Pretty much everyone puts UCLA on their list. And what’s not to like? It has great academics, absurdly good athletics, and year-round sunshine.
I had a consultation with Heather. UCLA was on her list. I asked her ‘why’ and she said, “I figured I’d throw my name in the hat and see what happens.” I like that risk-taking attitude, and I told Heather as much. Put yourself out there and see if they bite. It’s okay to have a couple reach schools on your list.
But here’s the thing: having your entire list be made up of brand name, exceedingly hard-to-make Division I teams is a recipe for failure.
Here are the 3 reasons why:
1. The odds of making the team at a school like UCLA are extremely slim. They hear from thousands of prospective players each year.
2. If you’re only interested in low probability schools like UCLA, you typically need to have a loooooong list of colleges. The bigger your list gets, the more difficult it is to send solid, personalized messages. Instead, you have to send impersonal mass emails, which is a surefire path to the junk box.
3. Most people add big name colleges like UCLA without doing any research on them. Yes, the school is well known. And yes, the campus is beautiful. But is this really the right place for you?
I asked Heather what she knew about UNC, ECU, U of MD, and Towson U, a few of the other colleges on her list. Not much, she admitted. They were the schools that she had heard of, so she put them on her list.
We agreed that she should get off the beaten path a little and explore some other awesome, slightly less well-known colleges. I suggested a few places she could start.
This would be the basis of a much “healthier” list of schools — and the basis of a recruiting campaign that would be far more likely to succeed in finding her a college where she’ll be totally happy as student and an athlete.