How do you tell the priority of a summer camp invite during the athletic recruiting process?

How can you tell the priority of a summer camp invite during the recruiting process?Recently we have had some great comments and questions related to figuring out the interest from a college coach who invites an athlete to their summer camp.  It may be because I am a cynic and think the majority of invites that go out are to build up camp numbers and put more money into the pockets of coaches.  If you are blindly driving around to camps at schools that have barely shown you attention, the money you are putting into the camp may actually be helping the coaches remodel their houses.

But how do you really tell how serious a school is when they invite you to a camp?  Really, it is a difficult question because so many colleges back off after the camp no matter if you go or not.  Once their camp schedule is over, there is no reason that they need to stay in contact with fringe prospects at that level.

I am going to talk in terms for prospects that currently do not hold a scholarship offer from the school that has invited them.  If you have an offer, the coaches won’t make it such a necessity that they get you on campus to see you in action.  They already feel that you are good enough to play for their school so why have to waste the money coming?

Going back to the priority of the invite, the first factor that I mention is phone calls from college coaches.  During the spring evaluation period (Late April until the end of May), college coaches were legally able to call prospects once during that time period.  If they missed the prospect, I am willing to bet that they left a detailed message so that the athlete could give them a call back.  Because the coaches can only make one call (No matter if they talk to the kid or not), the ball is in your court to call them back.

If they are seriously going to evaluate during that camp, there is no doubt in my mind that this phone call must be placed beforehand.  No matter what big words that they say in the letters and mailings, taking their time to call you shows how much they are interested in you and how much they want to see you at camp.

While a call is not a sure fire scholarship offer as soon as you show up at the camp, the college coach is saying that they are interested in you.  There is only so much time to make these calls so it shows a lot.  Most of the time, coaches will call you and talk to you specifically about the camp.  If they do that, it may be worth going to for at least one day.

If the phone call doesn’t come through, the second factor to look for is hand written letters.   I have seen many hand written letters over time and most are rather generic.  If they really want you, look for something that mentions something specific about you.  It may be your team or your coach.  Just look for something that talks in depth about you.

The third factor I would keep an eye on is if the college coaches from that school visited you at the high school.  During the evaluation period, the coaches have a chance to make trips to a number of high schools.  While some will just stop by in the area, it does show that they are at least curious about your ability.  The only problem with this is many colleges do visit as many high schools as they can and hand out camp invites.  This is far below hand written letters and phone calls.

If I had a son and he was trying to figure out which camps that he should go to during the summer, the main one I would focus on is the recruiting calls.  While hand written letters and school visits are great, getting a call shows that they are actually considering you enough to take the time out of an evening to call you.

There are many athletes that I have talked to in recent months and most say that they are going to a college camp because they have been receiving mail.  While that is great and all, you have to realize that the college coaches just want to see you at their camp.  In the eyes of a college coach, they are in a no lose situation if you come to the camp.  If you come, they get more numbers regardless.  If you really standout, then they may start recruiting you.  If you are not any good, they are going to take you off of their list and move on with recruiting.

So before you sign up for twenty different camps this summer and travel the country in search of a scholarship offer, think long and hard about how serious the school is recruiting you.  If they are not showing much interest, I am willing to bet that they would love to have you in camp all three days.

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