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 Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com identifies appropriate colleges for potential recruits and delivers an online DIY college planning experience for student athletes of all talent levels and ages.
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone! Winter break will be here in less than a month and before you know it, you will be back in your shorts and flip-flops enjoying those hot summer days. As exciting as that can be for most high school students, it can be equally stressful for you college recruits out there.
With the halfway point of the 2015-2016 school year inching closer and closer, now is a good time to kick-start the college recruiting process for you student-athletes that are waiting for a scholarship to fall into your lap! Use the following steps and deadlines to ensure you maximize every one of your college opportunities. You will thank yourself when summer rolls around!
Make a List- Complete by Dec. 4th
Take the next week to create a list of 15 schools that you have interest in and feel you have a realistic chance of playing for. Here’s the deal; the schools on your list NEED to fit your abilities, both academically and athletically. If you are not a Div. I-caliber athlete, do not add Div. I schools to your list. The goal here is to “kick-start” your college recruiting process and you will do so by being totally honest with your skill sets! This is the hardest and most important part of recruiting. Spend some time researching colleges.
Do not feel like you have to limit yourself to just 15 schools, use that number as a minimum. The bigger your list is, the better chance you have of finding the perfect fit. Just make sure you have genuine interest in the programs that you are adding to your list.
Send Introductory Emails- Complete by Dec. 11th
Now that you have a workable list of schools to pursue, YOU need to introduce yourself to the coaching staff at each of those schools. Here’s the deal; you cannot become a recruit to a school that does not know who you are! It is your responsibility to make the introduction to the coach, if that school is not currently recruiting you.
Find the contact information for the coaches at the schools in which you have interest. Once you collect email addresses, send an introductory email to each coach expressing interest in their program. In your email you should include: personal info, position, relevant academic/athletic stats, a current coach as a reference and a simple highlight video for that college coach to view.
Keep in mind, you are not going to secure a scholarship with this email. The purpose of this email is to generate interest and get a conversation going with as many suitable programs as possible.
Ask for Help- Complete by Dec. 11th
The last step you need to complete in kick-starting your recruiting process is to ask a current coach for help. Here’s the deal; your chances of becoming a legitimate recruit are far greater when you have a coach that will vouch for your abilities. After you have sent your introductory emails to each program, let your current coach know what schools you reached out to and ask if they can follow-up with an email or phone call to those college coaches.
Most college coaches rely heavily on the input and opinions of a current coach, because your current coach knows you the best. Of all the steps in this process, getting a current coach involved might be the step that fast-forwards your recruiting results the most.
If you are a recruit not getting the attention you want or feel you deserve from college coaches, do something about it! Take the initiative and be proactive in the recruiting process. Now, more than ever before, you have all of the resources to control where you end up playing at the next level. Make it happen.