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College Recruiting Advice

The College Recruiting Process -- First is a list of the top 10 "Do's and Don't's" in the recruiting process, provided by several successful college coaches themselves. Below that, I have made some observations about the process and how a student-athlete can improve his chances of playing at the next level.

10. When narrowing down your schools, have a few schools in each category (dream school, great school, safety, etc.). This way you are safe all the way through the process.
9. When you email or write a coach about your interest, make sure you include your home address and phone number as well as what you are interested in at the time.
8. If you decide to take an "unofficial visit" with your parents on campus or a coach comes to your home, let the player do the talking and answer the questions, rather than the father or mother speaking too much on behalf of the student-athlete. The coaches want to get to know the student-athlete in the interview process.
7. When you play in tournaments where you know there will be a lot of college coaches, make sure that your coach has given the tournament directors the correct jersey number and name of the player so the college coaches evaluate the right player. You want the college coach to be evaluating your son and not someone else because of inaccurate information on the roster. Be sure to check the roster at the start of the tournament to make sure you are represented properly.
6. Be pro-active in finding out about a school, and don't put too much stock in what your friends say or what you read on the internet. Schools appeal to student-athletes for many different reasons, so take unofficial visits to the places that interest you.
5. When a coach calls you, ask questions of the coach that you think are important, and don't freeze when the time comes to ask them. Everyone has different needs and expectations about his potential college experience, and sometimes you go to a place as a freshman and find it's not what you believed it would be. This is often not the coach's fault, but rather the lack of careful investigation done by the student-athlete on the school.
4. If you decide to send a coach a film or video of you playing, make sure you send an entire game, not just highlights. The ideal video includes a short hightlight portion plus an entire game. Make sure you list your number and color of the jersey as well.
3. When you are competing in front of college coaches, you are being evaluated on a lot more than how skilled you are as a lacrosse player. Your attitude, how you treat your teammates, how hard you play, and how you act on the sidelines are equally important as anything else.
2. During the recruiting process, be completely honest with coaches. If you commit to a school, go out of your way to let all of the other schools know you have committed so they don't waste their time continuing to pursue you.
1. When you decide to take an "official visit" to a school you are particularly interested in, remember that you are not only evaluating the school, but you are being evaluated by the coaches and the players as well. Be a standup person and carry yourself in a way that is respectful and courteous to those around you. No matter how good a player you are, if the players and coaches are not impressed, they will lose interest in you.

Coach Walsh's Recommendations and Observations about the College Recruiting Process - Every player and parent should be aware of the following before beginning the recruiting process.

Grades: The bottom line is that a student-athlete's performance as a student will matter most in his ability to play at the college or university of his desire. To that end, he should strive to achieve and maintain a GPA of at least a 3.0 to keep college coaches interested.

Test Scores: Studies show that the more times a student takes the SAT, the better he does, even if he hasn't taken a test-taking course such as Kaplan. I recommend that the student take the SAT at least twice, and maybe a third time if he is still unsatisfied with his score. Many college coaches also recommend taking the ACT, as it provides them more information to use when convincing their admissions department that this student-athlete should be accepted. (Info websites on the ACT: www.actstudent.org ; www.act.org)

Exposure to Coaches: For student-athletes who really hope to play at the college level and have demonstrated the athletic potential to do so, you need to be pro-active in making yourself known to college coaches. Most college coaches will not be able to see you play during the spring season, unless you send them a tape of you playing. Crucial in terms of timing, then, is the summer after your junior year. You need to dedicate at least a couple weeks of your summer to attending recruiting camps where college coaches will be hoping to see players that would help their programs. Be warned that these camps are invariably expensive, and they do not necessarily include much in terms of instruction. You are essentially paying to be noticed, and nothing is guaranteed except that certain college coaches will be in attendance. You should contact coaches of the colleges you are interested in and find out where they will be that summer so you can attend at least one of those camps; or, contact a coach and let him know the camps you will be attending. He may try to see you or send an assistant coach to see you.

Many of the more exclusive recruiting camps require a recommendation from the player's high school coach in order for an athlete to be accepted, and they only allow on average about four recommendations per coach/team. Contact me in late October or early November if you want a recommendation.


Post-Graduate Year: One path that some students decide to explore is doing a PG year at a prep-school. The New England area has many prep schools with excellent lacrosse programs that accept "fifth-year seniors". The advantage to the student-athlete is that he gets another year to develop himself as a student and a lacrosse player. He will be involved in highly competitive lacrosse and get plenty of exposure...if he gets playing time. College coaches always consider these players because they have matured mentally and physically, arriving as freshmen more prepared to succeed at the college level both athletically, academically, and socially. There are several risks to be aware of when considering a PG year. A year at a prep school is usually very expensive, often as expensive as a year at a private college. Also, while a prep-school coach may be interested in your son, there are no guarantees for playing time, as he is competing against players who have been there for three years as well as other fifth-year seniors. The opportunity to play is more competitive than regular high schools. As lacrosse is a spring sport, played after the college application process is complete, the PG year really offers the lacrosse athlete the opportunity for more exposure during his traditional senior year at LHS, as well as the opportunity to another summer for a club team. I strongly recommend that the student speak with his guidance counselor to get further perspective.

*For current juniors (rising seniors): the time is now! 
- If you are playing on a club team, attend one recruiting camp, not more than two. 
- If you are not playing on a club team, attend two recruiting camps. 
- Gather a broad list of colleges that have programs and consider your chances of acceptance, chances of playing, and the likelihood that you will like it there. Then pair it down by size of school desired, type of school/curriculum, area of the country
- Begin calling coaches, expressing interest. Inform them of camps and tournaments you will be at this coming summer. Games you will play in this Spring.
- Plan on improving SAT scores and grades├ľopen more doors for yourself! Make it easier on the coaches to advocate on your behalf to their admission boards. No D's, bring those C's up to B's, get some A's on your report card. (Get the GPA at least above the 3.0 mark.) Take the SAT at least twice, maybe a third time. Take an SAT prep class.
- Look into taking the ACT (see websites below), another standardized test that coaches can use to convince admissions departments of your potential as a student.
- Gather film...highlight tape, but a full game or a half-game so the coaches can see all aspects of your abilities.
- Talk to parents of players who have gone through this process. Get their take, hear their experiences!
- Put me to work...whom do you want me to contact on your behalf?

*For current sophomores (rising juniors): Coaches can't actually contact you directly until your junior year.
- Go to one, maybe two recruiting camps. Go to one skills-development camp. (You need to get better first!)
- Consider trying out for a club team (talk to parents about their experiences with other programs)
- GRADES! Do as well as you can possibly do. Get serious about your school work. No D's, bring those C's up to B's, get some A's on your report card. (Get the GPA at least above the 3.0 mark.) Consider taking one or two upper level classes next year if possible. If you really want to play a college varsity sport, prove it through your academics first.
- Improve your non-athletic extra-curricular resume: legitimate volunteer work, try to publish a piece of writing, get involved in class council, student senate, drama or improv. In other words, be able to demonstrate a more rounded experience.
- Get serious about physical conditioning. Get stronger.
- Develop another lacrosse skill, become an unusual player: become a face-off middie, become a long-stick who can face-off, try long-stick and being an LSM

*For current freshmen (rising sophomores): Don't worry too much right now about college lacrosse, but...
- Go to two skills-development camps, maybe one recruiting camp. (You need to get better first!)

- Plus the other information written above for current sophomores.