Questions about lacrosse recruiting for rising junior

My son is a rising junior who is a good lacrosse midfielder - on a strong club in Western US that plays competitively with East Coast teams, starter on varsity as a freshman for a top team in the state, made regional Under Armour All American Call Back game - likely not top D1 level as a player and likely not Ivy or top academic NESCAC level as a student. Either way, he is not considering D2 (wants better schools academically).

This forum category has been helpful and I was hoping to get some help with some questions (apologies if some of these have been covered, as I’m a newbie to this forum and to athletic recruiting - went to selective college but was not an athlete):

  • We are travelling East for tournaments this summer and planning on doing some college tours along the way. My son doesn’t yet have an SAT score or highlight reel - is it worth reaching out to coaches for informal visits? Is it even allowed before 9/1? Will coaches even respond without an SAT score or highlight reel?

  • Any advice on the balance between time/resources spent on team tournaments (usually top ones), showcases, or school-specific prospect days/clinics and ideal timing of those moving forward as a rising junior?

  • Are profiles on sites like ConnectLAX, SportsRecruits, etc a necessity?

  • How helpful is promotion via social media (posting highlights, tagging or re-tweeting coaches/schools, etc)?

  • And how much do private trainers help (strength/conditioning vs lacrosse skills)? How do I find one?

  • For athletic recruits, how important are other non-sports extracurricular activities for admissions?

  • Are there athletic recruitment focused college counselors out there? If so, are they helpful? Do they tend to be sport-specific? Are there any focused on lacrosse that people can recommend?

  • On SATs, how’s Khan prep compared to the paid services? Does it make sense to time prep to be targeted to a specific test date or is general prep / reps helpful?

  • Anything else we should be thinking about at this point?

There is a lot to unpack there and perhaps there are others here who can better respond but can you clarify your first paragraph? You mentioned that you didn’t think that he was a D1 level recruit and that he wasn’t academically an Ivy level student. However, you also said he isn’t interested in D2 (academically). So are you looking at D3? Or maybe preferred walk on at D1?

Good luck to your son.

Why no highlights? I would get highlights from his first summer tourney, then send a short clip of those (and also put on a youtube site), along with his 4 semester transcript to coaches. Also fill out the online recruiting questionnaires now. Cast a wide net.

Some coaches use Twitter, including DMs, some don’t. Your S should have a twitter account, and should follow the college teams and coaches he is interested in. Link to his highlight video in his bio, and include other relevant info (size, position, etc.).

Probably not. How involved is his club team in helping their athletes thru the recruiting process?

Not so much, assuming a full support athletic recruit.

Depends on how motivated the student is. Self study isn’t for everyone. If you can afford a private tutor, that is often better in terms of efficiency of prep and maximizing possible scores. Are you sure that SAT is the test for him?

Yes there are recruiting specific college counselors…some may be focused by sport, some not (fundamentally there are more similarities in the process than not). BUT if he is on a good club team, you should not need an external person…the club team should be helping with recruiting.

What is the college budget? Will you be applying for financial aid? Looking for athletic or merit $?

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On D1, I meant that he may not be good enough as a player to be recruited by a UNC but maybe a Dartmouth? On NESCAC, he may not be a good enough student for a Williams or Wesleyan but maybe a Tufts or Hamilton? So that leaves us with less competitive (from a lacrosse standpoint) D1 and less competitive (academically) D3 NESCAC/LAC.

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I assumed SAT given wider acceptance, especially among the bulk of East Coast lacrosse schools, but can you say more? And would you say private tutor over entities like Princeton Review?

Club is relatively newer, strong on the field but less of a track record so far on recruiting.

SAT has no greater acceptance than ACT in any geography (although more schools might superscore SAT than ACT), so choose the test that best suits your student.

Group test prep classes can be ok, depends on the student, ask around your area for references whether for group test prep, or private tutors.

Has the club coach, or admin, suggested they will be a recruiting resource?

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Ah, ok, I had maybe a dated notion that ACT was more of a Midwestern thing. What does ‘superscore’ mean?

Superscoring is possible when a student takes either the ACT or SAT more than once, and they combine their best section scores for a composite that might be higher than either sitting.

Example: SAT #1 EBRW 700, Math 650, composite 1350
SAT #2 EBRW 710 Math 630, composite 1340
Superscored SAT composite = 1360 (EBRW 710 from test #2, Math 650 from test #1).

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@laxdad, I am not sure that I understand your assessment on academic achievement and the NESCAC schools you mention. If he is good enough for Tufts, I suspect he is good enough for Williams or Wesleyan. My strong suggestion would be to reach out to all the coaches of all the schools in which you might have an interest. You will be surprised at the schools that will respond. You do need the tapes, though.

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As a point of reference, U.S. News ranks colleges by selectivity (by considering standardized scoring and high school class standing profiles). With the NESCAC LACs isolated, this is how they appear in the National Liberal Arts Colleges category (which consists of 223 schools):

Selectivity Ranks

:black_small_square:︎4. Amherst
:black_small_square:︎5. Hamilton/Williams
:black_small_square:︎8. Bowdoin
:black_small_square:︎16. Colby
:black_small_square:︎19. Middlebury/Wesleyan
:black_small_square:︎23. Bates
:black_small_square:︎68. Trinity

N/A: Connecticut College

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Got it, thanks! And would certainly welcome/appreciate any additional input on my questions, building on @Mwfan1921’s helpful responses

Now would be a good time for your son to submit a sport-specific recruiting form at colleges of interest. Through this point of contact you would create the opportunity for general guidance from college lacrosse coaches concerning both athletics and academics.

He should be leaning heavily on his coaches, from both club and hs. Many have connections to east coast college coaches that go way back. They know people, they know people who know people. They have cousins and friends and cousins of friends. Everyone knows everyone. The showcases and tournaments are good for exposure, but better if the coaches are watching for him. My daughter played in a few and always sent info to the coaches (“I’ll be playing at 2 pm on field 24; I wear #2, have black hair in a pony tail, and my stick has yellow and red tape on it.”) I saw coaches/reps taking notes at games (they have a special viewing area) and, at least for girls, all games are videoed and available for coaches to watch later (so then the players can send an email and say “I scored at 12:22 and had two assists at 14:20 and 16:12”)

I’m not sure what kind of school he’s looking for. Syracuse? Marquette? If he wants to stay in the west, look at Utah. There are smaller D1 schools in the east that have really good lax teams - Lehigh, Loyola (Baltimore), Albany.

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Good advice here from @Mwfan1921 and @twoinanddone. There has been some flux in the coaching ranks in NESCAC that may benefit your son if he comes from a school not traditionally recruited by NESCAC members. Bowdoin just hired a new head coach this week, Amherst will hire their second new head coach in two years shortly, the head coach at Conn Coll has one abbreviated season under his belt, and the coaches at Tufts, Trinity and Colby each have five or fewer years experience at their position. Many coaches return to the same recruiting well year after year (they LOVE the NE boarding schools) which can cause them to miss players like your son. The newer coaches may be more open to new recruiting ideas. Many of the NESCACs will attend the same recruiting camp or fall tournament. Try to get into one of those. For those coaches that show interest, follow persistently. A NESCAC opportunity can happen. Good luck!

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I have a son over at Berkeley and I spent entire junior and half of his senior year on this website, and superscoring schools can be tricky, yes some will but they see all scores and so not sure if they will really completely disregard your bad scores. So my son at Cal, took the SAT as Fresh and did not score high at all, then in his Junior in HS, he took ACT and got 34 composite, which was awesome, but wondering if him not getting into Duke or Georgetown had anything to do with SAT score from Freshman year.

Georgetown does require all scores to be sent, so perhaps a low frosh score could impact admissions. But the vast majority of schools don’t require an applicant to report all scores, so they wouldn’t see that low score.

My son was reaching out before he had test scores. I think it’s fine to say it’s scheduled or will be soon. There’s not much for the Coach to go on if there is no highlight reel, so it’s important to have him work on that to include in correspondences.

My son only went to couple school specific prospect days, for those he was really interested in. Showcases were a good investment for us since they usually publish who will be in attendance. Of course, many top tournaments do this as well. If possible, I’d go to the events where he know he will be seen by a lot of schools and particularly those he has the most interest in. Unsolicited comment: we’ve had 2 college coaches tell us they both love/hate showcases. Love bc you can easily see a lot of kids. Hate bc the play changes when they know coaches are watching, more ball hogging, trying to get fancy when there’s not a need, etc.

My son created a few free profiles. It hasn’t hurt but I wouldn’t say it’s helped that much. The schools who contacted him did so after seeing him in person and not from finding his profile. I personally wouldn’t pay for a profile.

We hear it’s helpful and it is used in some sports more than others. My son hasn’t been using it as part of his recruitment and it hasn’t hurt him.

I can’t say if it’s helpful since we haven’t used this. My son has found a lot of free training resources for lacrosse which include both skills and strength and conditioning. One of his club coaches also is a college coach and provides good training info. My son is a middie as well and follows his girlfriend’s track and field workout plans (sprints, etc) which has helped so much that he plans to do indoor track this fall (senior year).

Can’t comment on athletic counselors. Khan was helpful for my son. He linked his PSAT to Khan and it customized the practice to the areas he needed to focus on.

I would focus on intended major, strength of said major at that school, location preferences, and then if they have lacrosse. This could lead to schools across all 3 divisions. Right now, my son has 2 top choices. With both, his academic profile (gpa/ scores) are higher than the average for the schools. For that reason, he has been given extremely generous aid. For the D3 school, it is all academic and higher award than we had originally thought. For the D2, it is a combination of athletic/academic. Both schools are extremely affordable, cheaper than our in state publics. His intended major is good at both schools and checks the other boxes for him. Of course, you can also leverage talent…if a school really wants or needs your son’s athletic ability and he is a strong “enough” student academically, the lax can tip the scales in your favor. Just might not get as much academic money, which may or may not matter to you.

It might depend on the school and/ or if the Coach has any influence on the decision. My son lost 1.5 of in person instruction due to Covid and there were no online clubs, etc through his school. His only non sport extracurriculars are his part time retail job and a couple short term volunteer oops. He does play in a rec basketball league, too. We’ve reminded him that leadership from lax counts. Being multi year captain, for example, is just as valuable as president of an organization.

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there has been a lot of great responses here, as others have noted. I’ll comment on a few items that haven’t been as heavily discussed and covered. (As background, daughter was recruited to D3, ED accepted and loving playing (despite shortened seasons due to COVID) and will play all 4 years - also was the only freshman starter on her team.
Trainer or extra coaching or not? depends on your kid. If there’s something specific they need to work on that has been identified, it could be good. ie middies - need endurance (easy to do on your own) but also speed burst and agility (ie for draw controls, etc.) that might be worth finding a trainer to work on. or if stickwork is an issue, then having a coach help them could be worthwhile.
the recruiting sites are silly -Connect lax, etc. we put up skeleton profiles at the free level that at least had contact info but that was it. not worth the subscriptions, no coaches are looking there.
highlight reels - some of the smaller recruiting camps (where your kid will play a lot or do 7 v7 for example) are great times to either pay for the professional footage on the sideline (where they have the elevated cameras for great footage) or you camp yourself there and then have someone help with editing your video. unless you are good at this, have someone help you (you don’t have to spend a lot of $). There are great examples of good highlight reels on the internet that were done using home footage but then someone like the coach helped to edit it all together. Visibility, highlight circles, proper angles of the footage, etc. help.

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@calbkr I have a daughter, 2024 lacrosse player, who is interested in playing in college. She’ll do a few D3 and D1 prospect camps this fall. If they are school-specific camps, is it poor form to put film up from those camps (e.g., should you contain film to camps that have multiple coaches in attendance)? She has plenty of club and hs highlights but different settings sound like a good idea? Thank you!

Funny I posted last night after a long break, and then I get your questions (totally on pointe!) Good questions that I can definitely answer for you. Glad to hear your daughter’s interested and that you’re taking her to camps. You don’t say where you’re from or where your camps are, which is probably helpful info. Also, (not to be nosy) about how strong academically your daughter is. Why location? Well, we’re California and my daughter had a tough time because of the lack of exposure versus East Coast (and then travel costs for recruiting camps and finding a travel team to showcase or even just get the exposure to a higher level of play) and then also she’s 5’2" which is a whole nuther thing… and her high school did not have a team. So, we had to be creative (honestly, as I’m typing this, I’m thinking, wow, it’s pretty nice that she was able to find a perfect school and team for herself in upstate NY).
I’ll answer your specific questions first and then see if I can backfill the rest of what we learned (which mind you - pre COVID, but much still probably applies).
It is NOT poor form to use footage from anywhere - a school-specific camp, a tournament, high school games, one with multiple coaches - no one cares about that. They aren’t looking to see what school is featured on the jersey, etc. Footage is footage as long as it’s properly chosen. No one cares about different settings. If the highlights are strong and good, pack them in. 75% of the footage I see out there from HS girls is fluff and padding and just a waste of time. Either their HS team is not competitive (no one cares if you show that you’re scoring 5 goals in a game but the defense on your competitors sucks so really, you’re not that great). A true highlight reel should be full of as long as possible plays, drives, etc. that show you’re being challenged and how you respond. Also types of footage depends on what position (ie as a middie, your highlights should be much longer than a defender or attack since they have shorter bursts of activity. Also as a middie the first part of her reel was defense, then rides and transitions, and then goals). My daughter played the best when she was playing against girls way better than her (or marginally so) so we put her in situations where she shone because her skills were elevated against harder (not easier) competition and planned on footage from those situations. We did have some tournament footage but it was a bit zoomed out and we ended up not using it.
Also, if she’s looking at D3 the TOP camps to go to are run by Elite180 because they have dozens of the coaches there. Even if she doesn’t get the looks by a specific coach, she’ll get tons of footage reels. There’s a good solid bunch of talent (but still diverse enough that hopefully she’ll be somewhere in the middle.).That’s where we took all of our footage (we paid for the entire footage, and then had to comb through it all to choose the final stuff for our highlight reel).
Last but not least, college fit is important. My kid picked a place that even if she didn’t play (injury, or you hear that someone realizes they don’t like the coach the first week of practice) that she could walk away and still LOVE where she was at. Her academics were super strong so she passed the preread with flying colors.

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