By Tom Kovic
Over the past year, the Coronavirus has helped create a new normal with college recruiting. Those prospects who tried to maximize their effort with the college search likely gained ground. We are nearly out of the woods, and with that, a return to a sense of normalcy with the prospect-college coach connection.
Dedicated athletes always meet challenges head-on. There is no better time than now to re-charge your college recruiting plan, put it into action and build momentum.
Six months ago, most prospects, especially high school juniors, were convinced the recruiting landscape looked bleak. And for good reason. There was a ack of showcases and competitions to attend, and lost opportunities to help college coaches evaluate.
Junior prospects should realize that although time may be short, there is still plenty of time available to present a convincing argument to college coaches. YOU control this playing field. You have an opportunity to unleash your tenacity and impress the college coaches with a steady and credible effort.
Junior Prospect Timelines
Junior prospects have time to re-connect with the college coaches, but they need to “giddy up.” Take some time to refresh the college coach’s memories and re-establish your sincere interest in their program. Update your player profile and share it with the coaches. Let the coaches know that there will be a string of communications forthcoming that will help them evaluate you as a true student-athlete.
Plan for a series of communications that will separate you from the rest of the pack. Cultivate personal relationships with the coaches. Be bold in your approach and ask your top coaches on your college list if they would be willing to schedule a zoom meeting with you.
Begin to layout your spring and summer recruiting plans. Identify college camps and showcases you want to attend and register. Get your club/high school coaches involved. Request they make direct calls to the top 25% of the coaches on your list.
Sophomore Prospect Timelines
Sophomore prospects have a little more wiggle room with college recruiting. NCAA rules specify that robust contact between college coaches and prospects can begin June 15.
Begin to get your recruiting house in order. Develop and polish your player profile. Keep it succinct and impactful. It should read no longer than 1 page in Pdf format. The profile “defines you” as a prospective student-athlete.
Assemble your highlight video and give the college coaches the opportunity to evaluate you as an athlete. Depending on your sport, you should keep the time of your highlight video to less than 3 minutes.
Get your academic records (through the sophomore year) organized. Include school transcripts, and your school profile (you can get this from the guidance office), and any standardized test results (PSAT).
Freshman Prospect Timelines
An educated consumer will have the best chance at success. Freshman prospects should launch their college search by building a strong information base. Whether it means becoming familiar with NCAA rules, or understanding the important role of the NCAA Eligibility Center, devote yourself to understanding the recruiting process as the sophomore year approaches.
Measure your self-awareness and identify your college goals and dreams. Assemble a handful of operatives that broadly defines your potential college experience and begin to grow your college list. Include operatives such as geographic location, size of the school, level of play, and social demographics, to name a few.
We may be in unchartered waters, but we are nearly out of the woods with the pandemic. Remain positive in your approach with your everyday life and surround yourself with people who care about you and believe in you.
You have two choices ahead of you. 1) Allow everything remotely negative to fill your minds and crush your hopes and dreams. 2) Accept that you are confronted with a steep mountain to climb and face the challenge head-on and with confidence.
Tom Kovic is a former Division I college coach and Founder/Principal of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he advises prospects and families on college recruiting. For further information visit: www.victoryrecruiting.com.