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Recruiting 101
Countdown: Online Schooling Considerations

With the growth of technology and online schooling opportunities - and with tennis being a sport that requires a lot of hours on the court in order to excel - more and more recruits seem to be at least contemplating this alternative form of education. Before deciding if online schooling is the appropriate track for you, there are several issues to consider including how it may affect your tennis, prepare you for the future, and be viewed by coaches and admissions officers alike. We will share some anecdotal information on those trends and provide some recommendations which may be useful in deciding if online schooling will be an asset or detriment to your short-and long-term educational and tennis goals.

In tennis, we are seeing a surging trend of players contemplating and/or choosing online schooling for their high school careers. Even players with already proven track records both academically and tennis-wise will sometimes sense that they may lose an opportunity to be recruited by coaches at high-level programs because a player doing online schooling may have more time to work on his or her game and move ahead in the rankings and ratings. There appears to be a concern among some students that even though online schooling is not their desired route, they feel the need to do so anyway just to keep up in the sport. By this thinking, if a player is taking demanding courses in a traditional school and can only train eight hours a week, how can he or she keep up with players able to play twenty hours a week due to a more flexible online schooling schedule?

The consequences and pros and cons of each student's potential experience with online schooling need to be explored in much greater depth, and through a personalized lens, before deciding if online schooling is the right way for a player to go. While it may present undeniable rewards for some, it may not be beneficial for others. For example, players and their parents would need to ask pointed questions such as the following:

  • Will the flexibility afforded to me by online schooling really translate into an improvement in my tennis, enough to make an impact on the programs I am gunning for?

  • If I decide to go the online route and there is an expectation for my game to improve, will I psychologically and emotionally be able to manage the pressure to play more, improve more and win more to get attention from high level programs?

  • If I switch from a high-quality traditional high school to an online program, will the quality of my education suffer to the point where I'm less well-equipped to take advantage of the high quality education my tennis put me in line for?

In general, the pros of online schooling for recruits seem to revolve primarily around the time and flexibility to train more and the ability to manage more extensive travel to tournaments. Some argue that expanding experience with competitive play can oftentimes generate more reliable data and higher rankings that coaches seek. Additionally, while exceptions do exist, there seems to be a general feeling that online grades tend to be higher than grades in traditional schooling for comparable courses by comparable students. Certainly if that proves to be true, a student may improve recruiting chances at top academic colleges based on an improved academic index (for those schools that do such a calculation) which is based on unweighted GPAs.

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Page updated on Monday, March 11, 2019
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