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A Guide for Student Athletes Considering College Sports

apply to college athletes athletics college college selection fall sports guide recruiting Jan 02, 2023


There are many misconceptions about what it takes to get to being a college athlete. Often, people feel like their kid is a great athlete who is setting records, mentioned in the weekly newspaper, and yet, they're not being recruited. This, unfortunately, is very common as we hear this from parents and players quite frequently. We have to look at it from the coach's perspective.


Coaches are looking for someone who's going to be a good fit not only for their team, but for the school.

Coach’s recruiting budgets outside of the Big Ten and SEC are relatively small. Their budgets cover things like traveling to see athletes play, including the cost of gas, the cost of the ticket to get into the venue, an overnight stay in a hotel, sometimes even airfare. Before a coach randomly attends a game in hopes of finding a student athlete that meets the needs of the college coach’s team, wants to attend their school, is interested in a major they offer, and qualifies for acceptance to the school. Considering that the top 22-30 players at any game might not meet all of those qualifications, coaches are pretty selective about the games they attend. This applies to showcase and tournament games as well as high school games.


Coaches want to hear from students. The coaches and schools can always tell when there is a parent involved in the email. Coaches always question if the student really wants to attend the school, or if it is the parents’ wishes.

Recently a student sent me an e-mail to ask if the email his family wrote was okay to send to the coach. It mentioned one of his “fondest memories”. I don't know any 17-year-old boys using the words “fondest memories.” Later, he admitted that his mom had written it. We stepped in and fixed the verbiage to ensure his interest was adequately received.

Reaching out to the coach involves more than letting them know you are interested in continuing your athletic career. They also want to know the school is a good fit for the student.

Mentioning a major, a characteristic or unique aspect of the school is a good idea. Showing the coach that you have done your homework on the school will let them know you may be a serious prospect, not just throwing out hundreds of emails in hopes of getting attention. And for the record, beautiful campus, felt like home, prestigious program, best professors are all red flags! None of those descriptions are unique to one school or show that you have done your homework.


It's very important that kids keep contacting the coach because students will often not get an immediate response. Students have to reach out in blind faith that the coach is reading their email, and when the time is right the coach is going to turn around and respond. In the interim, students should also fill out the recruiting chart on the school’s website. Students need to consistently put their name out there. Putting yourself out there like if you're getting a job or trying to make a sale. As a parent, I think that's something we can all relate to.

I'll ask kids if they have ever heard of Morton's or Ruth’s Chris (Steakhouses) and they haven't. But they have heard of McDonald's, because every 45 seconds there's a commercial for McDonald's. We know that the food at Morton's or at Ruth’s Chris a 100x better than McDonald's. And yet, they don't know about it.

Student-athletes need to advertise themselves!

Reaching out to college coaches is the student’s opportunity to advertise themselves. College coaches aren't sitting around reading the local newspaper, either. They don't know what a student’s accomplishments are – so students need to tell them. Get in touch and stay in touch.


A one-page player profile is essential along with a 3-5-minute video. Stagger emails to include these items, giving you reasons to continue to reach out. Videos should be updated each season as you should have some new highlights to share. Emails should also highlight updates on your accomplishments.


Students should plan visits sooner rather than later. Coaches and colleges often consider ‘demonstrated interest’ a factor in admissions. You do not need to wait until you have heard from the coach to schedule a college visit and meeting with the coach. You can contact admissions to set up the meeting with the coach, if the coach has not yet responded. Too often, parents will wait and see if the coach shows interest first. That's the wrong approach.

Once the visit is set up, be sure to create a list of questions for the student to ask the coach. Parents always have a lot of questions they want to ask, but the coach needs to see that they can have a relationship with your child. So, let your child do the talking.


Prepare your child in advance. The coach will ask, “do you have any other questions?” The first time a coach asks it is not OK to say, "You've answered all my questions" or "No, I don't have any questions." Students need to have questions ready.

It's like a job interview and hard to come up with questions on the spot. That's where College Recruiting Specialists can kind of jump in and help that student ask the right questions, not necessarily a question a mother would ask, or a father would ask.

As a former high school soccer coach, I am really passionate about letting students have the opportunity to continue to play and create that relationship with their coach.

If you have a child competing in high school sports who wants to continue it in college, get linked up with College recruiting Specialists now, because pre-planning is the best way to stay ahead. Give us a call or visit our contact us page to get started!

Kelly MacLean Achievement Center is a comprehensive education company, serving student-athletes and their families with both education and athletic resources including:

ACT/SAT test prep

Subject Specific Tutoring

Career Exploration

College Selection

Athletic Recruiting

Video Editing

Profile Creation

Email Templates

College Admissions



and Scholarships, including negotiating athletic scholarships.