Attention high school athletes: Are you planning on playing sports in college? Do you have big dreams of competing in March Madness, or joining the best women’s soccer team in the world? Awesome! What are you doing right now to prepare?

See, getting signed to a team in the NCAA is a much longer and more complicated process than you might imagine, and it starts years before most students start submitting their college applications. Athletes have to be ahead of the game.

The number one thing to remember is that junior year is THE most important year when it comes to getting recruited for college athletics, and even within that year, the window for recruitment is pretty small.

Why so soon?

Imagine you’re the coach of a Division 1 team. You’re very busy on and off season, training your team to be the best in the region. Then on top of that, you also have to be constantly recruiting new players, because every year you lose your best seniors to the professional draft. How do you ensure that you will continue to have a strong, championship-winning team in a year or two?

High-schoolers can be unpredictable. A promising young running back in his freshman or sophomore year could hit a late growth spurt and lose his speed, or a star pitcher could injure his shoulder before he ever makes it to college.

On the other hand, senior year is too late. Coaches assemble their team well in advance so they can ensure the newcomers work well with the upperclassmen. Plus, if a coaches want to offer athletes scholarships to ensure the students pick their college, they have to start talking to the admissions and financial aid offices at least by the spring before applications are due. At least.

That leaves them with only one type of student: Juniors.

So what does this mean for the aspiring college athlete?

Well, first you need to let coaches know you’re interested.

(Don’t have an idea yet of where you want to apply? Check out last month’s note from Kat about researching colleges!)

Step 1: Register for NCAA eligibility by signing up on their website ncaa.org.

You’ll be able to enter your stats beginning the fall of your junior year of high school. This does require a fee, but if you were able to get an ACT or SAT fee waiver, you’ll also qualify to get the fee waived for NCAA. Then, at the end of your junior year, send in your official high school transcript and SAT or ACT scores.

Step 2: Email the coaches of schools you want to play for.

Write them a courteous letter introducing yourself and your interest in their team. For tips on writing a professional and engaging email, visit this site. Then follow up with a phone call a few weeks later to establish a more personal connection. Do not mention any interest in scholarships at first, and do not let your parents or coaches contact them.

Step 3: Don’t panic.

If you don’t hear back from the coaches right away, you haven’t done anything wrong. Often coaches have strict rules about when they can reach out to recruit students. You may not even hear back until July after your Junior Year. Send the email, follow up once, and then let the coaches make the next move.

Are you already a junior or senior? Don’t stress! Your chance isn’t gone. It may be more difficult for you to get onto the team, but it is still possible. Contact the coaches with an email or phone call and express your interest. Even if you are a senior, many teams (though, unfortunately, not the most competitive ones) do allow for walk-ons (aka late additions to the team on a trial basis).

So don’t waste another minute! The sooner you make yourself visible, the better your chances of getting to play the sport you love. I know I would rather win the game by sinking an easy free-throw in the third quarter than a last minute buzzer-beater.

Save yourself the stress, and start planning. Your career as a college athlete awaits!

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Email

{ 0 comments }

Julia Clausen | March Consulting Copywriter 

All my life I have been encouraged to dream big.

Generalities such as – “You can be anything!” “Follow your heart!” “Your possibilities are endless!” – were the bedrock upon which I built my imaginary future.

I designed my own multiverse in which I lived a life as a physical therapist, a film producer, the CEO of a consulting firm, and a chorus member in a Broadway musical. These futures were exciting because they were stories I told myself. I knew none of them would actually happen.

Not that I was incapable of living these lives. Rather, the problem was the distance I kept between the dreams and how I lived my life.

For instance, physical therapy naturally requires lots of science classes. I abhor science classes. If I actually thought I wanted to be a physical therapist, I would have taken AP sciences, applied for a physiology degree, and made plans to go to grad school.

Instead I majored in English and wrote for the school newspaper.

So in the end, as encouraging as those high-minded phrases may have been, they were also pretty useless.

They offered no concrete steps forward, no guidelines to decision-making, no criteria for which of my “endless possibilities” might be best for me.

Plus, I went to college because that was the next step in life. That’s just what we do now. I had never really thought about whether or not I wanted a college degree, or what I wanted to get out of it.

So when I graduated, suddenly I was stuck with no sense of direction.

What did I really want to be?

I felt like I was treading water in the ocean with my infinite career possibilities just beyond the horizon. If I picked a career path and started swimming, maybe I would go the wrong way, and then drown and die. Much safer to keep treading water and hope an island with any random job on it would just appear in front of me.

I thought this was what “dreaming big” and “staying open to opportunity” looked like, but actually my dreams were getting in the way of me making a decision.

When I was honest with myself, I realized that I enjoyed Broadway, but not in the same way I LOVED teaching kids how to write. I could talk about film with ease, but when I really got into the best techniques for exploring narrative voice in short stories, nothing could shut me up.

So rather than view my opportunities as endless, maybe it was time to get into specifics – to focus on the areas of my life where I had both passion AND experience. What was the natural next step based on how I had spent my time in high school and college?

Plus, if you were to ask literally anyone who knows me, these would probably be the first vocations they would assign to me. Of course Julia is a writer, they would say. And she helped me with multiple essays growing up. I hope she becomes a cool English teacher.

Making a career decision wasn’t about choosing from the terrifying stretch of infinite possibilities. Instead, it was more like being a detective. I gathered the evidence of my experiences, my interests, and the opinions of the people closest to me, and then made an informed plan with short and long-term goals.

So whether you’re about to start applying to college, or trying to choose a major, or freaking out about your future career, take a minute and examine the evidence. While, yes, you can be anything, you don’t have to choose a direction at random.

What is your favorite class in school, and why? Which activities do you spend the most time doing? What kind of work do you find most fulfilling? What qualities do your close friends and family see in you?

If you take a closer look at who you are and how you spend your time, the next step will be more obvious than you might think.

Want to talk with someone about figuring out your next step? Contact us! We’d love to help you sleuth out your college and career possibilities.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Email

{ 0 comments }

Please join us in welcoming the newest member to the March Team!

Amelia is thrilled to be joining March Consulting after spending the last 9 years in San Diego. As a graduate of San Diego State University, she, like most recent graduates, was not exactly sure what to do with her BA in Communications, nor where to even start the job search when done with school . Luckily, with the referral of a colleague, Amelia landed a job in Recruiting and Staffing where she found her passion for Training and Development. For the past 4 years she gained exposure to identifying individuals strengths, received training on various methods of professional development and assisted those new to the corporate world. As someone who submerged herself in the “College Lifestyle,” Amelia hopes to not only act as a mentor to those going through the application process, but as a resource for all students and young professionals who are trying to find their way. Her experience as a Campus Peer Educator, Sorority Member and Choir Chair allowed her to follow passions as well as academics, which she hopes will motivate students to explore while in school. When not working, you can find Amelia performing with local theater companies as well as exploring Bakersfield with her dog Bentley.

Amelia, along with all of us here at March, are excited for the school year. Help us make her feel welcome and introduce yourself next time you’re in!

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Email

{ 0 comments }

Don Kruszka | March Consulting Arts Specialist

I never liked auditioning. In fact, I hate it.  Especially when that audition involves contrasting monologues. Preparing an out-of-context speech for strangers who have never seen you before and will judge your worthiness in five minutes or less always seemed fraught with peril.  There is a reason auditions have been dubbed “cattle calls.”  You feel like you’re a piece of meat being appraised for slaughter.

But, in order to pursue our passion as performers, auditioning is a necessary evil. And, to enter a prestigious college drama or music program, auditions are often required.  Admissions directors wants to know who they’re getting.  

So, with that in mind, how do you prepare an audition piece that will impress the admissions people?  A number of directors from various drama programs offer the following helpful advice:

First, choose pieces that work for you.

For drama majors, choose pieces that you would realistically be able to play right now.  It’s good to make bold choices, but try to keep them age-appropriate. For musicians, pick pieces that speak to you, that you enjoy playing. That tip also applies to drama majors, as well.

Next, research your piece.

You’ve got your monologue, now read the entire play, get to know who your character is, and the context of the scene you have chosen. Characters don’t start the scene when they get on stage.  They are coming from somewhere and going somewhere. Keeping this in mind will help further define your role. For musicians, learn everything you can about your piece: who composed it, what time period it’s from, what style is it typically played in? The more time you spend studying a piece, the more you have internalized it and made it your own.

Then, practice, practice, practice!  

Get to know the lines and the character as if you were putting on a comfortable shirt.  Lack of preparation not only leads to nervousness, it becomes apparent right away to the people conducting the audition, and it can severely hurt your chances.  If you can, work with a trusted mentor (this is good advice for all performers) who can give you constructive criticisms and help you find your choices.

Don’t be afraid to own this character or this piece.

As you are rehearsing your dramatic or musical pieces (or dances or songs),  remember that this is YOUR part, driven by YOUR talent, and the people controlling your fate are looking for performers who can tell a story with what they present.  They aren’t looking for perfection.  They’re looking for the passion that you bring to the table, the potential you offer that will enhance their program with your presence. That being said, remember that passion does not necessarily translate to screaming the lines or playing fortissimo.  Watch your volume.  Often the most intense lines can be more effective in a whisper rather than a roar.

It’s all about presentation (and not just on the stage).

At the audition, it is important to dress appropriately, be respectful to other performers and the people in charge and present a confident and comfortable bearing.  SMILE!  Speak clearly.  You’ve got this.  Remember that nervousness is normal and understandable.  There’s a lot riding on this, and you will sometimes be auditioning for a number of schools at the same time. So, admissions directors advise that you take time to BREATHE. Find some centering exercises that will help calm your nerves and put you in the moment.  It’s alright to take a few seconds to center yourself before you begin your piece.  Don’t rush in.

Keep in mind that you are performing for a friendly audience.  

The people who are evaluating you WANT to see you succeed, and if they see something they like, they will give you ample opportunity to do so.  

Their final piece of advice is to have fun.

This is your chosen field. Your idiom. Your calling. Be strong. Be yourself. Be the character. Break a leg.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Email

{ 0 comments }

Jordan Fulmer | March Consulting Educational Consultant

There are thousands of applicants each year with the perfect unweighted 4.0/weighted 5.0 GPA, the 1600 SAT/36 ACT, and the robust list of community service/academic achievements. Tough advice I received back when I was applying to colleges: when it comes to admissions, there is always someone academically better than you. Moreover, when it comes to service hours, someone always has more than you.

That might sound cynical or disconcerting but trust me, it’s not supposed to be. Rather than alarming or discouraging you, this news should bring some relief. Let me clarify: despite having perfect academic and/or service requirements, many students still get rejected from universities. In fact, other students with less impressive academics get accepted over the so-called perfect achievers. Why? First and foremost, universities want an individual. That is not to say that you shouldn’t have a competitive academic and community service resume (you 100% should), but rather you should also have unique, innate qualities that no other prospective college student could emulate.

Of course, there are universities out there that simply go off of your academic achievements. Yet a majority of universities (including every Ivy League school) requires you to write an essay. This is where your individuality shines through.

In short: be weird.

I’m aware there are preconceived notions of college essays being “difficult,” “anxiety-inducing,” and “downright torturous.”  The funny thing is they don’t have to be. If anything, an essay is a playground for your mind. It’s creative problem solving: what can I share about myself that would inspire an admissions officer to take a chance on me?

For example, there was a student (we’ll call her “Anna”) who hit a roadblock with her essay that she couldn’t seem to pass. My friend who was working with Anna at the time started brainstorming before asking, “What’s your favorite Disney film?” After long deliberation, Anna settled on Inside Out (a film which highly resonated with her). For those who don’t know, Inside Out is a film in which a young girl’s personified emotions help her maneuver her way through life. Anyways, my friend and Anna then started to wonder: if Anna’s own mind was personified, which emotions would lead her? This led them to mimic the conceit of the film (personified emotions), and together, they created a play of Anna’s emotions leading her through high school. It was wondrously creative, strange, non-traditional, and, ultimately, successful.

Anna was granted admission from an Ivy League university for being, above all things, uniquely herself.

To reiterate, important aspects of your academic/community service careerGPA, SAT/ACT scores, academic competitions, volunteer hours—should never be ignored; they matter greatly. However, when applying to a university, these statistics should not be your only be-all and end-all. There has been many a student who was granted entrance to a top tier universally mainly on the strength of their personal essay. Essay writing is a key way for universities to get to know you in all your splendor: your hobbies, your struggles, your victories, your doubts, and, most importantly, your personality. Ultimately, this is one of the few places where there are no formulas or set guides, just the unbridled you.

Want some focused attention crafting your unique application essay? Join us for our workshops Aug 10-11 and Aug 19-20.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Email

{ 0 comments }