1. Research schools and programs - early.
The sooner you decide what athletic division fits your goals for college, the more targeted your recruiting process will be. Take into consideration other important factors of your college search, like financial and academic offerings. Contrary to popular belief, Division 1 schools don’t have a monopoly on competitive lacrosse. As Anne Moelk, the head women’s lacrosse coach at DePauw University put it, “There are competitive programs at all levels… Student athletes need to be sure that the academic offerings and other aspects of a college or university are considered in addition to their lacrosse program when making a college choice.”
Deciding early on which programs interest you will also help guide your communication with college coaches. While NCAA rules prevent contact between D1 coaches and student-athletes prior to September 1 of their junior year, student-athletes can correspond with D2, D3, NAIA and NJCAA level coaches at any point in time.
2. Create a recruiting profile
No matter what athletic division you hope to play in, it’s wise to prepare a recruiting profile before your junior year. Your profile should include a recruiting video that captures highlights of your athletic career. Make sure that your position, jersey number, and technical ability are emphasized in the footage and that the camera angle is wide enough to show the progression of play.
Beyond a highlight video, your recruiting profile should represent you holistically as both an athlete and a student. Spotlight your GPA, extracurricular achievements, and GPA as well as your stats, height and weight, and graduation year.
3. Distribute and Connect
Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a handful of programs and assembled a recruiting profile, you can start writing to college coaches. Open with an eye-catching subject line and incorporate statistics and numbers in your introductory paragraph. College coaches receive countless cold emails from prospective players, so use your words economically to hold their attention.
4. Find ways to stand out
There’s more to a college athlete than athleticism. No matter what level you decide to play in college, all coaches want players who succeed on and off the field. Academic excellence translates to terrific work ethic, and a great attitude goes a long way. Anne Moelk noted “Athletes stand out to me when they are positive and hard working. I love to see a player hustle all over the field and be the biggest cheerleader on the sidelines.”
5. Put yourself out there - where coaches can see you
A cold email just can’t communicate your athletic skill set and versatility the way that a live game can. Combines, tournaments and camps provide the best opportunity to showcase your talents to college coaches.