The college recruiting process in some ways is a popularity contest; only the very best high school student athletes get to pick the college they want to play for.
I believe that number of privileged student athletes is around 1% meaning 99% of all other high school players have to do a thousand different things to gain the attention of college coaches.
Have you ever noticed all the big-time major college recruits talking about where they’re going to college?
On TV they have those selection shows where top high school recruits decide where they’re going to college by picking up that school’s cap that has their college logo on it.
Every high school student athlete is not privileged enough to choose where they’re going to attend college over another school.
A huge percentage of high school players have to actually gain the attention of college coaches for them to let you know whether they want you or not.
It’s almost like high school student athletes have no choice as to which college to play for.
A college program can hear about you many types of ways and decide to make you an offer.
Of course at that point you have a choice to accept or not, but what student athlete do you know will actually turn down a scholarship offer?
Wouldn’t it be cool that all a high school student athlete had to do would be to call their favorite college program and tell that coach of their commitment to play for them?
How simple the college recruiting process would now become for millions of high school players.
You wouldn’t have to write letters to college coaches expressing interest in their program.
You would no longer have to send thousands of emails to hundreds of college coaches in your home state updating them about your latest game.
How much simpler recruiting would be if all you had to do was make a phone call to a few college programs?
Too bad, though. In reality the college recruiting process is extremely complicated and you really do have to do something to get college coaches to like what you do athletically.
Millions of high school student athletes are performing at high levels all to gain the attention of college coaches who have scholarships to give.
If you’re lucky and a great many of these coaches really like you, chances are you could be one of the chosen few offered a full athletic scholarship.
That’s generally the thinking on how the recruiting process should go.
Truth be told, recruiting does not work that way for every student athlete. It’s more about getting your name out there to a large number of college coaches.
Recruiting is about your grades and how strong you are academically.
Recruiting is about your character and personality; can you get along with others and whether you’re coachable.
Recruiting is about winning. Are you a winner?
The college recruiting process is about many things, but one of those things is that student athletes do not get to pick the college they want; it is really about the college coaches picking you.
There is no secret formula to get recruited for college; a person does not have to acquire special talents or skills to gain the attention of college coaches. In other words: you do not have to be a genius to get recruited for college.
To get recruited for college all you have to do as a student athlete is to somehow get in front of as many college coaches as you possibly can.
Play on a good travel team that will help you get exposure.
As a student athlete it’s a good idea to write letters to college coaches to let them know who you are.
It is also not a bad idea to get your recruiting video to college coaches you have networked with in the past.
The real secret formula is for you to just stay actively involved in the college recruiting process every day.
Time is valuable and for every day that you sit back and do nothing, it’s a day lost in the recruiting process that can never be returned to you.
How does one student athlete who may have similar skills to another student athlete get all the attention from college coaches? The answer is: maximum exposure!
Student athletes, parents and high school coaches should work together to gain maximum exposure for these high school athletes.
Networking with five, ten or more college programs is not enough and will clearly not help you as you move forward in the recruiting process.
If you don’t have at least 100 college programs that you can network with then you may be selling yourself short.
You’re never going to know exactly where that scholarship may come from.
Opportunities are everywhere but if you limit yourself to just a handful of college
My advice for parents is to get started early with recruiting; don’t wait until the senior year to begin the college recruiting process.
By waiting until the senior year then you will be required to become a genius to get it all done in a short amount of time. programs then you could be turning your back on opportunities that are available.
Look further and deeper into the college recruiting process.
You do not have to be a genius to contact hundreds college programs; it does not require a high IQ to write letters and emails to college coaches; it does not take any special talent to get your video or your transcript to interested college programs.
Sometimes I believe parents feel that the recruiting process is a daunting task with too many details that must get done.
I believe if you start out small with a short list of things to get done each month, then you will not overwhelm yourself.
1 – Understand who is responsible. Many families assume that their high school coach is responsible for their recruiting process. High school coaches are great people; they work really hard and usually don’t earn much money.
Often, they are teachers who have papers and tests to grade or work other jobs to make a living, and most of them have families to take care of as well.
The recruiting process is ultimately your responsibility. You are responsible for researching and evaluating schools, contacting college coaches, visiting schools and making decisions along the way.
Your high school coach can help you with the process by determining where your skills might fit in with different college levels and programs, writing recommendations, and even placing phone calls on your behalf to college coaches after you have initiated contact.
Don’t be the parent that senior year says, “I thought our coach would take care of the recruiting process for us.”
2 – Be proactive. Now that you know the process is your responsibility, it’s important to be proactive and research as many schools as possible. The recruiting and college selection process is not something that should sneak up on you senior year.
Success in recruiting is about matching up your son or daughters academic talents, athletic talents, and desires with a given college program.
The families that come the closest to finding an athletic, academic, and social match are the one’s who usually have the best success in the recruiting process.
They have already done much of the work for the college coach, and the coach has confidence in recruiting a smart and talented athlete who wants to attend their school. There are over 1,300 colleges at the NCAA D1, D2 & D3 level, not to mention hundreds more at the JUCO and NAIA level.
You may have to research 100 colleges throughout the country and then narrow down your list based on your criteria and the recruiting feedback you get after contacting those coaches!
3 – Don’t follow the herd. Many students put themselves in a position to fail by simply following the herd and applying to well-known popular schools.
The problem is that everyone is applying to these schools and competition for admission is extremely difficult.
Harvard annually receives over 30,000 applications and admits roughly 9% of applicants each year. Despite your academic record, Harvard is going to turn down over 28,000 students each year, some of them being incredibly smart and gifted students.
While you may have the desire and ability to attend a certain school, it’s important to research and apply to a wide range of schools that fit what you are looking for.
You can never assume you will be accepted to or will be recruited to play at one particular school and you need options.
4 – Be realistic. One of the best quotes I ever saw was the following, “There are roughly 20,000 high schools in the country and thus 20,000 leading scorer’s on every team at every high school, but it doesn’t mean those 20,000 leading scorer’s are all talented enough to play college athletics.” – The love, time, money, and passion you have poured into your son or daughter’s athletic career can often cloud your judgment of their potential for a college scholarship.
Most parents’ dream of athletic scholarships and all the money they will save and are not realistic about the chances of receiving athletic scholarship money.
While your talents may garner some athletic scholarship money, after D1 football and basketball, there is very little scholarship money to go around.
Most coaches, even at the D1 level, have a limited amount of money for their team that they divide up amongst 10-20 players (even more for some sports). There is far more money in the form of grants, Merit aid, outside scholarships, institutional aid, and federal financial aid, than there is athletic scholarship money.
You need to explore your options at all programs at all levels, and not focus your search solely on an athletic scholarship.
You also need to seek out people that can give you a realistic evaluation of your son or daughters ability and how it applies to different levels. Ultimately, only a college coach can determine whether or not you can play for them.
5 – Be Educated. There are a lot of confusing topics and terms that you will come across in the recruiting process; official visits, early decision, EFC, red shirts, scholarship blending, head-count sports, NLI, Clearinghouse, and so on.
Your job is to learn the basics, understand your role in the recruiting process, understand how coaches recruit and what the look for, and understand what admission departments and schools look for as well. It’s not about rules; it’s about understanding and working with the process.
Learn the basics ahead of time and ask questions along the way to your guidance counselor, coaches, or anyone that has been through this process before.
Lack of understanding on how the college recruiting process works is a major reason why high school athletes and their parents screw up the college recruiting process.
Laziness on the part of parents is the number one reason why the process of going from high school athlete to college athlete does not always work out for them.
There are so many factors that totally ruin the college recruiting process for many high school athletes each and every year that I thought I would come up with 3 key elements on why student athletes will never get recruited or placed in college.
Parental Laziness I believe is a major reason why high school athletes end up not going to college or end up at lesser-known colleges that is beneath their athletic ability. The college recruiting process is really about getting an all expense paid college education that will last that student athlete for the rest of their lives.
If getting an education is that important and critical to the future of a student athlete, then why do parents take a sometimes lackadaisical approach?
I believe the reason for the slow motion approach to college recruiting is because the process is confusing and some parents don’t want to take the time to find the information or resources that they need in order to get a better understanding recruiting and all that it encompasses.
The process of going from high school and college is like trying to put together a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. You know that’s going to take a long time to complete.
The easiest thing for parents to do is to let a college recruiting service handle all the responsibilities. The other alternative to not using a recruiting service would be to deal totally with the high school coach. Dealing with the high school coach has many limitations; one of which is the lack of time each and every day that at a high school coach would be available to work on recruiting for your daughter or son.
My suggestion for parents is to get off their lazy asses and figure out how the college recruiting process works and then do all that you can to help your high school athlete get recruited.
Lack of academic understanding is another huge reason why many high school athletes end up going to junior college or prep school or end up filling out an application at the local the McDonald’s.
During my years as a college recruiter, I spoke to many high school athletes who were in their senior year and many of them had not even taken the ACT or SAT tests. Not taking the standardized tests until your senior year could ultimately kill your chances of ever going to college.
Without taking the tests and getting a high score means that they may end up going to a junior college to play their sport and to me that would be a total waste of time and athletic talent.
I could never understand why high school student athletes in their senior year would wait so late to take the standardized tests.
Taking the standardized tests is just as important as all the hours you put into developing your athletic talents.
I don’t care what your excuse is, take that test now!!
I believe all high school student athletes should began to study for the standardized tests the summer before their freshman year of high school. There are books at the library on how to prepare for the standardized tests so there is no excuse for not being prepared.
The GPA is also very important, but it’s really going to come down to your core GPA in a subject that will ultimately get you into a college or university. I would check with the NCAA website on which core courses are most important.
Sometimes, school administrators will place high school athletes in classes that will not help them. Be aware of the classes and the subjects being offered to you. There are also school administrators that will put the athletes in classes that they will get a very good grade in just to maintain their eligibility with the high school sports program.
Be careful and pay attention to the types of courses you are taking in high school. Always pay close attention to your official high school transcript that’s going to be the information that all college programs are going to ask for because it’s a permanent record of the student athlete’s academic history.
The lack of exposure for high school student athletes is another key major element on why many high school athletes will end up just being a student at the local community college or try to walk-on somewhere at a major college program.
It does not matter how good you are athletically because if nobody knows you exists, then how would a college coach recruit you?
Long gone are the days that college coaches come out to individual high school games to recruit high school athletes. So if that statement is true, then I would say that most high school athletes who are not blue chip superstar athletes are in serious trouble of slipping through the cracks of the college recruiting process.
The only way to get around this problem of lack of exposure to college coaches is to be seen by college programs. You can do that by going to exposure events and tournaments where college coaches can see you play. Whatever sport you play, make sure college coaches can see you play with their own eyes.
Make sure that college coaches can see you play over many years and many summers so they can see improvements in your athletic abilities. I believe it’s important for student athletes and parents to be seen at many different events by college coaches in order to build some type of relationship and trust with college coaches.
My final thoughts on the college recruiting process are basically whatever you do, a great deal of time and effort will be involved and a great deal of money will be spent. The process of going from high school athlete to college athlete is not easy therefore, the more time you have to make the college recruiting process work for you, the better the results will ultimately be.
It is the parents of high school student-athletes who influence student-athletes’ decisions about recruiting.
The student-athlete does not have any money, therefore they are dependent on their parents to make spending decisions related to recruiting.
Is that money being spent wisely?
In most cases the money is being spent on recruiting based on the information parents have.
Parents are spending money sending their kids to exclusive travel and club teams, which is the norm these days.
In the modern day era of recruiting it is almost like parents are throwing all their money up in the air and hoping it lands in the right places.
There is no strategy, rhyme or reason to college recruiting spending on behalf of the parents.
If it costs $1,500 to play on a club or travel team parents will pay believing it will lead to their son or daughter getting one step closer to a college scholarship.
There are some parents in the high school sports community who believe money trumps common sense and intelligence.
The student-athlete consistently maintains the privilege of the duel title that comes with a bullseye on their backs.
The student-athlete has a magnifying glass on them every single day as they walk into school.
The student-athlete is being judged by what they do in the classroom on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. The student-athlete is also judged, scrutinized, and criticized on a weekly basis based on athletic performance.
Pressure is an understatement for many student-athletes on a yearly basis.
The pressure builds as their athletic talent grows and improves. The greater the student-athlete becomes athletically, the more pressure of having to carry around that bullseye like a heavy anchor on their backs. It’s enormous.
The last thing any high school student-athlete wants to do is to deal with the pressures of recruiting.
The parents who know the ways of the world generally accept the responsibility of recruiting and assist their sons and daughters with the aspect of the challenges, confusion, and the worry of recruiting.
Have you ever watched when they pick the lottery numbers? Those ping pong balls bouncing and floating around in the air?
That’s what recruiting is in the eyes of parents. They don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. Just like choosing lottery numbers; it’s all a guessing game.
The parents are not clear when it comes to recruiting strategies.
They cannot decide how to allocate their money or time, so many parents struggle with the confusing aspects of the dangerously long college recruiting process.
The tug of war between high school coaches and parents has lasted longer than any war known to mankind.
For as long as there’s been a recruiting process parents and high school coaches have struggled to come to terms with the outcome.
The parents believe that they have an unchallenged voice in the recruiting process. Are constantly with verbal irregularity expressing their displeasure with many of the moves and strategies the high school coach makes.
Constant second-guessing the high school coach has caused years of irreversible friction and long-lasting distrust between high school coaches and parents.
Many brilliant high school coaches have left the game of coaching publicly stating for personal reasons or for family reasons, but we all know the reasons are because of their dislike of many idiotic parents.
Gossip among parents at games is a major-league distraction that can be more confusing than trying to set up a desktop computer for the first time.
Swirling around are tons of verbal information from one parent to the next. Parents believe what they want to believe when it comes to recruiting and, in most cases, the information they are receiving from other parents is wrong.
Parents of student-athletes for generations have their minds set on exactly how they want the college recruiting process to work for them.
The problem with their theory of recruiting is that it never goes as planned. No one ever gets exactly what they want unless you are in the 1% of the privileged student-athletes.
Those highly-coveted high school student-athletes get to pick and choose what college programs they want to play for. They are that privileged.
Parents believe their son or daughter deserves privileges as well, but they fail to realize they are in the 99% category and virtually irrelevant in the eyes of college coaches.
“The parents are sitting on the hot seat and it is beginning to boil.”
Recruiting is becoming stagnant and is slowing down with the lack of interest or no interest at all from college coaches.
Over the course of a high school athletic career, increasing numbers of parents have shelled out thousands of dollars, sometimes enough money for a down payment on a new house or a car. With those high-priced ticket items you’re getting something in return right away, but with recruiting the return on investment may never come.
The recruiting process now becomes a boiling crisis. The parents’ anger begins to grow. The student-athlete is becoming more stressed with the potential that their athletic career could end at the conclusion of senior year.
The recruiting process is not for the privileged. College coaches only care about those student-athletes who can play.
College coaches are concerned with good grades and superior athletic ability, but I am sure many of you already know that.
Recruiting can be a humbling experience for those who are involved. It is completely different than signing up and playing on the high school team or paying your money to become a member of a travel team.
The parents who claim to be the mastermind behind the recruiting process now realize that failure is becoming a growing option and they have no control over it.
Overwhelming numbers of parents believe they are doing the right things when it comes to the recruiting process.
Sadly, there are increasingly large numbers of parents who are not doing the right things when it comes to recruiting. Mistakes are constantly being made and sometimes these mistakes can be fatal.
Critical errors in recruiting are going to cost student-athletes valuable time.
The common causes of recruiting failure is procrastination. Procrastination is, in my opinion, the number one killer of the entire recruiting process. Sometimes student-athletes and parents do not take serious action towards recruiting until the senior year of high school and by then it could almost be too late.
I have had countless conversations with uneducated parents on the strategies of recruiting.
I don’t totally blame the parents because you if you don’t have information, then you don’t know exactly what to do.
The conversation is mainly frustration and confusion on their part. They didn’t understand the rules of recruiting.
They weren’t clear on exactly what to do and many parents become very frustrated. They relied heavily on the high school coach. or too much focus was put on travel teams. All of these strategies seemed worthy, valuable, and useful at the time but eventually failed miserably most of the time.
The major problem with the recruiting process is that the strategies are outdated.
The old broken-down strategies of recruiting are where parents are stuck believing these strategies are effective.
Clearly, the parents did not get the memo when it came to the new strategies of recruiting.
Vast numbers of high school student-athletes are ending up at college programs beneath their athletic ability.
Many college programs are getting superstar high school student-athletes and are surprised that these players fell into their laps.
An increasing headache.
A bad dream.
Did we do enough?
Did we wait too late?
These are some of the thoughts and catch phrases that are swirling around in the brains of parents about recruiting.
The blame game comes to mind in the weaknesses of those parents who struggle to figure out recruiting.
There’re some student-athletes who are extremely talented and deserve all the athletic recognition. Unfortunately, grades play a huge factor in being invisible to college coaches.
I have seen it happen for a very long time where the talented forgo academics and end up either never attending college or going to a junior college that is so far away from home they can’t even find it on the map.
I often wonder why parents delay taking action in the recruiting process. The conclusion is they believe their son or daughter is a superstar and that recruiting should come to them.
They sit back and wait for the phone calls from college coaches or emails or maybe text messages that are never going to come from these coaches because parents believe they deserve them.
Part of the reason is participation at club events and tournaments, where they are competing against other student athletes who are no different than their son or daughter and believing they are just as talented and should receive automatic attention from college programs.
The parents believe that recruiting should come to them so they sit back and wait and when that action does not arrive they’re confused to the reasons why.
Club events can poison the thinking of parents who believe their son or daughter is deserving of the recognition from the TV schools.
You cannot compare one student-athlete to another. It is wrong to place student-athletes under such a microscope of comparison. It is not fair and parents will only become blinded at the results they think they deserve.
“The hot seat of the recruiting process that parents are sitting on is about to blow up at any moment.”
The college recruiting process is on a path of destruction and the course, though mapped out, has now run off course just like those knuckleheads from Gilligan’s Island.
Recruiting is expensive, there’s no way around that. Some parents refuse to spend money and that’s their choice. The parents who refuse to spend the money and rely on others to handle aspects of recruiting is like giving the keys to the front door of your home to a stranger.
Those parents who participate in the recruiting process by putting thousands of dollars into it are totally engaged in the process and the outcome possibly is favorable.
The best advice I have about recruiting is to begin the process early. Build relationships with college coaches early and often. It’s not enough to just be at a tournament or camp hoping to be seen.
The recruiting process is unlike any other process; it is harder than finding a job.