Sunday, December 23, 2012

Choices: Colleges, Athletic Scholarships and Recruiting

How do you choose your college for an athletic scholarship?

So, I want to make one point clear, YOU choose the school, the school does not choose YOU.  For gifted athletes looking at obtaining an athletic scholarship, the options can be overwhelming.  I have witnessed on far too many occasions, gifted athletes with the grades to go to any school they choose sit back and wait for the phone to ring.  Here is the problem:  If a coach doesn't know you are out there, he or she will not call you, nor make you an offer.  I would argue that the whole college selection process should mirror how you would choose if you did not have the athletic option.  I told my son and daughter, imagine you were injured and unable to play during your first year, is it somewhere you would like to be or be from?  So here is a list of evaluation criteria for any college:
  1. Athletics - by no means should this be the first in the order, but if you are going to compete, you want to be happy with the coach, the program and the team.  Your official visit will give you great insight to the "feel" of the school from an athletic perspective.  Trust your gut, and your parents as well, it is always right.
  2. Size - Big schools are not for everyone, and large state schools can be intimidating, and at times not the greatest learning environment for certain types of students.  Talk this out with your parents and teachers, and narrow down your choice to large, medium or small.
  3. Location - will you be comfortable 2000 miles from home?  Will the weather on the East Cost drive you crazy?  Does going to school in a farm town suit you?  These are all items that need to be examined.
  4. Private or Public - there are benefits of both types of schools, and definitely a different feel.
  5. Academics - Are University rankings important to you?  Do your choices have the right majors in line with your career goals?
  6. Extra-curricular - What types of activities, clubs and organizations do your target schools have.  Sorority or fraternity?
  7. Cost - When evaluating your options, obviously you want to make sure you can afford the price tag.  Most athletic scholarships are just a percentage, and most private school tuition after scholarship can be greater than public tuition.  Make sure it fits your budget.
There are some absolutely fantastic sites that let you specify your criteria, and then hone down  your options.   The College Confidential Search tool has a Sport and Division criteria if you are searching for Athletic Scholarship options..  Here are some links to help you with your choices:

Also, if you are just looking for schools that meet NCAA Division Scholarship criteria, search below for the school and the athletics they offer:

Anything to add?  Please comment.

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