Post #11

IN THIS POST…

  • Fall Semester Winds Down
  • Academics – Understanding The Process at Yale
  • NCAA Weekend Slate of Games

Fall Semester Winds Down…

We are less than a week from Thanksgiving and today, our 3 remaining players along with Mark, Danielle, and myself will depart for home until Feb. 1st. I returned to campus this Wednesday as I normally do each and every week, to get my required COVID test. Coaches at Yale are tested once a week on Wednesday’s and overall Yale has done a good job keeping COVID at bay as compared to other Ivy schools. It was good to catch up with Mark and Danielle one last time. A little recruiting talk, a DI-DIII national coaches Zoom, a Yale assistant coaches call, and then bam! Fall semester over with. Yale and New Haven seemed like a ghost town.

I grabbed everything I could out my office as I prepare to hunker down for the next 10 weeks–recruiting folders, video computer, skates, stick, and a box of recently received Yale SWAG (SWAG Pic is below). On the drive home I replayed the past semester over in my head and it occurred to me how I was feeling. A bit blah to be honest. It’s hard to feel good about yourself and where you are in life, when you lose a bit of your purpose. The one thing we love as a staff is making our players better people and better players. This is our real purpose at Yale. That has been very hard to do this year.

Nice box of Yale SWAG waiting to be worn!

As I type this, I’m listening to Bruce Boudreau talk on The NHL Network about how stir-crazy he is going being at home and not having his normal hockey routine. I can totally relate. He mentioned living vicariously through his son who coaches in the ECHL. I will be doing the same this weekend watching other college teams play. Being home so much these past 8 months I am for sure driving my wife bonkers. She’s never had me home so much since we got together. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit jealous for all the NCAA coaches who are getting behind a bench soon. It’s been hard watching from afar. So I say this with all seriousness and sincerity, the mental struggle players and coaches are facing is real. If you’re playing or coaching — good for you on being able to get your fix. You are truly lucky. And to all those who are like us, rink-less and homebound, know you aren’t alone and that you will get through this in time. Come on Moderna and Pfizer!

As bleak as things seem, there does appear to be some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Recently announced is hope for two highly effective vaccines. Experts say ‘the average’ citizen could possibly get vaccinated by April. Should that be the case, life and college athletics we assume could get back to a more normal course of activity by next fall. But there is a lot that has to happen between now and then. In the short-term, we’ll work on staying connected with our team, planning for next season, and I will try to not drive my wife nuts.

Academics — Understanding The Process

We announced a 4-part series called ‘Understanding The Process’ to aid you coaches and parents with an understanding in certain areas of how we operate our program. Our first installment was how we go about player identification and evaluation. You can find that in Post #2. In our second installment below, we discuss how the academic evaluation and admissions process works.

To be blunt, very few athletes would be admitted on their own without the support of their head coaches in the admissions process. We’ll talk about that term ‘support’ later, it’s important. No knock against these athletes and their academic aptitude. Heck, there are people who have 4.0 GPA’s with perfect test scores and still don’t get into Yale. Athletes have different timelines and evaluation opportunities than normal students would. A word of caution… all information below is relative to our process at Yale and we cannot speak to how academics may work at other Ivy institutions.

The Academic Process

The academic process for our recruits has a few steps to it.

Step 1, Coaching Staff Academic Evaluation… for anyone we have a real interest in, we’ll ask for transcripts and test scores as early in the process as we can to see what type of student the player may be. It doesn’t matter how good of a hockey player someone is, if they aren’t close to having the grades/test scores we need, there’s no sense in moving ahead in the process. Does that mean someone in grade 9 with all B’s but hasn’t taken a SAT/ACT test yet get’s pushed aside? No, not at all. Provided we like what we see on a transcript, we’ll continue to evaluate the player on the ice even more closely.

Step 2, Athletic Admissions Pre-Read… Beginning July 1 between grade 11 and 12, under Ivy League admissions rules, we can submit a player’s academic file to be evaluated by our Yale admissions liaison for feedback to determine the likelihood of admissibility. Turnaround time is about 10-14 days. We’ll then communicate with the player how the pre-read came back and explain any next steps. These pre-reads are not for everyone though. Some get used for players who have already committed to our program, other for who we are seriously considering making offers to. Important to note, this is not the official admissions decision, just a first-glance from admissions at the transcript, grades, and future class schedule.

Step 3, Official Admissions Application Process & Supporting Head Coach Distinction Letter… The final step in officially becoming a Bulldog is for Coach Bolding to have the player officially submit her application to Yale. This is the part where Coach Bolding uses his ‘support’ for their candidacy in the application process. Yale has two application options for athletes – single choice early-action which requires applications to be complete by November 1s. Early action single-choice decisions are known no later than mid-December. Regular decision requires applications due by January 2nd. with decisions known no later than Mid-March. Generally speaking, coach Bolding will know of regular admission decisions in a few weeks after applications are submitted. Because we’re talking about athletes, there is no advantage/disadvantage to applying in the early or regular pool. Coach Bolding does advise each player when to submit their application and in which pool he wants them to apply for.

Coach Bolding’s support to each player comes in the form of a distinction letter he writes that is submitted on behalf of the player to the admissions committee. Think of the distinction letter as the mother-of-all recommendations. His letter ‘supports’ why we want and need this player as a part of or program and at Yale. Without this ‘support’ of head coaches, very few players, if any, would be admitted on their own merit. That’s why it is very important as you go through the process, to know if the coach is willing to ‘support’ your application.

A few things to keep in mind…

Players and parents often ask, what kind of grades and test scores do I need for Yale? Our answer… Players should shoot for high GPA’s, north of 3.6 on a 4.0 scale, or low 90’s and above for those on a % scale. If you have 1 or 2 C’s early in grade 9 or 10, you could still be okay. D’s and F’s though, is almost always a non-starter. SAT scores should be in the 1300’s and ACT’s in the high 20’s / low 30’s. Keep in mind the SAT is scored out of 1600 and ACT out of 36. GPA’s and test scores need to be close to these thresholds to have a shot. Mostly B’s and a 1150 or a 25 probably isn’t going to cut it.

One of the most important parts of the application process has to do with evaluating the transcript and determining the academic ‘rigor’ of the students course load… meaning did the student challenge herself or take easy classes? a 3.9/4.0 in cake-walk classes won’t hold as much weight as a 3.7/3.8 in honors and/or AP classes. You want to take the most challenging classes and achieve the kind of GPA’s mentioned above.

Equally as important are the several application short answer questions and the longer essay. Also heavily valued are the teacher and counselor recommendations. Have great grades and test scores but wrote a poor essay and submitted a teacher recommendation that says you are a smart kid but didn’t apply yourself? That is exactly the kind of combination that will get you denied. Write a coherent (and grammatically correct) essay that answers the question asked Also, really think about who you want to write your recommendation letters. Best to get one from a teacher where you did really well in their class and you know the teacher LOVES you and won’t sell you out.

And… NEVER WRITE YOUR ESSAY ABOUT HOCKEY!!!! EVER!!!!!

Yale already knows you play hockey and are pretty good at it. Write about why Yale should be lucky to have you or an experience outside of hockey/sports that really articulates/shows who you are and the type of person Yale is getting. Match your personal values, dreams, aspirations with Yale’s resources and explain why Yale is such a good match!

NCAA Weekend Slate of Games…

In the absence of what would normally be a preview of our games for the coming weekend, we are going to give you this weekend’s NCAA women’s hockey schedule of games. Full recaps to follow next week.

Until next time… be well and stay safe!

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