Developing a personal portfolio

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

If one day your son or daughter aspires to play college sports, you might consider developing a personal portfolio which highlights his or her academic, athletic, and leadership abilities.

Developing a portfolio with your child can be fun and exciting, and may possibly get your child noticed by college coaches as well. Consider some of the following suggestions before getting started:

* Around your child's junior year in high school, start developing his portfolio. Emphasize his academic, athletic, and leadership abilities. The academic category can include college-prep courses, GPA, and possibly SAT/ACT test scores. The athletic category may include the team(s) on which he has played, speed and strength data, camps and clinics attended, and any awards he has earned. The leadership category may include clubs and activities, volunteer experience, and any other things your child has done to improve the quality of the school and community.

* When starting the portfolio, brainstorm with your child experiences that fall into the aforementioned categories. Talk about the different things your child has done in her high school career, and be sure to take notes (try to list in chronological order).

* Once the brainstorming is complete, begin working on a portfolio cover that has a picture or two of your child in action, along with basic demographic information that includes her name, address, email, school, and phone number.

* On the inside of the portfolio, a simple cover letter that includes her future goals is a nice touch. The letter can also include why he or she is interested in a particular school, as well as his or her academic and athletic goals for college.

* For the academic, athletic, and leadership categories (you can include new categories if you wish), it is best to keep it short and to the point (use bullet points whenever possible).

* If you have collected your child's newspaper articles over the years, you might include a couple of the best ones (but don't go overboard).

* When the portfolio is complete, consider adding a front and back cover and have the document bound. If you have a DVD of your child's accomplishments, you may also include it with the portfolio.

Developing a portfolio shows your child is a self-starter, and may possibly get him noticed by a college recruiter. I recommend you send a portfolio out to all the colleges in which your child is interested and see what happens. In most cases you will receive some sort of a response, and hopefully that will lead to further dialogue and possibly an opportunity with the college of your child's choice.

Dr. Chris Stankovich is an expert in sport psychology and has co-written two books, The Parent Playbook and Positive Transitions for Student Athletes. If you have a sports question,chris@drstankovich.com, visit DrStankovich.com or call 614-561-4482.