SPUSA 20 years

What Do All Successful Recruits Have in Common?

College recruiting is a marathon process, spanning a number of months and, in some cases, years. It is therefore essential that a recruit is able to sustain the interest of a college coach over a long period of time. The most successful recruits who secure themselves the best opportunities, have the following things in common:

Exceptional Time Management

Balancing the demands of sport, school, and personal/social commitments during the recruiting process is challenging but imperative. The most successful recruits don’t set aside their sport and training during the academic year (in year 12 especially), nor do they allow their sporting commitments to impede their ability to complete their schoolwork on time. An attractive recruit is both a good student and a good athlete.

Being a student-athlete in college is like having a full-time job. Between classes, studying, practice, tournament/competition travel, extra-curricular involvement, and social activities, there’s barely time to spare. Throughout the recruiting process, coaches need to see that you can manage your time effectively and apply yourself diligently in all areas.

Respond Promptly to Coaches

Prompt and proactive communication with coaches is the key to converting interest into scholarship offers. Similarly, the fastest way to find yourself at the bottom of a coach’s recruiting list is to respond to coach emails with considerable delay. The most successful recruits respond to coach’s emails within 24 hours. To ensure this, it is important that you set aside 30 minutes per day to check your emails and reply to any coaches that have contacted you. Like sport and school, communicating with coaches needs to become part of your daily routine.

Engage with all Interested Coaches

Recruits who ultimately find their right-fit college engage with a wide range of coaches, across multiple divisions. Naturally, not all colleges who express interest in you will be your right fit, but there is much to be gained from having a conversation with these coaches regardless. The process itself is very educational and tends to reveal things that are important to you in your ideal college that you would have not otherwise realized. It is just as much about learning what you don’t want in a college as what you do. The more options you give yourself to choose from, the increased likelihood you will find your right fit.

Engaging with every coach also expands your knowledge of how recruiting works, whilst building your confidence and comfortability heading into those initial meetings. Once your dream college comes into the picture (it may not be right away), you will be far better prepared to communicate with that coach.

Keep an Open Mind

Many recruits considering the US college pathway approach it with a ‘D1 or bust’ mentality, which is extremely limiting. Such approach would count you out of phenomenal opportunities at programs in other divisions that may be far better developed and perform at a much higher level. The divisions of competition are not hierarchical by which Division 1 is better than Division 2, which is better than Division 3, etc. The top-ranked programs in each division are, in fact, very comparable in terms of level and performance. The most successful recruits keep an open mind, especially at the outset, and let the recruiting process educate them about which division and college is the best fit for them.

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An Aussie's Transformative
US College Journey

By Study & Play Director, Chris Bates