ACSA Embraces Student-Athlete Development
Matt Dunaway
Matt Dunaway

BATON ROUGE - The Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes continues to emphasize the total development of LSU's student-athletes over the 2010-11 year.

Not just assisting with academic needs, the ASCA has put on several Lifeskills seminars to prepare student-athletes for life after college. 

In order for student-athletes to be truly prepared for their careers, it is the goal of the Shaquille O'Neal Life Skills Program to ensure that each student-athlete will leave Louisiana State University with a professional resume, cover letter, and interview experience. One of the hallmarks of the Lifeskills programming is the Career/Professional Development Program.

This program is broken down into steps for each academic year.

During freshman year, the ASCA provides student-athletes with a variety of opportunities to help pave the way to their future. The process begins with participation in the Freshman Interest Assessment to receive a "Career Game Plan," at the Major Decisions Symposium, all the way until the day they graduate and move forward in their professional endeavors.

As a sophomore, the ASCA continues to direct student-athletes as they become more oriented with their surroundings and are encouraged to become more involved with the things that interest you. The ASCA assists student-athletes as they start to weed out things that don't match their interests.

The junior year is the time for valuable experience, and the ASCA provides student-athletes with opportunities to prepare themselves for the transition into the work force post graduation.

"I think that football is a sport that you play, but education is something that you keep with you for the rest of your life," football's Sam Montgomery said. "Your mind keeps growing every day but the body deteriorates over time. It's important to pursue an education because it will give you life-changing opportunities, networking opportunities and business opportunities. When you're out of school, it gives you the opportunity to go anywhere and do anything. The power of education is strong."

Three ways this has been accomplished thus far by The Freshman Interest Assessment Program, Sophomore Resume Program and the Major Decisions Symposium.
"We believe it is important to be proactive and work with students early in their college careers to help them learn about themselves and what majors and careers they find interesting," ACSA Associate Director of Student Learning Jennifer Timmer said. "Our programming is geared towards reaching each student as an individual and helping create a plan that will prepare the student for a successful professional career after graduation."
The Freshman Interest Assessment Program provided the student-athletes with insights regarding their personality traits, including their strengths, tendencies, and interests, which can help them as they consider possible majors and career paths. They received detailed, personalized reports based on their assessments and participated in a series of activities designed to encourage them to think about their interests and also to educate them about possible majors and career paths. 
"Your future can start early by picking a major that you're interested in," men's basketball guard Andre Stringer said. "Picking the right major can help prepare you for a job you'll really enjoy."
Students-athletes were led through the process of creating a resume as part of the Sophomore Resume Program. They learned what information should be included, how it should be formatted and how to create the best product possible. Highlighting skills learned as a student-athlete along with how to keep a resume updated with current accomplishments and experiences was also addressed.
Both freshmen and sophomores were involved in the Major Decisions Symposium. They participated in small-group question and answer sessions in which they visited with representatives from the colleges and learned pertinent information that will help them choose their majors. Each representative spoke about their college's degree offerings, entrance requirements, possible career paths and special programs. Afterwards, student-athletes asked additional questions to learn more about their interests.

"It is imperative to for us to equip our student-athletes with the necessary skills for success during their collegiate years and beyond," ACSA Executive Director Kenneth Miles stated. "We also pride ourselves on developing model practices to remain a leader in student-athlete development."





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