#2 recruiting Tip email-B
Choosing the “Right College Fit”
(By Nic Nelson – Head Softball Coach, Lake Land College/Elite Softball)
As a college coach, past high school coach, travel coach and the parent of 4 college athletes, I understand this difficult task of choosing a college more than most. Hopefully the information I giving you in this booklet will help in what is the biggest decision in your life to date. Most high school softball players have the goal of playing in a NCAA DI softball program. Here are some numbers to think about when considering what college is the right fit for you. If you were to go onto the NCAA web site last May and look up every NCAA DI softball roster in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri, and break them down this is what you would find:
Total Illinois Indiana Missouri Hawaii
NCAA softball program 12 10 5 1
No. of players on rosters 215 178 96 21
No. of in-state players on rosters 90 71 36 8
No. of out-of-state players on rosters 125 107 60 13
No. Freshmen on rosters 56 46 23 7
No. Sophomores on rosters 56 46 33 7
No. Juniors on rosters 57 37 26 2
No. Seniors on rosters 46 34 14 5
No. Pitchers on rosters 39 45 16 4
No. Catchers on rosters 35 26 16 2
No. Utility (all other positions) 141 107 64 15
Now let’s look at the same states high school softball programs:
Total Illinois Indiana Missouri Hawaii
High School softball programs 620 327 592 50
Estimated total high school players 8,060 4,251 7,696 700
Estimated total high school seniors 2,686 1,417 2,368 200
Going off these numbers, when you consider the percentage out-of-state players the graduating high school softball players, here are the chances of making it on to a NCAA D1 roster in your state: Illinois: 1 in 114; Indiana: 1 in 47: Missouri 1 in 63; and Hawaii 1 in 67. These are pretty daunting number but that being said, if you really want to play college softball, there is a place for you. Consider your area of study, and with the help of your parents, high school coach, and summer coaches assess your talent objectively and honestly. Never aim too low, but be careful that you do not overestimate your abilities. Nobody wants to go and sit on the bench and not get the education they want. Thus, the term we use when selecting a college to attend is the “CHOOSEING THE RIGHT COLLEGE FIT”. there is around 190 total collegiate softball programs available in these states lone for you to investigate your right college fit.
When investigating your right college fit, there are 4 items to consider. These need to be considered in this order:
Academics: First and foremost, the reason to attend college is to get the education in the classroom and what is needed to become employable in whatever field you’d like to pursue. (Or as I like to say, get off Mom and Dad’s payroll)If softball is removed from the equation for any reason, would you be at the college that will help you reach that goal?
Academics questions to consider:
· Does the college offer my area of study?
· How many years will it take to complete that field of study?
· What is the employment rate from that school in your field of study?
· What is the student population?
· What is the teacher student ratio?
· What academic support do they have for their collegiate athletes?
· With regard to community colleges, what are their transfer rates?
Location: Consider that this location will be your home for the next to five years. Make sure it is an area you would live in. You can find some of this information by logging onto the community web site.
Location questions to consider:
· Is it far enough away from Mom and Dad, or is close enough to Mom and Dad?
· What is the size of the community you will be living in?
· Is it a safe area in which to live?
· What kind of entertainment is available?
· For Mom and Dad, what restaurants and hotels are in the area?
· What is shopping like?
· What the housing, student housing, apartment and off-campus housing options?
· What transportation is available?
· What is the weather like?
Financial: As you will find out, there is a wide range in school costs, from your local community college to upscale private schools. You could spend $2,500 to $46,000+ a year depending on the college. Many of you may get a softball scholarship, which will be great, but what if you decide not to play any more, you get hurt and can’t play any more, or - and it can happen - you lose your scholarship? Can you still afford to continue to go to the school you’ve chosen?
Financial questions to consider:
· What is the college tuition cost? (In district, in state, out of district, and out of state)
· What student fees are there?
· What is the cost of room and board?
· What is the cost of off-campus housing?
· What non-athletic scholarships are available?
· What are my travel costs to get to and from college? (Gas and airline cost)
· What would on- or off-campus travel costs be? (Living on or off campus)
· What does the softball scholarship cover, and how is it set up?
· Will have a lot of student loans to pay off?
Softball: This is, without a doubt, the last thing you consider when looking into your right college fit. Make sure you have a passion for the game. You will have to sacrifice a lot to be a collegiate athlete. Are you ready to make this commitment? Go back up and look at the number of freshman verses seniors. Some programs demand more than others, for example at Lake Land, where I coach, we run a demanding program, not produce a program, help prepare our players to hopefully move on to NCAA DI programs. Wherever you look, remember the coach was hired to win. If your high school coach loses, he or she is back teaching tomorrow. If your college coach loses, he gets fired. Try to understand college softball is not high school, summer, or travel ball. It is 6 to 7 days a week, 9 months out of the year. Therefore, if you don’t like to lift weights, condition, or practice, then you might want to reconsider playing, because the amount of your time doing those activities is much, much greater than the actual time you spend playing the game on the field. You will need to watch play and practice, as well as talk to past players, to get some of this information.
Softball questions to consider:
· How will softball affect your field of study? (Example: Can you student teach your senior year, or do you have to wait until you finish your four years of softball?)
· What are the academic requirements to play at the school?
· How much school will you miss due to games and practice?
· How much time will it take up?
· Can you play at this school? (After all, it is no fun to sit.)
· Who is the head softball coach?
· Who is the 1st softball asst. coach?
· Who is the pitching coach? Do they have a pitching coach?
· Who is the hitting coach, and will you need to change your hitting style?
· How many players are on their roster?
· How many players are there in your graduating class, and what positions do they play?
(If you are a shortstop and their starting shortstop will be a sophomore, you might want to
have a backup position in mind)
· What is the coaching style? (positive, negative, demanding, etc.)
· How much does the school value female athletics.
Now pick 10 schools, at least one out of each college division listed above. Go to school websites and find the answers to each of the questions you just read. Yes, it is a lot of work, but this is the biggest decision in your life at this time. At the end of this search, eliminate five of them then look at five new ones. You are now on your way to finding the “CHOOSING THE RIGHT COLLEGE FIT”.