April has finally arrived and the end of the 2014-15 school year is near. As the year winds down and you continue, or begin, thinking about your next steps academically, I hope you have found my first two emails helpful in navigating the college soccer recruiting world. Two weeks ago I discussed the importance of Being Seen by the colleges you are interested in possibly attending. Last week I wrote about the importance of Effective Communication as you build a working relationship with the collegiate coaches. This week I want to focus on the importance of Getting to Campus.
A great place to start in researching colleges is online. We live in an era where information is at the tip of our fingers. College websites are packed full of information from details on academics, student life, demographics, athletics, and more. Here at Franklin & Marshall, we feel that our website is such a vital part of communicating the details of our program to potential student athletes, that we developed a separate website known as the F&M Men’s Soccer Coach’s Corner. But, this is just the starting place. You can read all you want about a school, but you will only get the full impact of what it’s like if you visit. When you do decide to visit the campuses of your choice, consider the following things to maximize your visit.
- Open Houses: Check the admission’s page on the website to see if they are holding any open houses. If you haven’t been to the campus yet, open houses are a great place to start. They are designed to give you a complete overview of the school and what it can offer you. Many of our current players started their journey to F&M by attending an open house. The same can be said about colleges and universities nationwide.
- Individual Visits: Another great option for getting to campus is to design your own visit. Again, the place to start is with the admissions page. Many schools offer guided tours and information sessions that run multiple times a day. To get the full “bang for your buck” you can even go the extra mile and schedule an admission’s interview and even attend a class with a student. Admission interviews are a great way of showing the school your level of interest and increasing your chances of being admitted.
- Attend a Match or Practice Session: My first two points above are general guidelines for visits. In regards to soccer, a great way to get a feel for the quality of the program is to attend a match, if in season, or a practice session. Attending a match will allow you to get a feel for how a team plays, as well as the atmosphere of game day. Attending sessions will give you an idea of what a training session looks like at that program and may even give you an opportunity to talk with players and coaches following or prior to the session.
- Get to Know the Staff: Obviously at some point you will want to meet and get to know the coaching staff of the program you are researching. When you visit campus, it’s always a good idea to try to connect with them. College coaches can be busy with very peculiar schedules, so meeting face to face can sometimes be difficult. Look out for opportunities to get to campus at times when they are available. For example, here at F&M, we offer recruiting seminars four times a school year. These seminars are designed to give an in-depth view into our program, and are always followed up with the opportunity to sit down and discuss the program with a coach. Other schools offer similar programs.
Visiting multiple schools is necessary but also time consuming. Consider being efficient with your time by doing as many of the above mentioned in one trip. As a staff, we try to do this for our recruits. On April 24th, we are offering a 1-day recruiting clinic prior to one of our informational recruiting seminars. Better yet, from July 16-18 we are offering our 3-day recruiting camp. Our camp is designed to familiarize our recruits with our staff, training style, campus, and student life. Information on both the clinic and camp can be found at www.dipsoccer.com.
I hope you found this helpful. I’ll be emailing next week on the importance of Timelines. Good luck on the pitch!