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After we published last week’s article, we received many comments and inquiries, and we thought we would share some with you this week.

 

“Some information contained in this article is not all true…. You should include the negatives as well. For example, kids go out of their homes and lose the family influence at a young age…. Also, did you consider parents who want to be part of their child’s life and enjoy trips to various rinks on weekends?”

I agree that there are negatives in some situations….. but not all.

I am not sure of the personal experiences of the author, or from which personal perspective(s) he writes.

Each year, we ask our readership for their personal experiences regarding the hockey program that their child has participated during the year previous. Often, we receive close to a thousand responses, and many are not positive. Most responses are not about prep school experiences. Many have to do with U-18 and Junior programs, and most have to do with bullying )by other players and coaches).. In most years, we hear the same comments about the same programs, year after year.

We use some of the information to help client families make wise decisions. We also publish some of the responses so that readers can be aware of some of the issues out there. In some cases, we have even shared the comments with local police authorities.

As with any situation, parents have to be extremely cautious of circumstances that they may be placing their children into. There are some advantages of attending a prep school, but the influence of the parents is always a concern, and the trade-off has to be carefully considered, for sure.

Of the 80+ prep schools with hockey programs out there, we have had clients attend about half of them, and they have all reported great experiences.

Of the total schools, about 20-30, we would never recommend, for various reasons. With a handful, we would absolutely dissuade, because of the bad reports.

Regarding the ability to watch the games of children who are playing away from home, a number of prep school games are broadcast online and the quality is very good. Prep schools, often, will also host special parent weekends, which are great opportunities to visit the school and watch your child play hockey.

 

“My son has been offered to attend (name omitted), a prep school, without any help from someone like you, and with a scholarship of $$$$$ to attend next fall. They like his talent level and are willing to reward it.”

I am not quite sure how to respond to this, but having done this for a number of years, we are very familiar with the type of prices that certain schools charge their students, and financial assistance they are willing to provide (and on what basis).

In talking to some students, my feeling is that some pay twice as much than they otherwise should have. Some schools have (what we refer to as) “players and (as) payers”

With some schools, we are well aware of different monies that families can tap into to reduce their costs to make sure they can attend as inexpensively as possible.

 

“What are the different things that you consider before making a recommendation for a prep school?

Every prep school is different. In every case, we look at several aspects before making a recommendation.

One of the most important considerations is the quality of the education.

In some cases, religious affiliation may be important, as well as location (close to home, easily accessible, etc.)

What is the Price?

The academic ability of the student is very important to consider.

Depending on whether the student-athlete lives nearby or is to board at the school, we will want to know everything that we can determine, regarding the living conditions.

Based on the level of talent of the player, we will want to make sure that the school’s hockey program is a good fit. We will want to make sure that the coaching is adequate, and that the player fits into the level of play, and will get good “ice time”.

In our estimation, there are about six different levels of prep school hockey (maybe even seven or eight).

In the past, we have heard from players who only practiced “cross-ice” (for example) and goalies practicing without a crease in front of them. This would not be a quality situation for developing the player who wishes to play elite hockey.

Some prep schools might have a hockey team, but their coach has never coached elite hockey players, Perhaps, he happens to be the lacrosse coach and is being asked to cover the hockey team because he played minor hockey as a kid. Other prep schools have ex professional and/or college coaches, who have coached hockey for decades.

Some prep schools play 20 games per season, and some play 65 games a season. Some have ice only in their rink for 4 months per year, while other have year-round ice.

What other sports and/or activities does the player wish to participate in?

How are the coaches at the prep school connected with certain junior, college or university teams?

Some schools will make a player redo a year of school (maybe a “repeat junior” for example) and some will not. How does this fit into the anticipated path to college?

If a student repeats, can he meet the NCAA academic requirements in the time frame allotted? We are aware of several stidents who have repeated who later were unable to pass through the Eligibility Center, and by the time they called us for advice, it was too late.

Some prep schools have strong academics and also have a strong hockey program, and are well connected with colleges and universities. Some schools are simply hockey programs (weak) with an academic component and do not have relationships with any colleges or universities.

 

“These schools are extremely expensive. How do families afford to send their child?”

The sticker price, does appear to be quite expensive, but our experience would indicate that it is quite possible for many to afford some of these schools.

Once a family takes into account the cost of feeding a child. The cost of the hot water and electricity (associated with that child) and the travel to hockey games and team fees, etc. a family can ofte times save money, and have a superior hockey and academic experience.

 

“It is too expensive to hire someone like you to help find a prep school.

The fees you charge are expensive compared to others, who charge no fees at all, or half of what you charge.”

This is true. We are expensive, but we believe that our clients get great value.

Players will always save more money (in the long run) than it will cost for our services, based on the fact that we are experienced negotiators, who know the ins and outs of prep school financial ways and means.

Our fees cover multiple years, as opposed to an annual fee, and we think this is very important because we help families make long-term decisions, as opposed to an annual placement.

In many cases, other advisors charge lower fees, but also collect “secret commissions” from schools and junior programs. We have never collected a commission from one of these programs (although many have been offered), as we strongly believe that one cannot serve two parties. It is unethical. Read our Code of Ethics.

In many cases, the commissions are in excess of $10,000 and it is usually the less desirable programs that pay the best commissions (I received an email confirming such just yesterday from a program). We believe that this amount is better deducted from tuition fees paid by the student-athlete’s family.

We negotiate tuition fees paid by families. We are aware of many (similar) students who pay thousands of dollars more (sometimes tens of thousands). In most cases the reason why some pay more is based on the fact that they did not know what to ask for (or why they should be entitled to it, or properly prepare a justification for such).

In many cases, some consultants conduct work on behalf a player, in such a way, that it could prevent the student-athlete from ever being allowed to play NCAA hockey, because of eligibility issues.

 

These are some of the comments, and our responses, that we received following last week’s article. If you would like to make a comment, please do so (click below).

Thanks so much,