College recruiting - Finding the Right School

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College recruiting - Finding the Right School

Postby DlaxDad » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:40 pm

As the parent of a high school junior, class of 2011, who wants to play lacrosse in college, we're in the midst of recruiting activities. Recruiting is a subject about which I knew virtually nothing about a year ago. You can hardly learn fast enough. I listened to the recruiting seminar given by Notre Dame's Coach Corrigan last month at the Adrenaline High Rollers recruiting camp, and was surprised to hear what he said to a group of high school juniors and seniors, which was that by Thanksgiving of junior year in high school, the top 20 Division I programs have essentially completed their recruiting for juniors. Corrigan said, to the players who are juniors in November 2009, who will graduate in June 2011, that Notre Dame already is just about done with their class. Coach Corrigan explained that the top 20 program coaches who were at High Rollers were really there to see freshmen and sophomores.

He said that Notre Dame will take two attack men from the high school class of 2011, and he's already got one of them. Coach Corrigan, and the coaches from UVA, Hopkins, Syracuse, UNC, etc. are spending the rest of this fall fending off the 40 other top attackmen who want the remaining 20 spots in the top 20 DI programs. (There may be the same number of spots open on defense and at midfield in those programs, too.) If you're not on their radar by now, as a junior, you're probably not getting on.

Which doesn't mean that there isn't a lacrosse program out there for you. Coach Van Arsdale of Colorado College said that in the fall of 2009 the Division III programs are just forming their list of players they're interested in. Also, the next echelon of Division I programs, programs like Towson and Fairfield, are still recruiting for the class of 2011. We know that NorCal players committed to programs like Bryant and Providence in the players' senior years, too.

With a very, very few exceptions, it's up to the player to reach out to coaches, especially if the player is on the West Coast and doesn't play in a fall ball tournament every weekend in Long Island, Baltimore, or Philadelphia.

It's a good idea to use a recruiting consultant who can help with video highlights, preparing for interactions with college coaches, and reviewing your player's transcript and highlights to give you feedback on what programs it's realistic to consider.

And the most important piece of advice anyone can give any player is to pick a college you'd want to be at if you broke your leg the first day and couldn't play lacrosse at all. College is about education and personal growth, and the vast majority of that doesn't happen on the lacrosse field.

I have a few articles to post, and will add to this topic with additional information, but it seemed to me that as more and more West Coast laxers have the lax chops to play college ball, there's still a dearth of information out there about getting in to college. We'll try to get some info out in this post. I hope other players and parents will share their experiences and knowledge, as well.
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College Recruiting Myths

Postby DlaxDad » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:43 pm

From Inside Lacrosse:

by Nathan Maciborski, Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

Dom Starsia just chuckles.

Whenever the Virginia men's lacrosse coach overhears two kids talking about "so-and-so got a full ride to Georgetown" or "Carolina gave him a full scholarship," he figures they're probably off base.

Unlike football and basketball -- where nearly every Division I player gets a full scholarship -- lacrosse players very rarely see their tuition, room, board and fees covered for an entire four years.

The "full ride" is one of many myths that student-athletes and their parents may encounter when navigating the NCAA athletic scholarship maze during the recruiting process. Time to shed some light on that and several other commonly held misconceptions.

Myth 1: Scholarships Will Find You

Organization and communication are the cornerstones of the recruiting process. It is important for young athletes to organize first -- put their goals on paper and then build a checklist of things that need to be done, which includes picking up the phone and calling college coaches. E-mail coaches with your personal profiles. It is important to take a proactive approach.

"I think the one thing that folks don't realize is that they have a tremendous laterality, as far as initiating communication with the college coaches, which essentially gets them on the radar screen," said Tom Kovic, the founder of Victory Collegiate Consulting. "I think that there is a little too much caution that athletes and families take when it comes to getting on the radar as far as athletic scholarships. I think they're afraid that they're going to come off appearing cocky, and that is not the case at all."

Coaches do their best to scour the country in search of recruits, but they can only be in one place at a time. If you believe that you have something to offer a program, it can't hurt to reach out to that school.

Myth 2: The Well Runs Deep

Under the NCAA, including Divisions I, II and III, only 30 percent of student-athletes are on any form of athletic scholarship. Division III doesn't offer any athletic scholarships, nor do any Ivy League schools. And the majority of the D-I and D-II teams are not fully funded, meaning they do not have the resources to offer the maximum amount of scholarships allowed by the NCAA.

A fully-funded Division I men's lacrosse team has a maximum number of 12.6 scholarships to hand out. On the women's side, the max is 12. That number can essentially be divided up however a coach chooses, but the max is for the entire program, not per class. Some schools try to reward upperclassmen for their loyalty to the program by upping their scholarship going into their senior years, which may leave less than three scholarships for a coach to go out and recruit nine or 10 incoming players.

"If you just look at the scholarship offerings, you're probably talking about the top 150 guys in the country, and there's probably 4,000 kids going in to play college lacrosse at all the levels every year," said Matt Wheeler, a four-year letterwinner at Wesleyan University who, along with former teammate Chris Meade, co-founded lacrosserecruits.com -- a Facebook-style Web site designed to market high school lacrosse players to college coaches.

Myth 3: The "Full Ride"

One of the most common misconceptions is that a scholarship, whether it is full or partial, lasts four years. By definition, a scholarship is a one-year renewable grant. Renewals are not automatic, and the college must notify the student in writing by July 1 of his or her scholarship status. Therefore, even the proverbial "full ride" -- a rarity at virtually every program -- is only guaranteed for one year.

"In my 17 years at Virginia, I think we've done it three times, where we've given somebody a full scholarship," Starsia said. "What we're talking about in general are pieces of scholarships. Our goal every year is that everybody gets something."

If a typical, fully-funded Division I men's lacrosse team has 40 players on its roster, there's a good chance that 35 of those players receive a percentage of a scholarship -- likely less than half of one full scholarship. Another two or three may receive need-based financial aid only, while another two or three are paying their own way entirely.

Myth 4: Summer is Scholarship Season

Unlike the recruiting process, which is full of regulations and stipulations as to when and how a coach can contact an athlete, a scholarship offer can be made at any point. Just don't expect to hear one too early.

For a coach that starts out recruiting, say, 20 players, it would be imprudent to make specific dollar-amount promises in the beginning of the process. Nobody wants to be in a position where they have to go back on their word. So it becomes an ongoing dialogue, where the two parties get down to particulars as the signing period nears.

"What we tell boys when they're sitting here early in their junior year is, `You're a scholarship candidate for us,'" said Starsia. "So if the boy has five or six schools he's going around to visit, when they come back to us and say, 'Hey Coach, I'm getting pretty close to making a decision,' then we're going to give them the information (i.e., a dollar amount) they need in order to complete that picture."

In most cases, the first binding agreement between an athlete and a program that is offering an athletic scholarship is the National Letter of Intent signing, which takes place in November or April of the senior year.

Myth 5: No Scholarship = Full Price

If a prospect is not offered an athletic scholarship in his or her freshman year, that doesn't mean he or she is not eligible later. There also are a number of other options that can be explored through the college's financial aid department. They include: need-based financial aid, grants and loans.
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Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Selectivity

Postby DlaxDad » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:47 pm

From a post in another forum, but full of good information:

The amount of money you can earn based on your grades and test scores completely depends on the college's level of selectivity. For example, if you apply to an Ivy League school (or Duke, Notre Dame, etc.) everyone who gets accepted has very high GPA and excellent tests scores so you will likely only receive monies based on need. However, if you look at schools that are "selective" you may be able to earn a full-ride on your tuition. Best place to determine selectivity levels of most colleges is to go to your local library and look it up in the "US News & World Report Ultimate College Guide" then go to the college's website and look under scholarships. That will help you determine how much you can expect.

It is important to note that the coaches work with financial aid but a player should not get penalized because you play a sport. Always know what you should expect to receive based on the college's website so you can ask intelligent questions when they send you your award letter (outlining scholarships, grants, etc.).

When researching scholarships (athletic and academic), I had to do a lot of searching to come up with definitions for the level of selectivity. Below is the result of that research. Hope it helps you figure out what schools are best to apply to based on academics and lacrosse.

Definition of Admissions Selectivity at Colleges

Test scores and high school standing of students who enroll determine admissions selectivity plus the proportion of applicants accepted.

Most Selective/Highly Competitive: At the majority of highly selective colleges, the qualifications of admitted students are outstanding. They have high GPAs, high school programs enriched by many honors/AP courses, high test scores; they are involved in extracurricular activities and demonstrate leadership qualities; they submit enthusiastic letters of recommendation and compelling personal statements; or they otherwise demonstrate exceptional talent or potential in academics, athletics or the arts.

More than 75% of the current college freshmen were in the top 10% of their high school class and scored over 1310 combined on the (pre 2005) SAT 1 test or over 29 composite on the ACT. As many as 10 or 15 students apply for each spot at very selective schools. About 30% or fewer of the applicants were accepted for admission. More importantly, they are passionate about learning and throw themselves heart and soul into one or two activities. Almost all of the highly selective schools practice need-blind admissions, so applying for aid doesn't affect your chances of getting in.

More Selective/More Competitive: More selective colleges consider course work, grades, test scores, recommendations, and essays. Selective schools have lower acceptance rates. More than 50% for the current college freshmen were in the top 10% of their high school class and scored over 1230 combined on the (pre 2005) SAT 1 test or over 26 composite on the ACT. About 60% or fewer of the applicants were accepted for admission.

Selective/Competitive: More than 75% of the current college freshmen were in the top half of their high school class and scored over 1010 combined on the (pre 2005) SAT 1 test or above 18 composite on the ACT. Approximately 85% or fewer of the applicants were accepted for admission. The major factor may be whether you are ready for college-level study. It's possible to be denied admission because of a weakness or a lack of interest in higher education.

Less Selective/Less Competitive: Less selective colleges focus on whether applicants meet minimum requirements and whether there's room for more students. Acceptable grades are often the only requirement beyond an interest in college study. Most current freshmen were not in the top half of their high school class and scored somewhat below the 1010 combined on the (pre 2005) SAT 1 test or below 18 composite on the ACT. Up to 95% of applicants were accepted for admission. The SAT or ACT may be required, but test scores are usually used for course placement, not admissions.

Non-Competitive: Virtually all applicants were accepted for admission regardless of high school grades or test scores.

NOTE: There's no general agreement about which factors are ranked more important. However, most admissions officers place the most weight on your high school record.
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Other resources

Postby DlaxDad » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:02 am

When I was applying to college in '71 (no, not 1871) I used the Yale Insider's Guide to Colleges, which was full of colorful descriptions of colleges all across the country.

These days we use the Fiske Guide, found in most bookstores. Do you want urban or rural or suburban? How many students? 40,000? 4,500? Is 1,600 OK? How selective is the school? What's the range of SAT and ACT scores for the middle 50 percent? How's the quality of life? How strong are the academics? What are the principal outside activities? All of this stuff is in the Fiske Guide.

Here's the web address for U.S. News & World Report's rankings of colleges and universities: http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandrevie ... t-colleges
The 2010 rankings are out now. There's a premium version available, but I've never bought it, myself.

My sister recommended a web site called Unigo, that has college reviews prepared by students at the college: http://www.unigo.com/ It's a pretty new site, I think, and there are many colleges that aren't listed yet. The information that's up is pretty revealing, though.

I always look at the Laxpower.com rankings of college lacrosse programs. Here is the address for the index for men's programs by division, and also including MCLA: http://www.laxpower.com/common/college_men.php There's a parallel women's page as well.

I recommend visiting the web site of any college you're interested in. What are the majors that are available? Do they have programs you're interested in? What's the roster of the lacrosse team look like? If you're 5'9" tall and play defense, is there anybody else on the roster who's your size? Frequently the players have highlights linked to their names. If the juniors all went to Boys Latin or Gilman, and have only played in six games by their senior years, it tells you something about available playing time and skill level. Is it more important to you to play Division I lacrosse, or is it more important to be a four year contributor? Do you want to play a lot? More important that the program be competitive? League champion caliber?
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Re: College recruiting - Finding the Right School

Postby DlaxDad » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:06 am

Colby College men’s lacrosse head coach Jon Thompson was recently interviewed by Chris Strausser of Getting in Edu, a Web site to help student-athletes and parents with greater access to expert advice they need from admission officers and athletic coaches from colleges and universities across the country.

Here's the link: http://www.colby.edu/athletics_cs/news/ ... 1-5-09.cfm


EDITORIAL UPDATE 6/17/2011: Coach Thompson is at Amherst, where the academic standards for admission are even more rigorous, but his suggestions are still good ones.
Last edited by DlaxDad on Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: College recruiting - Finding the Right School

Postby DlaxDad » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:12 am

Make a 40 year decision -- not a 4 year decision.
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Re: College recruiting - Finding the Right School

Postby GoaliemonSr » Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:41 pm

Brilliant as usual. We've come to expect nothing less from DlaxDad.

A site we've been using to do high level screening of colleges is http://collegesearch.collegeboard.com/search/index.jsp. Very handy in wittling down the ones you're interested in.
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Re: College recruiting - Finding the Right School

Postby DlaxDad » Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:10 am

Well, thanks, goaliemonsr.

Some interesting developments. In correspondence with Connecticut College we learn that they have 4 d-men already pretty well committed. Could be a polite way of saying we don't want your guy, or it could indicate that even some of the D III programs are getting along with their recruiting of juniors. At some positions, the slots available for class of 2011 graduates is full in December 2009.

We're planning a trip to Ohio in January. Time to get out there, see some campuses, and meet some coaches.
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Re: College recruiting - Adrenaline Challenge 2010

Postby DlaxDad » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:44 pm

If you are a member of the class of 2011, and will be competing at the Adrenaline Challenge this weekend, check the materials the tournament organizers sent out and contact the programs you're interested in that will be represented at the Challenge.

Unless you're 6'3 or 6'4, run like a deer, can shoot and pass and control the game from midfield, and play brilliant midfield defense -- wait, I just described Rob Emery, and he's already committed to UVA -- don't just expect coaches to notice you. There are 64 teams in this tournament, and 6 or 8 elite divisions. If you want a coach to see you, reach out and touch somebody. Send an e-mail. Follow up with a telephone call. Then play your a** off.

You're going to have to do your own organizing and communicating when you get to college. Start now. And I mean today. Get out of bed early, and call back East at 6:00 a.m. It's 9:00 a.m. there, but they'll know you dragged your sorry butt out of bed because it was important to you.

Or sleep in. There will be 300+ players at the Challenge. I'm sure you'll stand out. :-"
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Adrenaline Challenge

Postby DlaxDad » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:48 pm

Okay -- I just checked the article at West Side Lax. There are 36 teams in the elite division. If each team has 22 players, that's 792 players at the elite level. My math was bad, but the advice was good.
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