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College Strategy

Sophomores: Are You on Track?

Sophomores: Are You on Track?

It's winter of sophomore year -- is your child on track? Take a look and find out what your child should be doing now to prepare for college.

I Was Deferred - Now What?

I Was Deferred - Now What?

You've been deferred, and you're feeling down. Understandable. But here's what you can do next.

Quick Guide: Am I Being Recruited?

Quick Guide: Am I Being Recruited?

Carli Lloyd's third goal yesterday was so epic that I had to include it in this post about athletes.

As I've mentioned in my How to Apply to Stanford post, and as I will continue to discuss ad absurdum, ad nauseam, and ad infinitum, you must know whether you have a hook. A hook can determine whether that school is a realistic possibility or just a dream.

One possible hook is being a recruited athlete. But how do you know, exactly, if you're being recruited? Yeah, if you're a super-awesome #1 athlete, you probably know. But what if you're on the bubble? What follows is a quick guide to help you assess where you really stand.

Stage 1: Assess Interest

  1. Are you even interested in the school that might be recruiting you? Set aside for a second whether the coach at the school is interested in you. If you're not interested in the school, then the school's interest in you doesn't matter. If you don't like Snickers, then you don't really care if someone offers you a coupon for Snickers.
  2. Are you "on the coach's list"? It's not surprising that coaches will make vaguely encouraging statements about how they'd love to have you play for them if you came. But actually being on the coach's list is one way to know you might be getting somewhere.
  3. Will the coach "support" your application? Support means a coach is putting you on a list that goes to the admissions office. If you have support, then you really do have a hook.

Stage 2: Advocate

Let's say the answers to the 3 questions above all come back positive. Yes, you're interested in the school. Yes, you're on the coach's list. Yes, the coach will support your application. Now what? Here are 3 steps you'll want to take to follow up.

  1. Ask your club or high school coach to talk to the college coach. When your coach talks to the college coach, your coach can explain your recent achievements, including participation in showcase and JO tournaments. Also, your coach can assess the college coach's level of interest to make sure it's as strong as you think it is.
  2. Advocate for yourself. Set up an online profile. If you're not sure where, ask your coach which website previous recruits have used. Then remember to update your profile and to email the college coach directly about new achievements.
  3. Register for the NCAA Clearinghouse. You're going to have to send in your transcript through junior year, along with your SAT or ACT score. Start now!

Stage 3: Build a Balanced List that Assumes You're Not Being Recruited

If you've been reading this blog, you know about the importance of a balanced list. If you need a quick refresher, then please check out my Where to Apply to College post.

When you're dealing with the uncertainty of whether or not you're being recruited, build your list so it's balanced even if you don't end up being recruited. What I mean is:

  • No, DO NOT apply to 5 dream schools that would never accept you without the hook of being recruited.
  • Yes, DO definitely apply to 2-3 of those dream schools!
  • Yes, DO apply to 3 good safety schools where your chances have nothing to do with being recruited, schools where your chances look good by your numbers alone.
  • Yes, DO apply to 4 target schools where your chances look good by your numbers alone.

In other words, your list has to stand on its own and be balanced even if you don't end up being recruited.

That's about it to get you started. This by no means a comprehensive guide. This is an "explain it to me in 60 seconds guide." For comprehensive, you have Google.


P.S. Thank you to Ellen Perkins, aka Mom, for helping me understand this process better. Also, as a bonus for the water polo players out there, even if you're not recruited, you can find plenty of great club options at the Collegiate Water Polo Association website.

Jon Perkins holds a B.A. in English from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He helps students with their college, law school, and medical school applications.