My son (a junior) is faced with a dilemma: continue on with wrestling (varsity and letter opportunity) or wrestle JV and keep his after-school job. His after-school job (which he's had for about 5 months) is working at a Park rec center supervising elementary school kids in an after-school program (games, tutoring, etc). He's apparently pretty good at it as his supervisor has told him he is the best employee she's ever supervised. He was working 3-6 pm, five days a week but has dropped down to 2 days per week (with the permission of his supervisor) in order to be on the wrestling team. This is his first year wrestling and it turns out he's pretty good at this, too. His coach told him that if he fully commits, he could wrestle varsity and likely letter but they have a strict formula for the number of practices/meets they can miss and still letter and be varsity. If he keeps his job, he won't letter - that was made clear. And that's okay with him in the sense that he can use it to stay in shape/get in better shape for CFA and participate as JV. He's concerned, however, that it may show lack of commitment both to sports and to his job (for purposes of SA application). He'd like to do both. Come spring, he will be taking a hiatus from the job for baseball (which he has played all through HS, will be varsity, and will letter). They've told him at his job that they would like him back full-time in the summer but cannot make any guarantees if he has a break in service. So, he asked me my thoughts - stay the course (and keep his job 2x per week), commit full time to wrestling, or commit full time to the after-school job (at least until March). In part, the reason he is asking is that we have a policy in our family that our sons (we have four and two are in college now) have to work in HS to defer the cost of college (particularly fees, books, and spending money). This applied to his two older brothers and now to him. Nobody (so far) has obtained a significant scholarship. So, my first reaction is "No exceptions - job before sports." He asked if this policy could be relaxed and wonders if he should drop the job, commit to wrestling, and possibly letter (to improve his chances for SAs). He is concerned that SAs will (1) place low value on JV and (2) not place high value on the job (i.e. equivalent with varsity sports). It would be hard to make the case that he "really" has to work to help out with the family finances but, as with many larger families, things are always tight. There is also the factor that he may not get in or otherwise go SA route and will need the money even more. Even if he goes SA, it seems he will need $$ for various expenses, travel home, etc. When he visited USNA in October, he specifically asked about after-school jobs as a factor in SA selection and they told him only a small percentage (something like <10%) of accepted candidates had part time jobs in HS (which seems really low to me), but that has raised his level of concern. This is a long-winded way of asking, "How do SAs value after-school job experience - especially compared to sports?" We would love to have some insight into this.