It doesn’t matter at this point if you are a football recruit with Division II offers, a basketball recruit with Division III interest, or a baseball recruit with NAIA scholarships, making an informed college decision is difficult and time consuming. What makes this so tough is the fact that you need to do so much leg work in researching the schools and finding more information about them.
If you put in a lot of time into the second step of The Five Steps to a Scholarship Offer (Which by the way is finding schools that match you), there is little doubt that you will be spending a great deal of time on the Internet each and every night doing research. While this leg work does get boring, it hopefully will pay off in the end with schools that you are interested. But the time commitment put in also includes visits, calls, and so much more.
I recently had a chance to speak with a recruit who knows that he wants to play college football at the Division II level. He does not have “Division I eyes” but seemed focused on the DII level. This recruit currently has no scholarship offers at this point but a ton of interest from schools at that level. He has been spending a good portion of his fall on college visits and he is already tiring of the process:
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“It has been (hectic). I want there to be a Saturday where I can sleep and relax. I guess that is the cost you pay for recruiting.”
It is great for everyone to be able to have a lazy Saturday to relax but this recruit needs to realize that things are only going to get worse over time. If this recruit decides to take five official visits, that is likely five weekends in December or January that he spends at the school. The family will likely drive to all of these official visits (They will however be reimbursed by the school) and that may get old for him quickly. Throw in phone calls to these five schools as well as many, many others and that is a lot of time going into the recruiting process.
What makes this so tough for many athletes is that they are balancing this with school work, their senior year, a boyfriend/girlfriend, their current or upcoming sporting season, family, friends, and so many other things that can quickly pop up in the life of a high schooler. It is really not an easy balance at all.
However, taking the time to make these visits, talk with the coaches over the phone, and research the school is something that is worth doing. The main reason is that even though the main reason you are going to that school for a sport, you also need a backup plan of being able to get a great education. Finding a school that has the major and possibly minor that you are looking for is more important than how the football team does. And that is why this research is so vital because you can look at more than just sports.
In the end, if you really want to make as informed of a decision as possible, you are going to have to spend a lot of time going into it. When I was in high school, I made one college visit. That had something to do with the lack of resources but I wish I had made more. While it is taxing to spend every Saturday traveling, feel lucky that you can as it will help you make the best college decision for yourself.
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