College Recruiting: Making a Good 1st Impression

Guiding Future Stars is a student-development company that is committed to transforming the next generation into excellent students, great athletes, and extraordinary people.   GFS assists prospective student-athletes and their families navigate through the recruiting process by educating them about what it takes to play at the next level, how the college recruiting process works, and how to be a successful student-athlete.   We will guide them in their pursuit to find the school that will provide them with the best college experience.  And we will inspire them to chase their dreams to play in college and be successful student-athletes who excel in the classroom, on the field, and in their personal lives.

One of the big stops on the recruiting road is your unofficial campus visit.  This is where you get the opportunity to explore campus and get a sense of what campus life is like and meet with the coaching staff. Here are a few tips as you prepare an unofficial visit.

  1. Connect with the coaching staff before your visit.  You want the opportunity to meet with them so scheduling a meeting is critical.   College coaches have pretty busy daily schedules, they can’t just drop what they are doing to meet with you.  AVOID THE DROP INS!   The purpose of the visit is to experience campus life and start building a relationships with the coach.  So try to get of on the right foot with them.  If a coach is not eager to host you, they are likely not interested in recruiting you.
  2. A student-athlete only has one opportunity to make a good 1st impression, so parents should help in building a child’s confidence for communicating with adults is critical.  Parents should start this process early so a coach does not mistake an athlete’s shyness for lack of interest.
  3. Come prepared to an unofficial visit; think of them as a preliminary job interview.  If you’re seeking a scholarship, prepare some thoughtful questions about the direction of the program or about the schools academic reputation.  This will show the coach that you are interested and you did you research.

You want to give a good 1st impression when you meet with a coach and his or her staff. You should be confident, not arrogant, and genuinely interested in what the coach is saying about the school and their program.  You want your personality and character to shine through in your first meeting with the coach.

Whatever questions you have, sit up straight, look the coach in the eye, and speak politely, clearly, and confidently.  They may seem like small things but you would be surprised on how much they can set you apart from the rest of the pack.  A polished presentation can make all of the difference in the world, especially to a coach who needs to gauge your character but doesn’t have much time to do it.

Coaches will also observe your interactions with your parents and how you treat them.  Do you treat them with respect?  Allow them to speak, and when they do speak listen intently and don’t cut them off, roll your eyes, or shrug your shoulders.

In order to prepare for your next upcoming unofficial visit or phone call here are some questions you might expect from a college coach.

  1. What kind of student are you?   How are your grades?   Academics are a priority to most coaches and they want you to succeed both on and off the field.  You do not necessarily need to be an A + student but they want someone who is willing to work hard in the classroom.
  2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?   This is an opportunity to be confident in who you are as an athlete.  Don’t be too modest but don’t go overboard and brag about yourself.  Be as specific as possible!    As for your weakness,  explain to the coaches what your doing to improve your game.
  3.   What are your goals for the season?  Individuals and Team Goals?                                 
  4. What are you looking for out of your college experience?                                                       
  5. What other schools are recruiting you? What other schools are you interested in?  If you’re being recruited elsewhere, let them know but make it clear you are very interested in their program.  Be honest, the college coaching community is small and coaches talk. You don’t want to say a school is recruiting you only to find out they are not. It will shed a very bad light on you.
  6. Why do you think you would be a good fit for our program?  Why should we recruit you?  What sets you apart from others?   Take some time to think about this question.  If you have ever heard of the idea of an elevator pitch, this is where that would be useful.  If you only had 30 secs to a minute to pitch to a coach what would you say?   Every student-athlete will answer this question differently. But a strong, well thought out answer can go a long way in the mind of a coach.   Discuss all aspects your student-athlete life, Academic achievement, how you will impact the program both on and of the field.
  7. Are you looking for a scholarship?   This question may not arise on the first meeting.  But always let the coach know if you have other offers on the table. Bring up financial issues if they will be determining factor in your decision making. Be open to all financial options and always inquire about other types of aide besides athletic.
  8.  How do you feel about playing time?   Are you looking for an opportunity to play immediately or are you willing to bide your time be a good teammate, work hard , and earn some playing time down the road.
  9. What questions do you have for me?   Always prepare thoughtful questions for the coach. It will show them that you are serious and spent time preparing beforehand. Here are some ideas:                                                                                                                                          * Pre-season and in-season training programs                                                                            * Recruiting classes and players at your position                                                                          * Academic Support services

 

Do you need a little more direction or guidance in your recruiting process than pick up one of the following GFS College Recruiting Education Resources to help jump start your college search process. 

college-recruiting-playbook-coverThe College Recruiting Playbook ($24.99) is a student-athletes guide to finding the right college to fit their academic, athletic, and personal needs.  Finding the right college for your student-athlete doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, with College Recruiting Playbook, you can navigate the five phases of the recruiting process with surprising ease.

1. Planning and Preparation

2.  Communication

3.  Gaining Exposure

4.  Decision Making

5.  Beyond the Decision

This step-by-step guide walks parents and students through everything they need to know and do in order to find the best college athletically, academically, and personally.

 Discover the answers to these questions and much more

  •           What does it take to play at the next level?
  •           What are the academic requirements to play in college?
  •           What are the differences between DI, DII, DIII, and NAIA?
  •           What do college coaches look for in prospective student-athletes?
  •           What are the Three Key Elements of Gaining Exposure ?
  •           What is a verbal commitment?  What is a National Letter of Intent?
  •           What are the 50 questions every prospective student-athlete should answer?
  •           And much more

Written especially for high school athletes, this guide is also an essential read for parents, teachers, and coaches. By utilizing the included organizer and looking at the process from more than an athlete’s point of view, you can form the best strategy for your young athlete’s near and distant future.

Start planning today for your teen’s bright tomorrow!

VISIT THE GFS STORE FOR ALL OF YOUR COLLEGE RECRUITING EDUCATION NEEDS