choosing the right college

In Part One, which we published on Wednesday, we discussed the early stages of the athletic recruitment process. Today, we will talk about the next steps for aspiring college athletes.

Find your fit, put together your materials, and get in front of the coaches you want to play for.
Get started early and use the summer to build on your exposure to the colleges you are interested in!

Sophomore year is a good time to start looking at current college rosters to see how you match up. Ask your coaches for programs that will suit you and do your own research. As you get to the summer before junior year, it can be helpful to create a sports resume. Most colleges want to see you play before they recruit you, so pick tournaments, showcases, teams, and camps that will get you in front of those coaches you want to play for. If you are considering Division I or II, be sure to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. Remember that the better your grades and test scores, the more likely you are to be recruited, the more likely you are to get accepted, and the more likely you are to earn a scholarship where available.

Be proactive with your communication.
Your coaches, counselor, teachers, and you must work together to complete your applications on time.

As junior year begins, send introductory emails to coaches at colleges of interest. These emails should include your resume and a link to a two to four minute highlight video of your best plays/shots/swing/form. Be patient, persistent, and polite—college coaches are busy! If you don’t hear back, don’t panic. Wait three to four weeks, and reach out again. Depending on the sport and your age, they may not be able to call you back or respond to email yet. Initiate college visits, let coaches know you are going to be on campus, and do the traditional admissions tour and information session in addition to seeing the coaches and athletic facilities. Keep your current coach, guidance counselor, and teachers in the loop; if you need to do an application early you will need their help. Make sure you are on track with application requirements, including testing, essays, and letters of recommendation. The application must be done before you can officially be given a spot.

Make sure a school is a fit with and without athletics!
Remember that a coach has never admitted anyone to college.

You never know what the future holds, so be sure you would still want to attend your first-choice school if athletics disappeared tomorrow. Take advantage of official visits senior year to assess your interest and fit with the program and college. You can only do five official visits, so use them wisely.  Many college coaches see those visits as a chance to push for an early application. Check your eligibility and make sure you’re on track to meet the college’s academic requirements for admission. Take the time you need to work through the options. Give yourself and your family the opportunity to consider the academic, financial, and athletic impacts of each school. Regardless of promises made by coaches, your application will have to go through the undergraduate admissions office for you to have a place in the freshman class, so make sure it is the academic and athletic fit that you (and they) are looking for!

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Written by College Coach
College Coach® is the nation’s leading provider of educational advising, offering expert guidance from the best college admissions consultants on the college admissions and finance process. Our goal is to help each student maximize his or her chances of success through services focused on their personal desires, goals, individual strengths, and accomplishments.