1) I only want to compete for a Division I program in college: It is important to focus on finding the right fit academically and athletically. Choosing a school because it has a good athletic program should not be the top priority. However, finding schools that offer the degree you may want to pursue or a school that offers a wide variety of majors if you are undecided should be the priority.
2) My top performances are going to warrant me a scholarship: Often times, many top programs have a “Recruitment Standard.” These standards are usually listed on the schools athletic website under the specific sport (Cross Country and/ or Track & Field). If you are unable to find the recruitment standard, this is a good question to ask the coaching staff during your correspondence with them.
3) Walk on athletes are treated differently than others on scholarship: This is a good question to ask when communicating with a coaching staff. In most cases, walk on student-athletes are treated the same as a scholarship student-athletes. The expectations are equal when it comes to academic matters, characteristics traits, and commitment to the program. It is a possibility that if you show the coaches growth as a walk on, you may earn a scholarship.
4) NCAA Division II and III are a lower class of Division I: This is a big misconception that many feel the lower divisions of the NCAA take the back seat to Division I; take a look at NCAA Championship results across the 3 divisions and make your own opinion.
5) I only plan to apply to my top choice schools: It is good to have several “back up” options. It is standard procedure to apply to all the schools you have interest or have visited. In some cases, there is a different application process for those who are looking to participate in athletics at the next level. Also keep in mind that universities give academic merit scholarships to those who have applied by a certain date.
6) Coaches will notice me if I compete at the highest level: Cross Country / Track & Field coaches are in constant movement throughout the year. Our sport is unique enough at the college level that coaches are constantly in season all year long. Do not assume that you will be noticed based off your performance at one meet.
7) The coach sent me publication on their school; that must mean they want me: There is still a long process to undergo if you receive information on a school. However, if you received publication from the coach, it means that you are now on their radar and they are hoping to hear back from you to start the recruiting process.
8) I don’t have to disclose my injuries to those who are recruiting me: Beginning a relationship with lying never ends up well. It is important to communicate and be honest with those you are interested in. You also may learn more on the program by opening up and talking about it!
9) I am only considering colleges where I can receive a full athletic scholarship: Most Cross Country / Track & Field programs do not offer full scholarships. In most cases, coaches are trying to “spread the wealth” in as many places they can to make a well-rounded team. It is okay to ask a coach what it will take to earn a scholarship and what they are looking for your high school graduation class.
10) When should I start the process?: Every school is different with their recruiting procedures. It is good to start researching by your sophomore year. Visits usually occur your junior and senior year.
For a full run down of more information regarding the recruiting process, please reach out to https://jhicksconsulting.com/get-started/