Added Time: Our Monthly College Search Newsletter

April Update: It's All About YOU!

The goal in advising students should be “your college search is YOURS.” In other words, your preferences and priorities as the person whose life choices are at stake should drive the recruiting process. Too many times, in too many ways, students and families are willing to become passengers on the college search journey. This is not an effective strategy to optimize your path to your best fit college and program! Let’s talk about some danger signs you should be attentive to and some best practices to make sure you keep yourself as the star of your own show!

Beware the scare!!

One incredibly powerful marketing strategy is to scare the heck out of people. The more scared you are, the more your critical thinking and focus on your own needs are minimized. This allows folks with divergent agendas to push you towards decisions that may not be what YOU would choose without manipulation and external pressure.

One form of this strategy is to share discouraging and negative information about college sports. Anecdotal “recruiting horror stories” are one gross genre, but there are also insinuations that athletes cannot really be students or ridiculous claims about the time commitment required for participation. Often the motivation for making these claims is to enable counselors, advisors and others to ignore a student’s goal of intercollegiate athletic participation and just consider factors that are in THEIR comfort zone. The reality is that there are 2000 colleges with an average of 12-15 programs per school… some people in a group that large will have negative experiences. In aggregate, though, varsity athletes have better grades, graduate at a higher rate and are more involved as alumni at every school that sponsors varsity athletics. That sounds like a win for everyone if you are the right fit athlete at the right fit school! Club sports can be awesome but does not offer this type of lifelong statistical benefit. Don’t let someone talk you INTO discounting your own goals!

Another stress related sales tactic is for students to be pushed towards programs where advisors/coaches have personal relationships with college staff. It can be really powerful if you have a coach who is connected to athletic staff at a school you want to attend, but one reason the transfer portal is so full is that students allow themselves to be pushed to play for people based on relationships with adults in their lives rather than on the STUDENT’s academic/athletic/financial fit. On a related track, students who really only consider programs where the coach reaches out to THEM are letting blind luck dictate their choices… is that the best strategy for your future or would YOU like to have a say?

Stay on YOUR recruiting timeline!

The best way to manage stress is to be true to yourself and do the work to enhance your understanding of what is important to you at the next level. If you are telling yourself, “I’ll go anywhere, I just want to play,” we get it, but what that really means is that you have some homework to do! You can ALWAYS tell a coach that you are not ready to commit because you do not know enough about your options, BUT it is a great idea to put the work in before you start getting offers so you can evaluate them as they come in.

Also, even if you are NOT ready, it almost NEVER pays to wait to reach out to college coaches! If you are ready to start thinking about college, reach out and connect! Do NOT wait to hit a par time, grow another inch or whatever – coaches understand that you are developing, that progress is probably baked into their evaluation!

Know your academic profile matters!

Make sure your current course selection and performance match your ultimate goals! Are you on track to meet NCAA eligibility requirements and admissions standards at your target schools? If not, what do you need to do NOW? Every college coach wants to see your grades! Make sure that part of your profile makes you more attractive as a recruit!

As always, if you are looking for the individualized or institutional consulting help that puts you ahead of your peers, check out our services here! You can make an initial appointment through the link on our homepage! School administrators and counselors access our free resources, appointments and programs for school collaboration here.

For more information, contact Dave Morris, College Counselor & CEO, College Athletic Advisor, [email protected] or phone: (719) 248-7994

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