Parkdale athletes prove college is possible without dependence on sports

Many students believe that the only way to get into an acceptable college was through sports. Sports have been the way that many student athletes have received scholarships. However, due to the global pandemic students have not been able to play sports. What about the student athletes who are seniors: will they still be able to get accepted into college without their senior year highlights?

The CollegeVine blog reported that colleges only think as sports as an extracurricular. It shows colleges that you are committed to an activity. We are in a global pandemic, so how will student athletes still attend college? Have student athletes been affected by this pandemic? 

Kultumi Conteh was still accepted into a number of colleges despite her senior soccer senior being disrupted by the pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Michael R. Smith/The Prince George’s Sentinel)

“I think that not playing soccer for so long made me lose my interest in it or motivation to partake in soccer related activities. Though I had more free time, it was actually very depressing not being able to play soccer,” said senior girls soccer athlete Kultumi Conteh. “In the aspect of college sports, it caused a lot of barriers because I [still was not] getting enough exposure or any exposure at all to coaches. While I couldn’t play, others were still playing and getting the exposure they needed in order to move their game to the collegiate level. I’m not saying that it was all due to covid but I do think it I was just started to get exposure/recognition my junior year.” 

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic Conteh was unable to receive her soccer highlights to gain the attention of college. Despite this, Conteh was accepted into most of the colleges that she applied to, including Towson, Howard, Penn State, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Loyola University Maryland. 

Nearly most of the top schools Conteh was accepted to and it was not because of sports, but instead, education was the main focus. 

She, and other Parkdale athletes, are the prime example that there is more out there than sports being the only way, and this pandemic has shown many students that. For some, however, sports really can play an important role.

Ogechi Onyekwere was able to secure college acceptances based on her academics.

“I believe that if I played this year […] more colleges would be able to scout and recruit players” stated senior Ogechi Onyekwere, who has played on Parkdale’s Lady Panthers basketball team for her entire high school career.  “Sports have allowed me to not only do something that I love but has helped in my application process. Colleges like to see a student [who] participates in high school extracurriculars and is overall well rounded. So, playing sports really helped colleges see that I get good grades while juggling a sport hence making it easier to get in.”

Although the basketball season of 2020 was cancelled, Onekeywere got accepted to UCONN, St. John’s, Hofstra, George Mason, UMD, Towson, UMBC, UMASS, Penn State, Temple, University of San Francisco, Clemson, Bowie , and University of Delaware.

The pandemic had no limitations when it came to these student athletes. They were persistent, on the field and or the court.