Building a target list of schools is an integral step in the college recruiting process. Before you begin reaching out to schools, you need to do your research to ensure your athletic skills and academic capabilities match with a particular school.
It can be very overwhelming to narrow down what schools to consider to play the sport that you love. Breaking down the different factors, as well as identifying what is most important to you and your family when making that decision is crucial. Making a target list of schools will help in the beginning stages of your recruiting process, as well as later on as you get more comfortable with what you want to get out of your college experience.
Make sure you also take the time to watch our webinar on building a target list of schools here.
Why do I need a Target List of Schools?
Some student-athletes will sit back and wait for colleges to contact them. There are thousands of colleges out there and maybe the schools that are contacting you are not the right fit. The more proactive you are about your recruiting process, the easier it will be to find a school that is the right fit for you. We recommend athletes pick 20-30 schools, to cast a wide net of colleges when starting their college recruiting process. Remember that this list is fluid and will change often as you get a better idea of what schools are a strong fit for you as a student-athlete.
These 20-30 Schools should be a combination of Safety, Fit and Reach Schools. This will give you a mix of schools with different requirements and give you a diversified look at the different types of schools that are available. Looking at the five factors to consider will help you identify schools as a Safety, Fit, or Reach option.
The Five Factors
There are 5 different factors to consider as you start to build your target list of schools. If you can find a school that matches 4 out of 5 of these factors, that is usually a great indication that this school would be a good fit for you! Identify which factors are most important to your decision-making process and it will be very helpful when finding schools that are a great fit for you.
Athletic Fit: What Division and/or conference are you capable of playing for? What do your current coaches think?
Academic Fit: What schools will you qualify for with your GPA and Standardized Test Scores? Do you know what you would like to major in?
Social Fit: How important is school size and campus life to you?
Geographical Fit: Do you want to be close to home? What type of campus are you looking for?
Financial Fit: Will I qualify for Athletic or Merit Scholarships?
Things to note when building your target list of schools:
- Cast a wide net. We recommend building a list of your top 25-30 schools to give you a variety to choose from.
- Categorize these into fit, reach, and safety schools making sure you have an equal combination of each. You can categorize these schools academically or athletically.
- Building your target list of schools is a fluid process. You can change your list at any time!
Using the Advanced School Search
Our Advanced School Search tool makes your school search process easy. Quickly discover which programs across the country align with your needs as a student-athlete.
On your dashboard, navigate to the toolbar at the top of the page and click “Schools.”
You can either search for a specific school by name, or find schools based on different criteria: region, size, academic selectivity, and division.
Enter your zip code to find schools within a certain distance from home.
As you find schools that may interest you, add them to your “Favorites List” by clicking on the heart icon.
To remove a school from your favorite’s list, simply click the shaded heart.
This list is only for you to see! College coaches can not see what schools you have favorited.
It is designed to help you keep track of which programs you are interested in.
SportsRecruits is a college recruiting website that helps connect student-athletes with college coaches. Our mission is to empower student-athletes in their pursuit of playing collegiate athletics. Our online platform provides transparency, organization, and clarity during an otherwise complicated recruiting process.
You are able to build a profile that hosts every piece of video, athletic information, and academic information to share with coaches. The advanced school search makes it easy to find schools that fit a student-athletes needs. The messaging system allows you to seamlessly communicate with every college coach in the country.
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