With a flood of applications, forms and pamphlets to keep up with, college recruitment can feel overwhelming at times. That's why college recruiting services often sound so good. With their guarantees of success, networks of schools and promises of stress-free recruitment, these services can seem like the perfect path to college for many athletes. Although college recruiting services provide value for some athletes, they're not right for everyone—for two big reasons.
College recruiting services typically rank student-athletes based on a list of qualifications, the goal being to help athletes narrow down their list of colleges and universities. Former professional athletes, coaches and gurus use charts and experience to make assessments. Although this sounds like a great step, ranking a player on abilities and statistics fails to account for intangibles like drive and determination.
For example, I was listed as a Division II prospect, but I was able to secure a football scholarship to a Division I university on my own behalf. I left that D-I school as the all-time leading receiver and went on to play in the NFL and CFL.
Although college recruiting services can point you in the right direction, the only opinions that really matter are those of college coaches. You'll succeed when you find a college coach who buys into you as a student-athlete, not just a talented playmaker.
Recruiting services often charge a lot, because they use expensive experts and tools. Consider reallocating the money you would have paid a college recruiting service into training designed to help you become a better college athlete. Invest in SAT/ACT prep classes, sports camps and performance training. Maximizing your potential in the classroom and improving your skills on the playing field will make you more appealing to college coaches. Sometimes, college coaches are more impressed by personal e-mails and phone calls, because they demonstrates leadership and responsibility.
The college recruiting process is not black and white. Forge your own path with help from The Athlete Watch, a leadership course designed to make it easy for families and athletes to take a proactive approach to college recruiting.
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