Athletic Scholarships: 3 FREE Tools that will Guide You in Your College Search

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Athletic Scholarships: 3 FREE Tools that will Guide You in Your College Search

So you want to go to college on an Athletic Scholarship, but unsure if your stats and accomplishments make the cut. This is a common concern and frustration for many high school athletes and parents. But don’t worry, this article will guide you as well as give you applicable tools needed to help you move forward in the college recruiting process.

First, when I was a high school junior 14 years ago, the online resources were limited to non-existent compared to the vast resources available today. You’re probably thinking, “What resources!” Well, most of the free resources out there you’re probably already using, but don’t understand how to properly take full advantage of the information. It’s understandable. There is so much information and it’s not in big bold lettering yelling, “ This is what you should be looking for.”

I want to make it easy for everyone. Therefore, for each tool I will include the benefits, limitations as well on how to find and decode the applicable information. And for you visual learners, I am going to include pictures.

1) Google

Yes, Google! Search Engine kingpin. I am starting with Google because it is a strong tool and understanding how to search correctly will save you time and energy and ease your frustration. It will even help in the next steps if you are unfamiliar where to find particular information.

Benefits:

So what makes Google so great in your college-recruiting search? Well, it’s FREE! In addition, by typing the ideal keywords you will generally find the information your searching for. You should also know that college coaches, recruiters, and even your competition are searching Google to verify stats, accolades and juicy gossip. So don’t be surprised, as you have probably done it on countless occasions yourself.

Drawbacks and Limitation:

Google does have its drawbacks and limitations. One of the difficulties with using Google for your college search is there is too much information.. Plus, if you are searching for an athlete with a common name, identifying who the person is can be a daunting task. Some of the other limitations are Google is only a search tool and will not actually give you the answer. Google’s purpose is directing users where the information is located. It is still up to you to decode the information.

How to use it in your college search:

a) Google can help you find schools, coaches or information if you currently do not know the exact website URL.

b) Conducting a Google search on yourself will let you know what coaches, recruiters and other athletes see when you are searched. – Images, statistics, unflattering material. Trust me this is important. College coaches receive hundreds of emails a month from prospective high school athletes. Make sure you are not giving them a reason to become disinterested.

c) Use it to Google others.

d) You can use it to find other great resources, other than this article, which can also help you along the way. Just like the link below!

 

Watch how you can use Google in Your College Search

 

2) Official Institution Athletic Pages

Official College Athletic pages I have found to be one of the most useful and beneficial recourses once you have identified the schools in which you’re interested. If you are unsure what I mean by, “Official College Athletic Pages”, don’t worry. Official college athletic pages are the school’s official sites for the schools sports programs (i.e. www.Goducks.com - University of Oregon). Usually these sites include everything from sports offerings, stats, schedules, bios, records, coaches, recruiting inquires, emails, images, stories, fans area, etc. So knowing how to access and decode this information is extremely valuable especially if you are scholarship potential.

Official college recruiting pages have become so standard that it is rare for a college not to have one. They may be difficult to find, but 9 times out of 10, if you type the “institutions name” + Athletics into the Google search field, it will usually be the first link in the organic search.

google search oregon

Benefits:

As previously stated, these sites are so common place that every institution has an official athletics page. And most importantly, It’s Free! These sites will usually have the most up to date information on their athletic programs. On these sites you will be able to locate individual team rosters, which includes individual players high school and college stats and accolades (HIDDEN GEM). It will even include their sports position, grade level and hometown. And some sports will even include metrics, which include the athlete’s height and weight (great for football).

rosterscreenshot

Usually, the athletic team pages will include the most up-to-date information for the institution and their athletes than anywhere else on the web. This is also a very important resource when crafting those flattering recruiting letters to college coaches.

(New Blog and Video Entry Link- crafting a college-recruiting letter)

Drawback and Limitations

Under the benefits, I mentioned how these sites have the most up-to-date information on the web for college programs. Unfortunately, on occasion especially for newly enrolled students, information may be limited to almost non-existent. In addition, these sites will only include the best attributes about a program because negative information would not deem well for the particular institution. For the most part, these are both rare instances, and these sites are extremely helpful in obtaining valuable information.

How to use it in your college-recruiting search

a) Review athletes and coaches bios and profiles (it’s called healthy stocking).

b) It will help you Identify a college sports programs recruiting strategies (do they recruit locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally). This will let you know how far geographically where they are looking for potential athletes.

c) Stay up to date with news articles so you can flatter them with the know-hows of their program.

d) Find out which coach you should contact to send your recruiting information. Usually, includes a link to the coach’s email.

d) Complete online recruiting forms

e) Buy the latest fan gear and imagine your already throwing the first pitch. Maybe that’s a bit too soon!

 

Watch how you can use Google and college sites in your recruiting search

 

3) National Rankings List:

 

Now if you want to truly humble yourself then National Ranking lists are great tools for all athletes interested in playing at the next level. Examples of these websites are Max Preps, Rivals, and ESPN. There are even sports specific ranking websites such as Dyestat (track and field), Intermat (wrestling), and Inside Lacrosse (lacrosse). Once again, if you are unsure where to find these National Rankings lists then our trusted friend Google will help you every step along the way.

 

(Review list here) Competed!!!

 

Benefits

One of the many benefits of using these sites is that you get to see where you stack up against individuals in your sport. If you are one of the lucky athletes who are currently ranked in the top 100, depending on sport, then you are probably already receiving emails, hand written letters, official visits, cash (kidding!) from your schools of choice. If not, don’t worry because there are other great uses for these sites. Did I also forget to mention that most of the sites are FREE?

National Ranking sites are usually up-to-date with stats and may even include video and highlights of top athletes. Meaning you can see what the top players in the country looks like on the field. Sounds discouraging? It shouldn’t. For younger athletes, these sites are great because they see exactly why athletes are ranked on the national level; giving them realistic goals in which to aspire.

Personally, I like these lists because it causes high school athletes to look beyond, “Well, I am the best in my High School!” mantra. Coaches don’t care if you’re the best in your school; they are recruiting locally as well as globally. Sometimes a second string athlete on a dominate team can get stronger looks than an athlete who received all-state honors in a weak state. Hard pill to swallow… I know!

Your probably feeling overwhelmed because we are still in the benefits section; but my points do not sound very beneficial. I want to stress that not only are my points beneficial; they are essential. Once you understand where you rank locally, regionally, nationally, and even sometimes internationally, your tactics and strategies in gaining a coaches attention will be grounded and humbling.

A great college coach friend of mine said an amazing line that, ”athletes should understand how good the aren’t.” The point of his statement is athletes should humble themselves in the college recruiting process. Coaches are looking across the country for athletes and it’s not a personal attack if a coach is not breaking down doors to recruit you into their program.

Draw back and limitations

The drawbacks of not being on the National List means you will have to work a little or maybe a lot harder to get the attention of college coaches. Your ego may be bruised and had an unfortunate wake-up call. But don’t quit! You have made it this far and giving up now will only guarantee your chances playing at the next level an impossible dream.

Understand these sites are subjective, unless you’re in sports like track and field or swimming, because skills and abilities cannot be objectively valued and ranked. For example, a high school running back with 2000 yards rushing is not better than another high school athlete who has 1999 yards rushing. They’re too many factors to consider (competition, team strategy, strength of the offensive line etc.).

How to use it in your college-recruiting search

a) If you’re already in the top 1-100, depending on sport, then most definitely you are already receiving contacts from college coaches. If not, your hope is playing in college is not lost, you will just need to work a little harder in attending your school of “choice”. Don’t worry as most athletic institutions recruit outside this list anyways. There are hundreds of schools across the nation and most won’t be able to sign athletes in the top 100 anyways.

 

(Find out how to flatter your way into the school of your choices arms article)

 

b) These sites are great for younger athletes interested in playing athletics at a high level. It shows real world examples what statistics, accolades, and body types (height/weight) are needed to get ranked on these highly subjective lists.

c) Don’t be fooled! College coaches are reviewing these sites just as much as the next. So be prepared and standout because you will need to market yourself and have a good story on why you would be a great member of their athletic program. Don’t worry I have you covered!

 

(Creating a story college coaches will love)

 

Putting it all Together: 3 tools are better than 1

 

So now you’re equipped with your free online tools of Google, athletic team pages, and national rankings lists as well as with some additional information I skillfully slipped into the content. Now what? Use it!

Using the combination of these resources will help you understand where you fit in any particular athletic program. Remember, there are over 100 Division 1 programs, and just about the same number at the other levels. Broaden your scope and consider schools other than the ones being shown on national television. If you stay diligent, hold yourself to a high standard, and use the discussed tools appropriately, then your hopes of continuing your athletic career into college can all be of but a certainty.

If your looking for additional resources on the college recruiting process or   maximizing your athletic performance, please feel free to check out my website at www.askcoachak.com or contact me by email at tips@askcoachak.com. I would love to hear from you!
Be great!
Coach AK

 

 

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About Author

AK Ikwuakor (“Coach AK”) is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Sports Performance Specialist, and NCAA Certified College Recruiting Coach, and former 4x All-American Division 1 Collegiate Athlete that uses his talents to inspire others domestically and internationally through speaking engagements, philanthropy, clinics, consulting and athletic performance training. Coach AK has worked with over 1000 athletes all over the world and is the founder of Empower 2 Play.

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