It’s 6 p.m. on a Tuesday night and a dozen kids are strolling into the Don Knabe Golf Center & Junior Academy. They range in age from 13 to 17, and none are carrying golf clubs. A few instead have notebooks and laptops.
They are arriving at the newly redesigned Norwalk facility to attend a College Prep program put on by SCGA Junior, designed to assist high school kids with the difficult journey navigating a path to college. The four-week program, which costs participants just $20, provides the kind of hands-on college preparation many of these kids won’t otherwise receive.
“This program was born out of the fact that a number of kids in our programs have goals of going to college, and some even of playing college golf,” said Jennifer Seislove, SCGA Junior program director. “But many of them are beginning the process a step or two behind other kids because they don’t have the resources needed to find the right college for them. We hope this program can give them a leg up as they navigate the college journey.”
The four-week session began with two weeks led by Leigh Weissman of Collegewise, a college counseling company based in Southern California, that focused on the general college application process before two weeks led by Ted Gleason, founder of Road To College Golf, a company dedicated to assisting juniors with their pursuit to play college golf. The program also included a tour of the UCLA campus, where the group was joined by current UCLA golfer Lydia Choi and Asst. Men’s Golf Coach Andrew Larkin.
“I heard about this four-week program from a friend,” said Juliette Ruaux, a rising junior at Millikan High School who has aspirations of playing collegiate golf. “I really had no clue what college would be a good fit for me, and this is giving me so much more of a clear idea.”
Ruaux has been a longtime participant in a number of SCGA Junior programs, including as an active member of the SCGA Junior Golf Club, frequently utilizing her Golf Pass and attending SCGA Play Days. The involvement in this new College Prep program has been invaluable.
“After listening to Weissman and Gleason, I know what I need to strive for both academically and athletically,” she said.
The advice and guidance provided in the College Prep program would typically cost families thousands of dollars. However, Weissman and Gleason both all have a passion for helping underserved kids, and volunteered their time for the sessions. On Week 3, Gleason even took it a step further.
While talking to the kids about how to best introduce themselves to college coaches, Gleason showed examples of introductory emails and golf resumes that would best position a junior golfer to make a good impression. “If you want to draft a letter of your own and have me look over it, I’d be happy to do that,” said Gleason to the room of kids. “Write one in the next two weeks here and I’ll review it, I promise you that.”
In addition to the written examples, Gleason also loaded the juniors, and their parents, up with tools to assist with the process beyond just the four weeks.
“There is a lot of information out there available to assist you with this process, you just need to know where to find it,” said Gleason.
The College Prep program aligns perfect with SCGA Junior’s mission to engage underserved youth in the lifelong benefits of golf so they can achieve their dreams and potential. If you would like to learn more about the program, email Seislove at firstname.lastname@example.org.