How to Negotiate a Better Athletic Scholarship Offer

small__123811344The idea of getting a four year full-ride athletic scholarship is the dream for many athletes and families. As the reality of the recruiting process sets in, you realize how rare athletic scholarships are and how infrequently athletes receive full-rides. If you are fortunate enough to be offered scholarship money, you might be surprised how small the scholarship actually is. This leaves many athletes asking “how can I negotiate a better scholarship offer?” I address that question below.

Your Only Leverage is Other Scholarship Offers

Coaches up their scholarship offers for a few reasons, you improve significantly, they get more money available late or they think they are going to lose a recruit to another school. If we are talking about negotiating a better offer late in the recruiting process, they only thing you can really control to improve your offer is to have more schools interested. Too many athletes think that because they have a school show strong, early recruiting interest, the scholarship offer of their dreams will come their senior year, it probably won’t. You should have a minimum of five schools your senior year showing serious interest, any less and you risk being left with only one (or none) offers.

*It is tempting to scramble late in the process and reach out to schools after you have been committed to a school for several months and you didn’t get the scholarship offer you were hoping for, don’t do this. Coaches are willing to negotiate if an athlete has been regularly talking to several schools, but if you are opening up discussions only after a coach has made their offer, they know you are probably only doing this to try and play that school for more money.

Negotiate on Your Expected Contribution, Not Scholarship Size

Coaches are going to measure their scholarship offers based on how much the athlete will be expected to pay. For example, if two schools are offering a 50% scholarship, but one school costs $20,000 per year and the other costs $30,000, the coach at the cheaper schools is less likely to up their scholarship offer. Always base your scholarship discussions on how much attending that school is going to cost you after the scholarship. If a school is offering a smaller scholarship but will cost the least of all of the schools you are considering, don’t expect the coach to up the offer.

Establish a Timeline on Every Decision

You should leave every conversation with a coach with a clear understanding of what to do next and when it needs to be done. This is most important when it comes to discussing scholarships or financial aid offers. You should know exactly what it takes to get a full financial aid estimate and how long you have to decide on any offers made. Many times coaches are going to make unofficial offers before a school is going to be able to make an official review of an athlete’s financial aid opportunities. Coaches can provide you with a good idea of what kind of costs you will be looking at, but you can’t get an official review from the school until you have applied your senior year.

Trying to get a better scholarship offer is a delicate process where you need to balance not offending the coach making the offer and making sure you look at all of your options. In the end, there is no perfect answer to how to when to negotiate. As long as you have been open and honest with coaches and have been regularly communicating with several schools, you stand the best chance of being able to up your scholarship offer.

Am I Good Enough to Get a Track and Field Scholarship?

track and field scholarshipIf you are trying to get a track and field scholarship you need to find a program where you can be one of the best athletes in your event and score points at the conference/national level. Many athletes or parents of athletes are looking for over all time, distance or height requirements to get a scholarship, but there is no universal minimum; it comes down to your fit at each program. In this article, I explain how to review a team and conference to see if you have a good chance of getting a scholarship.

Step 1: Determine How Good the Current Athletes Are

Your number one competition for any scholarship are the athletes currently on the team. It doesn’t matter if you are the 10th best at your event in the country if the team has people who are better than you, it is going to be difficult to get a scholarship. Go to the team website and look at all of the athletes who are in your event(s). When you click on their bio’s, you are looking for four pieces of information

  • What year will they be graduating?
  • What are their best times/marks?
  • Did they place/score points at the conference level?
  • Did they compete/place at the national meet?

Step 2: Find Out What it Takes to Score Points at the Conference Level for Each School

Even if you might be the best athlete on a specific team, if you aren’t good enough to score points at the conference level, you might not get a scholarship. To determine what it takes to score points at the conference level, find the conference championship website and get the results for the last two or three years. Gathering the following information from the event(s) you compete in.

  • What did time/mark did it take to finish top 10, top 3 and 1st?
  • How many of the top 10 athletes were from the school you are considering? Where did they place?
  • What place did the school(s) you are considering finish?

Step 3: What Does it Take to Make it to Nationals and Place?

Depending on how competitive a program is, you might need to be able to score points at the national championship meet to get a significant scholarship. Find the results for the national championship for each division level you are considering. Look at the results of your event(s) for the past few years and note the following:

  • What did it take to make it to the championship meet?
  • What did it take to make the finals/score points?
  • What did it take to finish top 5, 3 and win?

What to do With All of the Information

All of the data you’ve collected is intended to help you find the schools where you have the best chance of getting a scholarship. Your best chance for a scholarship is finding a school where you will be needed most and where you can score maximum points at the conference and national level.

  • Best Scholarship Opportunity – You are looking for a school that is be graduating athletes in your events and where you can come in and be competitive at the conference and national level.
  • Good Scholarship Opportunity – If you can find a school where you can be the best in your event but not competitive (yet) for a conference or national title, there might be an opportunity for a scholarship.
  • Limited Opportunity for a Scholarship – If there are several athletes in your event and you don’t yet have the potential to score points at the conference or national level, it is going to be very unlikely you get a scholarship offer.

Are you having trouble getting recruited or finding schools? Leave your questions below or contacting our scouts by creating a free recruiting profile.

It’s Not a Coach’s Job to Give Scholarships

communicating with coachesThe topics of scholarship offers and dollar amounts are regular sources of frustration in the recruiting process. Most athletes and families over estimate how common and how big scholarship offers are and they get discouraged if a coach doesn’t make a big offer. Below I share some of the most common situations where athletes and coaches have misunderstandings and explain why they happen.

Coach’s Goals Aren’t the Same as Yours

This seems obvious, but it is easy to forget coaches aren’t trying to achieve the same thing as you in the recruiting process. Scholarships are a limited resource and a coach is trying to stretch their dollars. If they can get an athlete to commit and play for less or no money, it helps their recruiting. They aren’t trying to “screw the athlete over,” but simply trying to do the best job they can in putting their team together. It is not a coach’s job to give athletes athletic scholarships, it is their job to win and get the best athletes they can; scholarships are a tool they use to make that happen.

Don’t Confuse Recruiting for Scholarships

I’ve heard many families complain, “if they didn’t have any scholarship money, why did they recruit my athlete so hard?” Coaches will recruit walk-ons just as hard as scholarship athletes. Getting recruited hard doesn’t mean you are going to get a scholarship. Coaches know if they start a conversation with a recruit by saying “I am not going to give you any scholarship money, but…” they will get the door closed in their face. However, if they can get the athlete excited about the opportunity to play for them, they have a better chance of getting that athlete to commit without scholarship money. This isn’t dishonest, it is just a coach doing their job.

The Rules Aren’t the Same for All Coaches

Some coaches can be very direct about how much scholarship money they have and how much you can expect. Other coaches will be vague, even flat out refusing to answer when you ask how much you could get in scholarship money. This doesn’t mean one coach is being honest and the other isn’t; some coaches are prohibited by their universities from telling an athlete how much scholarship money they will get until the athlete commits to the school. You will never know what type of rules a coach has to follow regarding financial aid and admissions discussions with athletes. It is okay to ask coaches questions about scholarships, but if they don’t answer, they probably have a good reason.

Assistant Coaches Might Not Be Allowed to Make the Final Call

Sometimes the coach recruiting you isn’t the one who will make the final call on offering you a scholarship. This is especially common in bigger DI schools where assistant coaches do a lot of the initial recruiting. These coaches are responsible for finding recruits and gathering the information needed to evaluate them with the other coaches. The assistant coach recruiting you and might “really like you,” but, if the program decides they like another recruit more you won’t be getting an offer. In these scenarios families feel like the coach was lying and wasted their time, but they (the coach recruiting you) are probably just as disappointed to lose you.

*Something to remember in this scenario – Assistant coaches frequently change programs and often times will try to contact the recruits they were recruiting at their old program. Don’t burn bridges if one program doesn’t work out, you never know what opportunities might open up later.

There is more than meets the eye when trying to understand why a coach is doing or acting a certain way. You have to try and not take things personal when coaches stop communicating or aren’t answering specific questions. Coach’s motivations in the recruiting process are very different than yours and as long as you can keep that perspective, you stand your best chance at finding the right university.

If you have any questions about particular things happening in your communications with coaches, leave them in the comments below or contact me directly

The Difference in Recruiting for a Five Star and No Star Recruit

difference between a 5 star recruit and youIf you are basing your expectations of the recruiting process on what you see happening to the biggest recruits in your sport, you are setting up for disappointment. The difference between a 5-star recruit and a no-star recruit is a lot more than five stars. This doesn’t mean you can’t get recruited or that you need to be on a recruiting website to end up at a big school. The biggest differences between unknown and 5-star recruits are in the recruiting budgets of the schools recruiting them, how many schools will be recruiting them, the leverage they have with coaches and the amount of help they will get in the recruiting process.

Recruiting Budget’s of $500,000 vs. $5,000

The top college programs in the country have recruiting budgets that are 100x the recruiting budgets of most other universities. This means they can afford to send out letters to gauge recruits interest, fly scouts to camps and combines and have full time staff members dedicated to organizing recruiting. For most universities on smaller recruiting budgets the task of recruiting is just one of the many things a coach needs to do each week. In addition, small recruiting budgets means the coaches don’t have the resources to “find or look for” recruits. They need to make their evaluations over film (the majority of them online) and make sure that if they are going to be spending the money to come watch that athlete in person, they already have a very good idea that you are good enough for their team.

You Don’t Need 10 Offers to Get 1 Scholarship

Going on to sites like Rivals or 247sports you can easily see the long list of offers top recruits have. As an unknown recruit, you shouldn’t expect to have the same size offer lists. Many of the offers you see listed on these sites are coming from media reports of an offer based on conversations with someone directly or indirectly involved with the athlete. Having an offer listed on a website doesn’t mean that athlete is strongly considering that school at all. You shouldn’t have attitude of having an offer just to have an offer. You want to have a list of schools you are seriously considering.

You will only have the time to get to know about 5 schools well enough to make an informed decision about that school and coach. Trying to talk with and evaluate more schools than that and you are spreading your time out too much and sacrificing getting to know any school or coach.

5-Star Recruits Have Leverage with Coaches

When an elite recruit talks to another university, they have a big advantage because that coach knows that recruit has or will soon have other scholarship offers. This means, if that coach wants that recruit, they are going to need to use a scholarship to get them. When you are a less well known recruit and don’t have other schools you are talking to, a coach is always going to try and get you on their team for the lowest price possible (usually a walk-on). In order to put the odds of a scholarship in your favor, you need to find more schools and coaches you like. The more schools you are truly willing to attend, the more those coaches are going to have to compete for you.

Universities Have More Resources to Help 5-Star Recruits

In addition to increased recruiting budgets, larger schools have much bigger athletic department staffs. One of the things these departments do is help that schools recruits through the recruiting process. As a 5-star recruit, coaches are going to use their athletic department staff to ensure you get all the help you need to get into an be eligible for their school. When you are being recruited by smaller schools, coaches have to be more selective about how many athletes they ask their athletic departments to review. As a recruit, you can really help the process by having all of your academic information together (transcripts, test scores, NCAA ID) and meeting with your high school councilor to make sure you are on track.

Are you having a hard time getting started in the recruiting process? Do you think you have what it takes to play college sports but no coaches know who you are? Let us help, contact me on Twitter or email through Google+.

The Questions You Need Answered From Each School on Your List

questions for college coachesThere are literally hundreds of questions you could ask college coaches. The more you learn about the recruiting process and scholarships, your list of questions grow. Whether you are just getting started with recruiting or have been communicating with coaches for several months, below is a set of basic questions you need to have answers to. These are the questions you should have answers to from every coach or university you are talking to.

Do not feel like you are asking a coach too many questions. By far I would say athletes and families error on the side of asking too few questions to prospective coaches then too many. Despite what you might think, coaches appreciate the questions from recruits. It shows maturity and that a recruit is taking the recruiting process seriously, both things coaches are looking for when recruiting athletes.

Are you planning on offering me a scholarship?

Talking about scholarships is a touchy subject with coaches because you don’t want to sound like that is all you care about. That said it is something that needs to be addressed because it has major financial implications for a family. You want to understand if a school represents a scholarship opportunity or just a walk-on opportunity? Often the only way to get that answer is asking the coach. Here is a blog that will help you know if it is the right time to talk scholarships.

What are the academic requirements for your university?

Just getting the NCAA minimum doesn’t guarantee you acceptance into a university. Coaches know what it takes to get athletes through their admissions office and you need to know what those requirements are. You want to know what your GPA needs to be, what your ACT or SAT scores should be, whether you need to take the SAT 2 and if you are going need anything else in your admissions packet.

When does your/the head coach’s contract expire?

Coaching changes are an unfortunate reality of college sports and extremely disruptive for everyone involved. If a coach recruiting you is approaching the end of their contract or they are at risks of losing their job, that information needs to factor into your decision. You often won’t get a straight forward answer from a coach at risk of losing their job, but you will be able to get a sense of how comfortable a coach is with their job when you ask them this question.

How would you describe your coaching style?

Each coach will have their own philosophy on how to run a program. You want to be sure your personality matches to that of the coaches. If they are high intensity and loud and you like a more cerebral and low key coach, that school isn’t going to be right for you, even if the scholarship package is great. Additionally, if you are used to training a certain way and the coach has a very different training philosophy; it could be a difficult transition. Not all great coaches are great for all athletes and it is your responsibility as a recruit to make sure you find the coach that is right for you.

How are things like playing time and scholarships determined?

Each program has spoken or unspoken rules when it comes to scholarship versus recruited walk-ons and unrecruited walk-ons. I’ve seen programs that treat starting positions or playing time as an open competition. I have also seen coaches that give a bias to their scholarship athletes and the prospect of getting any significant playing time as a walk-on are slim.

When it comes to scholarships, each year they need to be renewed and you need to know what a coach’s policy is on renewing scholarships. Maybe there are a couple of athletes who are more or less guaranteed to get their scholarship or each year is an open competition where you could lose your scholarship to a teammate or incoming freshman.

This certainly not an exhaustive list of things to ask a college coach, but having an answer to all of these questions from the programs you are interested in will make the decision process easier. In addition, showing the ability to have these types of conversations with a coach will increase your value as a recruit.

Is there anything you think I’ve missed? What other things do think you should know about a coach or a program? You can contact me on Twitter or email me directly on Google+.

Going from Junior College, to DII Walk-On to Changing Sports and on a Scholarship

cross country scholarshipsIn high school, I was never a good enough athlete to catch a coach’s attention based on my athletic achievements. At the time, I thought this was because I wasn’t good enough to be a college athlete, but now realize it was because I didn’t know how the recruiting process worked. I ran cross country and played basketball and golf. I was a good runner, but happened to be on the team with one of the best runners in California. I was a better golfer, but I wouldn’t even win my own league (that went to a kid who got a DI scholarship). I played basketball but it was clear my ceiling was low in that sport. In short, I was like most high school athletes.

From Junior College to UnRecruited Walk-On

I wanted to continue to play golf in college, but I had received exactly zero interest from any colleges, including my local Junior College. After contacting the coach there and finding out I was good enough to make the team, I decided I would start college there. I figured I could save money, get better and a college coach at a four year school would find me.

As my two years were wrapping up, I wasn’t receiving any interest (I hadn’t called any coaches) and while I was looking at the most affordable options for college, I found an in-state DII school. I contacted the coach there and he was willing to give me a chance as an unrecruited walk-on. This meant I had to get into the school on my own and make it through a four day try out where 12 golfers were competing for one spot on the team. Long story short, another guy and I were tied after four days and the coach put us both on the team. I was ecstatic, but soon realized; I was going to be doing little more than practicing and would never really see any tournaments. I share those lessons about being a walk-on here.

One Man’s Walk-On is Another Man’s Scholarship

While in college, I continued to run, though not racing and on a whim entered the school Turkey Trot. I ran well and won the free turkey; my roommates and I were happy to have some free food. Surprising to me, after the race the cross country coach approached me and said he could offer me a 50% scholarship to run next year! As I would come to realize, the team was terrible (we got last in every race). But for me, it didn’t matter; I could stay on the golf team and never get to compete or take a scholarship, run cross country and while I didn’t finish last, have to be on a last place team. I took the scholarship and opportunity to run cross country and used out the rest of my eligibility.

Had I Known Then What I Know Now

My recruiting process and college experience wasn’t typical but it certainly showed me a lot about how college sports, recruiting and scholarships actually work. Before college, I assumed you play in high school, coaches discover you if you are good enough and opportunities present themselves. The truth is, you made your own luck and good enough is only relative to the schools you are looking at. That is what this website and our company is all about!

Does this story raise any questions for you? Are you a “normal” high school athlete trying to get recruited but not sure where to start? Contact me in the comments below, on twitter or get my email from my Google+ page.


When It Is Okay to Ask a Coach About a Scholarship

waiting to ask for a scholarshipToo many athletes I speak with and whose emails I read are asking coaches about scholarships in the first few emails or phone calls. The only thing this is going to get you, is ignored from that coach. Coaches know athletes want a scholarship, but they also know they only have a limited number to offer and what they really need is athletes willing to play for little or no scholarship money.

This doesn’t mean talking about a scholarship is forbidden, but you need to be sure the coach understands your commitment to the team first and only then approach the topic respectfully.  I recently had an exchange in the comments of my blog about gauging a coaches interest and wanted to share it here as an example of exactly how to approach the topic of talking about scholarships and how to approach recruiting in general.

The athlete in this story is getting recruited by his dream school and while they have had excellent conversations with the coaches, they haven’t received a scholarship offer. The actions below should serve as a checklist of things that should be happening between you and a program before you ask for a scholarship offer.

  • They have made two unofficial visits and talked with coaches each time
  • Attended a game and been on the field
  • Talked with the position coach and head coach before the game
  • He has been given a recruiter to stay in contact with and the contact info for his position coach (offensive line)
  • The team is has sent scouts to his practices and games
  • His position coach has told him he looks forward to coaching him

Despite all of this activity with the coaches and scouts, the athlete hasn’t been offered a scholarship.

Why hasn’t this athlete received an offer yet?

The above type of recruiting activity is a classic situation of a recruit who isn’t quite high enough on the recruiting board to be getting a scholarship offer… yet. The program clearly has interest in the recruit, wants them to play for them next year, but isn’t prepared to offer them a scholarship until they get a decision from a couple other recruits they have ranked ahead of them. This recruit is slightly undersized for the position (6’2” 255lbs) but obviously the coaches see the potential for them to develop into a good college offensive lineman after a year or two.

The parent confirmed my explanation, telling me they know the program is recruiting other high ranking recruits at the position, but they haven’t received a commitment from those athletes.

Now is a good time to bring up a scholarship

Based on what the athlete and parent have told me and the actions of the coaches recruiting them, talking about a scholarship is perfectly acceptable. The athlete should call his recruiting contact and bring up the topic of a scholarship. Here is an example of what they might say, “Coach I know you are also recruiting [name a couple of the athletes] at my position and I understand you have limited scholarships to offer. Your program is my number one choice and I want to do everything I can to play for you next year, but it is important to me and my family to also consider scholarship opportunities. I would like to know if you were planning on offering me a scholarship and what I might be able to do to get an offer.” By making your intentions clear in a respectful way, the coach can choose to respond or not, but you have done your job of letting it known you are looking for a scholarship. After this, you leave the topic alone unless the coaches bring it up.

What can the athlete do to get an offer from this school?

There are really only two things the athlete can do now to try and get an offer. First is wait for the other recruits decisions, but this could take until signing day in February and maybe you want to wrap up your recruiting sooner. Second is turn up the pressure by getting offers from other programs. Continuing to talk to other schools and going through the recruiting process with them is always a good idea if you haven’t made a commitment to a school. You should only be talking to schools you are truly interested in playing for. Do not waste a coach’s time by pretending to be interested in their team only to try and get an offer from another program. It could eventually get back to the coach of that school and with one quick phone call to your top choice school both opportunities will disappear.

What this athlete is going through is an example of exactly how you want to engage in the recruiting process. You can’t control the opportunities that exist at a particular program each year. It is your job as a recruit to do everything you can to put yourself in the best position possible and be prepared with backup opportunities.

Are you having difficulty understanding the recruiting process? Maybe you are trying to get coaches attention or get offers from coaches that just don’t seem to be coming? Leave your questions below in the comments, contact me on twitter or email (my email is available on my Google+ profile).

Some Schools Lose A Lot and That’s a Good Thing For You

finding a college scholarshipIt happens every year where athletes who aren’t particularly great at their sport basically walk into a scholarship opportunity or makes a team at a school. You are spending hours every week on your recruiting and it seems like you are getting nowhere. Why is it so easy for these athletes? The answer is, some schools suck, and making the team or getting a scholarship there isn’t that difficult.

Coaches have to use their scholarship money each year or they will lose it. For some schools this means coaches scramble to fill the roster and give away scholarship dollars. I’ve seen coaches who recruit at the beginning of the school year once students are back on campus. They are looking for anyone with experience, interested in playing their sport at the school. These coaches aren’t really recruiting high school students and they aren’t going to find you, you need to find them. Here’s how.

Know What You Are Getting Into

Whether it is a coach who isn’t working that hard, a school in the middle of nowhere, or just a program with a long tradition of losing, something just isn’t going right for the school and the athletic department. It might sound really unappealing to play for a terrible team or just an okay coach, but that’s the point. If a school has a lot of the other qualities you are looking for, playing for a losing team might be okay.

For certain sports I find these types of opportunities work out better than others. True team sports like football, basketball, volleyball and soccer, sports where you rely on your team within the game it’s self, being on a terrible team can be very frustrating. For sports like swimming, track, tennis and golf, sports where you are essentially competing by yourself and your performance is added together for the team, these opportunities are best. What you are getting is the chance to compete in college and earn a scholarship. As long as the score isn’t going to determine your happiness, then these types of programs might be right for you.

How to Find an Easy Opportunity

Find a school with a history of losing. Go to the conference championship website and look at the results of the last few years of the conference championship. If there is a team that is consistently showing up at the bottom, investigate that team some more. Maybe you really like the school and they have your major but the team might not be highly competitive. It can still be a great college experience.

Find an athletic program that has just moved to a new division level. When a program has just made a jump to a new division level, typically there are several teams that are lacking the athletes to be competitive. These types of schools can be great for an athlete looking to play at a higher division level then they might ordinarily be able to or an athlete looking for the best scholarship deal.

Go where other athletes don’t go. This is a generalization and not always the case, but the facts are there are hundreds of NAIA, DIII and DII programs across the south and mid-western parts of the US and not enough athletes for all of those schools. If you come from a highly populated state or region, it might seem like you aren’t good enough to play in college. But, your typical varsity starter at a competitive large high school can usually find opportunities at schools outside of their region or state.

Don’t Go Only For the Scholarship

I want to be very clear, I am not suggesting you go to a school only for a scholarship, because in the end you will be very unhappy and probably leave the school. What I am saying is, if you are someone who is looking for a balance of college and sports, is open to smaller schools, schools outside of larger states or just the opportunity to play in college, use the advice here to find better scholarship opportunities.

If you have questions about how to do this please feel free to leave them in the comments or contact me on Google+

Insider Secrets to Finding Scholarships and Opportunities at the College Level

finding athletic scholarshipsThis article describes specific situations that happen in the recruiting process where you as a recruit have an advantage. These are situations where the athletes I have worked with have taken the opportunity to get scholarships or roster spots at their dream schools.

When a New Coach Comes In

When a program brings in a new coaching staff there is almost always high turnover on the team. The new coaches are trying to bring in players to fit their style and are typically letting go of a lot of current players. This means there are more scholarships available in the first two years of a coaching change. Additionally, when a coaching change happens it is late in the recruiting process and they are scrambling for players.

As a recruit it is going to be very uncomfortable to have to wait late in the process and watch other athletes signing scholarships but late season coaching changes are great opportunities for the right recruit. The type of athletes these opportunities are best for are an athlete who might have an offer already and is looking to move up a division level.

When a Coach Recruiting You Leaves the School

The other side of coaching changes are the schools the coaches are leaving. These coaches are at a huge disadvantage at their new job because they have spent the whole year recruiting players for a school they are no longer working at. For a recruit, the advantages are the coach already knows who you are, they probably have a short list of recruits they are considering and most likely you are on that list. If you contact that coach and let them know you are interested in their new program, it is a quick way to move up the recruiting board and get good offers.

Look for Weaknesses in the Program

This involves a little more work, but can pay off huge. If you can find programs that have a specific weakness at a position you play or in an event you specialize in, chances are better you’ll find an opportunity there. You should look over rosters for undersized athletes, a poorly ranked defense or offense or maybe there are specific events (think Track & Field, Swimming, and Gymnastics) where a team isn’t getting any points. It’s all about finding the school that needs you and beginning with schools weak at your position is a great place to start.

Wait to See Who Hasn’t Signed Any Athletes

For every program that lands a top recruit, there are 10 schools that didn’t. This means there are 10 schools still looking for players at that position. If a school hasn’t filled their roster within the first couple weeks of signing day that means they are having trouble finding the right recruits and this is an opportunity for you. How do you find these opportunities? Almost every team has a small write up on the athletes they’ve signed on their team website. Research the schools you are interested in the days and weeks after signing day. If the school isn’t reporting any signings, contact the coaches and see if you would be right for their team.

Are you having trouble finding schools? Are you not sure where to begin when looking for a scholarship opportunity? Feel free to leave your questions in the comments below or contact me on Google+.

Swimming in College: The Fastest Way to Contact College Coaches

Swimming in College
Be ready to find the right college swim team.

College Swimming

Up and coming swimmers and divers might be under the impression that if you post good times and scores, then you will have no problems getting college swimming and diving coaches attention.  This will always be true for top recruits, but if you aren’t, then you need to go about your recruitment a little differently.  For starters, college coaches are going to need to know who you are and what you will be able to offer their team.

To be considered a serious swimming or diving recruit, you need to be putting in the time to locate the right college and make contact with college coaches.

College Swimming and Diving by the Numbers

Swimming and diving scholarship are awarded at the NCAA division I, division II, NAIA and at some 2-year NJCAA colleges. Here’s the total number of programs for ALL the collegiate division levels:

  • Total number of Men’s college swimming and diving programs: 462
  • Total number of Women’s college swimming and diving programs: 581

Most programs are combined swimming and diving, although you should not assume all teams offer diving. Always double check on team athletic website to be sure.

Swimming in College

Start by learning all you can about college swimming and diving programs. The more familiar you are with college swimming programs the better prepared you will be to speak with college coaches and in making your final college choice.

Knowing what to do with this information is your next step in recruiting.  Try learning as much as you can about the teams you are truly interested in competing for. Ask advice from your current coaches to see what college division level they would recommend you try to compete for. If you are still unsure about which division level will be your best match, then click here to see average college times in each event.

Finding the Right Swimming and Diving College Team

If you want to see all the swimming and diving colleges, then you need to create a free account on our coach’s database. The database will provide you with information on all schools with swimming and diving teams plus it provides you with the coach’s contact information and direct links to the swim team questionnaires and the team’s official webpage.

Scholarships for Swimming and Diving

Top college coaches are looking for elite swimmers and divers who’ve qualified and finished strong at national meets and competitions, but they also want to recruit athletes who are solid students. Earning a spot on a college swimming and diving team is all about starting your recruitment early and knowing where to look. If you are a swimmer or diver looking to only compete at the NCAA level, then you may be limiting yourself, especially with all the other opportunities out there.  Do your best when it comes to researching colleges and meeting with college coaches. This will be your decision so make sure you find the best college to fit all your needs.

More Swimming and Diving Recruiting Tips:


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