Location and Environment
One of the most important things to look at when evaluating a school is the location and culture of the school. You want to ask yourself, “How far away do I want to be from my home town? What is the climate in that city or town. For example, if you don’t like snow or cold weather maybe you shouldn’t look at schools in Minnesota.
You will also want to think about your beliefs and values. “Do I want to attend a secular school, do I want the campus environment to be more liberal or conservative?”
These are all questions you need to ask yourself. Going to school too far away from home, relocating to a humid environment when you don’t like the heat, or going to a Christian school when you don’t like to take religion classes are all things that can make your college experience less than desirable.
Preferences like these will need to be accounted for on your list.
Probably even more important than how you fit into a team would be how you fit with a school academically. You’ll want to make sure that the school you’re looking at has your desired major, especially if it is rare or highly specific. If you have not decided yet what you want to major in you’ll want to make sure that you’re looking at schools with a wide variety of majors so you have lots of options when it comes time to make your choice.
You’re going to school first and foremost to get a college education–picking a school that is academically above your level or doesn’t challenge you enough may leave you frustrated and unhappy. Just because you’re being recruited by the athletic department doesn’t mean that the classroom environment will be the right place for you.
A good test would be to apply for schools separately from the recruiting process–if you get in on your own merit you know that you’re prepared for that institution. Coaches also look highly upon student-athletes who have already been accepted into their school. They know that they won’t have to worry about them academically and it is less work for them.
They don’t like to have to beg admission departments to get their athletes in. With the increasing number of schools that are becoming overcrowded the athletic department has less wiggle room to “get” students in.
It can be very flattering during your recruiting process to get offers or even interest from coaches, but you should make sure their team lines up with your style of competition. Every coach conducts their team in a different manner and focuses on different aspects of the game.
Personally, I ended up picking a school that had a very strict coach–this was good for me to gain the skills and discipline needed to compete at the collegiate level. That worked with my personality type. Many people respond better to more relaxed coaching styles, high stress or low stress environments.
You will also want to take note on the styles of play that teams are based on. If you’re a sprinter you don’t want to go to a school that puts all its energy in its distance program. Or if a team runs a different style of offense than you’re used to this might not be the right match for you.
A good way to figure this out is to do research on the current team. Taking this type of time will not only pay dividends when trying to pick out a school but also during the recruiting process. Coaches like to see that you are truly interested in their program; you can show them you are by knowing stats about their season and players. They are more likely to invest in you if you show that you have put some time investment into them.
What can I say about costs? Ultimately money makes the world go around so it can have a major impact on what decisions you make and where you end up going to school.
Several factors will come into play when weighing costs of a particular school. Cost of living in an area needs to be balanced against the amount of financial aid you can get through academic or athletic scholarships and grants.
Whether you earn a full or partial scholarship there will always be additional costs to your college career. Depending on what you can afford this might help you determine the school you finally choose.
You can follow these steps to help you build a guide for what you’re looking for in a school. This will help you determine a list of schools that you’re interested in, and also help you know if you’re interested in a school when a coach tries to recruit you.
If you’re true to yourself and take the time to determine what you truly want out of the college experience you will have a better rate of successes in your recruiting process and your college career.
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