When I ask a student-athlete about their college goals, most kids have actually given it considerable thought and can articulate them fairly well:
-Play my sport at the college level.
-Earn a scholarship.
-Find the best fit school that allows me to pursue my degree and my sport.
As you’ve heard me say before, these are very reachable goals if they’re S.M.A.R.T. (Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Time-Sensitive)
Today I want to focus on the MEASURABLE part.
How can a student-athlete “measure” the progress of his/her goal to play their sport in college, earn a college scholarship and find the perfect fit school?
One way to measure this is to look no further than the interest an athlete is receiving from college coaches, and we can use a tool we developed called a College Interest Meter to help us.
What does the Meter tell us?
If you’re a parent of a college-bound athlete and you want to know where your child stands, then start with the type of interest s/he is receiving. Generally, the more interest an athlete receives, the better.
But what is the “temperature” of that interest? Is your athlete getting mostly junk mail, or are coaches going out of their way to connect with your child?
The Meter is not exact science; nor does it include every form of recruiting interest a coach utilizes to court student-athletes. But it does help us gauge the “temperature” of our recruiting interest. Are you down in the COLD section still? Is the interest in you starting to increase into the MEDIUM and HOT areas of the meter?
Basically, the Meter attempts to show how close or how far an athlete may be from getting an actual “offer.”
And that’s really all we’re trying to measure at this point. The scholarship offer is the most sincere sign of interest. Yes, a verbal offer is non-binding. A verbal offer can be pulled in the 11th hour. There are no guarantees with a verbal offer. But it’s still the strongest sign of interest a college coach can express in a prospect, so we’re using it to set the bar and measure all other forms of recruiting interest against it.
I’m stuck in the COLD. What can I do?
Keep in mind that only 6 out of 100 varsity athletes will be part of a college roster, and less than 2% will put on a Division I uniform. So any form of recruiting interest automatically puts you in special company.
Having said that, if you’re at or near the bottom of the College Interest Meter, and your goal is the play in college on scholarship at the best fit school, then you must have a plan to increase interest from college coaches.
Depending on who you ask, the “plan” will vary. Some believe it’s about “going on tour;” that hitting the camp, combine and showcase circuit in the key to success.
My personal opinion is that these events can serve as good evaluation platforms, and if utilized properly, they can move an athlete up the Meter. But how do they help enhance your relationships with coaches? How do they help bring more transparency to the process? How do they improve the chances of actually getting offers from coaches? These are the questions parents must ask when considering the “tour” approach.
Our approach is slightly different. And if you want to dive into the details of it, then I encourage you to jump on the phone with one of my college recruiting advisors and discuss it with them. Basically, my team and I here at SAS have figured out that college offers are the product of regular communication and multiple evaluations. And the more college coaches an athlete can network with, the more legitimate options s/he will end up with.
So unlike the “tour” approach, our strategy can be summarized like this:
Start with a deep pool of coaches (don’t close doors before you have to). Get the athlete on as many radars as possible. Get them communicating back and forth with as many coaches as possible. Monitor recruiting interest. Continue building the athlete’s brand. Keep the communication alive. Guide and educate the athlete’s parents along the way so that selecting the best fit school is a much easier outcome to attain.
That’s been our approach since 2003 and it’s helped thousands of kids to attain their goal. So if you have a game plan that mirrors this approach, then we believe you’re on the path to success. If your plan looks much different or if you don’t really have a plan at all, then let’s get on the phone and help you figure this out.
SAS President & Co-Founder