Choosing which University to go to is a big decision. I mean BIG BIG BIG decision!
There are hundreds of options. Hundreds of cities. Stay close to home/move far away. Canada or the US. East Coast/West Coast. Mountains/Ocean. Big/Small. Business/Arts/Science?…student athlete or plain ol student? Am I really ready for this? AHHHH it’s overwhelming!
The beauty about this BIG decision is that it’s all yours to make, and if you give yourself enough time to weigh the options, the right answer will jump out at you! Really, it will!
How DO you go about determining if the school is a good fit? Start out by asking yourself what you want in a school, team, city and home. Where ever it is you end up you will be there for the next four or five years of your life so make sure you know what you are looking for before you start. Think about academic programs, class types, study abroad opportunities and what you will need for academic support. Think about how you train, what style of coaching you work well with, what kind of team mates you like to surround yourself with to give yourself the best chance at success. Think about what kind of climate you would like to be in, and how far away from home you want to be.
Its ok to not know the answer to all of those questions, but spend some time thinking about your ideal dream school, before you start talking to coaches. When you are deep in the recruiting process it is easy to get excited and overwhelmed by coaches that want you, compliment your skill, talk about how key you will be in their program, show you their beautiful campus / field / locker room is and offer you scholarship money. Not every athlete will thrive at every school, so it is important to know what you need, and to stick to your guns!
Once you know a bit about what you are looking for, start asking questions of the coaches you are in communication with. This will help you to narrow down your list of favourite schools and target the programs that will be perfect for YOU. Search through all the resources in the University Recruiting section of this website. Before you make any final decisions visit the schools, take unofficial and official visits, immerse yourself in the school and team cultures. One of those schools will feel perfect, you wont want to leave, you will love the people, the sounds, the smells…everything! and you will get that feeling that makes you phone home and say “Mom, Dad THIS is IT!”
Athletes, remember, at the end of the day, what is good for your high school friend, team mate, coaches or parents, may not be what you are most comfortable or happy with. While it is important to consult your loved ones and support system, ultimately YOU are the one that is leaving home and will be living on your own for the first time. Do your home work, and make a decision that will make YOU happy!