As you begin your college selection process, you should start to ask yourself the questions provided in The 5 A's. From there, you will be able to narrow down a list of schools you may already have selected and in your analysis and research you may find a few more schools that match your profile and criteria.
The timeline of the college selection, application, and admittance process depends on the student. Most student-athletes can start this process near the beginning of their Junior year and make a decision as Seniors. For the very small number considering, and being considered by, Division 1 teams, the academic and athletic selection process is getting shifted earlier and earlier. The competitiveness of the recruiting landscape and eagerness of students to play college lacrosse has contributed to significantly earlier verbal commitments than in previous years. Recently, due to how early some players were committing, the USILA (coach's association) mandated that coaches can't "recruit" until Sept 1 of a player's Junior year. This rule does not apply at other levels, where players and coaches can talk freely at any point.
So now that you are starting to ask the right questions about the institutions, you may be asking "What’s next?" Be proactive. Reach out to coaches, introduce yourself, and express your interest in their program. Phone calls can be effective. However, be aware that there are some rules coaches need to follow which will vary by division. For example, D1 coaches cannot call you until July 1st after your Junior year, but you can call them. If you send an email, proofread your message. Poor grammar or incoherent messages make it easy for a coach to ignore your letter. Address coaches professionally and remember this might be their first introduction to you, so make a good impression. Try to learn what you can about the program, tell the coach about your playing history, and send a highlight tape if you have one. Keep in mind that higher level coaches get hundreds of emails a day from prospective players. It is a great step to have your high school or club coach reach out to specific programs on your behalf.
Ultimately, it is up to you to get the ball rolling. Club teams, tournaments, showcases, and things of the like can all play a role, but do not leave your future in the hands of chance. Do not sit back and wait for a coach to email or call you. With the number of events out there for coaches to attend, and the limited number of coaches, it is important to realize some statistical probabilities. The likelihood that the right coach from the right school, is at the right tournament, to see you make the right play, is slim at best. After you introduce yourself and start the conversation, you can find out which events coaches will be attending and determine if there are any opportunities for the coach to see you play.
All of the aforementioned information is the short version of things to look at as you start or continue you college search. Choosing the right spot for you may seem daunting, but like most things in life, proper planning prevents poor performance. Do your research, and make it happen. We are here to help.
Resources / Getting Started
Self-assessments are a great tool for students to learn a little bit about themselves and about what type of school might benefit them the most. Click here for more resources.
The cost of a college education can be daunting. Click here for financial resources to help you plan for the future.