We thought you might need some inspiration.
Omitting this step can leave our process flavourless and bland and be a serious problem for our results.
In short, before your junior year in high school, college-bound athletes should begin researching schools and bringing a realistic pool of college targets into focus. Under the new NCAA recruiting guidelines, NOBODY really knows where they stand until the start of the junior year.
Be open-minded to all possibilities
Because even though coaches can no longer show interest in a PSA prior to the start of the junior year, they will spend the majority of their time evaluating players.
If you’re a freshman or sophomore and have only been introducing yourself to the Top 20 programmes in the nation, and you then learn on September 1 of your junior year that none of these programmes share your interest, then you’re essentially forced to start over.
You’ve moved yourself to the back of the line, so to speak.
So cast a wide net
Don’t rule out Division II, III, and NAIA opportunities.
Engage these coaches early and often—well, before the start of your junior year—so that if your Division I opportunities wind up being limited, then at least you’ve been proactive at a more suitable level.
The whole point of this radical shift is to improve the student’s recruiting experience, and now PSAs can better enjoy the experience without feeling like they’ll lose scholarship opportunities by waiting.
DoA few things you can do online when you visit a college’s website.
- Research the school’s academic requirements and admissions process.
- Review the degree programmes offered by the school.
- Review financial budget for the upcoming school year.
- Keep this in mind: if you’re a recruited athlete, then your chances of paying much less for tuition, room and board, fees, and books drastically increase.
- Also remember: the higher a college’s ticket price, the more opportunities there are for merit-based (scholarships and grants) and need-based financial aid.
- Review current team rosters to better understand the players who get recruited by these schools. Are there a lot of international players on their roster? This is good to know because you may not be competing for opportunities with athletes just in the United States!
Are you planning to visit some college campuses?
This is arguably the best form of research you can conduct.
Start with who you are and why you are going.
You need to examine yourself and your reasons for going to college before you start your search.
- Why, really, are you going?
- What are your abilities and strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What do you want out of life — something tangible or intangible?
Things to consider
Your college does not have to be bigger than your high school.
Most good colleges have a population of fewer than 4,000 for a reason: college is a time to explore, and a smaller community is more conducive to an internal exploration. It is not the number of people, but the people themselves and the community that really matter.
Many large universities have established honours colleges within the larger university for these same reasons.
- Will not guarantee your success.
- Think about the people in your life who are happy.
- Find out where (and if) they went to college.
- Ask the same about famous people.
- You find that success in life has less to do with the choice of college than with the experiences and opportunities encountered while in college, coupled with personal qualities and traits.
Very few high school students have enough information or experience to choose a major.
You need the variety and depth of college coursework to determine your interest and aptitude.
Most college students change their minds two or three times before they settle on a major, and they can still graduate in four years! Being undecided is a good thing and will leave you open to more academic experiences.
If you only pay attention to the headlines, you might believe that no one is getting in anywhere!
Most colleges and universities admit more students than they reject.
If you’re worried about your chances of getting admitted and you’re willing to investigate beyond the very narrow band of highly selective colleges, you’ll find that you have many options that will lead to a great fit for you.
If you assume you cannot afford college based on the sticker price of tuition, you will miss out.
It is difficult to talk about money, but if you investigate all the options and ask for help and advice, you will find affordable choices.
There is no such thing as the perfect time to start college.
Some students benefit from a year off to work, study, or travel, and these experiences allow them to be better, more engaged students.
Some students choose to apply to college and gain admission and then defer their entrance, while others wait to apply until after they have had an alternative experience.
Choosing a college because your friends are going there or because of where it ranks on a list does not consider who you are or who you will become.
College is a match to be made, not a prize to be won.
Finding a good fit requires time and thoughtfulness.
Make sure you choose a school for more than its athletics and its coaches!
Remember, you might have an injury that prevents you from playing, you may be unhappy with the programme and quit, or the coach may move on to other opportunities.
What will you be left with? It’s the college, not the team!
Consider looking at several schools within the same conference.
There may be other schools in the same conference that are similar and worthwhile and would be a better fit for you.
Finances, we all know finances are a big part of the decision-making process, and if something is out of budget, then it really isn’t workable.
There are, however, many more factors that need to be taken into consideration and should be made priorities.
Consider which division of college you want to look at and include it on your selection list.
There are 3 college divisions defined by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA):
- Division I – top competition, high commitment and visibility, athletic scholarships available
- Division II – above-average competition, some level of commitment and visibility, scholarship opportunities
- Division III – a range of competition from fairly competitive to no-cut teams, academics are first, and there are no athletic scholarships.
Quick Note: Division I and II schools require eligibility based on academics, achievement, and coursework, so consider this factor as well.
It is possible for a university to offer you an official visit, which allows them to pay for some of your expenses. This is certainly not something that should be expected, but it is worth asking if you are planning on visiting.
Our advice would be to narrow down your choices to 3 or 4 universities and plan on visiting them. It is always a requirement to visit, but if it is possible financially, it is always recommended, as it will really help to make your mind up.