Our guest blogger, Katie Andersen of College Fit specializes in working with student athletes. Katie has been sharing her approach to guiding student athletes through the college planning process, incorporating athletics as one component of the best fit. Here is #4 in Katie’s series.
Which athletic level of competition is right for my student-athlete?
I start by asking for feedback from the student-athlete, parents, coaches (club and/or high school), and trainers in order to get a feel for the level of competition that might be right for the student-athlete. Just because a student-athlete receives letters from a coach to attend a camp, doesn’t mean that the school and athletic program are a good fit.
I recommend contacting coaches at multiple levels of competition within multiple divisions. This information provides a starting point and the student-athlete will get better feedback as college coaches respond (or don’t respond) to his recruiting efforts.
How do I create a college recruiting list that helps my student-athlete get perspective?
In previous blog posts, I described all of the data that student-athletes should consider when targeting schools. I start with a list of about 50 schools, so I use GuidedPath to search, and Excel to finalize and organize my initial list.
The way I create a student-athlete’s college recruiting list highlights valuable details about which types of schools are the best fit athletically, academically, socially, and financially. I group the data so it has context and helps the student-athlete more accurately target the types of schools where he or she might be recruitable.
This is a sample Division I list I created for a lacrosse player (abbreviated LAX). Not every Division I lacrosse school is listed here, but I’m showing this as an example of how I grouped and sorted the data: NCAA division level, academic selectivity, lacrosse ranking (LAX Rank). I like to include the team’s win-loss-tie record (LAX Record) as well. I create a similar list for Division 2 and Division 3 schools.
Since the student-athlete may only hear back from a handful of coaches, I highly recommend contacting all of the coaches on the list to get started. When the coaches show interest, I mark the list and focus on adding more schools that fall into a similar grouping.
This strategy is very useful if I work with families who believe their student-athlete should be recruited at schools like the University of Pennsylvania, but is only being approached by schools like Jacksonville University.
How do I find coach contact information?
Once I have a list of schools that represent a reasonable range academically, athletically, and financially, I add the coach name and email address to each school on the list. The easiest way to find to a single page on a school’s athletic website that contains all college coach contact information is by searching for “Athletic Staff Directory [SCHOOL NAME]”. College Coaches Online (http://www.collegecoachesonline.com) also offers coach contact information.
My next blog post will cover how to contact coaches and what to send them.