Olympic Size Dreams?
Working towards playing tennis at Wimbledon, golf at the US Masters, soccer at Wembley, cricket at Lord’s or representing South Africa at the Olympic Games? Globally, the athletes you will face in the future are turning pro at an early age and training 6-8 hours a day while you are still sitting in school.
South Africa has amazing sporting talent, and when careers are well managed from an early age, our athletes can succeed in the global arena. Lloyd Harris, Tatjana Schoenmaker and a host of upcoming golfers came to mind. But, it requires a huge commitment and, taking the chance to start training professionally full-time at the earliest possible opportunity. Common to most of SA’s young stars is that they left the comfort of their local schools to go for their dreams.
The Growth in Online Schooling
The enormous growth of online schooling now creates the gap for truly talented sports people to get the best of both worlds. Investment in educational technology for online schooling exceeded $39 billion last year. Where a previous generation of young sporting prs sacrificed their learning, you can now pursue your sporting dreams while acquiring a quality education. No wonder so many athletes are making this switch to online schooling.
The mistake most parents and young athletes make, though, is to think of schooling as a necessary evil, and that by signing up for the cheapest, least demanding online program they can just get that “chore” out of the way. They miss how the combination of outstanding sporting ability and top quality, flexible online schooling opens a host of other prospects, notably the chance to qualify for sports scholarships at some of the most elite universities in the world.
Plan B: College Scholarships
Every parent who supports their gifted child’s ambitions knows that there is a risk that in an ultra-competitive world, especially when richer countries can invest heavily in their young athletes, that reaching the very top may be elusive. What is Plan B if all the hard work and sacrifice do not yield the desired outcome?
Plan B is the risk-free alternative of using your sporting excellence to gain access to a life-changing experience at a top international university. For well-rounded students, equally strong in sport as academics, there are amazing opportunities to qualify for scholarships at Division I and Division II NCAA universities in the United States. Top schools, such as UCLA or Stanford, set the academic bar much higher than the NCAA, who requires a 2.3 or 2.4 GPA average (think high 70%). Not every online high school program in SA prepares learners well enough to qualify academically.
Lloyd Harris explains that only the top 130 men in tennis earn a sustainable income. Stanford and UCLA graduate more Engineers or Actuarial Sciences students than that each year, all of whom will earn significantly better in their lifetime than athletes who did not make the elite cut.
So, the secret, then, when planning to turn pro at a young age, is to choose an online schooling program that offers the quality and pathway to international scholarships.
The Chapel Lane Academy
The most bespoke and flexible online schooling program for young sport stars in SA is offered by The Chapel Lane Academy. Players are taught live, online in groups of no more than 5 in a class. Scheduling is based on athletes’ training and tournament commitments, and all learners have 24/7 direct access to teachers’ personal cell numbers for academic support. Run by Yale graduates and PhDs, more than 60% of all exams result in distinctions on the globally respected Cambridge International curriculum. Each athlete’s course is planned to make sure they qualify for NCAA admission.
For athletes with less of an academic focus, the Academy offers the GED alternative, now accepted for some degree programs in South Africa and sufficient to qualify for Junior NCAA colleges in the US. Most recently, having neglected school for several years for the sake of their sport, two top-ranking SA junior tennis players graduated after intensive help by The Chapel Lane Academy and took up scholarships in Texas.