“Now What Do I do?”


So, the recruiting process is all over and the results are varied….  “I didn’t get any offers from Div I colleges, now what do I do?”…..    “I only got a couple of offers from some NAIA colleges, now what do I do?”…..    “I haven’t received a single offer from any colleges at all, now what do I do?”…..    Famous last words, “NOW WHAT DO I DO?”    It is a question that should NEVER come up, especially at the end of your recruiting journey!    The student-athlete, along with their parents, teachers, guidance counselors and coaches should be helping you prepare for the worse case scenario, which is NOT getting the coveted athletic college scholarship or maybe not the one you were hoping for.

From the time that a child first shows athletic prowess, everyone tends to place an overwhelming emphasis on their physical skills and how to best develop them.    It’s all about getting better and positioning themselves to take advantage of what colleges can offer in the future.    What is often overlooked is the “negative” side of the process, the “what if it doesn’t work out” side, if you will.    It certainly is understood how and why this important thought is stomped out.    It is the simple fact that it IS negative.  We don’t want to think of the negative aspects, only the positive.    That is all well and good, but highly unrealistic.    While preparing your child for the rigors of sports at the middle school, high school and collegiate levels, parents (and everyone else that is helping to advise the student-athlete through the process) need to place focus on ALL results that could play into the outcome.    In other words, there needs to be a “PLAN B” and really a “PLAN C” and “PLAN D”, etc.

From the very start, the student-athlete needs to plan out where they are going to best fit in from a collegiate perspective.    They need to understand their college choice for more than a place to play sports.    After all, they will have to attend classes, blend in socially, feel comfortable being that distance away from home, etc.    All of this needs to be considered when choosing a college.    Now that you have chosen colleges you feel comfortable with, outside of sports, you have to inject a dose of reality.    Yes, you might like this college, but is it the level that you can play successfully?    You may WANT to play Division I, but maybe your talent or your physicality simply won’t get you there.    In other words, make sure that the colleges you are communicating with are ones that you’re able to compete at and the coaches see you as a needed asset.    Too often student-athletes will focus on the “glory schools”, the ones always on television and in the limelight.    Sure, it would be great to be part of those programs, but if you are not that caliber, then you need to step back, evaluate yourself and apply with colleges that you are more suited for.    Division II, Division III, NAIA and even JUCO levels are all options and need to be considered.    We’re not saying to NOT target the larger, more dominant programs early on, but be sure to also include some of the smaller programs as your “back-up” plan.

The biggest problem is how does one know what their level will be if they’re only a freshman or still in middle-school?    Maybe they have a low skill set now, but by the time they are juniors or seniors they are Division I material?    This is common and why, when you are starting off the recruiting process, you should be looking at ALL levels of colleges.    Communicate with and get your information out to some Division I, II, III and NAIA programs and plan on going to some camps at all levels.    This way, you get a good measure of where you fit in, compete at the highest level, have the chance to play and most importantly, feel comfortable attending college for the academics.   Where you appear to fit in could change year to year.    You could move up to a higher level of skill set or adjust lower, it just depends on how you develop throughout the school years.    Remember, there is nothing wrong or “negative” about competing at lower level or smaller college programs.    The bottom line is that you want to end up where you are happy, can perform optimally and produce peak results!

There is no such thing as “too early” to start the research process when it comes to your collegiate future.    You want to know what your choices are, how they differ and be ready to adjust your strategy.    Make sure you understand that while getting an athletic scholarship is the big reward at the end, it is not the ONLY reward.    Know that even after you do everything right, there still may not be any scholarship offers that come your way, from any colleges.    Sometimes that is the way it works out and is far more typical than locking down that sports scholarship.    By understanding this as a potential outcome early, you can make sure that your focus is on other options.    For instance, saving money to pay for college, or maintaining really strong grades so that you can explore an academic scholarship, or researching other financial aid programs to assist with the expense of going to college.    There is no way to know exactly what is going to happen or when, so basically, you need to be prepared and be ready to “pivot” when the time does come.    Don’t get caught holding an empty bag at the end and then asking yourself, “NOW WHAT DO I DO?”…………………


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