“Questions from our Readers” Brought to you by Impact Mouthguards & ArborBridge

We thought this would be a great time to answer some common questions we receive from families just like yours.


A: While it is never too early to reach out to college coaches and get on their radar, the most critical time is typically the junior year. I have found it is best to connect with coaches when you have some information to report and they are able to accurately assess whether you would be a good fit on their team or not. This comes in the form of having a complete rugby resume, test scores and experience playing on a Varsity or U18 level team (it’s hard to determine what your talent level is if you have only played U14). I find the best responses come when the first contact is made by the student and not a parent.

Special note: I have noticed that many college programs’ websites are not up to date and it can be difficult to locate a contact person. The quickest way I have gotten through to a team is by using their Facebook page. Send a Private Message to them or post on their wall for a quick response.

Q: How do you know if your test scores are “good enough”? If I scored a 27 on my ACT, do I have to retake it this fall? (Rising Senior)

A: It all depends on your top college choices. If your top choices include very selective schools like Dartmouth College, UCLA, Rice University, etc. a 27 is probably going to be too low and I would advise you to re-take your test this fall. However, if your top choices are colleges like Oregon State, CU Boulder, Kutztown University etc., a 27 is most likely just fine. Of course, my assessment here is assuming your GPA is also in line with what these colleges typically admit. A great resource to see your chances of admission is CollegeNiche. For example, you can take a quick look at CU Boulder and see that if you had a 3.5 GPA and your 27, you will most likely be accepted.

Q: My child took 3 APs last year and it really stressed him out. He wound up getting 2 B’s and 1 C in those courses, his grades in his other classes also took a nose dive, and he became overwhelmed and excessively stressed out. I feel like he should take some APs off his plate for next year, but he is adamant this would it hurt his chances of admission at his top schools. Please help! (Parent of Rising Senior)

A: The recommendation to take a tough course load is of course a generality and is not something every single student needs to follow. Clearly your child attempted to take a tougher courseload than he could handle, and while it’s noble he did this, a rigorous curriculum has to be taken in a balanced format. At this point, I think the focus is now finding a schedule that can set your child up for success. If he has to dial back the APs in order to bring his GPA back up (and also give him room to take care of his well-being), I would support this. If there is a topic he is particularly interested in and he wants to take the AP class, I would let him do it. However, I would have an honest talk with him and ask, “what classes can you take next year where you are confident you can get mostly A’s and B’s?” and see what schedule he comes up with.

Q: What are the main factors you think are most important to finding a “best fit” college? My daughter is struggling to research colleges because it is very overwhelming to look at the hundreds of colleges out there – her current list seems to be a random list of colleges mainly made up of where friends are thinking of going, but doesn’t seem to make any sense. Any advice is appreciated! (Parent of Rising Junior)

A: There are obviously tons of factors to consider, but the main 4 that are critical to consider are: Location, Size, Academic Program and Cost. Notice, rugby program isn’t one of my top factors. We all know playing rugby is a big element, but of course, it is very possible that your child could get injured and not be able to play. Therefore, the other pieces are more important for me in finding the right college or university. Has your child visited any colleges? If so, I would ask her what she liked about those colleges, in terms of the 4 factors above. You will quickly be able to tell which colleges she would also like, or dislike. For example, if you were to tell me she loved University of Texas, Austin, but hated Southern Methodist University, she may be leaning more towards large, comprehensive public colleges over smaller/private institutions. Cost may also be a factor in comparing those two colleges. Once you have at least a small outline of the features she is looking for (e.g. Texas, Large, Business Program, $22,000 cost of attendance for resident), this will help you do more college search. I would recommend using CollegeNiche’s College Search Engine. Good luck!

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Did you know summer is a great time to begin test prep? Contact our preferred provider, Arbor Bridge – email Erica@ArborBridge.com to get set up with a free consultation and diagnostic test today!

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