Picking a College - STEP 1: At this point, it's time to get organized and start putting pen to paper... or finger to keyboard!! You want to start your own spreadsheet to help keep track of your stats, schools, who've you contacted, etc...
We are going to give you a head start by providing you a starter Excel spreadsheet that already has:
A tab with "measurable data" that has the data colleges are looking for mentioned in the YOU section. We've added a YOU row to each position for you to enter your info in and compare to the other divisions. We even filled out the YOU in the Pitcher category and highlighted how this sample person measures up.
A Recruit Tracker tab showing the info you may want to track like location, tuition, coaches info, degrees offered with a contact row for keeping track of who you have contacted and when. The info you will already find on this tab is a sample for someone looking at marine biology. Again, it's just an example.
A College Camp tab listing almost all of the college camps for 2019, the dates, locations, what division the school is in, cost, and age limits.
TO DOWNLOAD OUR STARTER SPREADSHEET
(Some of the cells are filled in as an example to help guide you through how to fill it out)
Picking a College - STEP 2: Now that you have the spreadsheet and you've considered your major, geography, climate, what colleges are looking for, and money... where do we go from here?
Let's start by looking at a list of all colleges with softball programs.
Now let's look at how each division softball programs are ranked.
Picking a College - STEP 3: Let's start finding some colleges for you!! There are many web sites that allow you to search and filter some of the guidelines you may have when looking for a school, but here are two that we've found to be useful.
These folks have a great site. In fact a lot of data on here came from them. Part of their site has a map that allows you to pick a state you are interested in looking for a school.
If you live in Kansas and want to stay local for college, you just KS on the map and you get the following:
It allows you to sort by division, it shows you offerings, scholarships and roster spots. If you click one of the dots on the map it will give you a summary of that school. Let's pick Pittsburgh State.
To go to NCSA map portion of their web site
These folks also have a great site and might be a little more useful when trying to take into consideration multiple factors. In fact, the college search tool is specifically designed to allow you to search using multiple filters.
Let's say you wanted to (obviously) play softball, study marine biology, and be at a college that doesn't get much snow.
Start by filtering Sports and Activities and select Women's Softball
Then filtering by Major and type in marine biology
The site will display schools that offer both softball
and marine biology
In the upper right hand corner there's a map icon. Click it.
Now you can see where those colleges are located on a map!
You can zoom into the map and see where every school is located. If you look at Florida, you'll see 26. That means there's 26 schools that offer both in that state. If you zoom into Florida it will show you a dot similar to NCSA's web site of each school and if you click it, it will give a more detailed break down of the school, again similar to NCSA.
To go to Big Future College Board web site
Picking a College - Step 4: Alright, by now you've started to pick schools. Let's take a look at your spreadsheet and make sure we are being realistic and we have a wide variety of options to work with.
Make sure you have several DI - DII - DIII - NAIA - JUCO schools on your list. In other words, your list should not consist of only the top 4 or 5 DI schools located in California.
If you are not locked into geography (i.e. You have to go to school close to home), make sure you select schools in a range of locations. Don't get hyper-focused on one city or state.
And remember... Don't be afraid of schools with higher costs. There's a lot of other ways to pay for school (see the Money section) . So don't automatically cross off a school you don't think you can pay for.
A - B - C SCHOOLS
You should have noticed a "Pick" column on the Recruit Tracker spreadsheet with an A - B - C in some of the cells. What does that mean?
Dream School Go through your spreadsheet and put an "A" next to the schools that you would consider to be a dream school. Based on your athletic ability or academics. This would be a school that you think is a stretch to make, but you would love love love to play there!
Just Right School Go through your spreadsheet an put an "B" next to the schools that you would consider to be "just right" for you. It would be hard to get in, but not impossible. You feel your skill sets match their team and you can see yourself fitting into the teams chemistry.
Walk-On School Go through your spreadsheet an put an "C" next to the schools that you would consider to be a school that you could show up for a try-out right now and they would give you an offer before the try-out was over.
MAKE NOTE: Try to have a ratio of at least 5 -10 - 5 of A - B - C schools on your list (and don't freak out if it's closer to 20-40-20). Remember, this list will evolve day-by-day and month-by-month. Let it. It's meant to help keep you organized, not restricted, as you journey down this very long path of recruitment!