As a former Division I Softball player, I am well versed in the sacrifices a student-athlete must make to balance schoolwork and perfect their craft. Whether that was missing my high school Homecoming dance for a recruiting camp or completing hours of make-up work that I missed for a tournament, I often found myself in lose-lose scenarios: sacrificing one for the other. Upon reflecting on my high school experiences and my journey to playing Division I, my only regret is having to give up key parts of my high school experience that I will never get back. Knowing what I know now, I wish I could have done it differently. I am entirely convinced that if I seized the opportunity to attend Nevada State High School as an 11th grader: 1) I would not have had to sacrifice nearly as much to achieve the same result, 2) I could have had my Master’s Degree entirely paid for by my athletic scholarship, 3) I would have been more marketable in the college recruitment process, and 4) I would have been far more prepared in my transition from high school to college, especially as a college athlete.
NSHS Sports Teams
Athletes that are planning to play at the next level understand the gravity of playing on a successful high school sports team. College coaches from around the country do extensive research to find ideal candidates for their programs, and they often look to high school athletics programs for their prospects. At Nevada State High School, students are able to remain on their zoned school sports team and participate in their athletics program. This means that students aren’t forced away from their teammates at pivotal points of their recruitment process and can remain competitive. The best part? Athletes are able to use their practice/game hours to fulfill their NSHS volunteer hour requirement.
From Personal Sacrifice to Scheduling Autonomy
At Nevada State High School, students are armed with the tools to be successful in both the high school and college environment. During the Onboarding Process, prospective NSHS students are given the power to create their own schedule for arguably the first time in their academic career. Let’s use myself as an example:
In the months of September through December, I spent nearly every weekend in Irvine, California playing in college showcase tournaments. This meant leaving Thursday afternoon and retuning Sunday evening. Missing school was inevitable. However, when applying that same scenario as a NSHS student, I could have set my weekly schedule up to never miss a beat. With the NSHS Study Skills class that meets 2x per week, I would be able to choose the Monday/Wednesday class to free up Thursday and Friday from my schedule- knowing that for the entire fall semester I would have to miss an incredible amount of school. Supplementary to my NSHS courses, I could then choose to take my college courses on those same days- finishing all three before my 3pm practice time.
No school missed, no make-up work, no sacrifices.
NCAA Eligibility, Recruitment, & College Progress
You may be wondering how taking real college classes on college campuses may affect your eligibility with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Under the Nevada State High School dual-credit model, students are enrolled in Nevada colleges and complete college courses that fulfill their high school graduation requirements. As long as these credits are completed while the student is enrolled at Nevada State High School, and are reported on their high school transcript, they do not impact students’ NCAA eligibility. For additional information on Special Admission and Academic Credentials, all prospective student-athletes should familiarize themselves with the NCAA Manual and refer to Bylaw 14.
As a former college softball coach, recruiting student-athletes is a very competitive process. Oftentimes, I wanted the assurance that the students I was recruiting were going to represent my college and were going to succeed both on the field and in the classroom. Not only do student-athletes have to remain in good academic standing to remain eligible for NCAA participation (NCAA 14.01.2.1), they must have the ability to manage a college course load while spending upwards of 50 hours per week devoted to their sport. Students with completed college credits may be more marketable than their counterparts, as they demonstrate having the ability to academically perform at the college level and balance their sport with their schooling. Students that are recruited to play at the college level that find themselves on Academic Probation or lose their scholarship can completely derail a sports program. However, when college coaches see that a student has already completed 50 college credits with Nevada State High School, they can rest assured that the chances of said student misrepresenting their institution would be unlikely. If college coaches are faced with a decision to make between two equally skilled players, they will turn to academic rigor and success to make their decision- NSHS makes that decision easy.
On average, students that join Nevada State High School at the start of 11th grade earn 50 college credits before graduating high school. When it comes to athletic scholarships, student-athletes commit to attending colleges/universities by signing a National Letter of Intent, a binding agreement between the college and athlete. Student-athletes are limited to four years of eligibility to participate in sport by the NCAA, a time frame which academically amounts to 120 college credits or more. If student-athletes complete at least 50 college credits with Nevada State High School, they are looking at potentially earning a Master’s Degree under their athletics scholarship. Typically we see this happening with student-athletes who “red-shirt” or “white-shirt” while in college, allowing them to stop the clock on their NCAA eligibility while continuing as a full time college student. However, if a student-athlete were to complete at least 50 college credits while in high school, they are looking at earning higher degrees under their athletic scholarships. I don’t know about you, but earning a Master’s degree by the age of 21 on someone else’s dime sounds pretty ideal.
A Real College Experience
Finally, Nevada State High School uses multiple tools to measure “college readiness.” From a strategically structured curriculum that teaches accountability, autonomy, self-advocacy, and personal development, to the implementation of student supports and intervention programs, Nevada State High School has a proven process that ensures that students will graduate college-ready. Student-athletes may find themselves being recruited from various states at great distances from home, and are not exempt from common experiences that deter students from succeeding in the college environment. In fact, student-athletes may face additional hurdles- being countless miles from home in a small town, living independently for the first time, or struggling to maintain healthy living habits- all while dedicating a majority of their time to the demands of college athletics. At NSHS, we provide students with the tools to make this transition easier. We teach our students how to appropriately manage their time, take care of their mental health, balance their finances, and even how to remain safe on college campuses.
At Nevada State High School, student-athletes will have access to manageable schedules and feel free to spend more time practicing their sport without the constraints of traditional high schooling. These students will be supported by NSHS staff in their transition to college and will be college ready by the time the buzzer sounds. From one athlete to another, NSHS is an opportunity you do not want to miss.
For more information about our program, please join us for an Open House or submit a help ticket at help.earlycollegenv.com
Applications for Spring 2022 open on November 1st!