by Sean Pearce
Interested in playing lacrosse in college? Here is a college selection process to assist you along the way.
1. Be sure to speak with your guidance couselor and get registered with the NCAA Clearinghouse.
2. Understand your priorities, needs, and potential based on following decision factors:
- Academic programs your are interested in
- Academic standards (rankings, acceptance criteria, etc)
- Location and size of college
- Lacrosse (D1, D2, DIII, MCLA I, MCLA II) - consider playing time, level and competetiveness
- Define other factors important to you
3. Develop a pipeline of colleges that offer what you are looking for.
- Make sure to include stretch schools at this point
- Include some "safety schools"
- A good number to start with is 30-50
4. Market yourself to the pipeline
- Develop your resume. One page preferred, no more than two. Include: academics; ACT/SAT scores; lacrosse background with stats, playoff appearances, etc.; any awards, all-star games, etc.; community service information; and part-time jobs, if any
- Write to coaches. Include a personal cover letter with your contact info, your coaches contact info, and attach your resume. If you are attending a camp specify the location and dates, if not- offer to send game tape (not a highlight tape). If it is done through email contact, make the email personal.
- Follow-up with coaches within 4 weeks from your initial letter with an email or phone call.
5. Narrow your pipeline based on coaches interest and as your re-focus your priorities. Still include at least a couple stretch schools and safety schools.
6. During fall of senior year, you should have your pipeline reduced to 10-15 schools.
7. Arrange visits. This can be a driving factor in your decision. There is no substitute for walking a campus, meeting future potential teammates, and experiencing the location of a college. Make sure to close with coaches that contacted you that you are no longer interested in. You never know where that could end up.
8. Apply to your top 5-10 schools. Always have one or two safety schools and one or two stretch schools.
9. Continue proactively maintaining communication with coaches. Make them aware of your off-season activity, including other sports you are playing or off-season tourneys/ games.
10. Keep coaches aware of your financial aid situation through selection. They can help. Continue updating your selection criteria, weighing pros and cons.
11. Follow up with each coach you are still in contact with to make them aware of your situation.
12. Finally, make your decision and stick with it. Your mind will raise "what-ifs." Try to ignore them and be excited about your choice and new college career.