Full Scholarship--Which Would You Choose?

<p>Recruited athlete receives full scholarship offers for Stanford and UC Berkeley. Which would you choose and why?</p>

<p>The one that provides the strongest academic support for recruited athletes. Division I athletics are HARD, anywhere - they require a lot of time and commitment, and a student should be sure she will be able to succeed academically as well as athletically. The coaching staff should be able to provide, in great detail, what they expect to be able to do for a student academically, or they aren't doing their job.</p>

<p>I'd go for Stanford. It has a superb athletic program and great academics. The student won't have to worry about not being able to take courses that are required to graduate because they are over-enrolled as s/he would at Berkeley; most classes will be small. The faculty at both are terrific (and interchangeable); but the undergraduate experience at Stanford is vastly superior. My S, the couch potato/nerd, will be applying there. He may consider Berkeley for grad school.</p>

<ol>
<li> congrats!</li>
<li> It is no contest. How could you NOT go to Stanford?
To answer #2, Berkeley is a great school. If you have some connection with the school or feel more comfortable on that campus and don't feel like you fit in at Stanford, then by all means go there.<br></li>
</ol>

<p>I used to live a couple of miles from Berkeley, in Oakland. (I still keep forgetting that 3rd "e")</p>

<p>What sport?</p>

<p>Yes, I think the sport is important. Also the relationship with the coach. I believe, am not sure, that Natalie Coughlin chose Berkeley over Stanford because she preferred the atmosphere at Berkeley and the coach. It certainly seems to have been the right decision for her.</p>

<p>Some sports are just better at one school than the other. E.g. football: Berkeley!
Baseball: Stanford but Berkeley's coach is very well thought of, and used to be at Stanford, but is in the last year of his contract. Rugby: Berkeley because Stanford I think only has it as a club sport. Basketball: Stanford. And so on (I'm not familiar obviously with most of them)</p>

<p>Etc.</p>

<p>Although the budget crisis in the UC system is really a consideration, when I look at the academic profiles of the kids from our high school at each school, there is no appreciable difference in GPA and scores between the two. </p>

<p>Everyone knows my Stanford bias but there really are people who prefer the more liberal atmosphere of Cal, a more fun city with also better access to San Francisco, etc. Housing at Berkeley is a problem but not for scholarship athletes.</p>

<p>Also Marite, I know a person whose son is a scholarship player at Cal. He was already enrolled in his courses by the spring of his senior year in H.S. In other words, absolutely first dibs and they get what they want and need for their major. </p>

<p>P.S. S applying to Stanford??? Where is the smiley-grin? Are you coming out here to visit I hope???</p>

<p>Definitely stanford. </p>

<p>(If it's rugby, then i don't think you would even get recruited if it's just a club sport)</p>

<p>When my son was a recruited athlete, he checked out what the scene was at the various colleges that wanted him. At the time I was perturbed that he put more emphasis than I like on the dynamics of the team. And then I visited him at college. I was able to say a brief hello Friday evening after practice, but he went to dinner that night with his team, a ritual before a game. They then all stuck together that night until they went home to bed. He had to be at the gym at 8am that morning , the team had breakfast together and prepared for their 1pm game which was with a local school about an hour away. I met him at that school and watched. Afterwards, the team went to a steak house. I did not get much time with him until about 7pm Saturday evening. Nor did he get any schoolwork done, and none of this time counted as NCAA hours-they are allowed to practice ONLY 20 hours per week. He spent a lot of time with the team even outside of practice and game time. So the things that were important to him; team interaction, relationship with the coach, importance of the sport within the college, benefits and support the team gets were quite relevant since they comprised a goodly part of his every day life. He had no idea what his major was going to be, no preference in type of school, location, etc, other than he wanted a campus, but the quality of his everyday life was very important to him. He did not want to feel like he was pounding salt for nothing in playing his sport. I could very well see him picking a Berkely over Stanford, if he felt that most of his day the way he chooses to live it was much better there. </p>

<p>The other important question to ask, however, is the old broken leg question. If an athlete broke his leg or for any other reason could not play his sport, where would he rather be? I don't think S put enough time into that thought, but he did have non athletic reasons for wanting his school as well. There were many other venues he could have explored for his out school life at the college of his choice. And also, if you decide you can't or don't want to play, you are probably going to lose your scholarship. If you are a Californean, the tuition differential between Berkeley and Stanford is no small change.</p>

<p>Jamimom, I have spoken with a bunch of scholarship parents whose kids have been injured. Stanford really tries to honor their scholarships regardless. They understand that parents have made an economic decision in reliance on the scholarship offer and frankly they have so much donor money available I think that they can pretty much do that.</p>

<p>Patient:</p>

<p>Yes, indeed. S is applying to Stanford. He has to keep in mind that the deadline is earlier than for other schools. Alas and alack, he has absolutely no time now to visit, but has some hope of doing so in the spring. And who knows, by then he'll be sick of the snow and the rain here, and the CA sunshine will appeal. :)</p>

<p>Well, you know I'll be waiting if you come! </p>

<p>Cheers, as you might know I have pretty close connections to both, as my husband is a Cal grad, I went to Stanford Law School, and son is now at Stanford. I know a number of athletes at Stanford and one or two at Cal--including one who also just committed there for next year. If you have any specific questions feel free to send me a private message (or post here). I may not know the answers but I may be able to ask around and find out. Especially if it is with regard to a particular sport.</p>

<p>"Tries" and "pretty much" is not always helpful. Particularly with Stanford prices. And there are many families who do not qualify for financial aid that get athletic scholarships and are counting on them in part as their financial planning. Not a wise thing to do, but nonetheless, it is often expensive raising a kid who can play a sport at a level where he qualifies for full ride. I know we used to discuss this when S was competing before college. All that money we spent in travel, training, etc for the sport would have added up to a nice nest egg for college. </p>

<p>I do agree that schools like Stanford with a huge endowment and 100% need met would be most likely to continue scholarship money even if the student could not play the sport. But if the kid just lost interest in the sport or left the sport on bad terms with the coach and team, and came from a family that should by all measures be able to pay that tuition, I would not want to bet $45K that the school would come up with the money. There are a large number of kids who commit to a sport in highschool and quit after having to honor that commitment. If you read an excellent website <a href="http://www.johntreed.com%5B/url%5D"&gt;www.johntreed.com&lt;/a> that addresses ivy and other selective schools' football recruiting practices, you'll see that attrition is a big problem for football teams. The heavy sports schedule coupled with a difficult major too often does not mesh well. </p>

<p>In my book, I would certainly pick Stanford, but having gone through this process with an athlete, I have found that my picks were often not his. I also was cautionary about him putting too much weight on the coach as they are not necessary permanent fixtures. In fact during his college search process, he was dumped from consideration , because a coach who wanted him changed colleges, and the new coach had his own picks. A better indicator is how well the college treats the sport and the esteem held within the college community. I have seen sports dropped without warning from schools--male swimming and wrestling being two prime examples. A friend of mine is dealing with transfer issues with her son, after his college dropped their hockey program. What a pain! The school is not continuing the hockey scholarships.</p>

<p>I can tell you that Berkeley does NOT have same same reputation nationwide as Stanford, especially on the East Coast. My feeling is to ask:</p>

<ol>
<li><p>How many hours of practice and games are involved in the scholarship for each school? If you have to practice too much, you may not be getting an education.</p></li>
<li><p>How much of a ride is a "full ride?" Does it include fees, books, room and board etc?</p></li>
</ol>

<p>Thanks for input. Althlete may or may not have chance to visit. </p>

<p>Good to know about first dibs for athletes on classes at UC--and that Stanford sticks with it's athletes in cases of injury.</p>

<p>Turns out I know an athlete in the sport at Stanford. He went to elementry school with my Ss and I served on the board with his Dad. Small world.</p>

<p>My B and BIL graduated from Berkeley, but other rellies went to Stanford. fully aware of reps.</p>

<p>Free ride includes trans-oceanic airfare and five years to complete degrees. Really really free ride.</p>

<p>Taxguy, I agree with you. As I said, if it were up to me, I would pick Stanford hands down. But having dealt with kids , they often have a different agenda. My son turned down ivy league schools for his choice. And he did have good reasons. He had enough quality of life complaints during college that I was glad that the time, which was way too much in my opinion, spent on athletics was enjoyable to him. And since he picked the school, there was not as much dumped on me. All the information and opinions should be shared with the student, but the ultimate choice generally should be made by the student, in my opinion. But all of that depends on the way a particular family operates. I know kids who have loved Amherst or Wesleyan, but their parents refuse to let them consider either school over, say Penn or Cornell, because of what they so strongly feel is important. And most of the time it ends up working all right too.</p>

<p>Berkeley is not what it used to be. U.C. system is straining. I'm applying only because I'm ELC. (Not an athlete, but in that position I'd choose Stanford if I had those 2 offers, UNLESS there was no course of study at Stanford that I really enjoyed or Berkeley's was much, much better in the same major/program.) Also, Stanford degree is more promising for jobs, I hear. Good luck. Congratulations.</p>

<p>Nice to hear all these good things about "my" school. I'll be sure to tell my husband ;). But in fact I know kids who pick Berkeley over Stanford. It is always, of course, in the last analysis, really up to the kid, I think, as Jamimom points out. Again, using only one outstanding example, Natalie Coughlin. I know that I read a profile of her in the paper when she first arrived at Cal. I can't swear it was Stanford that she turned down, but I know that people had argued with her that she should go somewhere else besides Cal, and she was quoted as saying as it was the school where she felt the most comfortable, loved the coach, felt it was where she would blossom. Could anyone POSSIBLY have blossomed any more successfully and beautifully as she did? I know it's just one quite spectacular example, but again I do think it proves Jamimom's point. </p>

<p>Free free free free ride? Must be Olympic or NBA or whatever caliber--that's so great! Tell him/her to come to Stanford :). We need the Sears Cup again (always).</p>

<p>Cheers,
Is this a non-American kid? Would that impact anyone's advice?</p>

<p>Berkeley is a good school and still has a good reputation, but anywhere public schools are struggling and have been.
Stanford makes it an easy choice.</p>

<p>Christina Teuschler, another Olympic swimmer chose Columbia over Stanford because she wanted to stay near home and her coach. Kids do make these choices for a variety of reasons. There are families successful in forcing their kids to go where the parents choose, but there are many of us who also give the kids wide lattitude.</p>

<p>I just always think: if I were to push my child to go to a particular school and he/she ended up being unhappy, how could I live with myself for pushing my child into a place where they were unhappy? Obviously, you give them lots of information if you have it, try to provide opportunities for them to visit, talk to other athletes and students at the school etc. </p>

<p>Again, an athlete of the caliber Cheers describes is headed (barring injury or burnout, I guess) for professional ranks or the Olympics or what have you. In that case, honestly, the caliber of the sport, the coach, the length of his/her contract, the other athletes at the school, take on enormous importance I think. </p>

<p>I will tell you, though, that as an employer in the Bay Area, I would make no distinction between a candidate with a degree from Stanford or Berkeley. It would all depend on other factors, but not the school they came from given those two. Nationally maybe it's different.</p>