Properly evaluating and comparing schools as you navigate the college recruiting process is extremely important and can have long term implications on your college experience and outcome. To put things into perspective, the 4-year graduation rate in the US is approximately 40%. This means that you are more likely to add additional years to your degree (or drop out of college) than to graduate in 4 years. In fact, about 39% of students transfer to another college or drop out altogether after freshman year. What is the reason for these statistics? Why is the transfer rate so high and the 4-year graduation rate so low? The answer is generally that many students are making the decision to attend colleges that are not a good fit for them. This is usually the result of a flawed college search process that does not consider the correct factors when determining which schools to attend, or in other words, which schools are a best fit.
The recruiting and decision making process can be overwhelming for student-athletes in particular with so many colleges to choose from and with an additional set of criteria with which to evaluate schools – athletic criteria. Many student-athletes focus primarily on the athletic component to drive their college search process, asking questions such as “which division should I be aiming for?” and “what team am I good enough to play for?” and forming an initial college list based on these types of athletic questions. This is very much in line with what the majority of college recruiting companies tell you: focus primarily on athletic factors when deciding which colleges to pursue. Most recruiting companies place little emphasis on non-athletic factors. In fact, their technology is limited with the amount and quality of non-athletic college information for families to evaluate. Athlete Match has learned from 30 years of working with colleges and college coaches that this type of athletic-centric approach is actually harmful for student-athletes, greatly increasing the potential for a poor college outcome.
Athlete Match advocates a different approach to evaluating and selecting colleges: finding colleges that are a good fit both on and off the field. Less than 2% of college athletes go on to play professionally, while most see their college education shape their career and the rest of their lives. This highlights the importance of the non-athletic component of the college experience. Student-athletes spend the majority of their time in the classroom and within the campus environment and culture. If their college selection is based solely on athletics and fails to consider major, geography and other non-athletic factors, they are much more likely to have a negative college experience. This negative experience often leads to poor grades, transferring colleges or dropping out of college. With every additional year of college costing an average of $60,000, not to mention the potential long term effects of a poor college experience, making the correct college decision becomes even more important.
Athlete Match offers a better path forward. We have created the 10 Fit Points below, designed to assist student-athletes find their best fit schools.
The first 7 Fit Points above are non-athletic factors while the final 3 are athletic factors. Athlete Match recommends that you consider the first 7 (non-athletic) factors first before the final 3 (athletic factors) when trying to find colleges. This is not to say that athletic factors are unimportant, rather that they should usually be considered after a college is deemed a good fit on non-athletic grounds. This will ensure that a student-athlete is happy, academically, socially and athletically – and give the student-athlete the greatest opportunity to thrive, succeed and graduate in 4 years.
Note: The Fit Points above are not ordered sequentially in terms of importance, as different student-athletes will place different levels of importance on factors such as distance from home, or cost of the institution for example. The Athlete Match Recruiting Blog will continue to expand upon each of these Fit Points, but the list above should give you a general guideline on what factors to consider when creating your college list. Try our free search tool to get started with finding colleges.
College Search: 10 Fit Points and the Athlete Match Platform
The Athlete Match Platform helps you to find colleges that are a good fit, using the 10 Fit Points mentioned above. Athlete Match incorporated our 30 years of experience with colleges and college coaches in creating the college search and filter tool you need in order to find your best fit college.
The comprehensive college search and filter tool allows you to find schools based on the academic, social and athletic factors mentioned above. You can then favorite these schools and begin the process of communicating with their coaches.
Athlete Match understands how the recruiting process works and provides both the technology and guidance for a clear college pathway. Create a Free Profile today to begin your journey to your best fit college, or try our search & filter tool for free.