WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
September 6, 2010
For swimmers and their families, the decision to participate in the college recruitment process can be overwhelming.
Swimmers are constantly worried about how to get noticed by college coaches so they can be recruited. Most don’t understand that they have to be proactive to make this happen.
Student-athletes need to evaluate both their athletic and academic performance and take the necessary steps to make sure they have a chance to pursue a college scholarship and athletic career.
Parents do not have to pay recruiting services thousands of dollars to make this happen. Instead, a little time and effort can make it happen.
Instead of paying a recruiting service that sends information to select colleges on behalf of the athlete, athletes should send their profile to schools they are interested in.
To secure a scholarship to college, athletes need to be flexible. Instead of sending information to three or four schools and limiting your options, send letters out to dozens of schools.
Athletes can go to NCAA.com or the NCAA clearinghouse to get a list of schools and their websites. You can go to each school’s swimming page and fill out a prospective student questionnaire.
Keep your possibilities open by sending questionnaires to Division I, 2 and 3 schools as well as NAIA schools. Students who start early have all the advantages. There are steps that can be taken as early as the freshman year to increase the chances of success. The more athletes and parents know about the process before their senior year, the better prepared they will be for getting the offer from a school they want to attend.
High school swimmers who are members of a swim club have a distinct advantage. College coaches put value in these clubs because they know that means the athlete wants to work hard and get additional training. Teams such as the South Florida Aquatic Club that have a history of athletes being recruited are a great place to start.
The recruitment process can be very confusing and frustrating for students and their parents. There are five tips that can help clear up the myths and misconceptions of the college recruitment process.
1. The recruitment process does not begin during the athlete’s junior or senior year when a student-athlete is contacted by a college coach. It can start as early as seventh or eighth grade.
2. College coaches don’t just discover talented athletes. The athlete must initiate communication and convey interest to be noticed. Even if a student-athlete is a superstar, they must be prepared to call or write coaches, ask the right questions and take initiative.
3. College coaches do a majority of their initial interest by looking at videos and meet performance times before making in-person visits to games. Student-athletes cannot expect college coaches to have the means to travel to watch swim meets, and any information provided is important for coaches to evaluate.
4. Most opportunities to compete in college athletics are not necessarily NCAA Division I programs. Many athletes and parents feel their only option for collegiate athletic scholarships are Division I schools, but there are over 1,800 colleges and universities that sponsor college athletes and are able to offer financial packages and most are not Division I programs.
5. Student-athletes and their families are ultimately responsible for connecting with college coaches. Student-athletes cannot rely solely on their high school coaches or club coaches to connect to college coaches. Most high school coaches do not have the time or resources to make sure their athletes are recruited so it is up to the athlete and their families to reach out to college coaches.
Since 2000, the National Collegiate Scouting Association has grown to be the leading college recruiting source for more than 35,000 college coaches and more than 200,000 student-athletes from across the country.
With a rate of more than 90 percent of NCSA-verified athletes succeeding to play college athletics, NCSA is the leading educational resource for parents, coaches and athletes who are involved in the recruitment process. The organization has helped more than four million athletes and parents learn the process each year.
Make sure to visit the NCAA website to find out all the rules regarding recruiting as well as the current recruiting calendar.
Source: National Collegiate Scouting Association and NCAASports.org.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com.