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Six Recruiting Secrets for 2016

30 Dec

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Hoping to get recruited in 2016?  Here are six secrets to help you succeed!

  1. Start Early

When should you get serious about your recruiting process? While it may seem early, putting a process in place in the freshman or sophomore year is important. Success in recruiting requires research, strategy and consistency throughout your high school career. If you try to dial things in during the junior year, when your plate is already be full, it can be incredibly overwhelming and stressful. Furthermore, you will be competing against kids who have been in contact with coaches for several years. Set a plan in motion early!

  1. Study Hard

You have probably heard that academics are an important part of the recruiting process. Your academic performance is just as importance to your future as your athletic talent. Unfortunately, talent without good grades gets you nowhere. When a coach takes an interest in you athletically they will want to know if your grades meet the criteria of their school before moving forward. If the answer is yes, the dialogue continues…if not, then they will move on to the next prospect.

  1. Train with Purpose

I’ve helped hundreds of student-athletes through the recruiting process. Without a doubt, the ones who continue to focus on their training have the most success. They are intent on playing in college and so they have a certain focus and drive. They know they must continue to improve mentally and physically in order to get recruited (and be ready for college level competition. It comes down to desire…how badly do you really want this?

  1. Go to Camp

If you’re a high school aged player, chances are you are being bombarded with invitations to various ID camps. This leads many to question their importance …are they really just “money makers” for the school? While it’s true there is a certain business element to camps, it’s also true that they offer a good chance for athletes to get to know various college programs. If you perform well at camp, there is no doubt this can help you end up on a coaches radar. The secret is to be targeted. Identify camps of schools in which you are very interested and where some dialogue with the coach has already occurred.

  1. Get Feedback

Video is a game changer in the recruiting process and often one of the first pieces of information a coach receives. If your video is good, the conversation will likely continue…if it’s poor, the dialogue may end right there. It’s vital that any footage you share has been edited properly and showcases you in a positive light. Make sure to have someone who is familiar with college level athletics review anything you plan to send.

  1. Be Persistent

Success in recruiting is about sustained effort over a long period of time. Coaches hear from hundreds of kids each year, but it’s the ones that show genuine interest over months or even years that break through. If you write an email and don’t hear back, don’t give up. Think of other strategies to engage the coach, perhaps a follow up email that’s more personalized or updated footage showcasing your abilities on the pitch. There are numerous ways to gain the interest of college coach. Be creative and stick with it!

Want to get a handle on your recruiting process in 2016? Drop me a line with your name, club and year in school and let’s find some time to chat. I’d love to learn more about you and help you find your best college fit.

 

What are the most important academic factors in the recruiting process? (Part 3)

5 Nov

“Standardized tests!”

Just reading the phrase may bring on some anxiety for you. The pressure that students feel around the SAT & ACT has taken on an almost mythical status. Students obsess about their scores and believe that their college dreams rest heavily on their test day performance.

I’m not saying that standardized tests aren’t important. They do make my top 3 academic factors in the recruiting process. What I’m saying is that they are only ONE piece of the puzzle. There are more important factors, such as your GPA & Course Schedule, discussed in PART 1 and PART 2 of this series. As a student-athlete, perhaps more important is whether or not the coach is actually recruiting you. If a coach wants you to come play for him, he may be able to seriously influence the admissions process in your favor.

Here are 4 key things to remember with regard to recruiting and standardized tests.

  1. Colleges will accept either the SAT* or the ACT. You should determine which test you like better, and then put your focus there. Free practice tests can be found online and there are many test prep companies that offer students the chance to take both exams, providing a diagnostic of your performance.
  1. Test early. College coaches often request that students test early in the junior year to give them a sense of whether or not the student-athlete’s scores are “in range” for their school. If testing doesn’t go well, you have time to study, retake the test and hopefully perform better.
  1. Each school is different. If you are looking at highly selective colleges, you may be required to submit SAT subject tests with your application. Consider taking subject tests in the spring, just after you have spent a full year studying the material. Check out this link for information on the subject test requirements & recommendations at various schools. Also note that “test optional” colleges exist. If you struggle with standardized tests, there are schools out there that do not require them. Check out the website fairtest.org for a comprehensive list.
  1. Meet the Requirements. While not all schools require the SAT/ACT in their application process, if you want to play NCAA D1, D2 or NAIA athletics you must meet minimum SAT/ACT requirements. D1 & D2 schools use the sliding scale to determine minimum test score requirements. The higher your GPA, the lower your scores can be and vice versa. Check out this link for more information on the NCAA SAT/ACT requirements. For information on the NAIA, click here.

* The structure of the SAT is changing for 2016. Students preparing to test this spring, may want to focus on the ACT as it’s more of a known entity.

This concludes my 3 part series on the most important academic factors in the recruiting process. We often hear how important academics are in the recruiting process, and you should now have a much better sense of what that actually means. Happy studying!

What are the most important academic factors in the recruiting process? (Part 2)

15 Oct

Your course rigor counts!

Almost as important as your GPA, are the classes you take during high school. Colleges will consider your course schedule otherwise known as your “course rigor” by looking at your school profile. If they see that you have taken the easy route, meaning that you have consistently opted for less challenging classes, that probably won’t work in your favor. This is especially true if you are targeting highly selective colleges who look for students who have performed well in the toughest classes their school has to offer.

This concept shouldn’t be surprise. As a high level athlete, chances are you have consistently looked for a challenging athletic environment in order to develop your game. You know that playing against top competition is key to becoming a top player. College coaches and admissions officers apply a similar logic to your course schedule. They know that if you have taken tough classes in high school, you will be more prepared to meet the demands of college level academics.

Here are three things to remember with regard to your course schedule.

1) Challenge yourself. If you think you can earn an “A” or a “B” in the more challenging class, (Honors/AP) go for it. Colleges are looking for students who show ambition!

2) Get stronger. Taking an increasingly challenging course load, especially during your sophomore and junior years is important. This suggests to colleges that you take your academics seriously!

3) Meet the requirements. In order to compete in D1/D2 athletics, you must meet the NCAA “core course” requirement. Students should meet with an advisor early in their high school career in order to map out a course schedule that sets them up for success. Note that not all courses offered at your high school will count toward the NCAA core course requirement. You can find specific course information for your high school at this link.

Be on the lookout for the final post in this series next week. I will cover academics and standardized tests and how they play a role in the recruiting process.

What are the most important academic factors in the recruiting process? (part 1 of a 3 part series)

2 Oct

Ah yes, fall is in the air. The leaves are turning and it’s soccer season. Life is good! We’re also a few weeks into a new school year and your grades are most likely on your mind…if they’re not, they should be 🙂

I am constantly reminded of the importance of academics. Good grades can determine if a coach wants to begin a recruiting conversation with you. When a coach is trying to decide between two players with similar athletic abilities, the nod almost always goes to the player with stronger academics.

When college coaches are evaluated, their win-loss record is only part of the equation. Of equal importance is their players’ graduation rate. Coaches recruit kids who they know will “take care of business” in the classroom. High performing students help keep coaches employed!

So what are the most important factors for you to consider when it comes to academics? I’ll answer that question in a three part series, starting with the most important…your GPA.

The GPA is absolutely the most important academic factor in the college recruiting process. Coaches and admissions officers put tremendous stock in your academic performance over your high school years. A strong GPA in high school typically indicates that you will continue to do well in college. Here are some key things to remember when it comes to recruiting and your GPA.

#1)  Start strong & finish strong. Freshman year counts! Think “A’s” & “B’s”…if a “C” is in the works, consider hiring a tutor, or taking a lighter course load. Flashing forward, senior year counts as well. Colleges (especially very selective schools) are taking an increasingly closer look at grades during senior year. Don’t let “senioritis” set in!

#2)  Stay steady. Colleges want to see continuous strong academic performance throughout your high school career. If you get off to a slow start, then showing improvement is very important, particularly during junior year.

#3) Shoot for a “3.5.”  A 3.5 GPA is a threshold that many college coaches look for when determining who to recruit. Many schools offer academic scholarships to students who earn a 3.5 or better, and coaches may those scholarships as a lure for their school. It’s also important to note that if you are considering Division 1, Division 2 or NAIA programs, you must meet minimum GPA requirements. You will need at least a 2.3 for NCAA D1, and 2.0 for D2/NAIA.

A strong GPA may open up the dialogue with a college coach, before they ever see you play. Be on the lookout for part 2 of this series on academics, where we will explore your “course schedule”, and why that’s critical in the college recruiting process.

Do you want to play college soccer?

26 Aug

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Top five mistakes student-athletes make in the recruiting process

14 Aug

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Top five mistakes student-athletes make in the college recruiting process

The college recruiting process can be overwhelming.  There are ID camps, showcases, highlight videos, player profiles, and the never ending stress of academics.  Unfortunately there are a number of places where the recruiting process can go sideways whether you are contacting coaches, visiting campuses, interviewing with admissions, or evaluating offers…  Here are five mistakes to avoid as you brave the college recruiting waters.

  1.  Assuming college coaches will find you

The classic recruiting myth goes something like this. You’re playing under the lights in the big game. College coaches sit in the stands, anxiously awaiting your performance on the pitch. You score a hat trick, leading the team to the championship. The coach of your dream school finds you after the game, shakes your hand, and offers you an athletic scholarship! Ah yes, wouldn’t it be nice if it were this easy? The truth is that for most kids, receiving an offer to play in college takes work! If you are sitting back hoping coaches will find you…you will most likely end up missing the boat. In order to have success in recruiting, you have to be proactive and find ways to make coaches take notice!

  1. Relying on somebody else

“My club coach will get me recruited.” “I signed up for an online recruiting service so I’m all set.” If this sounds like you and you are relying on others to “get you recruited” you may end up lost in the shuffle. Coaches, team managers, online services may be helpful, but nobody will take your recruiting process more seriously than you. You have to be the one to drive the train.   My goal as a recruiting mentor is to empower student-athletes to take charge in the process. This means developing a well thought out list of schools, and being organized in your efforts to connect with college programs. Don’t rely on others to do it for you, make it happen for yourself.

  1. Poor communication skills

Good communication skills are essential in the recruiting process. Failing to respond to a coach is a big “no-no.” It’s also vital that your messages to coaches are thoughtful, reflecting you in a positive light. Every email, phone call or text is a “touch point” which can make or break the recruiting conversation.

  1. Not making the grade

Poor grades and test scores can kill the recruiting conversation before it starts. If a coach is worried you won’t be able to handle the academics at their school, or won’t qualify with the NCAA, they may move on to the next prospect. Having a well conceived high school course plan and doing well in your classes is essential. Planning months ahead of time for the SAT/ACT is also important. Remember, the better your grades and test scores, the more likely college coaches will take an interest.

  1. Failing to stick with it

The process of landing a spot with a college team takes hard work over a long period of time. Some kids never even begin the process, assuming that coaches will find them. Many others give up on the process early on. They might write one email to a coach, but when they don’t get a response, assume the school isn’t interested and give up. It can take multiple attempts to connect and sometimes being a little creative to attract the attention of a college coach. The recruiting process is a marathon, not a sprint. You must be in it for the long haul in order to have success.

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Whether you are a freshman just starting out, or an upperclassmen hoping that some options open up, I’d love to help you avoid these mistakes. I work with families as a college advisor, helping student-athletes navigate the academic and athletic pieces of the puzzle. I’m not a recruiting service. I’m a mentor whose passion is to understand your specific interests and goals and help you find an amazing college fit.  Don’t get lost in the process!

The most important factor in the recruiting process

30 Jul

What do you think is the most important factor in the college recruiting process?

  1. Your club team and club coach
  2. A comprehensive player profile
  3. An online recruiting service
  4. A well-produced highlight video
  5. Reaching out to college coaches
  6. Attending college showcases & ID camps
  7. Visiting colleges and meeting with coaches
  8. Academics

In truth, these are all important elements and helping families to navigate this maze is what I’m great at.

After working closely with hundreds of student-athletes, I can tell you that there is something that carries even more weight than the items listed above.

The most important factor in the recruiting process is…

DESIRE.

It’s about how badly you want to play in college and how badly you want to realize your full potential as an athlete. Desire will motivate you to be proactive in your efforts to engage college coaches. Desire will drive you to train hard to take your game to the next level. And desire will inspire you to challenge yourself in the classroom to get the best grades you can. How successful you are in the college recruiting process has little to do with playing ability, and everything to do with desire.

Many of the kids I work with are not the strongest players on their team. But because of their hunger to succeed, they end up with multiple offers to play college athletics.

In my initial conversation with student-athletes, I make it a point to ask them how important it is to them to play their sport in college. Can they imagine their college experience without their sport? If the answer is that playing collegiate soccer is their dream, then I’m confident we will have a successful journey together.

Because they have the most important ingredient of all…desire.

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