Archive for Division 3 recruiting

Lacrosse Recruiting in the NESCAC

Here’s a great article on the lacrosse recruiting process in the NESCAC written by Chris Meade, co-Founder of LacrosseRecruits.com

 

As many of you know, the NESCAC is the New England Small College Athletic Conference. It is an athletic conference made up of academically more and most selective liberal arts institutions. On top of the institution’s high academic caliber, the league is often considered the most competitive Division 3 conference. According to LaxPower’s Power Rankings, the league has had one of the strongest power rankings over the past 5 years. Reigning national champion, Tufts, is one of the member institutions.

Right now, a number of ODAC and Centennial graduates are rolling their eyes. Both conferences have strong academic reputations and strong lacrosse programs. Over the past couple of years, the word NESCAC has become a buzzword on the recruiting trail. For example, “Is that school a NESCAC school?” or “Do you play in that NESCAC league?” My personal favorite is, “if my kid doesn’t go big time D1/Ivy, I want him to go NESCAC.” It helps that over the past decade schools like Middlebury, Wesleyan and Tufts have consistently ranked in the Top 10 in Division 3 as well as Amherst and Williams always being in contention for the Top Liberal Arts Institution in the country.

So here is my disclaimer, I love talking about the NESCAC and have lots to say because I went through the NESCAC recruiting/admissions process and ended up at Wesleyan. I graduated in 2005 after our school’s first trip to the NCAA tournament. The following years brought two trips to the NCAA Semi Finals and then a NESCAC Championship. (Not bragging or anything). Matt Wheeler, who I started LacrosseRecruits.com with, also went to Wesleyan and played lacrosse with me.

I end up answering many emails regarding the recruiting process at these schools. So here is some background information about the admissions process for a lacrosse recruit at these institutions.

Some Admissions Tips

To get started, it has become increasingly important for recruits to apply early decision. Almost 95% of recruited athletes will apply early decision at an institution. This is a way for the coach to know that the athlete is reciprocating the effort they are making to bring a player to their school. The effort is also monitored by admissions liason who goes between the athletic department and the admission’s office. By going early decision, the coach knows that if you are accepted, you will be coming.

There are a few wrinkles between the different schools in the conference. For example, Bowdoin and Bates have an SAT optional policy that makes it a good choice for strong academic performers in the classroom who may struggle with standard tests. To a lesser degree, similar situations are available at Colby and Connecticut College.  At Colby, applicants can make up their SAT score with any three SAT 2 subject scores. The admissions interview is a must for a player who is borderline for a program. The interview shows effort and interest to the admissions staff allowing a student athlete to explain any weaknesses in their application.

What is a band?

NESCAC institutions use a banding system that the athletic and admissions departments use to rank players who seek admission. The banding breaks players up based on GPA, Class Rank, SAT (or ACT) and SAT 2 and then categorizes them as A Band, B Band or C Band. Over a 4 year period, schools slot a certain amount of players per band. The system allows for more flexibility than the Ivy’s Academic Index but limits weaker academic applicants. Schools are generally given 4-7 slots per year. At a school like Williams, the class may be made up of 4 A Band students and 2 B Band students. The same B Band student at Williams could be considered an A Band student at a slightly less selective school like Bates.

So here is a general outline of A, B and C Bands for NESCAC schools.

A Band

SAT Scores 700+ average all above 670

SAT II 710

GPA: 92+ GPA, Almost All As

Class Rank: Top 5%

Courses: 4+ APs, Honors Classes

B Band

SAT scores 650+ average, all above 620

SAT II 640

GPA: 88+ GPA, Mix of As, Bs

Class Rank: Top 15%

Courses: Few AP Courses, Honors

C Band

SAT scores 630+ average, all above 590

SAT II 600

GPA:  85+ GPA, Mix of As, Bs, occasional Cs

Class Rank: Top 20%

Courses:  Honors

As I said, these are general numbers but they serve as a benchmark to better understand where a student athlete stands. As you narrow down your schools of interest, providing your transcript and speaking with the coach will provide the greatest feedback and realistic expectations.

Coach Support and “Tufts Syndrome”

You may have heard of “Tufts Syndrome”, it refers to the alleged practice of highly qualified students being rejected or waitlisted in order to protect a school’s yield rate. The theory being that the superstar applicants are bound to be accepted to other, more prestigious schools. I don’t know why Tufts was singled out. I don’t even know if ‘Tufts Syndrome” really exists or if it’s just a ‘sour grapes’ response to being denied admission.

But I think there is some truth behind the theory when it comes to a coach supporting an athlete through admissions. There are some outstanding academic schools with lower (< 40%) yield rates, and  coaches at these schools are very careful about playing their support cards with athletes who may just be using them as a safety.

Here’s the US News Report on yield rates at national universities. One of the most respected universities in the country, The University of Chicago, has a yield just south of 40%. Washington University in St. Louis, another excellent university, only sees about 31% of the students they admit actually enroll. Compare that to yields of 60-70%+ at Penn, Yale, Stanford and Harvard and it’s easy to understand why a coach at a lower yield school might be a bit skeptical when a recruit tells him that his school is his top choice.

I recently had a conversation with the parent of a recruit at one of the lower yielding, top academic schools. “He had strong coach support and applied Early Action, only to get deferred. He was pretty devastated.” she said.

Two weeks passed and he received a Likely Letter for the Regular Decision round – basically giving him written assurance that he would get in as an RD applicant.

So what do we make of that? Did the coach want to see if the recruit could get in without support during the EA round, thereby saving one of his supported slots? Or did he want to see if the kid was still available after the EA round – greatly increasing the chances that he would enroll if supported and accepted?

I had a conversation with WashU’s head track coach, Jeff Stiles, and asked him what he looks for in a recruit. One of the first things he said was, “I want someone who is genuinely interested in our program. We’re on their list and they know why we’re on their list.”  He went on to say that it’s all too common for a kid to rattle off the top 15 colleges in the country when they’re asked which schools their interested in. “That’s kind of a turn-off. We don’t have to be first on their list, but it should be a reasonable number – and they need to be considering us for a reason.” Not just because we’re one of many good schools.

Either way, if you want to get coach support at one of the outstanding academic schools with relatively lower yields, you better make it very clear to the coach why you’re interested if you want him to go to bat for you.

 

 

Calling a College Coach

Some of us are extroverts – they love the chance to pick up the phone and have an interesting conversation with a complete stranger. That’s great. This column is not for you.

For others, the thought of calling a college coach can can induce anything from mild “butterflies” to full-blown panic. If you fall into this category, you’re not alone. Here are a few tips and strategies  to help you get through this – and maybe even enjoy it.

Manage expectations

The Coach sees the call as an opportunity to sell the program and make a personal connection with the recruit. He’s not grading your conversational skills. If you stammer a little or don’t give a perfect response to a question, it’s not a deal-breaker. Remember, he wants to make a good impression just as much as you do.

Be prepared, but not scripted

Make a few notes for yourself prior to making the call. In particular, any PR’s or special honors you’ve received recently. Also, make a note of any big meets, tournaments or showcases that you’ll be attending in the future. The conversation will probably start with the Coach asking you, “So how has your season / summer been going?” Be prepared to touch on a few high points to start the ball rolling.

Coaches tend to be very good at carrying conversations, so chances are you’ll be doing more listening than talking.

Showing an Interest in the Program

I’m going to give you a little peek inside the head of a college coach. They want to find great athletes who are genuinely interested in their program. I can’t overemphasize that point. Coaches are talking to dozens, or even hundreds, of kids and they need to figure out who is legitimately interested and who is stringing them along as a safety or backup.

As an athlete, it’s smart to ‘cast a wide net’ in your college recruiting – make contact with a variety of schools. But when you are speaking to the coach, he needs to know that he’s not just another school on the list.

At some point he will ask you, “What is it about our school / program that interests you?”.

Your answer should demonstrate that you have done your research. Is there a great coach on staff that you want to work with? Does their style of play fit especially well with your skills? There is no right answer, but show him that you know something about the program and you are genuinely interested. That’s the best way to make sure you end up on the ‘continue contact’ list.

Any Other Questions?

The conversation will almost certainly end with the coach asking, “Do you have any questions about anything?”

“Um…not really.” is not the best response. Give it some thought and jot down a question or 2 on your notepad. It could have to do with athlete housing, practice schedules, off-season training, etc.

As the conversations continue in the weeks and months to follow, you can get more in depth and ask about his recruiting priorities, official visits, admissions support, etc. But for now, listen a lot and make it clear that you’re interested (if you are interested).

So if you’re a little phone-phobic, just remember the words of John Wayne:

Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway

JP

 

 

 

 

 

How to Get Recruited: Part II

In How to Get Recruited: Part I we talked about researching the schools that interest you and how to craft your initial email to the coach. If things work out as planned, within a few days you might see something like this in your inbox:

Dear Mike –

Thanks for your email. Congratulations on a very successful high school career so far. I was glad to hear you’re interested in Northern State U. I would be interested to talk with you and see any game footage that you may have. Per NCAA rules I can’t call you until after July 1st, but you can call me anytime you’d like. Please fax a copy of your transcripts and test scores and also fill out our online recruiting questionnaire. Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon.

Coach Kindle

Northern State University

The first door is now open and you have established a dialogue with the coach, congratulations! If you haven’t already put up some game footage on YouTube or Vimeo, get to work!  You don’t need a professional service to do this. Here are a few tips on making a recruiting video. The actual video editing is pretty easy to do with a program like Windows MovieMaker. Remember, it doesn’t have to be fancy. it just has to be clear. Upload the clips to YouTube and I’d recommend setting the privacy settings so that only users with the link can view the video.

If the coach requests it, go ahead and fill out the recruiting questionnaire. Personally, I don’t think recruiting questionnaires are the greatest tool, but he asked you to do it so go ahead and show him you can follow directions.

Now let’s craft your return email to the coach.

Dear Coach Kindle –

Thank you for your reply. I filled out the recruiting questionnaire as you requested and here is a link to some of my game footage from this season:

www.youtube.com/link

I’ll fax over the transcripts that you requested and will follow up with a phone call. Is there any time or day when it’s best to reach you?

Thanks again-

Mike Jones

Washington High School, Class of 2014

You hit ‘send’ and fax the transcripts and scores, and you wait. Maybe you wait for a few days and you don’t hear anything. You start to worry a little that maybe the email didn’t go through. You can log on to your YouTube account go the the ‘Analytics” link and see – yep, somebody in Minnesota (the location of fictional Northern State U) watched your video 3 times! At least you know you’ve made contact.

Eventually you get a brief email from the coach:

Mike- thanks for the video. Call me when you have a chance – between 7 and 8pm is usually a good time.

Thanks-

Coach K

Things are moving along – the good news is, the Coach wants you to call. The bad news? Coach wants you to call.

Relax, it’s not that bad. I’m running long here so I’ll go into “making the call”  next time.

A member of the College Confidential community (a terrific resource, if you haven’t checked it yet) summed up the essence of recruiting perfectly:

Recruited = passion + skill + exposure + persistence + luck.

Good luck!

JP

How to Get Recruited: Part I

If you are a high school athlete and you want to play your sport in college, there are a few basic things you need to know about how to get recruited. Unlike the Hollywood storyline, you probably won’t have coaches knocking on your door and throwing scholarship money at you unless you reach out to them first.

How to Get Recruited: Step 1

Don’t Rely on the Online Recruiting Form

Most high school athletes get a little freaked-out at the thought of contacting the coach of a college program. Relax. It’s important to remember they are looking for athletes like you just as much as you want to get recruited by them. One of the biggest mistakes that kids make is they just fill out the standard athletic recruiting form on the school’s website, sit back and cross their fingers.

The best way to find out if a coach is interested is to reach out directly. Online recruiting questionnaires have a nasty habit of disappearing into cyberspace, never to be seen again. The first step in ‘how to get recruited’ is to e-mail the coach directly.

Compose Your E-mail

A few things to remember, the coach of a college program is going to get hundreds of emails each week from prospective athletes. Here’s an example of what NOT to do:

Dear Coach:

I am a midfielder at Washington High School and have played soccer since I was 6. Soccer has always been a passion of mine. I have always dreamed of playing college soccer. I am attaching a PDF with my full resume as well as 2 video files of some of my soccer highlights.

Thank you for your time,

Mike Jones

Yikes. First problem: The generic introduction. If you can’t be bothered to find out the coach’s name and personalize the e-mail, don’t count on getting a response.

Secondly, a coach doesn’t want to hear about your ‘passion’ and ‘dreams’. A coach wants to win games. Give him something to make him believe you might make his passion and dreams come true. In other words – how can you help him win?

Finally, don’t send a bunch of attachments and video with your introductory email. Remember, at this point you are one of hundreds in his inbox. Besides the very real possibility that your attachments will trigger spam filters and he’ll never get your message, he’s probably not going to open every file sent to him by every random kid.

Here’s a better way to structure your 1st email to the coach:

Dear Coach Kindle:

My name is Mike Jones and I’m a Junior midfielder at Washington High School in Seattle. I’m very interested in being part of the Wildcat program. A little about me:

  • All-conference as a Soph, All-State as a Junior
  • 23 goals and 18 assists this year
  • Team co-captain this year
  • Have a 3.4 GPA and scored a 28 composite on my ACT

I plan on majoring in accounting, and I know the department at Northern State U is highly respected. If you think I might be a good addition to the Wildcat soccer team I’d be happy to send you a more complete resume, as well as transcripts, my coach contact info and game footage.

Thanks very much for your time-

Mike Jones

Class of 2014

Okay, that’s the first step in ‘how to get recruited’. If things go well, the coach will reply to your email. Be patient. College coaches are busy people, if you don’t hear anything back in a week or 10 days, try again. In “How to Get Recruited” Part II, we’ll talk about what kind of info to send the coach after he replies and the power of picking up the phone (even though it’s nerve-wracking).

Until next time –

JP

 

 

Interpreting “Coachspeak” as a Recruit: Are You a Buyer or a Seller?

"She loves me, she loves me not...."

At the highly selective Tier 1 colleges, leveraging your athletic ability into admissions support is often the name of the game. Almost every school can offer some sort of admissions support to athletes with strong academics. The Ivy League has Likely Letters (as does the University of Chicago), the NESCAC has “tips” and “slots” (although not every NESCAC school uses those terms in their recruiting vocabulary), and MIT, Stanford and Patriot League schools all have varying degrees of support that a coach can provide.

The question is, how do you interpret the level of support that you’re getting? I get a lot of emails from athletes describing their dialogue with a coach and asking for my interpretation. Here’s one, for example:

“The coach has told me he thinks I would be a good addition to the team and he’s going to do his best to get me here, but at the end of the day it’s up to admissions. Does that mean I’ll be getting one of his slots?”

Okay, aside from the obvious advice -“ASK HIM”, how do you interpret “coachspeak”? How does a coach talk to a top recruit compared to one that’s on the bubble?

Are You the Buyer or the Seller?

One very good way to get a read on the tone of the interaction with a coach is to ask yourself, “Do I feel like the buyer or the seller in this relationship?”

The “buyer” in the relationship is the one who is evaluating choices. In the conventional sense of the word, the buyer is the one with the money and needs to be convinced that the seller is offering something worthwhile. In the Coach / Recruit relationship – the coach is trying to sell his product (the school and team) to the top recruits, while the lower level recruits are doing their best to sell their talents to the coach.

For example, are you the one making more of the calls and waiting for your messages and emails to be returned? If so, that sounds like you’re the seller.

Is the coach calling you regularly just to check in and let you know interesting or exciting things that are happening on the team? In that case, you’re the buyer – he’s the seller.

If he tells you that he thinks you could be an impact player right away instead of spending 2 years on the bench like you might at School X, he’s selling. But if he tells you that your times or academics are good, but he’d really like to see them at _____, he sees you as the seller, and your product needs to be a little better.

I think the buyer/seller analogy is a good way to help you interpret the strength of the coach’s commitment to you. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that acting like a buyer will give you an advantage. No, no, no. Acting like one who has a lot of choices to evaluate and really needs to be shown exactly why this school is better than the competition is a great way to be put on he “do not call” list as a potential attitude problem.

Be respectful, be polite and be professional as you go through the process. But when you’re trying to determine where you’re really wanted, ask yourself: Do you feel like a buyer or a seller?

 

JP

 

Early Decision for Athletes

As a recruited athlete at one of the Tier 1 Colleges, the coach will probably request that you apply Early Decision or Early Action if he is helping support you through admissions. Although The Common Ivy League Agreement states:

“A coach may both inquire about a candidate’s level of commitment to an Ivy institution, or interest in attending that Ivy institution, and encourage that interest. However, a candidate may not be required to make a matriculation commitment, to withdraw other applications, or to refrain from visiting another institution, as a condition for receiving a “likely” letter, or an estimate of financial aid eligibility, or a coach’s support in the admissions process”

The reality of the situation is that a coach will encourage you to go ED/EA and if you are unwilling, he may feel he has to move down the list. This situation isn’t unique to the Ivy League. Selective D3 colleges operate in a similar manner.

Since all financial aid is need-based in the Ivy League and many selective D3 colleges, binding Early Decision can put you in a bad spot if financial aid is going to be a concern. If you are accepted Early Decision, but find that the FA award is insufficient, generally speaking, you are allowed to withdraw from the ED commitment. The burden, however, will be on you to demonstrate that the Financial Aid award is insufficient.

To help avoid an unpleasant surprise from the FA office, get a financial aid pre-read before pulling the trigger on your ED application. The pre-read is an estimate, but should be accurate provided that you give them good information. Also, if your actual offer comes in much lower than your pre-read estimate you have stronger case to withdraw from the ED commitment (or ask for a re-evaluation).

Early Decision for Athletes Without Support

But how about if there is no support coming from the coach – is it still advantageous to apply ED or EA?

If you look at the data from some of the Tier 1 colleges, it certainly looks like it’s wise to apply Early Decision/Early Action. Let’s look at Princeton as an example. According to the Princeton Newsletter, in the class of 2016, 726 students were accepted out of 3443 in the Single Choice Early Action pool. That translates to a 21% acceptance rate – far higher than the 7.9% of applicants accepted overall.

Ivy League Early Decision 2016

Ivy League Early Decision Acceptance Rates 2016

 

It seems like a no-brainer, if you want to maximize your chances at your dream school, apply early-decision or early-action, right?  But let’s dig behind the numbers a little bit.

The vast majority of recruited athletes apply during the Early Decision or Early action round. At a school like Princeton, it’s safe to say that approximately 250 athletes are issued Likely Letters (and maybe another 150 Likely Letters go to non-athletes). So, out of the 726 students accepted in the Early Action round, approximately 400 of them were Likely Letter recipients and their acceptance was a foregone conclusion.

If we take the Likely Letter applicants out of the equation we see that for non-supported applicants, approximately 325 out of a pool of 3043 were accepted. That gives a rate of 10.6%. Still better than the 7.9% overall, but not by much.

The numbers are similar throughout the Ivies and in the NESCAC as well. Most supported athletes are coming through in the early rounds and that skews the early acceptance numbers significantly.

So as an athlete – your ED or EA application is a way to demonstrate your commitment to attend which is key to getting support through admissions. But if you are not being supported, does it make sense to commit to ED / EA?

When you take to Likely Letter applicants out of it – there just doesn’t seem to be a big advantage to going ED. The downside of ED is that you also lose some control over your Financial Aid award.

For those who have been through a binding ED process, were you satisfied with your financial award? If not, were you able to get it changed?

-JP

 

ED1 vs ED2 in the NESCAC?

As we’re ticking down to 11/1, kids are deciding where to go ED. So many kids are insecure that it’s gong to work out, even with coach support. If a coach has been recruiting a kid and they decide to go ED elsewhere, is that pretty much the end of the relationship? Is there any way for a recruit to still keep a door open with the other schools that have been recruiting him in case things don’t pan out at #1? We asked a NESCAC coach if he could give us any insight into ED1 vs ED2 and if it’s possible to keep your options open.

I think it’s natural for kids to feel a little nervous about things working out in the ED 1 process at a NESCAC school. As the policy in the NESCAC states, as coaches we’re not allowed to guarantee anyone they’ll be admitted to our institutions as it’s ultimately an admissions decision, not a coach’s decision.

Each coach has their own language and track record over the years, all I can say is that kids should be asking direct questions about where they stand and what kind of read they were given by admissions.

As far as keeping in touch with other coaches, I would say that it doesn’t happen often but kids can certainly reach out to other coaches and let them know that if things don’t work out at school A, they’ll likely apply to school B in the ED 2 round or regular decision…they can ask if there would be the potential for support in one of those rounds.

Middlebury Lacrosse Coach Dave Campbell on Recruiting and Playing in the NESCAC

Dave Campbell, Head Coach of the men’s Middlebury Lacrosse team talked with us about recruiting and playing lacrosse in the NESCAC. Dave has the unique perspective of having been both a player and a coach in the NESCAC. A two-time All-American selection at Middlebury, Dave went on to coach at Notre Dame and Connecticut College before returning to Middlebury as head coach. He played on an NCAA championship team and was named NESCAC coach of the year in 2009.

Coach, I think the one thing that every potential recruit wants to know is how ‘support’ works in the NESCAC. How many LAX players get slotted, or tipped and how reliable is it?

It’s important to remember that in the NESCAC, as coaches we’re not allowed to guarantee anyone that they’ll be admitted to our institution. It’s ultimately an admissions decision, not a coach’s decision. That’s one constant throughout the league. Now of course we can all identify recruits that we’d like to support through admissions and that number is going to vary a bit from school to school and year to year. It’s worth asking each coach how many student-athlete’s they plan to support in your class early in the process. The other thing that’s going to vary from school to school is exactly what ‘support’ means and how it’s handled. Each coach has his own language and track record as far as that goes.

I know a lot of kids can feel very anxious about everything working out after they’ve submitted their Early Decision application even if they’re supported. What kind of assurance can you give to a kid in that position?

I think it’s natural and appropriate for kids to feel a little nervous about things working out in the ED 1 process at a NESCAC school. But I think you can minimize that by asking a lot of direct questions during the recruiting process leading up to submitting your application. You should be asking where you stand and what kind of read you’ve been given by admissions. Ask lots of direct questions and take notes – I can’t overemphasize that.

You mentioned a coach’s track record in working with recruits. I know trust is a 2-way street. When you’re evaluating a potential recruit, besides watching games and reading stats, how can you get a handle on his character?

Over the years we develop relationships with high school and club coaches around the country and try to get as much input as possible from them in regard to character, work ethic, etc.. Most of us also speak with college/guidance counselors to get a better feel for a prospective student-athlete off the field.

Let’s move on to the commitment required of a NESCAC LAX player. How much time is generally required of your athletes?

To stay competitive, guys are working out year round. They have to be self-motivated. I’d say 90 minutes to 2 hours a day is pretty typical during the off-season. Once the season starts in the spring, we’re going about 2 hours a day.

Thanks for taking the time to talk, Coach Campbell. It’s really helpful for a potential student athlete to hear first- hand what it takes to get in and compete at one of the top colleges in the country.

Official Visits: What to Expect

Fall is the season when a lot of recruited athletes will start taking their official visits. You probably already know that you’re allowed to take up to 5 Division 1 visits, per NCAA rules. Official visits mean that the school pays for your (not your parents’) transportation, lodging and meals during the 48 hour period that you are on campus. Division 3 official visits are not limited to 5, but realistically very few D3 schools have the recruiting budgets to offer official visits.

Accepting Official Visit Offers

As an athletic recruit, the first time a coach mentions that he’d like to get you out to campus for an official visit, it’s pretty exciting. When they send you your airline tickets and you get to miss your Friday high school classes, you might feel a little bit like a rock star.

After your 5th official visit, when you’re behind in your AP calc class, missed homecoming and are fighting a cold you picked up along the way – you might feel less like a rock star and more like a harried business traveler.

The point is, official visits can take a toll on your body, your school work and your athletics. Don’t feel you have to take all 5 visits just because they’re offered. By the time time you get to this point in the recruiting process, you should have a pretty good feel for the coach and program. I’m sure you’ve done your research, so the official visits should really just be about meeting potential teammates and seeing facilities from the inside. My recommendation is to pare it down to 3 official visits – your body and brain will thank you come November.

Napping in airport during official visit

Official Visits can take a toll on an athlete

What Happens During the Official Visits?

Prior to arriving on campus, the coach will send you an itinerary for the weekend with things like, “academic presentation from 10:00 – 12:00”, and “free time with host”. All you really know is that your getting whisked off with a sleeping bag and a backpack and your going to be shaking hands with about 300 different people and walking, lots and lots of walking around campus.

Here are a few excerpts from The Essential Guide to Ivy League Athletic Recruiting that give a first-person account of what happens on an official visit.

Thursday I finally landed about 11pm, where Coach was waiting at the gate for me  We shot the breeze while we waited for my luggage . Then we hopped in his car and drove to the hotel where another recruit was waiting already in the hotel room. She’s a nice kid and we clicked pretty well. We talked for about 15 minutes then called it a night.

Friday  I awoke around 7am to get ready. By 8am we had walked down to the lobby where another recruit and her father were waiting as well.  Coach arrived and took our stuff and sent the other recruit’s dad on his way home (they drove). Our first destination was the Commons where breakfast was being served. Upon arriving, we met my host Kim. The food was fairly delicious, something I could get used to.

After breakfast, I went off with Kim to attend a Biology class while the other girls went to Government. After an hour of that, we left to attend a Psych 101 class. I really liked this class. The professor was engaging, even though there were about 1000 students in attendance. We sat with a captain on the team and a TA for the class.  We met Coach after Psych and then for then next 5 hours (11am to 4pm) we toured the whole campus on foot, talked with some academic advisors about our potential areas of study, met the coaches, ate lunch, did an area tour with the car, then went back to the facility for practice. (We couldn’t participate, of course)

All the girls were super friendly and really close, which was cool. After practice, Kim and I headed back to her dorm and started to get ready to go out.

We walked to a fraternity that was having a big party. It was a little intimidating, but ended up being pretty fun – I just drank water, of course.  Around midnight, Kim, myself and her friend all walked to get a bite to eat and got home about 12:30 am (they said this was early for college) and just went to bed. I was on the floor, of course. But it was a good experience.

Saturday We woke up around 9am and I showered.  Now we’re preparing to go to a street festival with some other girls. After that, we pretty much have all day to do what we want (hopefully study some Calc?!) and then at night the team might go bowling. I’m going to have one last sit-down with coach and I’ll fly out tomorrow morning.

Questions to Ask and Questions to be Prepared to Answer

At the end of this visit, the coach will want to have a chat with you. If your parents came with, they can be part of this – but they should mainly sit back and listen while you and the coach talk. The main thing the coach is going to want to know is what other schools you are considering, if you’ve received any offers already and when you’ll be ready to commit.

He’ll also ask if you have any questions at all about the school or program. You should sit down with your parent before the visit and write down a few things you’d like to know. Questions about practice schedule, accommodation for class schedules and academiic resources for student athletes are good ones to start. But what you’re really dying to know, is where you fit on his recruit list and how he sees you contributing to the team.

So go ahead and ask. The best time to remove the ambiguity and uncertainty from the process is while you are sitting face-to-face with the coach. You won’t get a direct answer unless you ask a direct question.

So relax, enjoy yourself, BEHAVE and try to get a feeling for being part of the team.

-JP