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Semester Abroad for an Athlete - Feedback Requested

fenwaysouthfenwaysouth Registered User Posts: 988 Member
edited September 2011 in Athletic Recruits
My son is considering a semester abroad probably in the Fall 2012. He will be going to the seminar to learn the details in a couple weeks at his college. My son is sophomore Ivy baseball player and engineering major. If he is intrested, he will be talking to his coach who will most likely encourage him to do this in the Fall not the Spring ;-). Typically in the Fall, they have workouts, internal scrimmages, and work on specific plays. Starting positions are won and loss in the Fall, as well as depth charts determined for position players. Last year he was a (freshmen) starting pitcher, so I don't think he would miss too much as a position player would.

Does anyone have any practical experience with a semester abroad? How does it affect the athlete and/or their studies? Would your son or daughter do it again? What would you do differently?

Thanks in advance.
Post edited by fenwaysouth on

Replies to: Semester Abroad for an Athlete - Feedback Requested

  • mhmmmhmm Registered User Posts: 1,192 Senior Member
    For what its worth, but out of my friends kids that are engineering majors and their friends in engineering - the only way to go abroad without too much strain is to spend the summer semester prior at college taking engineering classes. One kid I know had to actually spend the two summers at college (the one before and one after), but he has an amazingly difficult program. He thought it was totally worth it. As an athlete, your son gets an extra strain. Alternatively - is it possible for him to go abroad for the summer?
  • stemitstemit Registered User Posts: 575 Member
    The starting catcher on S's team spent his last fall semseter abroad. The semester did not seem to effect him as he was first team all-Ivy. He is a very talented ball player, but I do not think he aspires to a professional baseball career.

    You will not lose your spot by the fact of simply taking a semester abroad. But, you will be cut no slack when it comes time to perform. So, if you come back out of shape and do not deliver the goods, expect to be played accordingly.

    Several of the team's pitchers will not even throw in the fall after coming off a very long summer season; they will be resting, recovering, appearing at practices, and exercising but not throwing until close to December.
  • fenwaysouthfenwaysouth Registered User Posts: 988 Member
    Mhmm - Thanks for the feedback. I'm not sure if a summer semester abroad is an option, as that was my first question too. The information we have so far is sketchy (marketing materials), I want more details as it relates semester dates for his major (engineering), and country options. Spanish speaking countries would be his first choice, as he is fluent in that. He saved our butts in Mexico a few years ago or we would have missed the boat. ;-)

    Stemit - I hope all is well with you. Son worked an engineering internship this summer, so he will be fresh this Fall. Coach wants to see him hit this Fall, so that will be interesting. He did spend some time in the batting cages this summer. Congrats on your son's summer college baseball experience in MN. Summer baseball for next year is also on the table. But S may have to choose between summer college baseball or a semester abroad fairly soon. Thanks for sharing about your S's catcher teammate. My son has no aspirations to go Pro, he just wants an Ivy ring! ;-) I'll see you in the Spring.

    I was hoping for a little more feedback, but I think a lot of people are busy right now with the start of school, and the recruiting process is in high gear. We did ask this (semester abroad) question while son was being recruited. It was not a popular topic for the D1 schools (non-Ivy) that recruited my son, and the D3s didn't seem to have a problem with it. We'll see where this takes us. Hopefully more feedback will come in.
  • bballdadbballdad Registered User Posts: 128 Junior Member
    For athletes still in high school that this issue is important to and are still considering schools, take a look at Dartmouth. Their "D" plan and focus on study abroad (60% of their students take this opportunity) is designed to enable varsity athletes take advantage of their international programs.
  • OldbatesieDocOldbatesieDoc Registered User Posts: 2,056 Senior Member
    My S may have missed his chance at Williams because he was "too honest". Of course, there were several factors, but at his official, telling the coach he planned a semester abroad, and was thinking of taking a gap year prolly didn't help him...It wasn't my idea, I can tell you that.

    The Midd coach had no problem with it-of course, Midd is very hot on study abroad, and my S is going away fall of his Junior year-he has a winter sport, so not ideal, but he's there for the education...

    I'm proud he's still competing, esp with the sad events of last winter-. We're all waiting to see if the new coach can win the hearts and minds of the team.
  • NWRunnerNWRunner Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    I don't know if this works with a team sport, but we know injured or study-abroad Ivy runners who use their 4th year of eligibility elsewhere and get significant financial assistance getting their Masters.
  • fenwaysouthfenwaysouth Registered User Posts: 988 Member
    NWRunner,

    That is interesting feedback I never considered. Thanks for your input.

    OldbatesieDoc,

    Thanks. It sounds as though Midd is a much better fit for your son's desire to study abroad. I wouldn't think twice about it, because there may have been study abroad issues if he went to W.

    bballdad,

    Thanks. I'm hoping this "D" plan outlines what % of athletes take part in study abroad. I'll check it out. You've given me the 60% of all students which is a big number.
  • ready2bdoneready2bdone Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    When we visited Dartmouth for my D12 athlete, the coaches emphasized that student athletes had the chance to study abroad. They rightly considered it a selling point for their program and the "D" plan.
  • varskavarska Registered User Posts: 1,430 Senior Member
    The D plan is a bit of a double-edged sword. Under the D plan, students are of course required to spend the summer after sophomore year on campus with the flexibility to take off winter or spring term. When asked a direct question the coach told my D that as an athlete, he expected her to be on campus working out during her "off" term. I really appreciated his candor, but we realized that from the time she got on campus during the fall of sophomore year, we likely wouldn't have much contact with her until summer after junior year.
    I'm sure it varies according to the sport and coach
  • bballdadbballdad Registered User Posts: 128 Junior Member
    Different experience with basketball. During recent recruitment, the Dartmouth coach sold in both the summer or off term opportunity for internships, as well as the merits of international study. Because of the season, attendance is required the Fall and Winter terms. Except for the required summer term between the sophomore and junior year, Spring and Summer terms were available for off campus opportunities. There is an expectation to train and stay in shape where you are located. Depending on your financial aid package, its hard to require a 4th term a year of residency as it's billed at full cost.
  • fenwaysouthfenwaysouth Registered User Posts: 988 Member
    Thanks for everypone's input. We gathered a lot of info, and I recently spoke to son. We found not too many engineering majors do (or can do) a study abroad due to the demands of the major. I think it would be a great differentiator as he is fluent in Spanish, and learning German on his own. However, countries that speak those languages weren't offered in the program. So we either have to come up with our own program, or drop it. He has other opportunities to travel in the US with summer college baseball, so that may be the next thing we look at. I really do appreciate the help. Many thanks.
  • momofrowermomofrower Registered User Posts: 139 Junior Member
    Several of my son's teammates on the crew team at Dartmouth spent one or two terms abroad. One went to England where he was able to row with a club on the Thames which was a great experience. My son, an engineering major, took two terms off but he stayed closer to the campus- an internship at a nearby company one term and an on-campus TA paid job another- and he rowed just about every day.
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