The competition in Admissions and the high price tag at some of the nation’s premier academic institutions is fierce. In certain cases, prospects can leverage their athletic ability significantly in college admissions. Consequently, the true student-athlete who realizes she is truly equipped with a unique arsenal of tools to navigate the college recruiting at a higher level will separate herself from the pack of prospects.
Select, non-athletic scholarship awarding institutions can, in many cases, offer significant assistance in Admissions and Financial Aid that can potentially lend strong support for prospective student-athletes. It is important that prospects, families, and high school advisors clearly understand the role the college coach plays in this process and make every effort to develop a sincere and strong working relationship throughout the college search.
Accelerating The Recruting Process
College recruiting is accelerating at a terrific pace, especially with scholarship athletes. Verbal commitments have become more popular with “blue chip” prospects. College coaches are aggressively recruiting a larger number of prospects on a highly accelerated timetable. Consequently, this accelerated recruiting effort is growing equally popular with the non-scholarship colleges and universities as well.
Prospects are required to meet the minimum academic eligibility requirements set forth by the NCAA. At the same time, prospects who are considering non-athletic scholarship institutions need to meet even higher academic standards to reach their admission goals. Coaches from these institutions use different recruiting tactics. Recruit and retain prospects that bring a strong, well-balanced true student-athlete profile to the table.
College Admissions Pre-Reads
Early academic evaluations are effective tools college coaches use to determine the potential admissibility of a candidate. Furthermore, coaches work with an athletic department “Admissions Liaison” that can assist them in requesting an “early admissions read” for potential “impact prospects.” As the recruiting process has accelerated, so too has the need for prospects to “get their academic house in order.”
Depending on the institution, coaches who want to get an early academic read on a prospect will require specific information.
- An updated high school transcript through the sophomore year (and in some cases through the 5th semester)
- Standardized test results (SAT/ACT)
- Updated high school profile. The admissions pre-read is a powerful tool that college coaches use in the recruiting process. It adds pieces to the puzzle that creates clarity to where a prospect truly stands.
The likely letter is a tremendous tool coaches use to offer prospects “near guarantees” of admissions. These letters are generated from the admissions office and sent to prospective student-athletes well before the regular population of applicants is reviewed. This becomes a tremendous bargaining chip for college coaches competing with scholarship institutions for the same prospect. Institutions that use likely letters will require updated high school transcripts, standardized test scores, and the school profile before the letters can be generated.
A financial aid pre-read will provide prospects and families with a “ballpark” figure for the family contribution in the first year. Financial aid pre-reads must be requested prior to applying. Pre-reads are handled directly by the financial aid office and take approximately 7-10 days to complete.
Be advised that college coaches can be “stingy” in determining which prospects and families receive financial aid pre-reads. You give yourself the best chance to cross this hurdle by convincing Coach that you 1) have the academic and athletic credentials to successfully impact the institution and 2) show sincerity in your interest in the program.
The non-scholarship option for prospects may appear daunting, but the long-term benefits can be viable. Although identified in Admissions as having a special talent, athletes are treated like any other candidate. They will be expected to maintain excellence in the classroom. In addition, college coaches can do a lot of the heavy lifting with financial aid pre-reads, but only with potential impact prospects and that demonstrate sincere interest. Consequently, the families who embrace the big picture in the college search give themselves the best chance in finding the right college choice.