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Recruiting ABC's - the Board's Collective Wisdom

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Replies to: Recruiting ABC's - the Board's Collective Wisdom

  • StartingblockStartingblock Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    Some more semi-random thoughts:

    At the start of the recruiting process, stack rank the following attributes in priority order: academics, athletics, money. The recruiting process can be emotional, and there is likely to be a natural tension between the attributes, so it’s important to keep perspective on how each school/opp. aligns with your priorities. Eliminate schools that represent gross misalignments early.

    As already stated by OhioDad, whenever possible seek the counsel of people who are familiar with the sport you are pursuing. (I’ve seen a number of people on this board provide unhelpful information/bad advice to posters because they were projecting experiences from a different sport)

    College athletic recruiting is a very inefficient and dynamic process. Lots of exceptions happen and recruiting boards can change a lot in the fall of senior year. Maintain an open mind and keep multiple options open.

    For a kid who is a rock star athlete with an “on the bubble” academic profile for a high-academic institution, do give some thought to the overall college experience vs. the prestige of attending the school. Struggling with academics is not fun, can be depressing, and can negatively impact athletic performance, too.

    Consider the location of the school and the travel schedule of the team when you are gauging the time commitment for sports. Travel adds up and takes away from sleep, studying, and social time.

    - Parent of Ivy track athlete (per item 2 above)


  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,297 Senior Member
    I could see various “buckets” of advice…for example: Standardized Testing; How to Build a Smart List of Possible Schools/Programs to Target; Recommended Timelines (though new rules will necessitate a rethink of tried and true practices); A Recommended List of Questions; Coach Correspondence Tips; etc.

    Here are some general suggestions I thought of, some of which may or may not overlap with suggestions already mentioned.

    - Getting a trustworthy, expert third-party objective opinion/evaluation of the prospect’s ability/potential is key. I love that quote above about targeting schools two tiers down from where “your dad thinks you can play”. In our case, we knew 2 college coaches and asked both if our daughter was good enough to fence in college…when she was in 8th/9th grade. Both of them said they felt she was. Had we not gotten that early validation, I don’t know that we would have pursued the sports recruiting route.

    - Even if competing in a timed sport, get some video of the athlete in action. I don’t think it has to be anything fancy or a professional production. But it lets the coaches see the kid in motion — and allows for a sense of size/build.

    - If you are shooting for a selective school (and maybe even if you’re not), get your standardized testing done as early as possible. My daughter took practice tests in the summer between soph/junior year as a diagnostic step to see what she needed to work on. She prepped throughout the summer and took the SAT in October of her junior year. Took it again in Jan and her superscore was in range for even the most selective schools she was considering, so she was done.

    The advantage of having strong scores in hand early is that, in tandem with unofficial transcript/GPA and school profile, a prospect can offer a coach documented proof of academic admissibility. The scores might also help you be smarter about developing the list of schools to target.

    - Cast a wider net than you initially thought you would and try not to “fall in love” with any school/program before you know they love you.

    - In the end, chances are a parent is going to know their kid better than anyone else…so don’t be afraid to digest information from your various sources (including College Confidential) and use what YOU think is right for your kid/your kid’s situation.

    - Love the advice above to “ask the coach”. There are so many questions that pop up on the forum that could probably be answered more quickly/directly by asking the coach whose program/intentions you have a question about.
  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,766 Senior Member
    @mamom -- happy it worked in the end for your daughter, despite the ups and downs.

    For future recruits, I would add -- be flexible, don't take it personally. Coaches may blow hot and then cold or they may be non-committal. They may be trying to keep the "funnel" of prospects wide until they get some commitments or they just may be having a bad week and will be back to themselves in a week.

    My kid learned a lot about handling rejection and disappointment through the recruiting process. His initial top choice school, which he loved and seemed like a great fit -- collapsed on him over a period of months, as the coach went from saying he was at the top of his list to not responding to emails. For another top school, he couldn't get his test scores into the (pretty high) range required by the coach for admission, and had to take that school off his list. We realized that coach had basically no "pull" with admissions so scores had to be in the top 25%, and that just didn't happen.

    And, while it is true that coaches may come and go, if you don't like the coach or feel like it's a bad fit -- don't hesitate to move on. At 2 schools which seemed otherwise like good matches, academically and athletically, my kid walked out of the meeting saying he couldn't play for that guy.

    Lastly, while a full visit, with class visit, time with the team, meeting with coach, watching practice if in season etc. is essential, I don't think the overnight is necessary for everyone. My own kid can be on the reserved side, and the prospect of crashing on the floor of a stranger who is a possible future teammate etc., was just not necessary for him to make a decision.
  • mamommamom Registered User Posts: 3,575 Senior Member
    edited May 2018
    @LMK999, D was frank with the coaches, they were not her first choice, or she didn't click during the OV and I believe they were frank with her. She took emails, text msg and phone calls from most. It wasn't until winter ball (and the college season was over) that D started to get real communication from coaches. She would send updates on stats, additional film, etc every week or so. They typically took a few days to respond. All the coaches wanted transcripts and test scores during the summer and did admission pre reads. All came back positive, but most of the coaches also told her, it was not an automatic in, admissions would re-evaluate once they got the full app. Once that happened, the coaches pushed to set up OV's. Five is a lot, but at that point (end of summer) she was still not on her #1 choices list and D had not fallen in love with any one school. My D's school was very accommodating with her missing so much school at the beginning of the year. Those OV's were important for D. She sat in classes, spent the night with members from the team and got to know the coaches better. Sometimes, she attended a captains practice. They definitely helped her sort her list out. It worked out really well for D, but as I read on this forum last year, it is like a game of musical chairs. When asked the coaches answered where D was on their list. Maybe we got lucky, but, we did not feel anyone was stringing D along. Oh, if money is an issue, get a financial pre-read, fill in the NPC and don't expect any last minute money. D had a friend whose parents could not afford her #1 school, but did not understand how it worked. If you cannot afford the dream school in August, you probably cannot in Dec. Be honest with your kids and move one. The sooner you do that the more opportunities they may have.
  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,297 Senior Member
    An addition based on a recent thread on ECs:

    - In general, even selective colleges won't expect high-level athletes to have the same sort of ECs — in quantity or commitment — as NARPs. This is not to say that athletes should give up on non-athletic interests. To the contrary, they should participate in any activities that they enjoy doing. Parents, on the other hand, should not worry so much about whether their athlete has focused too much in one area and needs a broader base of ECs. If an athlete spends 20-30 hours a week on a sport, there isn't going to be much time left for other endeavors, and that allows for only superficial EC involvement. Colleges want depth, and not breadth.

    [NEARLY 100% CRIBBED FROM GOINGTHRUAPHASE'S EXCELLENT REPLY ON THAT THREAD]
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