What follows are insights on how prospective student-athletes can “wire themselves for success” and maximize their chances in gaining admission to their top college choice.
“Victory Begins with a Dream” and I believe this statement has grip. Every worthy effort requires a starting point and we should never deny our children the opportunity to reach high, especially in the college recruiting process.
That said, maintaining a grounded approach when lining up potential college options and having a well-balanced list of college options is critical. I suggest prospects subdivide the general college list into 3 areas: 1) reach, 2) likely and 3) back-up college options.
Envision the “end game” and then work backward when defining your specific goals. The initial phase of the college search might appear a bit daunting, but the trick here is to begin “big” and then chisel down the plan to understand it, simplify it and wrap your arms around it.
Look further out when defining your college goals. Although the athletic component will be very exciting during your 4-year college experience, but where do you see yourself in 40 years? Keep the academic component at the vanguard of your list of goals and you will position yourself best for success.
The Team Approach
The team approach during the college athletics recruiting process is suggested to maximize efficiency and minimize individual pressure and stress as families navigate a potentially daunting effort. Forming a trustworthy group of individuals who play specific roles during the college recruiting cycle will increase your chances in grabbing the brass ring. The team should include:
- Club Coach
- uidance counselor/College advisor
- Personal mentor/advisor
By selecting the team approach, the responsibility in effectively executing your recruiting plan is equally distributed to the area experts. All assignments should be clearly spelled out, and communication between team members should be often and consistent. This will help streamline the complete operation of the project. In addition, it will help families avoid any confusion that could contribute to unclear thinking, misdirection and potentially poor choices.
You can envision your dream and you have defined your goals. Your recruiting team is in place and you are excited to get started! Not so fast. A key organizing component in the college search is to establish specific time-lines you will hold yourself to in executing your plan! Without definite time-lines to commit to in executing your recruiting plan, you give yourself a marginal chance at best in hitting targets in a timely manner. Start broad and develop long term targets that will cover up to a year of the college quest. From there you can break your time-lines into a more detailed format that can include 45, 30, 15- and 7-day targets.
Unless you are that blue-chip athlete that every college coach is evaluating, you will need to create and execute a robust recruiting plan that separates you from the rest of the pack.
There are several “grey area” character components that can assist you, but the one that stands out above the rest it is desire. You have been successful in putting your college recruiting vehicle together and you are ready to take it out for a spin. Desire is the fuel that moves the vehicle forward.
When it comes to the college recruiting, coaches are “absolute” in relatively few areas, and many coaches truly enjoy wading in the grey areas when looking for intangible characteristics that make a good recruit, great. Evaluating academic and athletic ability is not rocket science, but the successful college recruiter will be looking for self-aware, independent thinking prospects that bring a strong character component to the table.
In the final analysis, one’s college search success will depend on several operatives, but the glue that binds the effort will be the organized approach the prospect and family commit to in executing the recruiting plan with precision and success from start to finish.
About Tom Kovic:
Tom Kovic is a former Division I college gymnastics coach (Penn) and the current director of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families on college recruiting. Tom is the author of “Reaching for Excellence”, an educational guide for college athletics recruiting. For further information visit: www.victoryrecruiting.com
Editor's Note: Publication of this article is not an endorsement of any recruiting service. Always check with the NCAA or your school's compliance officer for any questions regarding recruiting rules, the latest timelines, or other issues.