Sunday, 17 March 2019 19:15

Recruiting Tips: How to Separate Yourself

Written by Tom Kovic
Author Tom Kovic Author Tom Kovic Courtesy of Author

College prospects need to work strategically harder to get the attention of college coaches. Furthermore, student-athletes need to separate themselves from the high volume of prospects that are competing for similar roster spots.

Below are simple suggestions college prospects can use in the recruiting process and maximize your chances of gaining admission to your top college choice.

Set Goals

Every goal requires a starting point, and I believe we should never deny ourselves the opportunity to reach high, especially with the college search.

However, and equally important, college prospects should maintain a grounded approach when lining up potential college options. I suggest identifying three groups of colleges for your recruiting plan: Reach, Likely and Back-Up.

Define Long-Term Goals

Envision the “end game” and work backward to define specific goals. The initial phase for the college prospect might appear a bit daunting but begin big and then chisel away at a plan to simplify it.

Look long-term when defining your goals. For instance, the athletic component will likely be rewarding during your four-year college experience. Consider asking yourself “where do I see myself in 40 years?” College prospects should keep the academic component in the vanguard of the overall college experience. You will position yourself for a lifetime of success beyond college.

Use a Team Approach

A team approach maximizes efficiency and minimizes individual pressure and stress. Form a group of trustworthy individuals who assume specific roles during the college recruiting process. College prospects will increase their chances in grabbing the brass ring. The team should include:



Team Coach

Club Coach

Guidance Counselor/College Adviser

Personal Mentor/Adviser

The responsibility for effectively executing your recruiting plan should be shared among the team members. All assignments should be spelled out. Communication among team members should be frequent and consistent. You will help streamline the plan and avoid misdirection, unclear thinking and potentially poor choices.

Establish Time-lines

Now that you have envisioned your dream and defined your goals, college prospects should establish specific timelines that they will remain committed to executing the plan.

Without strict adherence to timelines, you reduce your chances of hitting your targets. Missing deadlines can raise stress levels exponentially. Begin broadly and develop a long-term to-do list. Moreover, you can break your timelines into more detailed formats that include weekly and monthly targets.

Express Desire

Unless you are a blue-chip athlete that every college coach wants, college prospects will need a recruiting plan that helps them rise above the competition. Numerous character components can assist the effort, but one that stands out above the rest is desire.

Most college coaches make comprehensive recruiting assessments. Coaches always look beyond athletic and academic achievements at intangible factors that define a great recruit. Consequently, the successful college recruiter looks for self-aware, independent college prospects that bring strong character to the table.

At this point, you have your college recruiting vehicle put together and are ready to take it out for a spin. Desire is the fuel that moves the process forward.

In the final analysis, recruiting success depends on several factors, but having a dream, defining your goals, forming a team, establishing recruiting timelines and showing your sincere desire to play your sport will help separate you from the pack.

About Tom Kovic:

Tom Kovic is a former Division I college gymnastics coach (Penn) and the current director of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families on college recruiting. Tom is the author of “Reaching for Excellence”, an educational guide for college athletics recruiting. For further information visit:

Editor's Note:  Publication of this article is not an endorsement of any recruiting service.  Always check with the NCAA or your school's compliance officer for any questions regarding recruiting rules, the latest timelines, or other issues.



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