Sports and Academics – Is there a Happy Marriage?
The word “sport” in a student’s career in most Asian households is treated the same way an investor would treat a new IPO – exciting, yet never really the mainstay of their portfolio. One to keep an eye on, but not one to bet the house on, at least just yet. While exceptions exist, the above analogy holds true for most families and their take on student sports. Asian students are expected to set the bar far as academics go. Unsurprisingly, most parents would usually think twice before allocating the same priority to sports.
A look at the career spectrum of a student athlete reveals some interesting insights. A large number of corporates prefer hiring people who have a background in sport as they believe such candidates are more driven, display better team skills and handle pressure better. If we were to trace this journey back to college admissions, the difference is clear. Student athletes receive their offers of acceptance anywhere between 5-6 months in advance before regular applicants. Despite this, the level of awareness in terms of Asian students applying to premier US schools is fairly low with regard to how their profile could affect their application and their scholarship opportunities. Let’s understand why:
During my secondary school days, I was part of the IFA (Indian Football Association) program whichpromotedfootball talent at a young age in schools.
We had access to their coaches, partner schools and a system which pitted us against the best in the country – aiming to set a benchmark across schools nationwide. Like most programs, it however, failed to address the biggest hurdle of them all –the Board Exams – a 6-8-month discontinuity in solid playing time, a decline in fitness levels which requires another 4-6 months of recovery time; essentially resulting in minimal improvement in sporting ability between Grade X and XII.
This misconception and the fact that most Asian students get little playing time given the truncated schedules in Grade X and Std XII is why most parents are sceptical about the student athlete route.
Ironically, the smartest path to college if you are a student athlete is the one least taken. This is the market anomaly that AddedSport looks to address – and in the process open up a gateway to US college sports like no other.
As for myself – if I had to do it again, I would definitely spend more time on the football field. Who knows where that could have taken me? Luckily for you, if you are a parent or a budding athlete, you need not wonder – Act and Act today. There’s a world of possibilities out there– one that treats sports and academics as two sides of the same coin and not the divergent pathways that most of us are made to believe. Study hard and play harder is the mantra of the Brave New World!