The following links have some great information on the processes a student-athlete will need to follow in their recruitment process:
- Guide to the College Bound Athlete: A great resource that reviews the steps required in the process of becoming a collegiate student-athlete. Click Here for the Guide.
- US Lacrosse Recruiting Guide: Another great resource that reviews most aspects of the recruiting landscape. Click Here for the Boys US Lacrosse Recruiting Guide.
- NCAA Clearing House: Every prospective high school student-athlete needs to register with the Clearing House in order to participate in collegiate athletics. The Clearing House also previews what courses a high school student-athlete must take and complete in order to qualify academically for college. Click Here to Register.
- Coaches Recruiting Guide: A guide that details what recruiting rules a college coach must follow in the recruitment of a prospective student-athlete. Go to the following link: Coaches Recruiting Rules.
- Recruiting Definitions and Calendar: Go to the following links: Division 1 Toolkit, Recruiting Chart, and Definitions.
Below are some general insights on the recruiting process:
- As of Jan 2016, there will be 69 Division 1 schools playing lacrosse, 56 Division 2 schools playing lacrosse, 216 Division 3 schools playing lacrosse, and over 200 College Club lacrosse programs playing lacrosse. D1 schools can offer up to maximum of 12.6 scholarships for the entire program, but not all D1 programs are fully funded. D2 schools can offer up to a maximum of 10.8 scholarships for the entire program, again, not all D2 schools are not fully funded. Division 3 and Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships. There is a school for every player, as long as you do your research, find the right fit, and actively pursue your college dreams.
- There is more scholarship money for academics than athletics, be very pro-active and research the many different academic scholarships that are available.
- The college recruitment process is one of self promotion. Be very pro-active in your pursuit of becoming a collegiate student-athlete. Identify schools of all levels, start out with a large number of schools, start refining that list as you research and find out information about those schools. Contact coaches by email and phone calls and let the schools on your list know you are interested in attending and playing lacrosse at those schools. Remember, after 4 years of college, you will need to find a job and a career that you have a desire and passion for, try to find those schools that will prepare you for life after collegiate lacrosse. Lacrosse may get you into a school you may not have qualified for as a regular student, but find the best school to match your personality and desires.
The following is a overview of what the student-athletes should be accomplishing during each year of high school in pursuit of becoming a collegiate student-athlete.
Academically, if you need to improve your SAT/ACT scores, find the best way to prepare and retake the exams. All high school student athletes need to clear NCAA academic eligibility requirements in order to play in college, follow the instructions above to register for the NCAA Clearing House. Keep your grades up and continue to work hard in the classroom. Most schools require a 3.0 GPA as a minimum, but in reality, over a 3.5 GPA is ideal.
In the lacrosse recruitment process, most D1 programs have identified their 10-16 recruits by a players senior year and have been in contact with the players they are recruiting, and many players have already verbally committed to those D1 schools. The first binding agreement between an athlete and a college program that is offering an athletic scholarship is the National Letter of Intent signing, which takes place in November or April of the players senior year. If you haven’t received any interest from a D1 program, don’t give up. There are many D1 programs still looking to fill their recruiting rosters, they leave a few roster spots available for the recruitment of seniors. The D2 and D3 coaches are actively pursuing players to fill their recruiting spots. With the new trend of the early recruitment process, there are a lot of quality players who fall through the cracks. Don’t get discouraged, there are many quality schools to attend and play lacrosse. Identify the schools you are still interested in, contact the coach, and ask questions. You have to be very proactive and work extremely hard in pursuing your dreams.
Academically, all student athletes need to pass Clearing House guidelines before being cleared to play in college. You can find out if your high school course load and classes are in line with the required academic criteria needed for college eligibility by going to the NCAA Clearing House at www.NCAAClearingHouse.org. You can also work with your counselor at your high school for more information.
Concentrate on preparing for your SAT/ACT exams These are still used by most colleges as the one constant in determining your academic requirements for gaining admission into a college. Almost every school will first ask about grades, class rank, and SAT/ACT scores to decide if you will be academically competitive and meet the minimum requirements in gaining admission.
Get letter of recommendations from your high school coach, guidance counselors and community leaders and determine if the admissions process allows you to send the additional letters of recommendation.
The Summer of your rising Junior year and that fall is the time the recruitment process gets rolling. The college recruiters and coaches are trying to identify their 10-16 student athletes who they will actively recruit. Going to team camps and recruiting tournaments is paramount. Prospect camps at individual schools are important, but not all prospect camps use those camps to actively recruit players. Be selective in what prospect camps you chose, ensure those schools are schools that you realistically can play, and those schools are schools you have a high interest in attending. There are a large amount of colleges playing lacrosse and the student athlete needs to decide where he wants to play and where he can best compete. Be realistic, but don’t sell yourself short. There are great lacrosse programs for all levels of talent at the D1, D2 and D3 levels. Realize that college coaches are looking at a lot of players and trying to keep their team balanced in the coming years. For example, a team may have a lot of returning midfielders but short on attack or defense, and the coach will concentrate their recruiting efforts on filling their deficient positions. Therefore, they may only recruit a few players at one position but many more at another position. Look at the colleges on your wish list and see if they are heavy in a position in the coming years. This may sway your decision one way or another.
The recruitment process is a game of numbers, don’t take anything personal, keep all your options open, but make the best decision for you. Scholarship money is very tight, there is more scholarship money academically, therefore, pursue the academic scholarships as hard or harder then the athletic scholarships. Athletic Scholarship money will rarely cover all expenses during your college career and it is not uncommon for colleges to spread their 12.6 scholarships among many players. Remember, those scholarships are for the entire program, not just the incoming recruiting class. The “Full Ride” Scholarship is mostly a myth and scholarships are on a year to year basis.
- This is the time for the student athletes to visit the colleges they have a desire to attend. Visit the college website, find the lacrosse coaches email and let them know you will be visiting their school and see if you can stop by the lacrosse office. Ensure you follow up the visit with another email thanking the coach for his time and information.
Remember, your high school coach and counselors are your best resources and advocates in helping you with the college admission process. The coaches at VB Select Lacrosse will help you during the recruitment process, and give you our honest opinion as to what level of competition we think you will best be able to compete at the college level. But always remember, don’t let anyone sell your talents short, there are many stories of players who did not get recruited, worked extremely hard to get better, walked on at the college of their dreams and had a successful and rewarding college lacrosse career.
The best advice we can give when deciding where you want to attend college is, the four years of your college lacrosse experience will be an unbelievable, rewarding, and memorable experience, but pick a school that will prepare you to compete in the “real world” and enjoy success in your adult life. Remember, your college lacrosse career is 4 years, your profession of choice is life long.
Rising Freshman and Sophomores:
This stage in your high school academic progress sets the foundations for your Junior and Senior years. Put the time and effort in your studies now, for if you start off slowly, it will be difficult to catch up. The minimum GPA colleges look for is a 3.0, again that’s the minimum you will need to be eligible academically to be considered for admission. Study for and take the PSAT test, continue to study for the standardized tests, as most schools still use the standardized tests to determine your eligibility. Freshman year is not too early to explore your college options. Make a list of colleges you aspire to attend and find out from those schools what courses you need to be taking. You can go to www.NCAAClearing House.org and find out what courses you need to be taking for your list of colleges. You do not want to wait until your Junior year to find out you are lacking the necessary courses required by your school choices. Most D1 schools will have recruited and committed to players after their Junior year, therefore it is imperative you have the academic foundations in place. Enlist the help of your school counselors to have these academic foundations in place.
Ensure you are attending camps that are well run and work on improving your lacrosse fundamentals. If there is a camp run by the college coach of a school you would like to attend, you may want to attend that camp. Even though the college coach can not have any recruiting interaction with freshman and sophomore student athletes, it may get you some exposure. Ask your High School Lacrosse coaches what camps he may recommend and if he can get you into some of the higher profile individual camps (Jake Reed’s Blue Chip Camp, UnderArmour Tryouts, New England 150, National Invitational 175, for example). Stay well rounded and play other sports, college coaches and admissions departments like to see the multiple sport, well rounded athlete. Concentrating on one sport alone leads to injuries and burn out. Find time in the lacrosse off season to keep working on stick skills, your best avenue for this is to “hit the wall”,work your off hand, concentrate on catching and throwing with good techniques, and keep your conditioning up. Have a conditioning program in place, concentrate on getting stronger and faster. Speed is one of the top priorities college coaches look for in determining a players athletic ability. Talk to your High School coach and let him know what your off season plans are, ask him what you need to work on to improve your game, and where you stand in his plans for the upcoming lacrosse season.
Concentrate on getting good grades. Develop good study habits, as high school will demand more of your time and you will need to start off high school with a solid foundation in place. If you qualify for honors courses, definitely take those courses. It is not too early to think about preparing for the PSAT test that each student will take as a freshman in high school. The more time you spend on preparing for those standardized tests, the better your score will be.
Have fun playing lacrosse, spend the majority of your out of season time in skill sessions and a structured wall ball workout. Work on your conditioning, trying to improve foot speed and improve your quickness and straight ahead speed. Play other sports, concentrating solely on one sport will lead to injuries and burn out. Aspire to play at the highest level of your recreation program, but realize, each player develops at different times, the best players in middle school are not always the best players in high school. Attend high school and college games, paying attention to the best players on the field at the position you play. Play for a quality, well coached summer program, the more you play, the better your lacrosse abilities will get. Have fun, work hard, and strive to be the best.