College Prospects: How to Separate Yourself

College Prospects: How to Separate Yourself

By Tom Kovic

College prospects need to work strategically harder to get the attention of college coaches. Furthermore, student-athletes need to separate themselves from the high volume of prospective student-athletes that are competing for similar roster spots.

Below are simple suggestions to maximize your recruiting effort and maximize your chances of gaining admission to your top college choice.

Set Goals
Every goal requires a starting point, and I believe we should never deny ourselves the opportunity to reach high, especially with the college search.

However, maintaining a grounded approach when lining up potential college options is equally important. I suggest identifying three groups of colleges for your recruiting plan: Reach, Likely and Back-Up.

Define Long-Term Goals
Envision the “end game” and work backward to define specific goals. The initial phase of the college search might appear a bit daunting but begin big and then chisel away at a plan to simplify it.

Look long-term when defining your goals. For instance, the athletic component will likely be rewarding during your four-year college experience. Consider asking yourself “where do I see myself in 40 years?” Serve yourself well by keeping the academic component in the vanguard of the overall college experience. You will position yourself for a lifetime of success beyond college.

Use a Team Approach
A team approach maximizes efficiency and minimizes individual pressure and stress. Form a group of trustworthy individuals who assume specific roles during the college recruiting process. You will increase your chances in grabbing the brass ring. The team should include:

  • Prospect
  • Parents
  • Team Coach
  • Club Coach
  • Guidance Counselor/College Adviser
  • Personal Mentor/Adviser

The responsibility for effectively executing your recruiting plan should be shared among the team members. All assignments should be spelled out. Communication among team members should be frequent and consistent. You will help streamline the plan and avoid misdirection and lead to unclear thinking and potentially poor choices.

Establish Time-lines
Now that you have envisioned your dream and defined your goals, you should establish specific timelines that you will remain committed to executing your plan.

Without strict adherence to timelines, you reduce your chances of hitting your targets. Missing deadlines can raise stress levels exponentially. Begin broadly and develop a long-term to-do list. Moreover, you can break your timelines into more detailed formats that include weekly and monthly targets.

Express Desire
Unless you are a blue-chip athlete that every college coach wants, you will need a recruiting plan that helps you rise above your competition. Numerous character components can assist your effort, but one that stands out above the rest is desire.

Most college coaches make comprehensive recruiting assessments. Coaches always look beyond athletic and academic achievements at intangible factors that define a great recruit. Consequently, the successful college recruiter looks for self-aware, independent prospects that bring strong character to the table.

At this point, you have your college recruiting vehicle put together and are ready to take it out for a spin. Desire is the fuel that moves the forward.

In the final analysis, recruiting success depends on several factors, but having a dream, defining your goals, forming a team, establishing recruiting timelines and showing your sincere desire to play your sport will help separate you from the pack.

Tom Kovic is a former Division I college coach and Founder/Principal of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he advises prospects and families on college recruiting. For further information visit:

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