8 Things to Consider When Creating Your List of Colleges
One of the most important parts of the entire college soccer recruiting journey for aspiring athletes is the creation of an initial list of colleges. This initial list will act as a roadmap, giving you guidance as you move down the path toward selecting your final college. Starting the process without a list of colleges that are a good fit will leave you frustrated or worse – result in a transfer from a college you should not have selected. Below are a number of factors to consider when creating an initial list of colleges.
1. Location: Is this a Regional, National, or even International search and how might that impact other aspects of the search process (for instance the idea of cost of attendance or cultural differences). Most students prefer to attend a college that is within 100 miles of their family. Defining your tolerance for geographical relocation will allow you to significantly narrow down your initial college list. Location also affects weather, environment and other such factors.
2. Size: What size of a community are you looking for? Colleges can range from a couple of hundred students to more than 60,000 and everywhere in between. The size of the student body and campus has a large impact on the feel and culture of a college. Some students prefer a more personal small campus feel while some prefer a loud and large campus. This should be identified at the onset as it has a significant effect on the college experience.
3. Setting: Students often prefer going to colleges that have a similar setting to where they grew up. Some students prefer urban, suburban or rural based colleges. Furthermore, there is often a variety of settings within each of these types. For instance, some urban campuses are isolated within the context of a city, while others are actually a fluid part of the city. Evaluating what sort of settings are a good fit will help you narrow down your list further.
4. Major: You don’t need to decide on exactly what major you will do right now, as a large proportion of college students actually change their major at some point. However, it would be great to identify your academic skills and passions that lend to a rough idea of what academic programs you would like to engage with. You can then use this information to further narrow down your college list based on schools that have these programs.
5. Culture (Social and Academic): Different colleges have different cultures. From the social side you can find cultures that are Liberal or Conservative, Greek or Non-Greek etc. Some schools have dry campuses and others are known for being party schools. Some schools are centered around a big football team, some are centered around achieving excellent grades. Knowing what type of culture is best for you and your development will help you further narrow down your college list.
6. Athletics: For the student-athlete this can oftentimes drive the search process. Most important, especially in the early going, is being open to the different possibilities and honestly assessing yourself and your ability through the recruiting process. To find out more about how to assess your level of playing ability follow this link.
7. Academic Support Options: This is especially important for those students who have received support while in high school or understand what kind of learners they are and thus what kind of learning environments best support them. For student-athletes the idea of support can also be important especially during the season.
8. Cost of Attendance: There might also be a need to consider the COA (Cost of Attendance) in the early going, we tell families to be conscious of the COA, even in the early stages as the financial implications of college attendance are significant for many families. However, don’t rule out a college at this early stage based on expenses, as there may be merit and need-based financial aid available.
The creation of an initial list of colleges should go hand in hand with your attendance at Future 500 ID Camps. Why? Because F500 will give you the chance to play in front of 75 college coaches from a variety of D1, D2 and D3 schools. This will allow you to create a great deal of college exposure for yourself and attract interest from college coaches that are on your list, and other ones that will then be added to your list. To find out how Future 500 ID Camps are a significant asset for your college soccer recruiting journey, click here.