Football recruiting questionnaires and basketball recruiting questionnaires: Why should I fill them out?

Chances are that if you played at the varsity level in just about any sport and contributed, you may find yourself on a recruiting database.  The first step in that recruiting database is to send out a questionnaire.  The reason that these college coaches send out these questionnaires is to get more information about you. 

The first layer of defense that the questionnaire can provide for college coaches is to take athletes off their recruiting database.  If you are a 5-foot-8 linebacker or you finished your junior season with six tackles total, you are likely going to get deleted. 

If you get past this first hurdle, then the questionnaire can provide them with a great deal of information.  The top priority for them is personal contact information.  Instead of having to send you form mail at the school, they should now have your home address, email, and phone numbers.  Again, if you get to this step, it allows the college coaches to easily get in contact with you and keeps them from trying to track down the information themselves. 

There will also be other questions regarding your potential academic interests and more information about your parents.  I would assume that if the coaches at that school ever call you, if they were doing a good job, then they would talk to you about your academic interests and how strong their school is in that field.  It may not happen with every school but the ones tracking that stuff should use it as a selling point if they have easy access to it. 

So is it worth it to fill out a questionnaire?  There is no doubt in my mind that it is definitely worth the time.  If anything, you can basically send back your recruiting profile included and then answer any other questions that you didn’t include.  This actually saves you some time from having to fill out ten questionnaires if you have already answered similar questions on your recruiting profile.  I would assume the coaches wouldn’t mind. 

Should you expect to hear back from a school shortly after sending back the questionnaire?  That is a question I can’t really answer because it varies by school.  I would guess that a lot of colleges send out thousands of recruiting questionnaires and it obviously takes some time to input all the data and cross athletes off the list. 

One parent said that their son had sent back the information a month ago and had not heard back from the school.  This could be one of three things.  First is that they just don’t think your son is good enough, big enough, or strong enough academically to get into their school.  This happens all the time.  If an athlete is too small, didn’t play enough, or grades are too low, they may move on.  With thousands of other kids in the current pool, unless there is a connection between your family and the school, they will likely move on. 

The second factor, like mentioned above, is that the school has a ton of questionnaires coming back everyday so they are still processing that information.  If you send out 5,000 questionnaires and get back 3,000 of them, that is a lot of data processing.  This could very well be a factor here.  The third factor is simply that the school doesn’t send back an acknowledgment of the questionnaire.  You may still be on their list but they don’t send anything back.  It just depends on the timing and your age here. 

I really do believe that you should fill out all questionnaires and make sure college coaches have all the information that they are looking for.  However, I personally prefer to see families send out recruiting profiles before these questionnaires even come.  The reason I like the emailed recruiting profiles is because you can track if they received it.  If not, move on to another coach at the school over a set period of time. 

College coaches who send questionnaires believe athletes who don’t fill out questionnaires are not interested in their school.  But what happens if the questionnaires gets lost in the mail or is filled out but forgotten about?  That is why I prefer you taking control of the process and marketing yourself to college coaches with your recruiting profile.  It takes some of the mysteries out of the equation. 

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