How to Get Recruited Guide
An athlete's simple start to a college search

An Athlete’s Simple Start to a College Search

The college search process can feel overwhelming. There are so many options. Are you and your teen ready but not sure where to start? What should you look for in a college? Here are a few priorities that can guide your search: distance of the college from home, religious values, academic considerations, and the athletic program.

Your teen’s sport is the most important part of the college search.

The first and most obvious question is whether a college offers your teen’s sport. So start your college search here. Not every school offers every sport. If your teen is a basketball player, they should be able to find teams at almost every school. But other athletes will have more limited options.

However, every athlete will have multiple options. Use the internet to research colleges with the program you’re looking for.

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: If your teen chooses a university without their sport, their athletic career is over. And that’s fine. Just know that’s the choice you’re making.

What type of school are you looking for?

Does your athlete want to go to a state school or a private school? Would you like a Protestant school or a Catholic university?  If you can narrow this down, your search will also narrow down.

Often state schools are the cheapest options. But not always. So if your teen is interested in a private school, try working through the recruiting process with a few coaches and see what the final aid package will be.

Your college search should consider location.

What about the location? Does your athlete want to go to school close to home? Do they want to explore a new place and feel like they’re on their own?

And think about the travel implications of each choice. Do you want to buy airline tickets to see your teen at Christmas? Does your teen want to come home every weekend?

Finally, if your teen chooses a college far from home, you won’t be able to watch as many games or matches. Is that okay with you?

What kind of academic majors does the college offer?

Does the school have academic majors that are in line with your teen’s interests? Take a look at the degree programs offered before you contact the college coach.

If you are looking for a very specific major and the school does not have it, there may be a way around the problem.

For instance, your teen wants to go into sports physical therapy, and that is not listed. At least consider a school that has a great science program (Biology/Anatomy/Physiology) and may have some athletic training classes, but not a major. Many careers that require an advanced degree allow for variety in undergraduate studies.

When you start talking to the coach, you can also ask if your teen’s degree program is possible while they compete as an athlete. Some academic programs are so demanding it’s not realistic for athletes to complete them. Being a college athlete is a huge time commitment. You can read more about the time commitment of college athletics here.

Did you know over half of all incoming freshmen don’t stay in the major they begin with, and even fewer end up in the career they thought they were pursuing?

In your college search, begin by making sure you like the school. Coaches come and go.

What should you look for in the coach?

After you’ve found a few colleges to consider, begin researching the head coach. Pull up the archives and see what has been going on long term.

How stable have the coaches been? There is no guarantee that the coach you are recruited by will be there when you graduate but you can look for indicators. How long have previous coaches been there? If it’s a bad place to work, you’ll see a lot of turnover. If the coach hates their job, you better believe that will impact your teen’s college experience.

Look for this across other sports as well. It will give you a good indication of the environment of the school.

Some coaching turnover is okay. Coaches may leave for positive reasons, they may be advancing their careers. However, some colleges are looking to hire a new head coach every two years. Something’s wrong there.  Your teen might be happier under a coach who loves their job.

Once you start talking to coaches, you can evaluate their personalities. That’s important too, but it’s a later step in your college search process.

Taking a look at the team is part of the college search process.

Finally, look at the team roster. Take time to read the player bios. Look at what high schools and clubs current players came from. This should give you an indication of the level of play and whether your teen will fit in.

If you’re interested in what you are seeing, don’t be afraid to find some of the players on social media. Find out what they’re like. What are they saying about their college experience?

If there is a player who graduated from your teen’s current high school or club, they can be a great resource. You don’t have to know them well. Being from the same area, they could be an advocate and a resource.

Once you’ve found a few colleges that seem like a possible fit, it’s time to start contacting coaches. And if you don’t know how to do that, I’ve got you covered. Check out First Contact With a College Coach.

Do you want to help your athlete get recruited by a great program without wasting thousands of dollars?

The How to Get Recruited Guide is a step-by-step plan to turn your teenager’s talent into offers from excellent college and university sports programs.

Now is a great time to start working with your athlete to get them recruited and help them fulfill their dreams! The How to Get Recruited Guide will guide you through the whole process, from contacting college coaches to evaluating offers. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get your athlete a spot on a college roster. You can buy the Guide and get started today!

2 thoughts on “An Athlete’s Simple Start to a College Search”

  1. You mention “Once you start talking to coaches, you can evaluate their personalities.”, how exactly does that happen ? How do you start talking to coaches ? Could you share the steps to get to this point ?

    1. Recruiting is all about being personal and developing relationships with coaches. Coaches offer roster spots and scholarships to players who they both like and have a relationship with. With each school your child is interested in, they need to continue reaching out and working on the relationship, even if it feels one-sided at first.

      When you receive an email from a college coach it means nothing more than that your child is good enough to play at their program. They are fishing.
      Before you respond, research the college and see if it is a place your child might like to attend.
      If you are interested, it’s time for your child to begin building a relationship with the coach. Have your child email the coach, then follow up with a phone call if they don’t get a response.

      who gets recruited? Student-athletes who:

      Are persistent in marketing themselves to college coaches
      Develop relationships with college coaches
      Have good grades and test scores
      Have great attitudes
      Talent – but it isn’t what separates those who make it and those who don’t. The separation comes through the other four traits.

      If you need extra help,the “How to Get Recruited Guide” — is a step-by-step plan (includes how to build the relationships) to turn your child’s sports talent into offers from excellent college and university sports programs.

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