COLLEGE RECRUITING REALITIES & RESOURCES
The process is moving from high school to college is challenging for everyone. Adding recruiting for lacrosse multiplies the challenges. Take charge of the process and chart your own future.
1. Run the process or the process will run you.
Many families wait to be contacted by college coaches, and react to just those programs. It's flattering, and there is a temptation to get caught up in the recruiting dance. It is YOUR life, and your choice of college is probably the most important decision you'll make to this point. College is more than lacrosse, and you need to run the process. Take charge, and choose among the colleges which meet your goals. Choose the colleges you are interested in and then be proactive in seeking to be recruited.
2. It's never too early.
A painful reality is that 8th graders are making verbal commitments to college. A recent article in Inside Lacrosse predicted "There will be an 8th grade commitment... I expect to see the verbal calendar moved up again, possibly with an 8th grade commitment (Class of 2018) made in the late spring. Commitments will trickle in at first and then I predict a slew of verbal commitments from the Class of 2018 in the summer later following the completion of rising freshman camps." An article in the Washington Post states, "By the time college coaches can call players or speak with them off campus - July 1 before a recruit's senior year of high school - most recruiting classes have already filled up." The take away from these should be that college planning, considering what kinds of schools, locations, curriculum should begin early.
3. It's never too late.
While the process starts early the reality is that most commitments are made between the junior and senior years. Many schools will recruit rising seniors to fill in unexpected gaps or among players who are late bloomers or missed in the process. While your chances at a top D1 school go down by the time you're a senior, it is never too late to be recruited. For every player D1 is a likely goal; the reality is that there are 69 D1 programs in the United States. There are 283 DII and DIII programs with excellent lacrosse, significant financial aid, and excellent education. Beyond the NCAA there are 229 colleges in the MCLA, 145 colleges in the NCLL, and 35 in the NJCAA. If you want to play college lacrosse, there will be a program for you if you are proactive.
4. Take money out of the equation.
The reality is that lacrosse scholarship money is spread thin across an entire program. The average scholarship amount is $6,000, not a lot when typical expenses frequently exceed $50,000 in many schools. Athletic scholarships are frequently year to year with no guarantees over four years. Pick the schools that suit YOU, be proactive in seeking to leverage your lacrosse play, and then consider the entire package offered by responding schools. Many parents are surprised to find that the aid package offered by DIII schools is greater than that of the DI programs and more secure over four years.
The details of the recruiting process change, but there are vital elements which form guideposts. Start early. Be proactive. Persevere.
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