Written by Kat Francis, True Lacrosse Colorado Girls State Director
Being new to the recruiting process can be extremely overwhelming. Between emails, phone calls, prospect clinics, and on-campus visits, it can be hard to know the next steps or how to stand out. College coaches receive emails daily from prospective student-athletes, making it easy to feel like a number in the process. To stand out among other recruits, you need to be memorable. Standing out on the field and in conversation are two of the most important things to help you achieve your best college experience.
But don’t forget that this process is for you! The coaches you are speaking with are looking for a good fit for their program both on the field and off. However, this process also helps find the perfect school for you. Get to know the coaching staff you’ll be working with and be sure their goals and vision match yours.
Recruiting takes up at least a third of a college coach’s job responsibilities. This time is typically spent having conversations with recruits via email, phone call, or in-person. This also gives the coach an opportunity to talk about themselves and their collegiate highlights. With time and repetition, a coach can recite their script to recruits almost word for word. When a coach begins to utilize the same answers to common questions, they can easily flip into auto-pilot. If a recruit asks a lot of “auto-pilot” questions, the conversation can become less memorable. To stand out during and after a conversation with your recruiter, create as much dialogue as possible. Leave the coach feeling as though you made the conversation with them. That will be more memorable than a one-sided conversation about the coach’s alma mater.
In the recruiting process, contact usually begins by receiving an email from a college recruiter, or reaching out yourself. When emailing, do your research! Make sure you spell the coach’s name correctly, use proper email format, and include all the information they need to find you on and off the field. Remember that coaches are receiving emails from prospective student-athletes every day, so keep yours short and concise. When you’re first getting to know your college recruiter, include exciting updates about athletics and life in general. For example, “we just got a puppy,” or “I nailed a stick trick I’ve been trying to complete.” This will help your recruiter get to know you better and help you stand out from the other prospective student-athletes.
After exchanging emails with your recruiter, a phone call is typically the next step. When preparing for a phone call, pick a place with no distractions and good phone service. Be prepared with a notebook to write down any information you want to remember regarding the school. Write out your answers to common questions that pertain to the recruiting process. For example: What is your intended major? What are the three top things you want from your college experience? What extracurricular activities do you enjoy outside of lacrosse?
It is equally important to write down the questions you are going to ask your recruiter. At the beginning of your process, you might have a lot of questions about the school, the women’s lacrosse program, and what it’s like to be a part of their program. These are important questions to ask, but don’t forget to add a few that will be memorable! For example: What is your favorite coaching accomplishment? What drew you to the campus community? What’s your most memorable coaching moment? Does your program have core values? If so, what are they? These questions will make your recruiter turn off autopilot and dive into deeper conversation with you. These questions are also a great way to learn more about your potential coach and determine if their college is the right fit for you.
The Campus Visit
After a phone call with your recruiter, it’s common to be invited to campus for a visit. This visit could take a variety of forms. It could be an official overnight, where you spend the night on campus with a current women’s lacrosse student-athlete. You might do a tour of campus given by the admissions office or by someone on the coaching staff. You may even get to see a game, to watch your potential team in action. Regardless of what the visit entails, be engaging! Think of new, specific questions that have not been covered in previous conversations. When interacting with the student-athletes, remember that they are likely reporting everything back to their coach. Always be respectful and well-mannered.
Although the recruiting process can feel daunting, tedious, and sometimes stressful, remember it is for you! You are learning as much as you can about different programs and schools to be confident in your college decision. If things start to feel tough, lean on your support system. Everyone’s end goal is to get you one step closer to your perfect college experience.