Blog


Friday Scholarship Guide

5 Reasons You Need Support With The Recruiting Process


Let's face it.
The recruiting process is a process full of excitement, fun, emotions, and rewarding moments. But it's also a process, which may feel way too long, complicated, annoying and difficult at times. In most cases, some sort of obstacle always shows up at some point. This could be a test score which is way worse than what you had thought you'd achieve. It could also be a coach telling you that she'd made an offer to another recruit and all of a sudden you see the offer you'd hoped to receive disappear ...

Getting support, helps avoid such situations. In our world, there are 5 reasons why you need support and we'll go through them step-by-step in a second.

The 5 Reasons You Need Support

1. Recruiting Timeline

Unless you are a U.S. high school student or very-well informed, you almost always start your recruiting process too late. That's a problem and getting the right amount of support can help you make up for the lost time.
But there are also certain dates and deadlines to keep in mind or processes which take months to complete.

The bottom line is: support helps keeping your project alive. And the project is, finding your perfect school for your intended starting date in college.

2. Recruiting Obstacles

Perhaps 2 out of 10 athletes run into no issues at all. The obstacles are manifold. Let us give you a few examples:

Say a coach has shown a huge amount of interest and somehow led you to believe, it's a done deal and you dropped communication with all other schools in the meantime. All of a sudden the coach doesn't get back to you and you understand he has taken another position at another school after a while. Back to the start. Or say, you sign a NLI, but you have yet to pull of a SAT/ACT score of 950/18. First try in October - you don't make it. December - again, not enough points. All of a sudden you start stressing out with final papers/exams in your senior year coming up. What are you going to do?

3. College Education Investment

Going to college is not cheap, it's an investment in your future. There are plenty of scholarship budgets you may be able to tap into. Academic, athletic, FAFSA, other merit-based, work-on campus opportunities, etc., but it is somewhat of a jungle at times (more about this in "Financial Aid For College Athletes").
Getting the right level of support may just be the deal-breaker between deciding for the perfect school or the not-so-perfect school (also from a financial viewpoint).

4. Art of Talking to Coaches

This is an interesting one.
Just to make it very clear: we want you to be authentic, yourself and in the driver's seat talking to coaches. It should be you talking to coaches, not your parents, BUT ...
There are some essentials, which can really make coaches not respond too well and we see it all the time:

Imagine you receive a message from a coach and don't do anything with it for a week or so. Absolute NO-GO. Or imagine you send the coach a one-liner instead of a full-blown polite message, looking something like "Hey Coach, how much scholarship can you offer?" Or imagine a talk, which consists of you answering "Yes" or "No", not really letting the coach in on your personality, background and motives. Having somebody talk to you about the art of talking to coaches/building relationships can make a huge difference in getting recruited. There's a lot that can go wrong and you don't want to be the person losing out (see more about this in "The One Question Not To Ask A College Coach").

5. Non-Elite Athletes

Finally, all of the above may not apply to the same extent in case you are an absolute stand-out athlete, getting heavily recruited by the top D1 programs. Your athletic skills/stats will take you a long way, coaches will recruit you early on and guide you through the recruiting process; not always, but often.
Conversely, that means you do need support in case you are not a blue chip recruit.


Level of College Recruitment Support

Now with all of that said, there are really 3 ways to go about getting support:

1. Your Parents

Your #1 partner in all of this are your parents, brother, or sister; simply, family, who has nothing but the best interest for you in mind. Some parents have a great deal of knowledge about the recruiting process, perhaps with an athletic background themselves. Other parents may not know a lot about the requirements, dynamics and obstacles of the recruiting process - sometimes perhaps even because of English not being their native tongue. Most likely your parents definitely call the shots when it comes to deciding which alternative ways of support you should get.
Regardless of their background, some parents simply have more time and are willing to invest their resources, whereas others go about it this way:

"Can I help my child in the same way a professional could?"

2. Coach(es)

On the one hand, there are your private coaches, club coaches, teaching professionals and high school coaches. Sometimes, all these kind of coaches have some sort of expertise, knowledge about and network in the college recruitment universe.
On the other hand, you have the college coaches, which recruit athletes. Some of them are tremendously helpful with some stages of the recruiting process, but typically they are limited to the administrative tasks once you have made contact with the coaches.

3. Scholarship Service

Thirdly, there are specialized resources you can draw on. "Specialized", because scholarship services and recruiting platforms like the authors of this blog (Smarthlete), do nothing else than assisting athletes find college teams; day in, day out. There are different companies out there offering varying levels of support, but what they all have in common is the fact that they've been in the industry for a while to know what matters. Ask for testimonials, ask for references and why they offer to place athletes. Here at Smarthlete we try to cater to the different needs of families:

  • Do you need some help to get started, insights into coaches looking & get in contact with all coaches directly right away? Then our DIY Recruiting Platform may be the right support for you.
  • Do you want a full support from A to Z, getting the video done, all the way to making the right college selection and arriving at college? Then our 360° College Placement may be the right option for you.

The Right Kind Of Support For You

First off, we believe some support is key and super important, but at the end of the day it's up to you to decide what level of support is sufficient for you. If you happen to have the mom & dad at home, who played basketball at Harvard 20 years ago and who know the recruiting process inside out, awesome! Or say, your brother got recruited 2 years ago to play golf at Vanderbilt, chances are he will be able to help you a great deal.
At the end of the day, many parents like to look at the support question in the following way:

"Let us make sure we have somebody on board who helps with the recruiting process. Outsource it, just the way we pay our tax consultants to handle the tax declaration or the financial advisor to invest our savings."

There is no right and wrong when it comes to the recruiting process, but we urge you to think it all through good time in advance and inform yourself early. It just makes for a better, educated decision at the end of the day and for a better recruiting process :D

We hope today's edition of the Friday Scholarship Guide was an interesting read for you! If so, perhaps you want to sign up for our newsletter all the way up to the right and we'll deliver any upcoming blog editions straight to your inbox? If not, then do let us know what we can do better ;) Reach us at contact@smarthlete.com, send us a message through social media (Facebook or Instagram) and find out how we can help you get recruited.