Finding a college that is the perfect fit can be an overwhelming experience, but navigating this process as a prospective student athlete can easily add a layer of complexity that can leave students frustrated and confused. With the shared insights from our Butler University coaching staff, we are sharing several tips that may help as you zero in on the ideal academic and athletic experience.

Introduce Yourself

What is the best way to introduce yourself to a coach? In most instances, the first step is to complete a team-specific prospective student-athlete questionnaire. Once submitted, coaches recommend that you follow up with a bio containing academic and athletic information, links to highlights or skills videos, and upcoming competition schedules. Most coaches will agree that it is perfectly acceptable to reach out, but depending on the timing of your contact, NCAA recruiting rules might prohibit a coach from communicating with you.

Take Ownership in the Process

Without question, coaches want to hear directly from prospective student-athletes, so it is important to own your part of the conversation. Being your own advocate is the most effective way to show sincere interest in a program, especially if coaches don’t have you on their radars early in the recruitment process. On a related note, recruiting services can be beneficial, but they should never be a replacement for personal outreach.

Be Realistic

Coaches look everywhere as they work to build a roster. While it varies by sport, high school competitions, club events, national tournaments, identification camps, and unofficial campus visits are just a few ways to showcase your abilities. That being said, be patient and realistic about your talent level and expectations. Additionally, it’s a good idea to research a team’s roster needs and the likelihood that you will have an opportunity to compete right away.

Ask the Right Questions

Ask questions, even if they are difficult ones, simply because you owe it to yourself to find the right fit.

  • Academically: Be familiar with admission standards, as well as the teaching and learning environment of the campus.
  • Financially: Remember—most student-athletes are not on a full athletic scholarship, so openly communicate with the coaches about the possibility of athletic money and utilize the Net Price Calculator on each school’s financial aid website.
  • Athletically: make sure the coaching style, chemistry with potential teammates, facilities, and support services are all a good match.

After you have done your research, coaches recommend three to five schools as the ideal number to actively communicate with.

Have Fun

Above all else, this process should be fun. While some stress is inevitable, the search for the best academic and athletic fit will be one of the most exciting undertakings of your life, and we wish you all the best in your journey.

Andy White is an Associate Director of Admission within Butler’s Office of Admission. Andy works with students living in Colorado, Florida, and Hamilton County, Indiana.