A hammer sitting on a shelf is just a hunk of metal and wood — you have to USE the hammer the right way for it to be useful.
There are many college search tools, and they are just that — TOOLS that need to be used.
Here are FREE search tools you can use to find a college that fits your preferences for everything BUT athletics:
The College Board has a great free search tool HERE.
CollegeData.com has another search tool you might like HERE.
There are also PAID college recruiting/matching services that you can consider. Many have free options, but they’ll always try to entice you into paying for a membership with more services and features.
These companies will add ATHLETIC matching along with the types of matching the search tools above use.
Many will offer insider connections to college coaches, claiming they can put you in touch with college coaches more easily than you could on your own.
Here are a few:
“Do I need to pay for one of those recruiting/matching services?”
As you would expect, the answer isn’t the same for every family.
The truth that the paid services don’t loudly advertise is that ALL OF THE INFORMATION they provide is out there for you (for free!), if you know where to look (it’s not that hard) and you have the time.
Also, even though paid services advertise that they can get you in touch with college coaches, the truth is that college coaches like to hear DIRECTLY from the athlete.
(Free advice: When a tournament is using one of those paid services, sign up for the basic and FREE profile so that your information is sure to be in the database & programs that coaches get, but don’t feel like you’re missing out if you don’t pay extra.)
Many families decide that it’s worth the cost to have a service that helps save time and organize the search process.
If you sign up for a paid service, USE IT! Take full advantage of the tools provided, but don’t assume that the service will do all of the work for you.
“What if we don’t sign up for one of those paid recruiting services? Will this process be too overwhelming to do on our own?”
Great question! And, the answer is NO! You can do it, you just have to put in the effort. You will have two main tasks:
2: Figure out which schools are the best fit for you — academically, athletically, and socially.
That’s a lot to do. Will a paid service do all of that for you? NO! Will a paid service help a bit with the first few steps? YES, but you’ll still have to put in the time to organize your search, narrow down your choices, and contact coaches.