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 advisors provide a recruiting experience that is trusted by college coaches and backed by a money-back guarantee.
If you search the internet for recruiting assistance, you will come to find almost as many recruiting services/websites as there are colleges offering scholarships. Many promise they will help you find an athletic scholarship because they have access to people and information that you don’t have. Others promise college scholarships based on relationships, online profiles and/or networks. The question for student-athletes and their parents is “how do I know who to trust and how much do I need to spend?”
The fact is that any qualified athlete can find a spot on a college roster without the assistance of a recruiting service, if they are willing to put in the effort. That said, most people don’t know how to approach college recruiting and they really want help. Like any industry, there are good recruiting services and there are companies that are just trying to separate you from your money. Here are eight questions you should ask before deciding to use any recruiting service.
- How much does your service cost? You need to understand the “all in” cost of their “premium” package. If they aren’t willing to answer this question, or if they have to interview you before giving you a price range, run for the hills!
- What does your service include? For instance, will they create an online profile for you or a highlight video and if so, does it come at an additional cost? You have to know what you are paying for and decide if it’s worth the price.
- How involved will I be in the process? The more involved you are in the process, the better the result, but if you are going to do a lot of the work then the service should be relatively inexpensive.
- Will you provide my personal information to other companies?Unless you want to be inundated with emails, promotional giveaways and phone calls then you should ask this question. Some services have relationships with other companies and your personal information will be passed along.
- How will you identify the colleges to contact? This question is critical. Make sure the answer makes sense. Are they just going to send out emails to every program in the country? Are they just sending emails to the colleges they have relationships with? You need to know exactly what criteria are being used to find your roster spot.
- What is your success rate? Do you only work with Division I caliber athletes? You should know this information and how they determined it. If they only work with Division I caliber athletes, their success rate should be pretty high!
- Will you contact colleges on my behalf and if so, how many? If you aren’t currently being recruited, then to some extent the recruiting process is a numbers game. If they are contacting schools on your behalf, make sure you know how many, which ones and what that contact consists of. There is no reason to contact colleges in which you have no interest. It’s also not helpful if you are 1 of 300 athletes’ in a newsletter that they are sending to coaches.
- What criteria will you use to determine the colleges to pursue?Make sure they will be considering the things that are important to you. Remember, you have to live there for four years!
At the risk of being redundant, this is your recruiting journey. If you decide to use a service, do your homework, read the reviews, ask the right questions and understand exactly what you are paying for. If you decide to do it yourself, educate yourself on the process and be persistent.