USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Fred Bastie, the owner and founder of Playced.com. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology-based recruiting software identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and their recruiting advisers provide a recruiting experience that is trusted by college coaches and backed by a money-back guarantee.
When I was in school I hated pop quizzes. Most of the time they ruined my day. Now, however, I understand their purpose. They generally showed me what I needed to study, when I needed to start and how much I understood the topic. When it comes to college recruiting, most students and their parents don’t what to do, when to do it, or where they stand in the process.
For that reason, here is your Playced/USA Today High School Sports College Recruiting Pop Quiz. If you’re not currently being hammered with phone calls and emails from college coaches (and most athletes are not), then you need to know where you stand! Answer the 10 questions below and if you score higher than 70% you have a pretty good chance of extending your athletic career into college.
COLLEGE RECRUITING POP QUIZ
1. Which of the following statements best describes your attitude regarding college recruiting?
A. If I want to play in college, it’s my responsibility to do something about it
B. I posted my profile on three recruiting sites so I should be good
C. If I’m good enough, college coaches will find me
Unless you’re a top prospect, your general attitude with respect to recruiting will go a long way toward whether you play in college. If you answered B, keep in mind that an online profile can help, but what makes you think your profile will stand out from the others? If your answer is C, then you’re playing recruiting roulette. Sure, some college coaches might find you, but the chances that a college coach from a school you are truly interested in will find you without a little work is highly unlikely. Answer A is the correct answer because proactively contacting coaches at schools that match your abilities is by far the best way to land the right scholarship.
2. Do you try as hard in the classroom as you do on the field/court?
C. I’m just trying to stay awake in class
We’ve said it over and over, your academic standing will be the first tie-breaker when a college coach is trying to decide between two recruits of similar abilities. Also, the more colleges you qualify for academically, the more colleges you can pursue athletically. Bottom line, if your answer is B, you need to make an adjustment. If your answer is C, you may have an uphill battle.
3. Are you always trying to get better?
C. Pass the donuts
Playing in college is a commitment. Now is the time to get used to that. I’m not saying that during the off-season you need to be working out every day. Everyone needs a break. In fact, take a break from your sport if you like, but make sure to stay in shape and don’t regress from the progress you made during the season. If you really want to play in college, A is the right answer.
4. Are you willing to dedicate some time to finding your college scholarship?
C. Remind me tomorrow
If you’re not willing to invest some amount of time to find the right college, then you really don’t want to play at the next level. I’m not talking about working at it every day, but 15 minutes a day, a few days a week will make a difference. If you’re not willing to make that commitment, then don’t complain about not getting that scholarship you didn’t really want in the first place.
5. Do you have a recruiting resume to share with college coaches?
C. I will do that later
A well-organized, concise athletic resume is an effective way to provide a college coach with the information they need to quickly decide if they are interested in reaching out to you. Get your resume together now and just update it as your grades and stats change. Once you feel you are ready to be seen by college coaches then include the resume in any correspondence you send to college coaches.
6. How many colleges have you identified as potential fits for your abilities?
A. More than 10
I hope you picked A. If you’re not a 5-star recruit, then the more colleges you target, the better chance you will find the right fit. Contacting one or two schools and hoping for a miracle is like buying a lottery ticket. Your chances of success are next to zero. Obviously, you’ll work harder at the colleges you like the best, but you might be amazed at how great a school looks if the coaches actually express interest in you. If your answer is C, take five minutes today and find two schools that make sense for you. Then do it again tomorrow.
7. Do you have a skills video?
C. My parents are working on that
If your answer is C, then you might end up with an academy award winning, 10-minute skills video set to inspirational music. Unfortunately, that might actually do more harm than good. Video alone may not land you a scholarship at your dream school, but it certainly will serve as a virtual handshake to any college coaching staff in the country. Video doesn’t lie and it doesn’t have an opinion so it’s a great way for college coaches to evaluate players they might not be able to observe in person. Answer A is the only acceptable choice and is critical by the time you are a junior.
8. Will your current coach vouch for your abilities and character?
C. I’m afraid to ask
If you picked C, then I’m afraid to ask why. If you really don’t know if your current coach will vouch for you, then you have a recruiting problem. A current coach who will vouch for your abilities and character can be the difference-maker in your recruiting journey. They are the unbiased, trusted link to a college coach. You really need to be able to answer A to this question; otherwise the college recruiting process will be a challenge.
9. Are you willing to be realistic about your athletic abilities?
C. Yes, but I know that I’m really good
Being realistic about the appropriate colleges to pursue is perhaps the number one reason many qualified athletes don’t play in college. Not every baseball player can make the roster at Vanderbilt and not every basketball player has a chance to play at Duke, and that’s okay. Pursuing the wrong level schools is a recipe for disaster; therefore, you have to be willing to be realistic and A is by far the best answer.
10. Have you discussed the college budget with your parents?
C. I’m going to get a full ride, so the budget doesn’t matter
The NCAA breaks sports into two categories – head count sports and equivalency sports. The head count sports are all at the D-I level and include Football (D-I FBS only), Basketball (Men’s and Women’s), Women’s Tennis, Women’s Gymnastics and Women’s Volleyball. All other D-I sports are equivalency sports. Students who are offered a scholarship in a head count sport are offered a full scholarship, while students who play equivalency sports receive only partial scholarships. Typically, partial scholarships range from 25% to 60%. With today’s cost for college, the family budget is a critical factor in your college decision.
Here’s your results
Answer A was the right answer to every question. By the time you’re a junior if you score 70% on this pop quiz, then you have a pretty good chance to play your sport in college.