Tips on Athletic Recruitment for College
During the recent conference of the Southern Association for College Admissions Counseling, SACAC, we had the opportunity to discuss athletic recruitment with other counselors who have worked in this area. Here are some of the conclusions we drew from the presentations and discussions:
- Going to college as an athlete requires a very important commitment, students must be aware of what they are getting into before making this choice. Being an athlete in college will impact:
- the student’s academic life, it will mean that there is restricted access to majors (students will probably have to choose majors that do not interfere with their college studies),
- there will be a lack of free time,
- restrictions on study abroad programs and internships, and also on weekend travel;
- and finally, students may experience devaluation of their intellect by professors and peers, a side consequence often reported by student-athletes.
- Positive side-aspects of being a student-athlete include gaining access to tutors, study halls and targeted advising
We discussed how Division III Sports are usually more balanced, with more season-specific commitments, less difficulty in accessing extracurricular activities and having a more balanced academic life, with fewer required events per week during the off-season, and the opportunity to access two sports at the same time.
Division I and II sports require a year-round commitment with heavier control by coaches, travel farther afield. Success habits for athletes include a strict regimen of nutrition and sleep (not what college students are “expecting” often).
In order to recruit for college athletics, students must be ACTIVE ORGANIZERS! Here are some tools to develop in order to get your name out there are get recruited:
- Create a YouTube channel with all your videos
- Contact over 50 colleges by email, phone, by filling out their online registration forms/web-based questionnaires available on their institutional websites
- Assist special tournaments for your sport – these are watched by college coaches, make sure the coach knows that you are assisting and call their attention upon attending, give them your team name and jersey number so that they can identify you when you are playing.
- Get recommendations from high school and club team coaching contacts
- Send introduction letters to college coaches
- Submit athletic resume to coaches and programs
- Attend summer camps related to your sport
There are four stages in athletic recruitment:
- Identification stage
- Evaluation stage
- Recruitment stage
- Commitment stage
You must understand in what stage of the recruiting process you are as an athlete, and also, if you are on time for recruiting. Many of the sports start recruiting in your Junior Winter semester, sometimes even earlier than that. You must be proactive and start making contact as early as the end of your sophomore year, beginning of your junior year.
Research strongly! Some questions you want to ask to find your fit/opportunity with the teams you are targeting are:
- Who is in their league?
- How do they stack up competition?
- Which teams are similarly ranked and what leagues do they play in?
- Record, reputation
- Number of recruits each year
- Walk-ons, how many can they have in a year? Do they make it? Number of players graduating in 4 years
- Academic restrictions
- Statistics for your sport… Attend to your sport rankings!
- Are they looking for your position?
- How many recruits are they looking for?
You can ask a coach:
- What they are looking for in recruits – characteristics, skills, positions, experience
- How many spots they will need to fill in
- When you will know where you stand in the recruiting process
- At what stage would the admissions office review your transcript
- What stand between you and becoming a recruit
You must take under consideration the Recruiting Funnel in order not to create false hope.
- Receive a questionnaire, you could be one of 1000 students
- Receive a follow-up contact, you could be one of 250
- Receive a phone call from the coach, you could be one of 75
- Are on the repeat call list, you could be one of 35
- Are asked to visit campus, you could be one of 25
- Receive official support in admission, you could be one of 8
- Are admitted to the school, you could be one of 5