My son, Kendall, has been saying for at least as long as he has been intellectually aware of the existence of college that he wants to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Although I’ve never asked him why, I think his affinity for the school is rooted in the fact that the first player who was ever his favorite (the second for me) also went to school there and then went on to become arguably the best to ever play the game. Kendall harbors not-so-secret and definitely not-so-uncommon desires to play professional basketball, after playing collegiate basketball on a scholarship. (For the record, I've shared my letter to a hoops dreamer with him)
Anyway, after realizing that my son was very serious about his plan to get a scholarship and about his professional aspirations (as serious as a pre-teen/young teen can be anyway) I told him four things. First, that it would be very expensive to attend school there so he had better get a scholarship. Second, that he had lots of work to do athletically and academically if he were to even have an outside chance at a scholarship. Third, that I didn’t think it was likely that he would get an athletic scholarship to UNC. And fourth, that he should never let anybody tell him he couldn’t achieve something – including me. I stole that fourth thing from a movie called The Pursuit of Happyness(yes, that’s how it was spelled). In the film, the father, played by Will Smith, tells his son just that when the son reveals aspirations similar to Kendall’s and the father reflexively tells the son how ridiculous his goals are.
Kendall is only a ninth grader, with lots of hours to spend over the next four years, so it remains to be seen just what he will accomplish. That said, the overall odds of getting an athletic scholarship are not likely to improve. But, the odds of getting an academic scholarship or several with which to cover the costs of tuition, room, and board, while not a lead pipe cinch, are markedly better.
With that in mind and with the goal of having Kendall succeed even if he fails, so to speak, and also to perhaps provide a road map of sorts for other aspiring but resource challenged future collegians, I put together a short list of questions (see below). I forwarded this same list to my friend and colleague Paul “The Scholarship Expert” Jones and asked if he might do some digging on the topic.
- What are the minimum academic requirements to get into UNC?
- How much is the tuition for an out of state student?
- How much for room and board?
- What would the answers to questions 1, 2, 3 be for similar schools in Georgia, say (UGA or GRU?)
- Given Kendall is a minority, with a 3.0, who won’t qualify for Pell Grant, what would his “Gap” (out of pocket costs) be to attend UNC/UGA/GRU, assuming he got all the scholarships and grants he could reasonably expect to receive according to your research?
I also asked Paul to feel free to round out my list of questions if he found them lacking in any way. He is going to share his findings in an upcoming post. Meanwhile, I have instructed Kendall to keep studying hard and working on his right hand.
By the way, Kendall’s current favorite player is Kobe Bryant, whose game bears an uncanny resemblance to his first favorite player’s. If Kendall were to develop a work ethic like either of those two, I might place a bet on him despite the odds.
My first favorite player was Julius Erving, fyi.
Thanks and stay tuned.