The ultimate goal of the college and recruiting process is to find the school that will be the best all-around fit.
The best path to accomplish this is to put yourself in a position so that the coaches and schools that you are interested in are interested in you. So far in our series, we’ve talked about how to stand out to schools and coaches, but an essential part of the process is the schools that you are interested in.
As with the other pieces of the puzzle that comprise the recruiting process, playing softball at the next level adds layers and complexity to the college process – and finding the right school is no different. Athletics add another level of consideration about fit, and also another important factor that can play into your admissions process.
Above all, remember these three things:
1) College choice is an academic decision. When you’re talking with a college coach at a showcase, you’re in a softball jersey, but ultimately selecting a college is an academic decision and experience.
2) Softball careers end. All of them – whether it’s after four years of great college softball or 16 years playing for the Chicago Bandits. You never know when an injury could put you on the sideline or when you’ll play your last game – choose a college because it’s right on multiple levels, not just because it’s an athletic fit. Choosing the right college will help establish your path and create opportunities after your playing career is over.
3) A college “fit” is a holistic view. Finding the right school means considering on-field and off-field factors: team chemistry, coach fit, academic setting, geography, among others.
If you’re reading this, playing softball at the college level is likely an important piece of the whole, and a step in the process, but don’t let it overshadow other factors that weigh into finding the right school for you as a student-athlete.
Some questions to ask yourself throughout the process and as you learn more about the schools:
Is a school the right type of academic fit? Finding an academic fit is crucial to the college experience, and includes everything from the rigor of academics to the programs and majors that you’re considering. Interests and majors change, and it’s important to keep an open mind and to engage new challenges and experiences. Great first steps include a thoughtful assessment of your potential for academic success at a given school, and a review of the type of programs that they offer.