At the end of the day, finding a match is about answering YES to the following questions:
1. Can I be accepted to this school based on my academic record? – If you cannot get accepted, your recruiting process is over. It doesn’t matter how good you are or how much the coach wants you. Most coaches won’t even talk about athletics until they have qualified you academically!
2. Do I have the athletic skill to play for this school? – If you don’t have the skills to play for a certain program, it doesn’t matter how badly you want to go there, no one wants to get cut or sit on the bench. It’s important to find programs that fit your level of athletic play.
3. Does the coach have the ability to evaluate my skill somehow? – If a coach cannot physically see you play through an actual game or through a video, they may have a difficult time feeling confident in your ability and might lean towards other recruits who they have seen perform.
4. Is this coach truly interested in having me play for their program? – Some coaches encourage kids to “try out” or “walk on.” You need to know if a coach is interested in you as a person and as an athlete.
5. Can I afford to go to this school? – The national tuition average for private college is over $19,000 a year and some are approaching $40,000 per year. College is not cheap and despite your desires and the availability of financial aid, there will be some colleges you cannot afford to attend. This is a reality that needs to be accepted, and you need to apply your energy to other schools that are more affordable. It’s important to note that you should never dismiss any school because of cost until you have explored all your financial options with the coach and with the institution.
6. Does this school offer academic programs I am interested in? – If you want to be an architect or an engineer, it’s important to find schools that offer those programs. If you have no idea what you want to do, it’s important to find schools that have a wide variety of programs that you can explore. You are going to school for an education & to enter the working world after college, so it’s important to find school that offer academic programs you are truly interested in. Don’t settle for less!
7. Will I be happy and successful at this school? – This is a difficult question to answer until you actually arrive at school. Schools may look great on paper or in person and then after a semester you might not like the players on the team or some other aspect of the school. When visiting and evaluating colleges, we try to encourage families to ask as many questions as possible from coaches, players, other parents, students, teachers, and anyone else you can find. Only then will you get a sense of the school before you actually enroll and arrive. The national graduation rate for students who enroll in 4-year institutions is 60% from the institution they first enrolled in, so at some point, 40% of all college students transfer or drop out of the school they enrolled in. Much of that can be traced back to their decision-making before they enrolled. Wanting to participate in college athletics makes finding a match that much more difficult.
TheCollegeProgram.com: If you’re looking for assistance sorting through different colleges and are having trouble narrowing down your choices, check out The College Program. This program will help identify 50+ schools that match all of your needs, and best of all, does all the research and work for you.