Ask The Experts
Countdown: What Do Players Overlook?
by TennisRecruiting.net, 9 April 2014
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Every year, high school tennis players make their college decisions based on a number of factors. In our commitment profile articles, we often hear athletes talk about the coaching staff and the chemistry they felt with the players on the team. But we also hear about countless other factors - including the weather and the atmosphere at football games.
But are these athletes using the right information to make rational decisions? With so many players transferring, perhaps kids are not doing their homework before choosing their colleges. We put the following question to our panel of coaches...
Q) What important factors in the college recruiting process do student athletes often overlook when making their decisions?
Alison Swain, head coach, Williams Women
I think there are two important factors that a lot of student-athletes overlook during the recruiting process. The first is financial aid. Many student-athletes assume that the best route to financial help with college tuition is to be offered an athletic scholarship. More and more institutions today have fantastic financial aid packages that can equal or out-weigh athletic scholarship offers. Considering the total aid package is particularly important to consider if you are considering D-III schools which don't have athletic scholarships, but have some of the most comprehensive financial aid packages which can cover things like travel to and from campus, books, room and board, as well as tuition. At Williams, for example, even students from families who make over $250,000 in income often qualify for aid - and well over 50% of our student-body receives financial aid.
A second important component to consider relates more directly to athletics. I find that recruits often don't look into what conference a school competes in. This is particularly important when student-athletes have goals of making the NCAA tournament or winning conference championships. I am a personally a big proponent of playing a challenging schedule in order to give our team regular opportunities to be pushed and improve. By looking at the conference a school competes in, recruit can understand what level of competition they will be getting during their season - as well as their chances of achieving tangible goals of competing at NCAAs or being successful in their conference.
Andy Christodoulou, head coach, Siena Women
Today's prospective student athletes don't leave a lot of stones unturned and any questions unanswered. They probe academics, campus surroundings, playing time, freshman retention rate, character compatibility with team and coach, practice and weight room workouts, etc.
But, personally, I have noticed that many junior players do not consider the stability of the coaching position and the experience the coach brings to the program. Coaches are in the people skills business first, and they have to work and manage a lot of young developing and diverse personalities.
Another item that I believe is overlooked is a school's graduation rate in all athletic programs - and what support services are available. This does not only include study halls and tutors but also includes life skill seminars, etiquette dinners, and internship and job placements.