“Be honest;” did you view Junior College as:
- A place for kids who had lousy grades
- The education is not as good because it is cheaper, or
- Kids who go to junior college are those who have no interest in school, they go there because they don’t know what they want to do?
If you step back and take a look the benefits of Junior College my guess many of you will change your thoughts. My guess some may even say Junior College is the smarter choice.
I am guessing you would agree the two most important factors in making a decision is:
- Research and organize as much information as you can
- Weigh the “Risk versus Reward”
With those factors in mind let me offer some things to consider regarding your son Academically, Socially, Financially, and Athletically.
Academically – I think you agree whether Macbeth is being taught at a 4 year or 2 year, it’s still Macbeth! If you focus only on transferrable classes [e.g. English 101, 102, Comps, Social Sciences, Sciences…]a JUCO will place you in the driver seat. An athlete needs 48 transferrable credit hours into a major at the 4 year school, so make sure you pick electives like Psychology versus Photography.
Socially – JUCO’s are not overwhelming. Class sizes are similar to high school, which I believe most will find manageable versus 500 kids in an auditorium watching a talking head and papers being passed out by a grad assistant.
Financially – JUCO’s in the $3000 to $6000 versus $30,000/year at a four-year institution. On top of that some JUCO’s still offer full rides, which is pretty non-existent from four-year schools.
Athletically: This is another area I believe JUCO’s excel. Most start practice the moment they arrive smoothing a player’s transition from high school to college baseball. On top of that, most play 25-30 games in the fall with the opportunity to get drafted after your freshman year versus waiting until after your junior year.
Ryan Kassab is an example of someone who used JUCO to get what they wanted. Instead of reacting, Ryan took a proactive approach to the college recruitment process [Read More on the Proactive Approach].
Athletically: Instead of just accepting one of the offers out of high school, Ryan, a RHP, recognized the opportunity to be a starter versus coming out of the bull pen or even the possibility of red shirting.
Socially: It may sound like a paradox, but Ryan’s maturity was evident when he told me he was not mature enough to live on his own yet. [Truth be told; he said he liked his mom’s cooking, and was not ready to do his own laundry!]
Transitioning to a Four-Year Institution: Ryan said, “The mistakes I witnessed during my first two years became mental lessons when I eventually moved away from home, transferring to a four-year college.” Ryan went onto say, “When you find a place that fits you, it’s easier to recognize the importance of why you are there and in the end become successful.”
I had a parent once tell me, “baseball is like a train ride; stay on the train until you recognize this is your stop and you will find where you are supposed to be in life.” In my opinion this was ever true with Ryan. His train ride provided him with the guidance, direction, and continues today preparing him for future opportunities in the business world.
To me Ryan used his JUCO experience to be a part of a Division I program, play in a very competitive college summer league, handle the set back of Tommy John surgery, and now coaching college baseball at the JUCO where it all started while he continues to pursue his MBA. Ryan described it as, “[the experience I gained] in that short period of my life has provided me a vast amount of knowledge I get to share with the players I’m coaching, but more importantly it is knowledge I get to call on for the rest of my life.”
Isn’t this what we are all seeking for our sons from the game of baseball? Obviously playing professional baseball is one goal, but having a Plan B is essential to any quality decision maker. I truly believe Ryan is one of those quality decision makers; beginning with his decision to play Junior College baseball.
Whether JUCO is in your son’s future or a four-year institution is a better fit, the key is to select the right one for your son Academically, Socially, Athletically, and Financially.
Until next Blog,