What College Athletic Coaches Are Looking For When Recruiting (Part 1)

You’ve been playing your sport for 5-10 years and you want to be recruited or at best recruited and receive that four year athletic scholarship from your top choice college. Don’t sell yourself short. My advice after over 20 years in the college admission business and constantly talking college coaches and Athletic Directors are these points college coaches are looking for:

  1. Ability: Coaches are interested in your abilities and performance in tournaments. A coach has a program in which they have developed an elite team; they want someone willing to fit into that mix. But this is only one part of it. There are great athletes who don’t get recruited.  Many of the best colleges recruit athletes with modest skills.  Sometimes it’s not just having skills but the fact that you are performing your personal best that matters.
  2. Academic Record: In admissions, its admissions officers who have the final word. Grades matter. As a part of the recruitment process coaches will review your transcript like admissions and seek the rigor of your curriculum and your GPA and standardized test scores. Every coach understands the academic statistics that their college’s admission office expects from his or her players individually and as a whole team.  When they decide who to recruit, they are always trying to balance the quality of players with the quality of their academic records. What this means is that after the coach determines your skill level, the better your academic record, the more likely you are to be recruited.  Remember it’s admission departments, not coaches, who admit students.
  3. Passion For the Game and College: No matter what your skill level is, Coaches want to recruit students who have a real passion for playing their game. Coaches work closely with the admissions office and they know that the athletes they recruit hardest are very likely to be admitted. They want to recruit students who are serious about playing on the team and not just using their ability as a “hook” to get in to their school.  Similarly, coaches do not like when they recruit players that choose to go elsewhere.  This also makes them look bad if they pushed hard to get you in and then you don’t come. When coaches interview you, they will always want to know why you want to come to their college rather than another that recruits players with a similar skill level and academic record.

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group network. He and his team of admissions advisors, through the admissions affiliate, Student Athlete Advisors, help student athletes develop a winning game plan to be recruited.