Lets count em down! 5 things you should know about college recruiting……
- You should Start Early – and by early I mean YESTERDAY! Whether you know 100% that you want to play a varsity in university, or if it is simply an idea that you would be interested in pursuing, you need to start thinking about what you have to do to make that happen. Identify what schools are on your target list, create your online profile, and begin making initial contact with coaches and teams. A really good time to start doing this is in the fall of your grade 10 year. No one is saying you need to know for sure where you want to go, or what you want to study, however, the NCAA recruiting process is quite involved and coaches are identifying athletes years in advance! In Canada, the process is much easier, but being in contact with coaches early allows you to keep all your options open.
- Recruiting is Hard Work –Reaching a goal is never easy, and there are rarely short cuts to get what you want. The same is true for the recruiting process. It requires lots of time, research, emailing, phone calls and legwork to ensure that you are recruited by your choice of schools. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you are talented, coaches should come to you! Even the best athletes need to work hard to chase down their top schools. Most coaches get hundreds of emails from interested athletes, you need to do what it takes to stand out from this crowd!
- You need to be seen by Coaches – College coaches need to have a chance to see you in action in order to evaluate your skills. Many coaches try and see their top recruits at least 3 times a year, there are a few different ways to ensure this happens:
- Attending one of the major NCAA recruiting tournaments or Showcases is a good idea, it gives you a chance to demonstrate your talent in comparison with other potential student athletes, in front of many university coaches at the same time. In vancouver there are a variety of showcases available in different sports. For example, access-sport.ca hosting a field hockey showcase in March, there are a couple different Lacrosse showcase events in the province, this is a popular one on the island, and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC host a large soccer recruiting showcase each summer. Figure out what the major recruiting events are for your sport and get involved!
- Having your information available in an online athlete profile is a great idea. This is a place where you can communicate all of your personal contact information, as well as your academic history, athletic experience, teams and awards, as well as other information that help tell coaches a bit about who you are, and why they should recruit you!
- Highlight Videos, which are hosted within your online profile, are another way for coaches to see and evaluate you, in your video you can show game clips, and individual skills as well as anything else a coach may request. This is a great option for athletes that may not financially be able to attend multiple tournaments, showcases or camps.
- Attend college spring or summer camps. Usually hosted by the college team at their facility during the off season. This gives you a chance to showcase yourself in an intimate camp setting, and is also a great way to see the campus, and talk in person with the coach
- Not everyone gets a FULL scholarship – There is a common misconception amongst Canadian athletes that if you go to the NCAA, you will get a full scholarship (that is a scholarship that pays for tuition, books, room and board) but this is not necessarily the case. Everyone wants to be offered a scholarship to help offset the costs of university, and yes, this is absolutely possible, however, 100% scholarships are rare and definately not the ‘norm’. NCAA regulations ensure that each team in the league has the same amount of scholarships available to their athletes. For a breakdown of scholarship allowances per sport and division in the NCAA, check out THIS page! In all cases, scholarships can be given out in full to individuals, but more commonly these are divided among team members, depending on the size of team, coaches sometimes stretch 10 or 12 scholarships by more than 20 student athletes! The amount of scholarship you are offered depends on a number of factors, including how much money is freed up by graduating players, where you rank in a schools top recruits, and your ability to contribute to your own education costs.Interested in an athletic scholarship to a Canadian university? Yes, they are available! but there are regulations that limit these as well, athletes are eligible to receive an athletic scholarship in September of their first year at a university provided they have a minimum entering average of 80% or equivalent. If an athlete does not meet that requirement, they may earn athletic scholarship at the end of the first year at a university (spring or summer) if they satisfy CIS academic requirements with at least a 65% average. Athletes continue to be eligible to receive an athletic scholarship at the beginning of any year provided they satisfy CIS academic requirements with at least a 65% average in the year prior. (Note: per Ontario University Athletics policy, all Ontario universities require a 70% average).An athletic scholarship can be made up from a variety of different sources including, scholarships, bursaries, prizes, leadership awards, merit awards, housing, and all other non-employment financial benefit received by an athlete from their institution. However, the total sum of Athletic scholarships in the CIS is limited to a maximum of tuition plus compulsory fees in an academic year.
Also to Note: There is an ongoing, 5-year, High Performance Women’s Hockey pilot project going on in the CIS in which players may receive an athletic scholarship that can cover up to the cost of their tuition and compulsory fees, room and board. SO there is the POTENTIAL in the near future of the CIS offering scholarship packages that are competitive to what is being offered in the NCAA, provided of course that the individual teams and programs are funded enough to support this!
- You have Options! –
In Canada every year, 11,000 student-athletes from 55 universities compete in 12 different sports. In the NCAA there are 23 sponsored sports, crossing three divisions, and over 12,000 schools! (wow!) that is really a lot of choices!These schools span a very wide range of size, from populations in the hundreds, to large state schools with thousands of students. There are top ranked schools, and there are teams that may fall just outside the top rankings, and there are teams that have low rankings but still play a very good level of sport, AND offer a fantastic education. There is an option for everyone! It’s now up to YOU to go out and chase it down!