A Creative 3 Step Process to Success
Selecting a higher education institution is a challenging, confusing and sometimes difficult task. When you toss in your aspirations to be a college level soccer player, it can quickly become overwhelming. The questions below are not intended to be the road to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Only you and your family can find that road… and it takes a lot of time, effort and hard work. This process is simply a guideline for you to follow to get you moving in the right direction. Let it be a guide to get you started towards thinking about the right things and the correct way to approach selecting your college or university.
Step 1 - Profile Yourself - Be Realistic
It is absolutely critical that you match yourself with the college that fits you. All people are different and all colleges are different. It's four years and you need the right environment to grow academically and athletically.
How good of a player are you? What is your work ethic? What are your study habits? How good are your grades? How well do you handle stress? Have you ever been away from home? These are all the type of questions that you need to evaluate. You should also have a few members of your selection team do a profile of you as well. Compare them and you might be surprised. Here's a tool that'll help you. NEU Personal Profile Tool
Profile Your Ideal School
There are a number of key parameters that should be considered when looking at schools. These are attributes that are derived from your personal profile. Key things, like - number of students attending, academic majors, how far away the school is from home, cost to attend, level of soccer played and other things that may be specific to your situation.
Utilize the tool below to profile the type of school that you feel would be your best fit. Use the data in your personal profile to determine your ideal school. Be conscious of the fact that your thoughts may change as you do. So be sure to revisit this profile every few months. Also, consult with your parents when filling this out. NEU College Profile Tool
Step 2 - Discover - NCAA Requirements / Eligibility Requirements / Info on Colleges
The recruiting process is complex and there are very specific parameters that you must adhere to in order to remain eligible to play at the college level. There are 'Eligibility Requirements', 'Restrictions on Visits' and 'Academic Requirements'. Please visit the the NCAA page of this website.
It is important to understand that it is impossible for us to go into intricate detail regarding all of the rules and regulations involved with the NCAA. It is instead critical that you do the research. Our intent is to try and guide you to the right places. Like the NCAA Eligibility Center.
There are lots of resources out there that can help if you know one magic word. And here it is... Google. Be cautious as you do your research as some resources cost money. There are many that are free, so keep looking to make sure that you can't get the same info for free. Personally, I like free... Do the research - if you violate a requirement, the burden will ultimately fall on you - so make sure you know the rules. Here are some sources for information that may help get you started: Resource Tips
Step 3 - Engage - Be Visible - Market Yourself
Throughout this process it is important that you market yourself as a player and more importantly, as a student. Remember that there are over 27,000 high schools in the U.S. - that's a lot of graduating seniors to compete with. Remember, the best weapon that you have to compete is GOOD GRADES. The odds of an athletic scholarship are 2%. The odds of an academic scholarship are much greater.
Now that you've identified some schools that you think fit your profile, you must begin to put together a plan that will help you to get in front of coaches. There are a number of tools that can present you in a positive light both academically and athletically. These are tools that will get the attention of coaches. Click here to learn more: Marketing Me Plan
Visit Your Top Choices
You've come a long way and you're at the last step before you actually sit down and pick your school. By this time you've done some of the other key things: taken the right courses, stayed on track for graduation, kept your guidance counselor on track, gotten your common application done and ready to send out. You're ready to do your final visits.
Now you can focus on making some serious evaluations of the right schools. Time to engage! Read the page entitled the visit and you can gain some insight into visiting the college, meeting on academics and visiting with the coach. Visits can be informal (by yourself), academic or to visit the coach - do them all...
Create Your Short List
Take all of the work you've done. The notes from the early visits, your personal profile data, your college profile, the research on the selection rules and regulations, and the data on your profiled schools. It's time to chop the list to a manageable 3-5 schools.
Create the short list on your own and then sit and explain 'why' you chose those schools to members of your selection team. Meet with them separately and defend your choices. As you talk it through you'll get a great idea as to whether you're on the right track. Maybe you'll change one or two. Now you're ready to define your visit strategy and have some real fun with a few visits to colleges you know are right for you.
Research the Short List
Unfortunately, research can be tedious. However, it can be a bit more fun if you've already done some prep work. Have you done your profiles? If you have then you have an idea of which schools to take a look at - by number of students, geographic location, academic majors, level of play, etc. This should give you a pretty good list to check out. If you know you're looking at 20 colleges that you know fit what you want to major in and where you might want play...it makes the research more fun.
Check out their website, use the Princeton Review, NSCA or other websites that you've found. Call admissions and ask questions - they will love to talk to you. Take notes and write down the good and bad things that you find out. Ask around your high school and I'll bet you can find someone who knows someone else that goes there.