Are academics really that important?

Sue Behme, Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach, University of Rochester, @RochesterLax

The simple answer is yes, but when you look deeper into how high school academics has a cascading effect on where you really end up going to college you may want to examine how you think about the overall process. More importantly, the overall academic journey one takes through the process. I do not plan to compare Division I, II, or III or tell you how to decide on where to go to college. My goal is to share with recruits, and their parents, only two parts of a longer journey and process when it comes to the importance of academics and lacrosse.


When I stress the importance of academics to student-athletes and parents I prefer to focus on two major journeys one will explore. First, the recruiting journey and second the admissions journey. As we all are aware, the recruiting process is a bit crazy. I am sure you feel that once you think you have it figured out, it changes or throws you a curve ball. Join the club… and I have been a collegiate coach for over 20 years. The admissions journey is a bit different, but can require just as much flexibility and patience.

The recruiting journey requires communication between coaches and players. Recruiting involves coaches watching you play and evaluating your performance on the field, visits to campuses, emails, phone calls, etc. It also involves coaches evaluating your performance in the classroom. In my opinion, we cannot get a TRUE academic overview until the end of one’s junior year in high school. As a result, the cascading effect that I spoke about in my opening paragraph is set in motion. You could be the best player in the country and a top recruit, but if you are not going to meet the academic admissions standards of the colleges or universities you are exploring at the end of your junior year, it could be game over. So, academics do matter!

The admissions journey requires you to do research. I am not going to bore you with details on how to conduct your research, but you need to do it. Remember, you can verbally commit to any college or university, but it is just that… you still need to go through the admissions process and get officially admitted to the college or university. Always have academic back up plans and don’t put all of your eggs in one basket (just my words of advice). Your high school transcript, reflecting your core classes, academic development, and test scores, does matter. Many times this is how admissions will decide on academic merit financial awards. So, academics do matter!

Good luck on your academic journey through the winding roads of recruiting and admissions.


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