Those of you seeking college scholarships are smart to look for the best offer you can get. However, is the scholarship worth more than a happy college experience? Will you, the athlete, wonder if there might have been a better 'fit' out there for your particular personality, educational interests, and opportunity to grow as an athlete?
Many college athletic placement services are more like an employment agency. If you turn yourself over to them, they will make the contacts and try to find you what they think you are looking for. They are paid by the 'sale' – and you (the athlete) are the commodity they are hawking!
The process of landing the placement is an integral part of making the decision. Researching college sports programs, and contacting the coaches to get a response is the Reality Check one needs to understand whether you are aiming too high or too low. One of my students recently lamented the fact that the top choices she contacted simply would not return her e-mails. I asked her why she thought that might happen, and she had no idea. So I directly confronted her with the obvious: "They may be trying to tell you that you are not good enough."
I encouraged her to call the coaches until she got them on the phone. I had her press them to determine if they simply did not receive the email, were too busy, or felt she was not a match for their program for some reason. Each of those responses told her more than I could have imparted because she heard it directly from them. Her insistence that she would clearly be on any of their teams was dispelled, and she learned to adjust her sights to the colleges that did, indeed, see her as a good fit for their program.
Research on programs can be done through the college’s athletics webpage, or through organizational sites such as College Tennis Online.
They provide program rankings, results, individual team bios, and give you the detail you need to see if you can make the team.
great start to a college search is a free tool found at the College Board. This is where you registered for your SAT. They have a “college match” search engine that allows you to answer a great number of questions on your preferences (the more selections you make, the more targeted your search will be). One of the selections allows for the search to be done for your sport, and NCAA level of competition.
If you need more help, consult a college sports placement counselor at your local high school or community college (hopefully, someone credentialed and with a graduate degree in counseling!). Do not trust this most important decision to someone who is making their money by simply placing you; take your time and your decision will be in your best interest.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Annette Broersma holds a Master of Science in Educational Counseling from Calif. Lutheran University, and a Bachelor's degree from U.C. Irvine where she played on the Women's Tennis Team. She has coached tennis at the high school and community college level, private tennis clubs, and recreation departments.
She held the position of Athletic Counselor at Moorpark Community College where she placed thousands of transferring athletes into 4-year universities. Annette has spoken numerous times at the CA Community College (CCCCA), and High School Counselor's (CSCA) annual conferences where she 'trained the trainers' to assist this elite campus population. Annette continues to speak to large and small groups of athletes to help them find their 'fit' on competitive college teams.
For follow-up questions and personal appointments to speak with Annette, contact her via email by
or through her website. If you would like to speak with Annette urgently, she will make every effort to answer quick questions about college placement issues. Please phone her at (714) 697-0708.
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