The recruiting process starts the moment you realize that college athletics is a path that you might want to explore. There are several steps you need to take before you start contacting coaches or even deciding what side of campus you would like to park on.
For this part of the process you will need to take a serious look at yourself and what you want out of a school. So much of the recruiting process is showing coaches what you can do for them and how you can be better for that team, but it will never be a good match unless you ask yourself first, “What kind of school would be a good fit for me?”
Don’t Lose Yourself in the Process
It’s easy to lose yourself in the process and take your priorities off the goal, which is to get a college education. Once you have identified your priority list and what you are looking for in a school both academically and athletically stick to your beliefs–don’t chase scholarship opportunities that don’t fit your needs. You will ultimately not be happy with your decision and spend a miserable 4 years or–even worse–drop out.
Write Your Personal Priorities on a List
It sounds very old fashioned and simple but the first thing you need to do is make a list. This list should be simple and state what you are and are not looking for in a school. For instance, “I would like to be within a 4 hour radius of my hometown or my dream school will have less than 6,000 students.”
Your list will need to contain topics like emotional priorities, location, academics, athletics and costs.
This list may change through the recruiting process as you learn more about college life and as you mature into a young adult, but this initial list is very important–without it you can’t start the process.
Try to Avoid Tunnel Vision
Don’t limit your opportunities by only looking at one or two schools. You will find that the more opportunities you have the more control you will have over your future.
After you make this list of priorities you will want to start matching schools that fit into your list. Of course you will have a “dream School” that will be at the top of your list. This is normal and healthy , but don’t let yourself get tunnel vision.
Have two tiers of schools: dream schools (which should contain 3 or 4 schools) and safety schools (another 5-6 schools) you have identified that meet your criteria and are opportunities that you will pursue if the others don’t work out.