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Marketing Option 2: "Do it Yourself"
< Back to Session 14 Marketing Option 2 Marketing Option 3 More Information

     The best way to prepare for the recruiting process is to develop a recruiting plan as early as ninth grade. That may sound early, but there are many colleges to choose from and it is smart to begin early to make sure you find the right fit.

The Dynamite Sports "Four-Step Marketing Plan"

     Start by filling out the STUDENT-ATHLETE INFORMATION SHEET. This form is similar to the ones that college send to prospective student-athletes in order to get background information on them. Take your time and answer all of the information as completely and accurately as possible. You'll be sending one of these to each college you are interested in. Also, many colleges have an area on their athletic websites for prospects to fill out and submit this information online. This is a worthwhile endeavor as it ensures that you are in their recruiting database.

     Next, you'll need a HIGHLIGHT/SKILLS VIDEO. Every athlete who wants to play sports in college at any level must have a highlight or skills recruiting video. At Dynamite Sports Videos, we specialize in producing highlight/skills videos of all sports, male and female, starting as low as $149.   Click here to check out sample videos, production procedures, and the different packages we offer.

     While we're making your   highlight video, you should start collecting any NEWSPAPER ARTICLES that mention you specifically. Make plenty of copies of each article, then take a yellow highlighter and mark any part of the articles that specifically talk about you. We recommend doing this so the college coach won't have to read through an entire article just to find three sentences about you.

     Write a simple COVER LETTER, and include it along with the aforementioned components to create a "Marketing Packet" to mail to college coaches.

Let the Search Begin!

    After you've evaluated your talent and decided what level of college athletics would best suit you, it's time to start sending out marketing packets and looking at schools. Remember, now is the time to start marketing yourself and gathering information about the school you are most interested in. Don't waste any time. If you are a freshman or sophomore, START TODAY! This will allow you to prepare and find the right school for you. If you are a junior or senior, START YESTERDAY!

Initial questions to ask yourself as you begin your search:

  1. Do you want to attend a small school or large school?
  2. Do you want to go far away or stay close to home?
  3. Would you like the college to be in an urban, suburban, or rural setting?
  4. What would you like to major in?
  5. What sport are you interested in playing in college?

CollegeNET Offers a Free & Customizable College Search Database

Click the custom search key to quickly focus on schools that are best suited to your interests and personality. Without giving away your email address or identifying yourself in any way, you can enter profile information that allows CollegeNET to sift through thousands of colleges and find schools well matched to you. You can even search for schools that offer your particular sport!

Enter a keyword and immediately find the schools whose names contain your keyword.

Gathering College Information

After identifying the colleges that meet the student-athlete's criteria, combine that list with the list of colleges that have already sending you letters. Fill out as much information on the College Information Sheet as possible.

Click Here to Download the College Information Sheet 

Some information may be obtained at the college's website. If the college website is not known, use our directory of all colleges by  clicking here. Certain details may require the student-athlete to call the college. Phone numbers can usually be found on the college's website as well. 

Take Unofficial Visits

Many student-athletes choose the wrong level of college for their athletic ability level. One way to help make the right college choice is to take several unofficial visits to different size schools.

"Unofficial Visits" are trips to colleges or universities are paid for by you, as opposed to an "Official Visit" which is paid for by the college. You should take at least one unofficial visit to each of the NCAA Divisions and one to an NAIA school as well. This will provide a look at the different sizes of athletic programs, quality of players already on campus, and a feel for campus life. This will also help you find your "COMFORT LEVEL". Ask both your school counselor and your high school coach to help you pick which colleges to visit. It is extremely important that you take these visits as early as 9th grade. We recommend taking two (2) visits during your freshman year, four (4) your sophomore year, and four (4) your junior year. This will allow you time to decide which level of college to focus on, where you fit best, and where you can play.

Setting up an unofficial visit is relatively easy. Simply call the colleges you would like to visit and ask for the athletic department. Next, ask to speak to the recruiting coordinator or recruiting coach for your area. Tell them you would like to visit their school and get a better look at their athletic facilities and their academic programs.  After you settle on a date to visit the campus, try to arrange for the following to help maximize the impact of your visit.

  • Tour the campus, and attend a class if possible (15 minutes or so)
  • Meet with the head coach
  • Meet with your position coach
  • Meet with the academic advisor for your sport
  • Visit their locker room, playing/practice facilities and the weight room
  • Visit the head trainer and physical therapy area
  • Look at a typical dorm
  • Eat in the cafeteria

You should also try meet with a current athlete on the college team if possible. Generally speaking, the players will shoot you straight about what that program is really like. Below, are some questions to ask the college athletes.

  1. Start by asking their hometown and high school size.
  2. Ask how they seem to fit in at this university and what the transition was like.
  3. Has the coaching staff delivered on promises they made during the recruiting process?
  4. Ask them to rate the coaching staff.
  5. What is the training regiment like?
  6. Does the academic support staff actively work with the athletes?
  7. How often are they able to get home?
  8. Do they encourage parents to visit the campus?
  9. If they could do it all over again, would they still come here?

Remember to fill out the " College Information Sheet" during and after the unofficial visit. Answer all of the questions and be sure to rate all the facilities and coaches you met. This will be a great help later when you try to evaluate and compare each university and athletic program. Now, go ahead and plan another unofficial visit and repeat the process.

After you have made as many unofficial visits as possible, sit down as a family, (maybe with your high school/club coach as well) and evaluate each university using the college information sheets. As you go over your list, make sure all of the coaches at the colleges on your list have received the marketing packet and have an opportunity to evaluate your talent.

Official Visits & Offers

While unofficial visits can be initiated by you, official visits and offers cannot. Hopefully, as a result of your diligence to implement the steps above, the offers will come. Best of luck as you pursue your dream of playing at the next level.

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