What College Athletic Coaches Are Looking For When Recruiting – Part 1

What College Athletic Coaches Are Looking For When Recruiting – Part 1


By Dr. Paul Lowe Admissions and Athletic Recruiting Expert

You have been playing your sport for 5-10 years and you want to be recruited or even better, recruited and receive that four-year athletic scholarship from a top choice college. Don’t sell yourself short. My advice after 18 years in the college admissions advisory business and constantly talking to college coaches and Athletic Directors is that they are looking for these points: 

  1. Ability: Coaches are interested in your abilities and performance in tournaments. A coach has a program in which he has developed an elite team; he wants someone willing to fit into that mix. But this is only one part of it. There are great athletes who don’t get recruited. Many of the best colleges recruit athletes with modest skills. Sometimes it’s not just having skills but the fact that you are performing to your personal best that matters.
  1. Academic Record: Admissions officers have the final word. Grades matter. As a part of the recruitment process, coaches will review your transcript, seeking the rigor of your curriculum and your GPA and standardized test scores. Every coach understands the academic statistics that their college’s admission office expects from players individually and as a whole team. When they decide whom to recruit, they are always trying to balance the quality of a player’s athletic achievements with the quality of his or her academic records. What this means is that after the coach determines your skill level, the better your academic record, the more likely you are to be recruited. Remember admission departments, not coaches, admit students.

  1. Passion For the Game and College: No matter what your skill level is, coaches want to recruit students who have a real passion for playing their game. Coaches work closely with the admissions office and they know that the athletes they recruit hardest are very likely to be admitted. They want to recruit students who are serious about playing on the team and not just using their ability as a “hook” to get in to their school.
  1. Mental Toughness and Sportmanship: Beyond your ability, your academic record and your desire to attend and play, coaches want to know how you carry yourself on the court. Games between evenly matched players often come down to who is mentally the strongest. Coaches want to know how you think during a match and how well you understand the game. They are looking for those with “true grit.” How you respond when you are down in a match or get a bad call is important. Do you lose your temper and focus or are you able to remain calm and adjust your strategy? And while it may be cliche to say so, being able to win and lose with respect for your opponent and the game is very important.

Read Part 2 here…

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is managing director of Greenwich Admissions Advisors and lead admissions expert at Ivy League Admissions Advisors, a part of the Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group network.

Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive admissions advisory services for families and students who are interested in applying to and experiencing the unique educational environment and communities of Ivy League and highly selective colleges and elite private day and boarding schools.

Dr. Lowe is an active member of several professional organizations including: the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC), the New Jersey Association for College Admission Counseling (NJACAC), the International Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC), and NAFSA: Association of International Educators, American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), and the Admissions Leadership Consortium (ALC).