So your kid wants to play in college?
Okay, let’s look at the facts for Division One athletes:
- 3% of high school basketball players play division one
- 5.7% of football players
- 6.1% of baseball players
- 1.7% of volleyball players.
Not too hopeful, is it?
I’m all for letting your kids dream big, but it will probably become clear by the time your athlete is a junior in high school if they are a division one quality player.
My daughter, who’s played softball since she was 7, got to high school with dreams of college softball in her head. We were pretty naive about the whole recruiting process, so we went to an informational recruiting meeting held at her high school.
They said one thing that stuck in our minds: “If your child really wants to play in college, and is willing to go anywhere, then there’s a good chance he can play.”
For my oldest daughter, it meant going to a Division 3 college in Illinois where she played four successful and enjoyable years of softball.
Our biggest mistake in that college search was to pay a recruiting organization $1500 to find her a college that would offer her a scholarship. It was a total waste of money. We ended up finding a college on our own.
My son also went to a Division 3 school in the midwest to play football and now we are in the process once again with our youngest, a senior volleyball player.
If your child wants to play sports in college, but is not a Division 1 athlete, then consider this process which should begin at the end of his junior/beginning of his senior year.
- Be realistic about your athlete’s abilities. Enough said.
- List the colleges of interest. For our youngest, this has been Christian colleges, based on location and familiarity.
- Fill out recruiting forms for those colleges.
- Don’t wait for coaches to contact you.
- Email each coach, with a personal introduction from the athlete. We’ve received several responses from this, some saying they do not need a player for her position; others saying they would like to keep in touch and see game video.
- Take lots of video of your child playing. Edit the highlights, post it on You Tube. Many coaches will also request an entire game.
- Keep coaches on a mailing list, sending periodic updates of how the college search and the athlete’s season are going. We also set up a Facebook page and invited the coaches to become fans. On this page, we posted updates, video, stats, etc.
- Colleges will weed themselves out. By late winter, early spring, when it is time for your athlete to visit college campuses, he will hopefully have a short list of colleges that are interested in having him play.
- Dig deeper into each program.As we investigated the volleyball programs of the colleges who expressed their interest, we saw things we liked and things we didn’t. For instance, one college had a very short volleyball season and no club team. Another–even though it is a smaller college–had a long and full season, a winter club team, as well as a beach volleyball season for its volleyball players. The coach was new and it is obvious to us that he is trying to build a program. We like the idea of getting in on a program that is on its way up, not down.
- Visit the colleges and meet with the coaches. My husband and daughter are headed to four colleges at the end of February. All have expressed strong interest in having her playing volleyball. My husband is going with a boatload of questions about the volleyball programs and available scholarships. I’m sure my daughter’s decision will be made out of that trip.
I do not claim to be the final authority on getting your athlete recruited for college, but these steps worked for us.
Take a few minutes to read about the Seven Myths About College Sports. Then get working on helping your athlete fulfill his dreams!