For some high school senior athletes, Spring is a time to enjoy the last few days of school before continuing their athletic career in college.
For the majority of athletes that have been hoping to land one of those coveted athletic college scholarships, Spring is a time to panic.
The phone calls from college coaches have stopped. Maybe they never started. And suddenly, the end of an athletic career is staring you in the face.
So, what’s a senior athlete to do? Is all hope lost? The answer is no. However, the time for action on your part is now. And, to win one of the quickly dwindling number of athletic scholarships available for 2000-2001, you may need to re-adjust your focus and your goals as you search for a program that is still searching for incoming college sports prospects.
Because you are dealing with a limited amount of time, you need to get very aggressive in searching out possible opportunities at colleges. Develop a “top ten list” of some colleges in your region of the country that offer your sport. You then need to contact the coach at the schools, explain that you feel you are a qualified athlete who could benefit their program, and ask what you need to do to be considered for admission to their school and the sports program in question. Remember, there are lots of coaches around the country that are under the same pressure to find eligible, talented recruits before the school year ends. Plenty of coaches are still looking!
Use other creative methods to get attention!
E-mail, videos and personalized letters are all examples of how you can greatly increase you odds of getting noticed by a college coach. Any method of contact will work, and it needs to be done immediately. Sit down and write your list of schools a letter expressing your interest in getting information as soon as possible on available opportunities in a particular sports program.
I deal with lots of athletes who are hoping to win an athletic scholarship to a major Division I school. However, these schools have probably already finished their search for incoming athletes (most Division I schools know one year ahead of time who they will be recruiting for a particular year). If you are interested in finding the most coaches with the biggest needs, try contacting Division II, Division III or NAIA schools. Some offer many of the same benefits that bigger Division I schools offer, many with comparable athletic talent to Division I schools. Give those schools a chance to show you why they might be an excellent choice for a college athletic career.
You could have an important ally in your search for a college scholarship: Your high school or club coach. If you haven’t done so already, talk with them about contacts they might have at the college sports level. Many of these coaches are former college athletes themselves, and would be happy to assist you with finding an opportunity to play collegiate athletics.
That is, make sure you have registered for the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse (Division I and Division II only), taken the right classes, and taken the SAT or ACT tests. This is an area that many athletes overlook. They still assume that just because they can sink a three pointer form NBA range, or run the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds that the academic requirements will just take care of themselves. Wrong! You need to meet NCAA and/or university requirements for admission and athletic participation. Doing your homework means taking care of the paperwork behind the scenes.
Be ready to be flexible!
What if a college you have contacted is interested in having you play sports, but doesn’t have a scholarship available this year? Are you willing to be a walk-on athlete and wait for a scholarship? Or, if nothing is offered, would you go to a junior college to play sports and transfer to a four year school in two years as an athlete? Get ready to face these possible questions. They may be viable alternatives compared with giving-up your athletic career altogether.
The bottom line is this: Time is running out quickly. You, and only you, have the motivation and the desire that it will take to clear this final hurdle on your way to a college athletic career.
If you take it seriously, and enlist the help of others, your goal of winning an athletic scholarship is still within your reach.
Mark Wienner is the President of Recruit, Inc., an organization that creatively and aggressively searches for scholarships for high school student-athletes. If you are a high school senior who is an athlete searching for a college sports opportunity, Recruit, Inc. has a discounted senior search package available. For more information, call Recruit, Inc. at 1-888-284-9227 and ask about their senior search package. You can also visit their internet site at http://www.recruitzone.com.