21s get ready...

July 26, 2019

by Lisa Palmisano

The summer tournaments and recruiting season are rolling to a close.  In just over 5 weeks, the communication with college coaches will "begin".  If everyone looked at the recruiting process with the beginning in mind instead of the end, it would alleviate a lot of the stress.  Eventually the paradigm will shift.  When coaches call 2021s on September 1, 2019, they are beginning to officially recruit their 2021 class.

Are you ready?  You've put in the work, been to camps, sent your emails, attended showcases, now the lines of communication will finally be two-way.

After many phone calls, I thought I'd list a final checklist for players and parents as August starts and the days count down to the 9/1/19 deadline.

  1. Have your list ready and somewhat ordered.  A coach may ask you your list and where they stand on your list.  This doesn't mean that surprises won't happen, but it helps you focus and coaches to see where you are coming from.
  2. Contact via email every coach/school that you are honing in on via email around August 28th.  I think it is good to let the school know that they are your top or top five...The coaches are stabbing in the dark a little bit and if you let them know that they are your dream school and if you fit the piece to the puzzle they are looking for...the rest will be history.
  3. Sit down with your parents and share your list.  Discuss the costs and come up with the amount that your family is comfortable/has budgeted/is able to pay for college per year.  Doing this, may possibly knock some schools off of your list.  Coaches will like to know where you are coming from and if they really want you as a player, they may be able to get you to your budgeted amount or close.  If not, you need to be willing to take out loans or choose a school that is within what you can afford.
  4. Have your questions ready for the coach.  (SEE BLOG with questions to ask)  These questions address scholarships which may not be a conversation you have until later.  If a school offers merit aid (academic scholarships-you can find this information on the colleges website), you can ask questions about those academic aid and find out if you can stack academic and athletic aid?  Find out if athletic scholarships are capped at a certain amount/percentage when combined with academic scholarships?  Make sure you've done the college board net price calculator for every school you are interested in and ask any questions you may have about scholarships, not just athletic ones. If a coach does not talk about athletic scholarships-table the athletic scholarship questions until later, but you can still ask about academic scholarships.
  5. Make sure you find out where you stand on the coaches recruiting list.  Ask them their timeline in recruiting.  Find out if there is a date to visit when other recruits will be there.  Find out when they have in mind to finish up the 21 class. Ask if you can attend a class and watch a practice when you visit.
  6. Let your parents know what is going on during or after you talk to coaches.  Either have your conversations on speaker or discuss with your mom and dad the conversation.  If on speaker, the conversation still will only be between you and the coach alone unless they ask to speak with your parents.
  7. Go where you are wanted!  Simple-yet profound!  No coach recruits a player to sit the bench.  Playing D1 lacrosse is no easy task.  You want to go to a school where you will have an opportunity to see the field after all your hard work.  Pick a school where you have a shot at making an impact on your team.
  8. Don't be in a hurry!  Unless your dream school is giving you an offer and  you know that you want to go to that school, take your time.  This is supposed to be the start of the recruiting process.  If you need to take all 5 official visits or more, then take all the visits and take or ask for the time that you need.  You want the right fit and the coaches want to find the right player, person and teammate.
  9. If no one calls you, call them! Don't be afraid to reach out.  It may be hard to hear that a school is not interested.  However, you could be on the B or C list and if you really want to go to a certain school, it may still work out.  Coaches want players who want to go to their school.  There is nothing wrong with walking on especially if it may mean admissions help to get in a school that you may not be able to get into without lacrosse.  Don't compare your experience with anyone else.  Every recruit goes through an experience unique to them.
  10. ENJOY THIS TIME!  I was given that advice and thought it was insane.  However, I was recently asked, if I could change anything about the recruiting process what would it be?  My answer was to not stress as much. For some reason, parents seem to stress way more than the kids going though all of this! Having college coaches call, being invited to visit a school, being offered a scholarship to play lacrosse in college is an opportunity that few have.  Enjoy it!  Help your kid enjoy it (or as the recruit-help your parents chill out)!  Enjoy the relationships that you make with coaches, recruits, players, parents and anyone you meet during this process.  It's a unique and incredible time--don't ruin it with stress--savor it and take it in!  As the girl's future college coach told me, "Once the girls commit, then after all the recruiting stress, it's kind of boring because you have to wait almost 2 years until they go to college."  OF course the commits will be working their tails off to prepare as best they can for college.  Make the most of the entire experience.  It's a very short season!