Added Time: Our Monthly College Search Newsletter

May Update: Am I D1?

With the summer tournament/camp/evaluation season getting into full swing, let’s explore a question that seems key at the beginning of the recruiting process: “What’s my level?”

It is a great question, and having a firm, clear answer would make the rest of the process easier. The problem is, there is NEVER a firm, clear answer. At all. Every coach, every program, at every level essentially has a selection committee of one. The head coach of that program is building a community and it’s up to that person to decide whether a particular prospect fits their program’s needs at that moment. Students get offered by various programs at various levels because those programs are looking for what THAT prospective student brings to the table, and as a student or family, you will often never know why a coach passed or offered. Sometimes it is a straight talent evaluation – which depending on the sport is often incredibly superficial. Always, it is based on how the coach sees their program developing and trying to “complete the puzzle” building a community (even if they do not or cannot articulate that). It is also informed by the fact that there is far more variance between the top and bottom programs WITHIN each affiliation (i.e. NCAA D1) than there is between top programs in ANY affiliation. In other words, it’s not a wedding cake with different levels, but more of a “stew” where elite programs are mixed in at every level.

Another problem with focusing on “level” is that students may miss really considering the type of school that is best for them academically, socially, and culturally. For many students, anonymous, large lectures are not their best settings for learning or building the relationships and connections that can help them be successful in life beyond the classroom. If you don’t want to be in a big lecture class, then maybe that big state university is not the right fit for you.

Okay. But if I’m not going to the school I see on TV every day, what options are out there?

Glad you asked. There are about 2,000 colleges in the United States and Canada that sponsor intercollegiate athletics programs. Most prospective students, high school coaches and even high school counselors can only name a small fraction of them, let alone provide real insight into the depth and breadth of options. Luckily, we have you covered! Our ever-growing list of “Programs That Inspire” highlights conferences at NCAA Division 2, Division 3, and NAIA levels where students are getting incredible experiences athletically, academically, and socially. Even if you don’t see your sport, these are great places to start expanding your search and the list is continually updated.

What makes these programs potentially great options?

It starts with leadership. In the athletic program and in terms of the overall educational experience. Students in these programs not only compete at an elite level in their sport, but they also benefit from outstanding academic and social environments, developing relationships with faculty and peers that can bend the arc of their lives in a more positive direction. These programs are not a perfect fit for everyone, but they could be the right place for YOU.

Okay, so how do I figure out which of these programs fits me?

Well, one way is to reach out to College Athletic Advisor. We help clients determine which programs are great matches for them and our 5A College Search Model outlines how we advise prospective student-athletes to demonstrate to these coaches that they will be the best fit for THE PROGRAM. If you are doing this on your own, the best place to start is to reach out to the coaches at the programs that interest you.

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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