Occasionally, we as full-time experts in the College recruitment industry can get carried away with the growth and relentless nature of this exciting process. Therefore, it is very important that we also return to basics for the many prospective College athletes and their families who may be looking into this service for the first time.
We fully understand that there is an enormous amount of information to absorb and learn. Even once you begin the process, there’s plenty that you’ll learn along the way! So the intention of this article is to provide you with a clear picture of what to expect from working with Athleticademix.
Our overriding role and job is to assist you in finding the best possible university options that suit your preferences. Alongside that, the aim is to maximise your financial package in order to keep your costs down to as little as possible.
It is essential to discuss this with each athlete and their family prior to beginning the process. We do this to ensure that everyone has the information they will need, in addition to setting realistic expectations. These are based on an individual’s sporting level, academic standing and how much time they have available. Ultimately, this process needs to be the correct path for you, and we must be the right people to help you achieve your goals.
Some of the topics we discuss during every meeting:
- What’s on offer as a student-athlete in the US compared to back home?
- Explain the US university degree format (differences and similarities).
- Explain the requirements for you (academic and athletic)
- Show you a breakdown of what a ‘scholarship’ is and what can/can’t be covered.
- Discuss our expectations for you based on the information we have (e.g. school grades, video footage/PB times, etc).
- Explain the recruiting timeline of events.
- Discuss our services and costs.
- Answer any questions that you or your parents may have.
In the Beginning…
Okay, so let’s say that you have started working with Athleticademix. What do the first few steps consist of?
We have recently launched our new Athleticademix Portal, which all of athletes will have access to. Here, they will receive notifications on various tasks that need doing throughout the process. It is essentially a ‘one-stop shop’ for everyone to keep track of their progress and see what’s coming next in the timeline. Additionally, we later add in Colleges that have shown interest in each individual, giving you more details about that particular school.
In order for us to build your Athleticademix profile, we will request a number of things from you. These items include:
- Copies of your GCSE/A-Level/BTEC certificates, depending on what you have available. We will calculate your average grades (GPA) from these.
- An action photo of yourself competing or head-shot from your club website.
- Video footage of you in competition (especially for team sports such as Soccer). Read more on How to Make a Highlights Video for Soccer!
Once we have these items from you, we are in a position to begin promoting you to targeted US Colleges.
In order to attend a 4-year university in the US, you will need to sit the SAT exam (or the ACT exam as an alternative). More details on the SAT can be found here.
We cannot emphasise just how important it is to register early and prepare thoroughly for this test. It can mean the difference in you getting into the university of your dreams, or it can dictate how much academic scholarship you’re eligible for.
You can expect guidance from us on how to sign up for the test. But we also offer all of our student-athletes the option to put in the extra study and prep if they would like to. Earlier this year, we teamed up with CP Admissions, an online tutor service that offers extensive study guidance for the SAT, ACT and TOEFL (the TOEFL is for non-native English speakers). We will do whatever we can in order to help you score as high as possible!
Promotion to College Coaches
Here is perhaps one of the most exciting parts of the process! We begin promoting you to targeted Colleges once we’ve been able to gather the relevant information from you, in addition to adequate video footage.
Each of our athletes has an Athleticademix profile which contains as much academic and sporting information about you as possible. It is always a ‘work-in-progress’ because you’ll have test scores, grades and video footage to update as you go. But, essentially, this is a College coach’s “first impression” of you so we want to ensure your profile is as strong as possible before it’s ready to send out.
Here’s a list of things we consider when targeting universities for you:
- Your academic level based on school grades, predicted grades and SAT/ACT score
- Your competitive level and the likelihood that you can not only compete at a certain College, but also be a prominent athlete on that team in order to receive a scholarship offer within your expected budget.
- What the coaches have told us they are in need of for your specific recruiting year. This will have an impact on how they spend their scholarship budget.
- Where possible, we will always prioritise your personal preferences, such as size of school, location, climate, etc.
Deciding on Your University
The recruitment process goes on for a number of weeks and months. You should never feel rushed to make any kind of decision about selecting a College until you’ve had time to evaluate all the available options. Our job is not only to obtain interest for you and connect you with coaches, but also help you to compare your choices and answer your questions.
When the time feels right for you to “commit” to your university of choice, we’ll be with you to advise on the next steps. For some athletes, you may commit after 2-3 months of working with us, for others it may be 6-12 months. It depends entirely on when you began the process, and also when you feel ready to make that decision. There is no right or wrong time – this is about what’s right for you.
Guidance Through the Administrative Process
The admin duties begin relatively soon in the process, however it isn’t too taxing to begin with. Once you decided on your university and accept an offer, however, that’s where the paperwork begins to pile up. But don’t worry! That is where our expertise and guidance will help to navigate you through each and every step.
We are on hand to answer all of your questions when you get to this point. In addition, we have dozens of easy to follow guidelines, video walk-throughs and template examples of how everything needs to be done.
Firstly, you will need to apply to your school and provide them with numerous documents in order to get accepted. This can take a little bit of time, but we are with you! Once you’re accepted to the university, they will send you something called an I-20 document which enables you to then progress on to applying for your Visa in the last couple of months before you’d head to the US.
While all of that is going on, you will need to go through either the NCAA or NAIA eligibility centres, depending on your school. These are in place to assess the academic and athletic backgrounds of all prospective College athletes, with a view to granting them eligibility to compete. It’s fair to say that this is perhaps the most long-winded or tricky phase of the entire process. So our guidelines are crucial in helping you get through it without any problems or unnecessary delay.
What About Once That’s All Done?
Once you have been cleared and deemed eligible, and your Visa appointment at the US Embassy is booked, you’re pretty much there! A few other things that we advise you on include:
- Where to find/compare insurance policies (if required)
- Where to find/compare cheaper flight options to and from the US
- Which medical forms and vaccines you’ll need to show proof of before going
- What to bring/not to bring with you when packing for the US
- How to look at setting up a bank account & mobile phone when you get there
We’ll also assist you in planning your travel logistics, which is dependent on when your College coach wants you to report for day one of your new life as a College athlete!
We are only too aware of just how big a deal this is for our athletes and their parents. We’ve been through it ourself, and even have parents of former & current College athletes on our staff in Karen and Mark. It’s a long process and one that’s impossible for you to know everything about from the start. We are with you from day one and each day throughout. Our role is to get you where you want to be and understand every step of this exciting journey along the way!