A user-friendly system to organize the college recruiting process will be a helpful tool, especially when information begins to pile up from different college coaches. If you create such a system, not only will it help you keep track of the steady stream of mail and e-traffic, it will serve as a great resource for future contacts and important coach-prospect communications. Trust me, coaches will request information [transcripts, high school profile, standardized test results, tax information for financial pre-reads, etc.] at around the same time, and the family who develops an efficient system for accessing this information will navigate the process successfully and with great confidence.
Below are some organizing points I think you will find helpful for achieving recruiting success:
1. Maintain individual college program folders that include: general college materials [brochures, etc.]; coach contact information; correspondence notes; a list of questions for the coaches; and your checklist of timelines and targets for both admissions and recruiting.
2. Keep extra copies of your resume, highlight video, transcript and test scores on hand and ready in case a coach misplaces this information.
3. Just as you organize your paper files, your computer e-files should be saved in a way that allows you to easily refer back to all documents. Most likely you will want folders for each college so you can readily access the files for any letters, essays or resumes you have sent out.
4. You will probably correspond regularly with coaches via e-mail. Save all important e-mails that you receive, and keep electronic copies of the important ones you send out. Again, it may be helpful to create folders within your e-mail account for each college, where you can file correspondence that you may need to reference at a later time.
5. Maintain a personal calendar to ensure that you keep track of all events and upcoming deadlines. When speaking with a coach on the phone or in a meeting, have your calendar in front of you to help you to answer questions about your availability for campus visits and evaluations.
It is essential to respond to correspondence in a timely manner. Try setting up regular times when you reply to e-mails, phone calls and/or mail. If for some reason you anticipate a delay in your response, notify the coaches by e-mail to let them know that you are working on your response, and provide a time when they can expect to hear from you. You want to show coaches you are organized and responsible about deadlines and that you respect their time. College coaches remember "the little things."
Maintaining an organized approach can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially in the beginning phases of recruiting. But once the system is in place and the process is understood and executed well, it becomes a tremendous tool to ensure accurate planning for you and your family, while increasing your chances of success in the college quest.
Tom Kovic is the founder and president of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he advises families and prospective student-athletes in developing and executing personal plans for the college search. Kovic has delivered nearly 300 presentations and seminars to more than 3,500 participants. He is the author of Reaching for Excellence, an educational guide to college athletics recruiting, and he is a regular contributor to numerous educational and sports publications.
Prior to founding his own company, Kovic coached gymnastics at The University of Pennsylvania. He has coached 34 individual Ivy League Champions, three ECAC athletes of the year and more than 160 NCAA Academic All-Americans. He was named ECAC Coach of the Year twice.
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