's high school, awards are announced for kids that get them from individual colleges. Some of them, I suspect (and know) are financial aid awards as well from college, but hey, I'm all for celebrating and i don't care. At those, yes, there are kids who get tens of thousands of dollars from the schools to which they were accepted. Maybe a kid or two will get some big private scholarship from here or there. But they are not sponsored by the high school. Not at all. And top kids going to those schools that give no merit money and if they do not include fin aid, or did not get fin, aid, they tend to get a big fat goose egg. Maybe an outside scholarship, if they applied to a bunch of them. But, yes, the kids who tend to get a lot of the monetary awards are the ones who applied to schools that give out merit money.
  • LoremIpsumLoremIpsum Posts: 38
    edited May 2013
    I've never known a high school that gave out scholarship money in any impressive or even noticeable amounts.

    My son won a $2500 math scholarship award from his high school's alumni association. Not "tens of thousands" but hardly chicken feed.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 252
    edited May 2013
    No, not chicken feed at all Loremlpsum. Congratulations to him and to you. But OP's talking about tens of thousands. And that $2500 your son got is more than any alumnii association around here is giving. You can get the "Milk" scholarship or one of the independent awards, that one can find on Fastweb, but those are awards to which one has to apply on a national scale to win. I wish the OP would explain. Perhaps his town or community gives out a lot of scholarship money. I just haven't seen it anywhere. Like I said, my sons' high school brags about the hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships each class nets, but most of them come from the schools themselves. My cousin's son was honored at his high school banquet for his ROTC scholarship which is worth up to $160K or more, but it is not one that most of the school was up for, and was not awarded by his high school. Kids get awards but most get a medal on a ribbon around their necks or a plaque or certificate. No money awards, or if some certainly not much. The alumni at these schools do not donate towards college.

    The OP's son is going to an ivy, he says, which means a big fat zip in merit money from there. I wonder who gave out the $700 awards that he got.
  • JHSJHS Posts: 36
    edited May 2013
    My kids' public high school (an old-school academic magnet) had a lot of pockets of scholarship money, some of it quite substantial. Plus, of course, they would announce all the outside scholarships and prizes kids had won, which in the case of some of the science competitions could also be quite substantial. The school's scholarships were all supposedly merit-based, and the ones with simple, objective criteria (first in class, best senior grades, etc.) were awarded that way, but the ones where the faculty had discretion clearly took need into account. (The school knew where everyone was going to college, and pretty much knew everyone's financial aid/merit package, and it wasn't hard to have a basic sense of what resources a kid's family had, especially when the answer was "none".) Anyway, there were non-valedictorian kids -- not many of them, and none of them clearly academically inferior to anyone -- who walked away with $10,000 or more.

    As for athletes . . . the OP is going to have a hard time convincing anyone that athletic achievement in team sports is undervalued in American high schools. I suspect people don't fund that many athletic prizes anymore because colleges do that to a fault. It just happens to be a relatively unusual circumstance when the odd high-level athlete decides to go to a college that doesn't offer athletic scholarships, doesn't offer merit scholarships used to recruit athletes sub rosa, and isn't a service academy. And those schools tend to have much better need-based aid than anyone else. So I'm not necessarily going to cry big tears for the unfairness of it all.
  • BTMellBTMell Posts: 18
    edited May 2013
    Also, since Ivies meet demonstrated need, if a kid does get a scholarship, it oftentimes lowers the aid he receives from the college. For sure Ivies don't give athletic scholarships. Cptofthehouse, our high school is the same. My older son received a local scholarship from a foundation and it ended up being $750. Not a huge amount but every little bit helps. There was one kid who was inducted into the Air Force academy in my older son's class so he received a full ride, etc. - but that was from the college, not from the high school or any area agencies.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 252
    edited May 2013
    Our swim club used to give out $100 awards to the senior swimmers. They weren't even necessarily the best high school team swimmers as every CLUB swimmer got the award , the ones graduating as a club member, that is. So a top swimmer could miss out. Now the award is not one that got others gnashing their teeth, but if some deep pocketed donor who loved our club, was a member of the club, upped the awards to, say, $5K, there might be some protests, but it's all private and allowed. If some civic organization has scholarships for kids who did a lot of community work, then anyone who is looking for out side scholarship opportunities in that community should see where the money is coming from and what you need to do to get it. Basically, you gotta go for the scholarship, not just do your thing and then say, "oh, there 's a scholarship out there". The sizeable ones do take some planning and goal making..
  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild Posts: 4
    edited May 2013
    A Wharton athletic recruit and the OP is whining? Geez.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 252
    edited May 2013
    He could well be a Penn athlete. I know at least a dozen of them over time in a number of sports. Two kids at my son's little private school were football recruits at Penn, one a starter for at least two years. I've also known some who have gone there as swimmers and for crew.

    Who gives tens of thousands in sports scholarship money for college other than the colleges or associated groups of that college though? That's what has me confused here. I've been to ever so many awards dinners for seniors and the only large awards are from specific outside scholarships that very few kids get and fhose from the college itself. High schools don't give out money. That $2500 that Lorem's son got is big time to me.
  • mamabear1234mamabear1234 Posts: 10
    edited May 2013
    There are some local scholarships around here sponsored by foundations, civic clubs, etc; most are $1000 one time awards. The GPA requirement is quite low, and many are for kids heading into specific majors (teaching, performing, etc) or have other requirements, such as have to have participated in 5 extracurricular activities for 2 years or more. Students have to apply for these, get recommendations, and write an essay. These awards are not strictly for academics, and it sound like the OP's school awards are not either.

    I understand that sports take a lot of time. My D plays sports because she loves sports, including a summer club team, but is not expecting awards for it. I find the 'almost not worth playing sports to an excessive degree' comment odd.
  • cbreezecbreeze Posts: 33
    edited May 2013
    A Wharton athletic recruit and the OP is whining?

    Plus he also received financial aid from Penn.
  • Jea828Jea828 Posts: 14 College Search & Selection Champion
    edited May 2013
    OP, where was all of that money coming from for those other students in tens of thousands of dollars?... I've never known a high school that gave out scholarship money in any impressive or even noticeable amounts.

    I'm guessing OP is referring to scholarships from local organizations. Our community has dozens of groups and businesses that give some very generous scholarships, and many kids do walk away with tens of thousands. The "biggest winner" in my D's class received over $80,000 in local scholarships. And she wasn't a standout student or athlete... but she is a really great kid.

    Tofinoguy36, if it makes you feel any better... my neighbor is on the scholarship committee for our local Women's League. She says that the really outstanding kids often get passed over because the committee assumes, "This kid is so amazing, he'll probably get a ton of other scholarships, so let's give it to someone else to spread things out." The same thing apparently happens in other groups, too, because the kids you'd think would walk away with the lion's share often get suprisingly little.

    I do understand your feelings, though, and I'm guessing that it's not so much the lack of money your son received as the lack of recognition. He's an amazing kid who has accomplished so much, and you know how hard he's worked... it's understandably disappointing to think that it hasn't been noticed and wasn't publically acknowledged. But that doesn't diminish his accomplishments. YOU know what he's done, HE knows it... and his Ivy League school knows it!

    We actually had our own little "awards ceremony" for my daughter at our family graduation dinner. I stood up and gave a little speech, listing all her activities throughout high school, all her accomplishments and sacrifices, and made it clear how proud I was of her. I'm not the type that doles out a lot of constant praise, so I think that meant more to her than any of the scholarships she got.
  • Tiger2017Tiger2017 Posts: 1 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    Wow, so I'm apparently in the minority opinion here, but I do understand where OP is coming from. I'm an national level Ivy recruited athlete, plus was recruited by other very very good non-ivies, plus am a National Merit Finalist with 2200+ SAT. I'm assuming OP is referring to community awards, because I agree with all of you that high school scholarships aren't really existent.

    OP, I have noticed a lot of my friends getting awards and such based on their service, even though they weren't academically the best. I myself have applied for 10+ scholarships that were quite time consuming and there weren't many applicants, but I haven't been awarded any of them. But I've come to terms that in Ivy League athletics, since there is no scholarship money, the athletes who do what they do truly love their sport, or else they would've gone somewhere else and taken scholarship money. Once you've embraced the fact that you aren't doing the sport for any compensation, the only thing the money really matters for is whether or not your family can afford it, just like any other non-athlete family considering an Ivy League education, and that shouldn't be too problematic given the generosity of their FA offices. You're right, it's awesome to receive validation for your hard earned accomplishments, but at some point you have to just be grateful for the opportunities you've received even if there weren't many financial benefits.
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