Our Approach to the Athletic Recruitment Process
It is important for the elite athlete to understand the ways in which his/her college admissions process will differ in significant ways from the ordinary one. The elite athlete should have at least a basic, realistic understanding of how athletic recruitment process works—with its complicated requirements, its exaggerations and pitfalls, its unpredictability, and its sometimes cruel and impersonal outcomes. At College Dimensions, we can help to educate student athletes and their families about the process, while also giving a realistic appraisal of the student’s particular situation. Whether dealing with athletes or non-athletes, the overriding principle that guides us is the best interest of the student. For athletes, our primary concern is finding colleges that are a good fit for the individual student—academically, socially, and athletically—and then maximizing the likelihood of gaining admission to those target colleges.
Toward that end, the services that we provide for student athletes can address the following aspects of the athletic recruitment and college application process:
- Understanding the NCAA Recruiting Process. We would explain the nature and steps of the process by which D-I and D-III colleges recruit elite athletes. We would address such things as NCAA rules governing students’ contact with college coaches, the commitment imposed by a Letter of Intent in NCAA D-I colleges and by an Early Decision contract in an NCAA D-III college. We also would explain the meaning of certain types of contact and other actions by college coaches, and address various marketing issues.
- Reality Check. We would provide a consistent reality check about the various aspects of the college athletic recruitment process—to give a candid perspective as to:
(a) which options are realistic to pursue (and to not pursue), in light of the particular student’s athletic abilities and academic record; and (b) which options are most likely to be in the student athlete’s best overall interests. As part of the reality check, we would discuss the “broken leg” test. We also would alert the student to various pitfalls and potential cruel realities of the recruitment process. And particularly in the case of non-blue-chip athletes, we would discuss the likelihood of being admitted to particular colleges, and also the importance of finding out whether the athlete realistically would be likely to get playing time there.
- Guidance for NCAA Eligibility. We would provide information and guidance regarding NCAA eligibility—explaining the requirements for Core Courses, GPA, sliding scale, and methodology for computing the GPA. This includes helping the student develop a plan to satisfy those NCAA eligibility requirements.
- Strategies for Introducing Athletes to Colleges. We would recommend appropriate strategies for marketing the athlete to coaches at his/her target colleges—both for blue-chip-athlete and for other scholar-athletes. This would include advising the athlete and parents regarding creating and distributing demo DVDs, communicating with coaches (including important—but often overlooked—questions that are very important to ask), and making specific inquiries to college admissions officers.
- General Support. We would serve as a general sounding board throughout the recruitment and application process. We also would evaluate athletic scholarship offers and college acceptances when they come in.
For Athletes, an Early Start to the Process
It is important for student athletes to start their college planning early—ideally during the first year of high school. Early planning is particularly helpful to make sure the student satisfies the Core Curriculum and other NCAA Eligibility Requirements. Additionally, the trend is for college coaches to start monitoring blue-chip athletes as early as ninth grade. In keeping with the saying “Forewarned is forearmed,” early orientation and preparation of student athletes and their parents can be valuable in dealing with coaches from the outset. So even before the active recruitment phase, it is helpful for us to meet with the student athlete and parents to get them oriented and develop a three-or four-year plan to deal with the college athletic recruitment and general application processes.
College Dimensions LLC
College Admissions Counseling for Effective Applications
Dona Heller, J.D.
College Dimensions LLC