As college costs continue to soar, check out a hidden gem in the Cal Maritime Academy; a designated by Forbes Magazine as a top 24 "Best Buy" in U.S. higher education. This small (850 students) college may be compact but packs a punch! Cal Maritime Academy (CMA) offers prospective collegiate rugby student-athletes a unique, structured, academy-style academic program paired with a men’s varsity rugby program on the west coast. Located on a scenic waterfront campus in Vallejo (30 miles northeast of San Francisco), CMA has plenty to brag about including the highest job placement rates in the CSU system (93%) with starting salaries well above the national average.
Cal Maritime combines classroom learning, applied technology, leadership development and global awareness to provide students an excellent education. A key part of the campus experience is the annual training cruise aboard the 500-ft. training ship, Golden Bear. She serves as a floating classroom/laboratory where classroom concepts in marine transportation, engineering and technology are practiced and applied. School-sponsored, study-abroad trips provide those studying international business, logistics, maritime security and maritime policy with a first-hand exposure to those practices around the world.
Academies are generally small, focused, structured and offer a high-quality education. With class sizes averaging 22 students, this public school offers the experience normally reserved for a small private college. There are only six majors, and students are generally very focused on their chosen fields. Cal Maritime prepares its students for successful careers in the fast-paced and exciting fields of international business &logistics, marine engineering technology, global studies & maritime affairs, marine transportation, mechanical engineering, and facilities engineering technology. Some people assume Cal Maritime is a “military” academy because students wear uniforms, but they are incorrect. While Cal Maritime stresses some similar values as the military academies, students have no obligation to join the military when they graduate.
Post graduate employment is a great test of the strength of a college program and Cal Maritime is a leader in this regard. 93% of the graduating class of 2011 (all majors) were employed in their field by August 1, 2011. The remaining 8% did not respond to our survey. Average starting salaries in each major were as follows: Marine Transportation $69,000, Marine Engineering Technology, $71,000, Facilities Engineering Technology $73,000, Mechanical Engineering (licensed) $63,000, Mechanical Engineering (non-licensed) $57,000, Business Administration-International Business and Logistics $44,000, Global Studies and Maritime Affairs, $40,000.
In 2013, the Keelhaulers joined six universities (Humboldt State, CSU Monterey-Bay, and Sonoma State, as well as the University of the Pacific and the University of San Francisco) to form the NorCal Collegiate Rugby Conference.
Led by head coach Steve Hiatt and assistant coach Dave Buckey, the Keelhaulers won the NorCal CRC title defeating Humboldt 50-0 in the final game. The Keelhaulers are currently ranked #9 in the National Small College Rugby Organization.
Hiatt brings the winning attitude he learned while playing for UC Berkeley as well as for the USA 7s National Team, earning 19 caps along the way.
“My experience from successful coaches that I have worked with like Edward Roberts, Jack Clark, Emil Signes and Bing Dawson to name a few, is that if you set high standards, work diligently toward attaining those high standards, and build a framework for players to succeed, that players, coaches, and the team will achieve success and good results will occur,” said coach Hiatt. Hiatt also believes that, “Rugby is a unique sport that demands mental prowess to match its physical demands. Because of that, there is a spot for every shape and size athlete who is willing to work hard to be on the field. …Those good results aren't just winning and victories, but include improved confidence, skills, teamwork, planning, leadership, communication and ability.”
The varsity team receives full support from the administration, including admission support and occasionally a minor monetary scholarship, which the CMA rugby alumni awards to a deserving player. The school has built a beautiful dedicated rugby field on campus. When asked where he saw the program in five years, Hiatt shared:
“The goal is to consistently produce a competitive varsity team despite our small enrollment size, and continuing to build on the platform that coach Edward Roberts successfully implemented previously. Cal Maritime rugby can become a stronghold of collegiate rugby in Northern California because of our new field, webcasting ability with our new stadium, new athletic center to be opened 2014, and continued university support. Together with Cal Maritime's academic strength, its graduates' career success, and affordable Cal State tuition … it is clear that our overall team rugby experience is increasing, as more high school rugby players learn about our unique university-rugby brand and apply to Cal Maritime.”
Hiatt understands the needs of the student athlete. Players train four days per week after classes with usually one game per week.
“Our players make a full commitment and work hard to be complete cadet-athletes,” Hiatt notes. “Because rugby is a varsity sport at CMA, the Academy covers all training, travel and playing expenses and gives access to all athletic resources available. Working in the collegiate setting, players need to be able to transfer their skills worked at on the field into their academic studies and future careers, so we stress time and resource management, importance of accountability, and that success comes in many forms, not just points on the scoreboard.”
In order to apply, you must apply through the Cal State University application system (www.csumentor.com). You must be eligible, meeting all of the “A-G” requirements in order to be considered (www.csum.edu/web/admissions/first-time-freshmen) and submit either an SAT (Math & Critical Reading) or ACT score. Admission to Cal Maritime is selective, with the average admitted student having a 3.1 GPA on a 4.0 scale. The 25th to 75th percentile SAT Math score is between a 500-600, and the 25th to 75th percentile SAT Critical Reading score is between a 470-580. The range for ACT scores is between 20-25. Most students admitted to Cal Maritime demonstrate strength in math and science (Calculus and an AP Science is typical).
Total cost of attendance at Cal Maritime for a California resident is $22,572/year. Out-of-state residents may be eligible for tuition discounts in the form of the Western Undergraduate Exchange program (WUE): applicable to residents in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. https://www.csum.edu/web/financial-aid/cost-of-attendance
Hiatt encourages all interested students to apply.
“CMA is a Cal State University that uses the maritime environment and academy structure in its instruction and training, which has enabled its graduates to achieve career success inside as well as outside the maritime business sector. CMA Rugby augments this training and enhances these skills learned through competitive goals and structures. We welcome any and all inquiries into our great little academy.”
Cal Maritime Academy: www.csum.edu
CMA’s Varsity rugby team: http://www.cmakeelhaulers.com.
CMA Rugby Recruiting Questionnaire: www.cmakeelhaulers.com/recruiting/0/5.php
*Data and Facts pulled from Cal Maritime Academy’s website.
I know college admissions. I know rugby. I’d like to get to know you. Call today for a consultation and let me help you get into your top choice college. Karen Donoghue,
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