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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Recruiting Services - Fact and Fiction

By Andy Pohl

Signing up with a recruiting service can be extremely enticing, as their sales pitches are hard to ignore. The following is a sample of what many student athletes have mentioned to me in regards to these services: "I hired a recruiting service that sends my profile to hundreds of schools. This service has a success rate of 95%, and their student athletes receive on average $9,000 a year in scholarship dollars."

FACT: A Recruiting Service will never hurt you in the process - in fact, it can only help. The essential question about recruiting services is evaluating whether or not the benefits of these services justify the cost. Many of these services cost thousands of dollars for the creation of a profile and/or video, which they then email to hundreds of coaches nationwide. The overwhelming majority of the schools these services send your information to are probably schools you would never consider attending anyways. With that being said, it is clearly much cheaper to create your own list of schools, and send your own information out to them yourself.

FACT: Recruiting services send out multiple profiles and videos each day to the same college coaches. Because there are numerous organizations doing the same thing on a daily basis, college coaches are inundated with similar emails from recruiting services who are recommending prospects that the services themselves barely know. In short, many of these emails are considered nothing more than junk mail, and are consequently never opened.

FACT: College coaches want prospect information from sources they trust. If student athletes are paying an outside organization to market them to college coaches, the recommendations and evaluations that these companies create are clearly biased.

FACT: Any college coach will tell you that they want to hear directly from the student athlete, not mom or dad, and not from an outside source that is being paid to recommend and represent you. Contacting college coaches on your own is a proactive approach to the recruiting process that shows maturity, poise, and responsibility, aspects that college coaches are looking for in all of their potential players.

FACT: Recruiting services are profit driven organizations. Their focus is to sell their program to as many families as possible. In order to keep enrollment high, they often dishonestly evaluate potential prospects and make promises they cannot keep. While many insist that their primary focus is on student athletes, in all reality this is secondary to meeting their enrollment numbers. With such a large number of student athletes enrolled in a particular recruiting service, they cannot possibly provide everyone the individual attention that they need and deserve.

FACT: Similar to showcases, many recruiting services publicize the names of their student athletes and the scholarship offers they receive. It is unclear as to the role the company actually played in this process.

FACT: Many recruiting services throw out success rates and average scholarship dollars awarded. These numbers are not accurate. Recruiting companies get their success rates from graduating seniors who CHOOSE to fill out a survey indicating their overall satisfaction with the service during the process. Thus, the satisfaction rate can represent a VERY small portion of a service's entire client base. The same can be said for average scholarship dollars awarded. These numbers are also accumulated by those graduating seniors who CHOOSE to fill out the survey and disclose this information. In addition, some may include academic scholarships and financial aid into this average scholarship number. Clearly, student athletes do not need the help of a recruiting service to earn an academic scholarship or to be awarded financial aid dollars. Secondly, there is a clear difference between academic scholarships, financial aid, and athletic scholarships.

FACT: A recruiting service is a tool that has its limitations. If you decide to go with a recruiting service, understand that it is still really critical that you do some work on your own as well. At the end of the day, you need to be your own advocate. In addition, be sure that you consistently communicate and follow up with your recruiting service, and hold them accountable for everything they say they will do for you.

Andy Pohl - Co-Founder, DNA Sports

DNA Sports specializes in personalized baseball and softball skill programs, college recruiting education and preparation, and coaching clinics. Learn more:

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