I get a ton of questions from parents asking what their role should be in the recruiting process. I know parents always want the best for their children, it is an inherent quality we all have being a parent. There are 5 major questions you need to answer that will help guide the college selection process. I would put these in the order listed.
1)Does your son really want to play in college?? Does he know what it takes, the time commitment and hard work required to play college lacrosse?? Everybody needs to take a hard look at themselves to see if the desire is really there. We do not want kids coming back after one year. In the south it’s definitely tougher than other places. All your high school buddies are headed for Frat Row at Ole Miss, Bama, UGA or Auburn. Johnny Lacrosse is headed up North to play ball. First home football game, Freddie Frat is with all your high school buddies in the Grove at Ole Miss. By looking at Instagram, it looks like Freddie is pledging Sigma Chi. Johnny Lacrosse is rounding lap 2 in the mile run test in a light rain. Week 2 Freddie takes a roadie to Auburn with 8 of his best friends who he just met two weeks ago. Johnny Lax wakes up at 7:00am to head to a fall practice. Coach brings in 3 former marines, who throw him around in a pool for 3 hours, as part of a team building event. It’s hard work and players that want to play in college need to understand this.
2) Get an honest, unbiased evaluation, on the playing ability of your son. This is one of our roles as a club. We sit down with each family to make sure everybody is on the same page. We develop a list of potential schools that will fit and then come up with an action plan. Now that the recruiting calendar has slowed down, it’s much easier to focus on the one recruiting class. Is your son or daughter a D1, D11 or D111 player? Too many recruiting mistakes are made during this step which results in unreal expectations. Be realistic.
3)”What kind of student is my son/daughter”. A 4.0 at Super Smart Community school is the same as a 4.0 at any other high school. No college is going to give a student extra points coming from Super Smart Community school. AP classes are important especially if you are looking at any Ivy’s or high end academic schools. Whats his/her GPA, ACT, SAT scores??? Does he/she spend a lot of time at home on school work?? How motivated is your son/daughter in school. This one is pretty easy because it’s all subjective numbers. A parents role here can be very influential. Tutors, class schedule, planning with a guidance counselor, and ACT training classes are good strategies here.
4) Does you son/daughter want a big school, small school and how far away from home??Go up early or stay later to visit some schools in the geographical area we will be playing. Philly, Baltimore, Washington DC, Long Island have a ton of schools within 3 hours of our tournament venues. You can can start to narrow your focus on colleges. Parents can provide great guidance in researching colleges once some schools have been identified. A great deal of additional information can be done online as well. As a program, we will also reach out to these schools on your behalf. Our Thunder Lb3 YouTube page has been great to point out to coach’s so they can see highlights.
5) The final question is finances. Does a school offer athletic scholarships?? If so , are they fully funded? Can they stack merit money on top of athletic scholarship money?? How much financial aid is available for our family? These questions are typically answered on the visit. However, you need to know a couple facts here. Most D1 programs are not fully funded. That does not mean that those programs have no money to give out. Often, merit money can be found based on GPA’s, ACT scores etc. A fully funded Men’s Lacrosse Program has 12.6 scholarships. The first thing some schools will do is have the family complete the FAFSA(Free application for Federal Student Aid). This will give the coach and financial aid office at the college an idea on what financial aid the student athlete would qualify for. Based on the FAFSA results, a coach can decide how to package a financial aid award to the family. I have included a pretty good article I read last year published in US Lacrosse.
As a recruiting adviser for Thunder Lb3, I am here to help. Please reach out if you have any questions. It’s an exciting time.