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NECC Showcases Opportunities for High School Athletes

Submitted by on February 21, 2019 – 4:57 pm

NECC Volleyball player Amanda Forgetta of Haverhill, a business management major, connected with Julia Arango of Salisbury (left), and Angela Spaulding of Haverhill (right) at the Athletic Open House. Both Arango and Spaulding are students at Whittier, interested in playing volleyball for Northern Essex.

Northern Essex Community College held what might be its first open house for student athletes on Tuesday, February 19, and Athletic Director Dan Blair was pleased with the turnout.

More than 25 high school juniors and seniors, all student athletes, attended the event, which included an overview of the application and financial aid process; networking with coaches; and tours of the campus and the athletics facilities.

College is Increasing Number of Varsity Sports from Nine to Twelve

Northern Essex competes as a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and currently sponsors nine varsity intercollegiate sports including baseball, men’s basketball, golf, softball, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country and men’s and women’s track and field.  In the fall, Northern Essex will have the largest community college athletic program in the state with the addition of three new sports: men’s soccer, women’s basketball and eSports.  Nine of the 15 community colleges in the state have varsity athletic programs.

Student Athletes Must be Enrolled Full Time

In order to be eligible to play a varsity sport, athletes must be enrolled full time, taking 12 credits or more, during the semester they are playing their sport, according to Blair.  “We encourage our student athletes to enroll in at least 12 credits every semester, since the more credits you take here at Northern Essex, the better you will do with eligibility when you transfer.”

Blair shared the many support services that are available on campus to help student athletes succeed academically.  Those support services include tutoring centers, academic advising, career counseling, transfer advisors, learning accommodations, and a special program for student athletes that emphasizes time management, study skills, setting priorities, and more.

“We want to be sure our student athletes are succeeding in the classroom and on the playing field,” said Blair.  “Most plan to transfer to four-year colleges and universities, and we want to be sure they have the tools to be successful.”

The Application Process is Simple

The application, which can be completed online or in printed form, is a simple process, according to Dan Richer, director of admissions.  “We don’t require an essay, a letter of recommendation, or standardized test scores,” he told the student athletes.  “Our job is to help you become part of this college.”

Once the application is completed and high school transcripts are sent to the college, the next steps include assessment, to make sure a student is placed in the appropriate classes; applying for financial aid, and meeting with an academic advisor to select classes.

Alexis Fishbone, associate dean of enrollment and financial aid officer, encouraged student athletes not to be intimidated by the FAFSA form, which determines eligibility for financial aid.  “Applying is easy,” she said.  “Stick to the deadline and you’ll get more money.”

Next Steps for Student Athletes Interested in 2019/2020 Seasons

Anyone interested in learning more about playing a varsity sport at NECC should contact Blair at or 978 5556-3820 or visit the athletics website.