Did you do your homework? Did you watch the “Commitment videos” on YouTube? Are you starting to hear the buzz from your athlete about who is going where? Better yet, are you seeing it in the news feed of your new Twitter account?
For the sake of timing, I decided it would be good to talk about Early Signing Day, Mid-year enrollment and Graduation. ‘Tis the season.
First, let me explain what signing day is and what is being signed. National Signing day is the day your athlete will sign their NLI (National Letter of Intent). This is their commitment to attend the college they verbally committed to (we will get into verbal commitments later). The actual NLI is signed electronically usually on a phone or iPad using your finger or a stylus the morning of signing day. You will be overnighted a paper copy to sign at the table (this is just for show) on NSD (National Signing Day) and a keepsake for you. You can sign early but that does NOT mean you have to enroll early. National Early Signing Day was just introduced last year. It worked out well for both coaches and athletes. Here is why: Coaches were able to fill most (if not all) of their roster spots on early signing day which means they were done recruiting for that class. Same for the athletes; they could sign, their commitment would be locked in and they could enroll early or finish their senior year with peace of mind.
National Early Signing Day: 12/19/18 – 12/21/18
National Signing Day: 2/6/19 – 4/1/19
Which brings me to my next point: Mid-year Enrollment
If you made a Twitter account then you have seen the term “Mid-year ”. I know what you are thinking, “What the heck is a Mid-year and what does it mean?” Mid-year enrollment is something you would have been planning before (or at the latest) at the beginning of senior year (sorry moms of seniors). You will need to get with your school counselor during junior year to make sure you are on track to enroll early in college. How is this possible, you ask? Usually the second semester of your senior year you will only need two or three classes. You can take these classes online during first semester so that when the semester ends in December you will have completed your high school requirements and can enroll in winter term in college.
For Example: You would be taking 1st semester of English 4 in class and 2nd semester of English 4 online AT THE SAME TIME.
It is a lot, I know…deep breaths.
Benefits of enrolling early: Your athlete will be a semester ahead of everyone in his graduating class, he will be able to attend winter conditioning and he is eligible to participate in spring football/Spring Game ( this is a HUGE advantage over other incoming freshman in his class)
Drawbacks of enrolling early: Your athlete may miss senior prom and mom may be sad sooner (Or happy. No judgement here).
One of my favorite coaches we met during recruiting told us “2nd Semester of your senior year is the biggest waste or your time”. What he meant by that: You are the best on your team so no one is pushing you in the weight room (that is if they even know what they are doing in the weight room) and you only have a couple classes so you have a lot of idle time on your hands to get into trouble. In most cases, it is in your athlete’s best interest to get on campus, get into the routine of workouts and classes and start building relationships with his new teammates.
But what about graduation?
Good news! Your athlete can come home for graduation and walk the stage with his class. Keep in mind you will have to get him home and back to school and possibly transportation back to campus. During recruiting, schools will tell you they will fly him home for graduation. This is false. It is, in fact an NCAA violation. So plan on the expense.
I know what you are thinking mom, I’m sure there is a lump in your throat at the thought of him leaving even a moment sooner. Breathe… Cry… Do whatever you need to do. Then pull yourself together and really think about what is best for your son. Then talk it out with him and his counselor, coaches and recruiters and come up with a plan (We will talk about the emotional aspect of this later). Just know, I could not even say the words “Mid-year enrolling” without bursting into tears (seriously EVERY time. I was an embarrassment).
Lastly, your athlete may not sign on NSD and he may not enroll early. Do not be pressured by “looking good” on NSD or enrolling when you’re not ready or it’s not the right fit. It is OK to sign later within the signing dates and enroll in fall classes. DON’T PANIC. One of the biggest decisions of his life is where he will go to college. Make sure it feels right.
Hang in there Momma, we will get through this together. As always bring on the questions, I’m here to help.
Vocabulary to know:
National Early Signing Day- 12/19/18 – 12/21/18
NSD- National Signing day- 2/6/19 – 4/1/19
NLI- National Letter of Intent
Mid-Year Enrollee- Enrolling in college as a freshman to start winter term (January) rather than waiting until fall (August/September).