COLLEGE ATHLETICS AND THE RECRUITING PROCESS


"Swimming in Division I  has been one of the best decisions of my life. It has been a challenge that has raised my swimming to new heights. I've dropped 15 seconds in my best event since I got to college! Juggling practices, travel and studying has also taught me how to better manage my time - I actually do better in my classes while in season!"                          

Division One Swimmer


"Swimming is an individual sport, but competing for a team brings a whole new level of excitement for the sport. When you look around at your teammates they can help motivate and excite you to race not just for yourself, but for the school you're representing and for each other......
The family that swimming has given me extends well past the pool deck and even beyond college. I am now part of a network of teammates and alumni who look out for each other both personally and professionally."

Ivy League Swimmer

 

"Recruiting can be disorienting, and you need a plan. I was often overwhelmed by the endless deadlines, tests, and emails. Without the help of an experienced coach who knew the process and the programs inside out, I would have gotten lost. Once I had help streamlining the recruiting process, I could focus on making the right choice for me, and I had fun doing it!"

Ivy League Swimmer



SWIMMING IN COLLEGE

 Swimming in college is an exciting and rewarding experience which greatly enhances a student’s college experience.  Competing in an intercollegiate sport at the NCAA level not only can be rewarding on the field of sport but has also been shown to enhance a student’s academic success. Swimmers often have some of the highest marks of all student athletes and tend to be masters of time budgeting, efficiency and most importantly GOAL directed. Serious swimmers in college continue to learn the importance of meeting deadlines, working efficiently, setting and achieving goals. All important attributes in the realm of academic excellence.

 Swimming in college also provides a fantastic social network for incoming freshmen who might not know anyone at the school. Coming into a team is like having an immediate “extended family”. The team is often the first social group a new swimmer relates to and this can have a huge impact in a swimmers initial adjustment from being away from home. The coaching staff also serve a critical role in mentoring and monitoring your swimmer’s adjustment to their new surroundings. It is a great comfort to know that your child will have the support and guidance from responsible adults in this important transition period. 

Being a prospective collegiate swimmer also opens up doors which might have never opened for your swimmer. Prospective student-athletes often gain priority admissions, placing them ahead of the general pool of applicants. This can be the difference in gaining admissions or not.  James Shulman, in his book “The Game of Life”, states that “Student athletes have a distinct edge over the average student in the admissions process” and that the “recruited athlete who entered college in 1999 had a 48% greater chance of being admitted than the average student at large”. Being an athlete has huge advantages in the admissions and recruiting process.


NCAA GOVERNANCE OF COLLEGE RECRUITING AND ATHLETICS

The NCAA is the National governing body for Intercollegiate athletics. This institution sets all the regulations pertaining to college athletics including those related to recruiting, eligibility, amateurism and participation.

As an athlete with aspirations of participating in college, you and your parents need to familiarize yourself. with these rules early in high school so that by graduation you are eligible to participate in college sports.  Beyond the requirements of the NCAA, each school has its own requirements for admission which often far exceed those of the NCAA. 

 Academic & Aid Based Regulations: 

You must qualify as academically eligible. There are three stipulations to being recognized as a qualifier:

  • You graduate from high school.
  • Along with graduating, you must complete a core curriculum of thirteen courses including: 4 English; 2 math; 2 social science; 2 natural or physical science; 1 additional course in English, math, or natural or physical science; and 2 additional academic courses.
  • You must have a SAT or ACT score and a grade point average based on the 4.000 scale that falls on the qualifier index scale.
  • You must be certified as athletically eligible by the NCAA Eligibility Center. The Center is responsible for determining whether you are a qualifier, partial qualifier, or non-qualifier.  Once you have finished your grade 11 year of high school (or your second last year), you should register with the NCAA Eligibility Center at eligibilitycenter.org .

All of these regulations are incredibly complex and difficult to understand. Our service will help you decipher these rules and how they will effect your athletes college search and participation process. Mistakes relative to these NCAA rules can jeopardize your swimmers eligibility and participation.


NCAA COLLEGE DIVISIONS

 The NCAA is divided between 3 distinct athletic divisions, Division I, II and III.  Each Division holds their own independent NCAA championships. The divisions are basically separated based on how many different sports a school might offer.

DIVISION ONE:

  • Generally the strongest level of competition but team membership can cover a wide range of abilities. Participation in Division One athletics can be very rewarding with a high level of achievement but it can also be all consuming leaving little time for other activities after studying.
  • At some schools, athletics scholarships are available, but only very, very rarely will an athlete gain a full scholarship. The vast majority of Division One athletes have only a partial scholarship or no scholarship at all.  
  • Strong Division One teams will have a limit on membership and participation in major competitions. An athlete needs to carefully assess their level of ability and decide if they are of a sufficient level to be on the "travel team or championship team". It may be an honor to gain team membership on a top team but frustrating to rarely play or compete. In order to maintain a slot on a top Division One team, athletes usually continue training in the off season and over summers.
  • The IVY LEAGUE is in Division One but has it's own special rules for eligibility, training and participation. Athletes recruited to the Ivy league often find that they are at a huge advantage for admission over their high school academic peers and may be supported by a coach for a "likely letter" in the fall of their senior year.   The Ivy League does not offer athletic scholarships however, most of it's schools have very generous scholarship programs based on financial need.  Some athletes in the Ivy League find that their need based scholarships are more generous than the athletics based scholarships they are offered at other Division One schools. Training time  and competition schedule in the Ivy League is generally more limited than in other Division One schools. This can be seen as a positive for athletes whom would like to have time in college for other activities.
  • Division I schools include: Stanford, Harvard, Yale, USC, Berkeley, Georgetown, and Duke as examples. 

DIVISION TWO:

  • Overall, Division Two schools offer fewer sports than Division Two schools. Generally speaking their competitions, rivalries, and student bodies are more regionally based.
  • Division Two schools do offer athletic scholarships but are generally more limited than those offered by Division One schools.
  • Division Two schools can be an excellent choice for International student-athletes looking for a scholarship
  • Division Two schools include:  UC San Diego, Drury, Clarion, Oakland University, and Beloit as examples.

DIVISION THREE:

  • Division Three schools are distinguished by their emphasis on the quality of the student athlete experience. 
  • The top programs in Division Three are competitive with  the better Division One programs and have athletes who would be very competitive in Division One.
  • In season, Division Three athletes train and compete virtually as hard as Division One athletes. However their seasons are significantly shorter and most Division Three athletes do not train in the off season. 
  • Most Division Three programs offer a college sport experience for virtually any serious athlete willing to fully commit to a program. Division Three athletics are an excellent choice for the athlete who wants to have a broader college career with time for  a range of activities, summer internships, a semester abroad etc...
  • Athletic scholarships are not offered by Division Three schools but like the Ivy League, some Division Three schools have  large endowments which allow need based scholarships  which may be more generous than Division One scholarships.
  • Division Three programs offer some of the highest quality academic programs in the USA and are almost as tough to gain admission in to as the Ivy League. Athletic excellence can be a big boost in gaining admission. Like the Ivy league, Division Three schools can offer admission support and "likely letters" to their top prospects.
  • Division Three schools include: Williams, Amherst, Wellesley, Kenyon, MIT, and the Claremont Colleges. 

THE LIFE OF A COLLEGE ATHLETE:

While in season, college athletes at all levels,  in every division, juggle a complex range of responsibilities.

It is very important to always remember that the college athlete is first and foremost a  STUDENT athlete.  Only a tiny group of college athletes will continue to pursue their sport after graduation. Consequently, it is imperative that they all take advantage of their educational opportunities and excel in the classroom as well as in competition. Indeed, college student athletes must insure that they enroll in, and satisfactorily complete sufficient classes each term in order to maintain their eligibility. 

During each season athletes practice up to 20 hours each week with practices in the mornings before classes and again each afternoon. On top of this they have competitions, travel and a number of other tasks which can fill up many more hours.   Students  usually attend 2-5 hours of class daily for 3- 5 days a week and need to  study at least 2-4 hours each night. Many college programs have mandatory study sessions for all team members directly after evening practices and quite a few universities offer academic tutors just for the athletes.

While your sport is in season, the team will continue to train during holidays. For example, if your sport is in the winter season, you will be given a very short Christmas holiday of only 7-10 days.  You and your teammates will often be on campus practicing while other students are off on vacation.

College athletes are very dedicated to their sport and dramatic improvement often follows. Through spending so much time together they also forge deep and meaningful relationships with their teammates which can last a life time. However so much time is required with the team that it is difficult for college athletes to have much time for other activities or make many close friends not on the team. This is not nearly as much the situation for Division Three athletes whose reduced time commitments can allow  the opportunity for a college experience beyond the swimming pool or field house.

For the elite athlete in the top teams, the competition to maintain your slot on the "Traveling Team" or starting line up often results in the necessity to keep training during the summer and holidays thereby forgoing opportunities for summer work or internships. However many teams have strong alumni networks that help to place and connect student athletes with jobs upon graduation.

The life of a student athlete is filled with both opportunity and sacrifice. Prospective college athletes need to carefully assess their own goals, values and priorities so that they select a program and level of competition commiserate with their own vision of the college experience and their long term plans.


QUESTIONS ATHLETES AND THEIR PARENTS HAVE ABOUT THE RECRUITING PROCESS THAT WE CAN ANSWER:

  •    College recruiting: How does it work?
  •    What are the rules?
  •    Do I qualify for the team?
  •    What level of program best suits my goals?
  •    Could I qualify for a scholarship?
  •    How do coaches contact me?
  •    Is it OK for me to talk with a college coach?
  •    When is it permissible to contact a coach?
  •    Can I get in trouble if I don’t know the rules?
  •    Can I do a try-out with a college team?
  •    Do I need to take the SAT test?
  •    What is the NCAA Eligibility Center?
  •    Why do I need to register with the Center and how do I do this?
  •    Can I visit a college on my own?
  •    How will I know if I am accepted?
  •    What is a “letter-of-intent?
  •    What is a "likely letter" in the Ivy League  and Div. 3. How do I get one?
  •    What is an official recruiting trip?
  •    How do I know if I am an amateur and not breaking these NCAA rules?
  •     How can I make this process less stressful and even fun?

COLLEGE SWIM RECRUITING WILL HELP YOU IN THE FOLLOWING CRUCIAL RECRUITING AREAS:


  • NCAA recruiting regulations and what you can and can’t do in this process
  • Help you identify your athletic prowess and determine if you are a “serious” NCAA level athletic prospect
  • We will design a personal Accelerated calendar for you which will show when you need to accomplish particular assignments and deadlines associated with the NCAA recruiting process.
  • Our service will also help you better define what you are looking for in a college. We can expand your list to additional excellent prospects and you will discover options you never thought existed.
  • We will greatly enhance your visibility to prospective college coaches. We have years of experience working with these coaches and in many cases know them personally.
  • Our program may also include direct contact with college coaches on your behalf. This is a CRITICAL aspect of our program as you will have your own personal advocate working for you in this difficult and intimidating process.
  • We will provide extensive screening and analysis of these choices to enable you to make an informed decision on your college choice.