We live in a world in which we make daily decisions based on information provided to us through technology. We do business online, shop online, select family vacation destinations, and even find our significant others, all utilizing various online recourses. With many college campus’ limiting the number of people on campus due to the COVID-19 epidemic, this mentality can be adopted by athletes trying to navigate the recruiting process and players should take full advantage of everything the virtual world has to offer.
The college selection process can be one of the most, energizing, motivating and exciting times for many prospective student athletes. However, it often also comes with feelings of stress, anxiety and pressure to make the right decision. With that being said, todays collegiate marketing departments are producing an abundance of virtual information allowing students to make an educated, informed decision. Weather it’s virtual campus tours or connecting with recruits via virtual meetings, technology has quickly become a tool many coaches are utilizing to showcase their college campus and land recruits.
We spoke with 2 international players who recently were recruited virtually to attend Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida. They both utilized technology and online resources to gain information about colleges and universities in the United States. Since they are international players, neither had the luxury of flying or driving to visit campuses and both made their college decisions based on virtual recruiting.
Ana B from Brazil and Zoe S from Germany currently play at Hillsborough Community College and are here to offer suggestions to help navigate the virtual recruiting landscape.
When did you start to research colleges and universities?
Zoe S – I started looking one year before I graduated
Ana B – I started looking for colleges in my last semester of High School
Who helped you throughout the decision-making process other than your recruiting coordinator?
Z - I relied on my American teammates in Germany who played at the college level, they were a great resource and knew a lot about what was important to consider when selecting a college.
AB – I talked with many of my friends from Brazil that were already playing in the States…It was very important to me to know that my culture was not going to be much different from the Americans.
What qualities where you looking for in a college or university?
Z - I wanted coaches and teammates who made me feel welcome and at home in addition to playing at a high level athletically. I was looking for a well-organized environment where I could learn and study my major.
AB - It was very important for me to have a supportive staff and administration, we see our teammates and coaches more often than we see our family, it was imperative I have a good relationship with both.
How did you begin to narrow down your college selection?
Z- I started with schools offering an athletic scholarship, then I checked out their location. Then I went online to their athletic website and reviewed their rosters, coaches, and their record from previous years. Once I had information on the team, I reached out to the coaching staff.
AB – I knew I wanted to play in a competitive conference, and Florida was known for their great competition. Also, I was looking for a JUCO which would hopefully get me into a better 4 year University
What online resources did you use during the recruiting process?
AB – I used Facetime to communicate with players and coaches, but I looked at the college Facebook and social media pages
How did you make your final decision?
Z - I compared different scholarships and considered my option to play my freshman year, discussed everything with my family and ultimately chose which coach I felt most comfortable talking to.
AB – It was between to very competitive schools, and in the end, I felt more interest form the coaches and players from HCC, they had great communication. Also, the housing conditions and facilities played a big role.
What was the hardest thing about making a decision since you were not able to visit the campus and what helped you through that process?
Z - Now that I am on campus, and know what a true campus visit is like, I see that I missed out on meeting the team in person and spending real time with them getting to know their different personalities.
AB – The hardest thing was not being able to meet the staff and players personally and physically see the campus and get a vibe of the overall atmosphere. I had to rely on other people’s opinion and pictures.
Even though we currently find ourselves in a situation of social distancing and avoiding contact with others, virtual recruiting can still be utilized to help make an informed college selection in the future.
Questions to ask yourself when selecting a college
How many students attend my HS vs how many students attend a college?
How many students are in my graduating class vs how many students graduate a college?
What type of weather am I looking for?
How far do I want to be away from my family?
Can my family come watch me play?
What do I want to study?
What do I want to do after college and how can this school help me get there?
Tips for Navigating the Recruiting Process
- Answer recruiting questionnaire honestly with plenty of follow up
- Utilize Virtual Campus Tours
- Watch current videos of the city and surrounding area
- Review all social media pages of affiliated clubs, schools and personal