What Do Colleges Look for in a Prospective Athlete?
As your child prepares for their next-steps as a high school student-athlete, you’ve most likely started to consider what they should do in regards to the college recruitment process. Preparation and proactivity are key to ensuring your child has the ability to enroll in the university that best suits their preferences and skill level. As you begin planning for your high school student’s future as a collegiate student-athlete, you should consider the following:
Starting early: Don’t wait until your child’s senior year to begin the college recruitment and admissions process. Understanding which camps college coaches and recruiting staff attend will be crucial as you help with planning your child’s future. Identify those camps, and register for them throughout the summers leading up to and throughout your child’s senior year. IMG Academy, one of the best soccer academies in the USA and notable camp program for development across eight sports, is a great place for your child to hone both their athleticism and mental toughness.
Promoting themselves actively: Be proactive in reaching out to college coaches that your child has identified as his or her desired programs. Coaches will recognize your child’s initiative, a desired trait that teams seek throughout the recruitment process. NCAA regulations are one of the most important areas to understand and follow, as they outline all required communication rules and guidelines.
Focusing on academic performance: Don’t rely solely on athletic performance during the admissions process. Every prestigious college looks for well-rounded student-athletes who show exemplary academic performance, including a high GPA, outstanding test scores, and challenging high school courses on their transcripts. Although exceptions may occur, your child should be focusing just as much on academics as they are on athletic training.
Giving themselves an edge: Your child should be capitalizing on their down time, as college coaches will recognize their passion and dedication. No matter their sport, each student-athlete can identify areas of improvement to focus on during the off-season that will give them an edge when competition and tryouts begin.
Seeking athletic participation outside of just their high school team: The majority of top college recruits will have competed for more teams than just their high school program. Club teams and sport camps or activities provide high-level competition, a diverse atmosphere, well-rounded training, and increased exposure to a wide variety of coaching personalities. Attending one of the best sports or soccer academies in the USA, such as IMG Academy, will enhance your child’s sports resume, making them stand out amongst other applicants and recruits.
Participating in extracurricular activities related to their sport: Many colleges and scholarships require volunteer hours to qualify for that school or award. What many students don’t realize is that they can earn those hours by volunteering in their respective sport. Examples may include coaching a little league team, organizing fundraisers to support local sport organizations, or even starting programs in communities that may lack youth sports opportunities. These volunteer efforts will only add value to your child as a recruit and will help them hone desired skills, such as leadership.
Gaining leadership experience: As mentioned above, leadership is an incredibly important characteristic for student-athletes to demonstrate. Although being a team captain is a great opportunity, there are countless other ways for your child to work on their leadership skills, such as volunteering, school club participation, and part time jobs. This involvement will only enhance their resumes as a college recruit.
Cleaning up their social media: College coaches will search prospective students on social media. It’s incredibly important that your child understands the important of presenting themselves in a positive way online, both through posts as well as through interactions and comments on other social media platforms. According to an interview conducted for a 2018 article on NorthJersey.com, coaches have made the decision to remove an athlete from their list of prospects after viewing negative things on their social media accounts.
It’s crucial to work with your child throughout their college recruitment process and to present them with these additional areas of opportunity. In doing so, your child will portray the ideal qualities of a prepared and confident collegiate student-athlete. By promoting themselves actively, focusing on academic performance, and participating in additional sports activities outside of their high school team, such as attending one of the best soccer academies in the USA, they can gain a competitive edge over other aspiring college athletes.