NCSA has helped more than 65,000 student-athletes find the right fit in college athletics. Plenty of them have graduated and found a high level of success after their college sports careers ended.
Some have gone on to play professionally, others have taken the skills they learned from college sports and applied them to the business world. NCSA has helped countless Athleaders reach their full potential. This is what a few NCSA alums have to say about their experience during the recruiting process, and in college.
Bryan Bulaga – 2010 NFL Draft selection to Packers, University of Iowa Alum
"It all started out with my family and I choosing NCSA to start the process off and guide us to schools and get my name out there. Once my name got out there and some schools started calling around and getting scholarship offers it’s kind of just took off from there. It’s a process that my family and I really went through together. I had them with me throughout the entire time and we visited tons of places, met with a lots of people had a few home visits so there was a lot that we did together and I thought that we came out with the right decision at the end.
The whole recruiting process is a long deal and very drawn out but I went about my decisions because I checked out many schools and I went with the college that I thought fit me best and what was going to be the college that serves my best interest and that was Iowa with Coach Ferentz and Coach Morgan, the offensive line coach, I mean it was just a perfect fit for me and what I was looking to do which was play offensive line in college. I knew that academics were going to be good anywhere I went, especially in the Big10. But yeah, I was looking for a good connection with the coaching staff and good facilities and a good college environment and all those criteria were a perfect fit at Iowa.
I would say join NCSA. If that’s what you’re looking to do and you’re serious about it and you want to get your name out there. If you think you could use some extra help recruiting and your coaches aren’t doing much with it I think NCSA is a great tool to use because it’s a great tool to get your name out there and get some good exposure that you couldn’t do otherwise. NCSA was what started out everything with the profiling and all the email blasts they sent out to the universities they kind of got the ball started for me, get my name out to these schools and getting them to recognize me. I mean I went to a small private Catholic school and without NCSA I doubt my name would be out there too much."
Rebecca Schoonover – 2007 volleyball commit to Brevard College
"Well basically, being 4’11” and trying to enter college volleyball is almost impossible unless you have some connections, so that’s what kind of made me want to join you guys. And after meeting with you it was almost like I need to do this type of thing. I remember I would go onto the websites and try to fill out those questionnaires and in the drop down menu the smallest height they’d have was 5’5” so I was like, ‘dad what am I supposed to do?’ I guess the hardest part was just trying to get people to recognize me especially with that kind of being my handicap. It was very overwhelming. You don’t realize how many schools are out there and what opportunities you have. So joining you guys and having you able to help me I was able to organize things, keep track and pretty much figure out the best fit for me. I had a lot of options and you have the athletic part of it but also find the career part of finding the degree and all that stuff. So in a nutshell that’s kind of my experience as a whole.
I’d say [academics is] very important. Schools and athletics have become so competitive and having that as kind of right behind you, you know, from your skills is kind of if not hand in hand with your skill level as an athlete. Everything’s become so competitive and you need to have academics, you need to have that GPA, you need to have the SATs. I remember my GPA was really great, I mean out of high school it was somewhere around 5.37 or something like that but my SAT scores combined, I didn’t even break 1000. So that part I struggled but you have to be well rounded, not just as an athlete but as a person and in your grades.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re not going to make it or you’re not going to do what you want to do. There’s always a program out there that will take you even if you want to go to a bigger school, you want to go to UF, you want to go to UM, you want to go to these schools that maybe you’re not at the level of Division I or the people you see on TV, still don’t quit on the sport that you love. There’s always other programs and you can always go to those schools and join their club programs and stuff like that. Some of the people that I played club with and had played volleyball longer than I had, their direction didn’t really take them to the athletic part of it but they were still able to pursue it. Also, it’s easier if you start early. That was a big thing. A lot of people that I talk to, that I coach now ask me ‘what do I need to do?’ and I tell them ‘you should have been looking a year ago, you’re pretty behind’. But I would definitely start early, look into those schools, look into all the options at the different levels and there’s always an opportunity out there."
Jay Straight - 2001 Commit to the University of Wyoming
"I was probably the first student athlete that was part of the NCSA network. [Chris Krause] would just come down [to my place], pick me up and just talk recruiting. He would pick me up from my building and we would drive to subway, sit down and talk about the recruiting process. It wasn’t about the name of the program and it wasn’t about the colors or the gym shoes or how many times that program was on ESPN. It was about me going to a program, going to a place where I knew, coming from the Robert Taylor Homes of Chicago, I would have no distractions. Now again, I had Notre Dame and Boston College, Iowa, Michigan, a ton of schools recruiting me. And out of all places I ended up at the University of Wyoming. And that’s why I thank God for Chris. I thank God for having somebody there with me, walking me through the process and it makes it that much easier for making the transition from being a player, to coming back and helping here at NCSA."
David Peterka, 2006 M. Soccer Commit to MidAmerica Nazarene University Founder of When the Saints
"Working with NCSA was incredibly helpful for me. In high school I was unsure of where I wanted to go to college. Then on top of that I did not know what I wanted to study. Partnering with NCSA allowed me to focus on finishing high school without worrying about finding a college. All of a sudden coaches started contacting me as a result of my profile. I was able to ask them questions about the team and school to see if it would be a good fit for me. I ended up finding an amazing college with an incredible soccer team and we went on to win the NCCAA national championship.
During my first year of college while playing soccer I was then able to think about what I'd hope to do for the rest of my life. I got a degree in Intercultural and Urban missions and founded the ministry “When the Saints”. We are building a rehabilitation center for teenage girls who are forced into prostitution in the SE African country of Malawi. I’m so grateful to NCSA for the role that they played in helping to author the story of my life. (To learn more about When the Saints go to www.WhentheSaints.com)."
Patrick Brown - Signed in 2009 to the Carolina Panthers, current Miami Dolphins player, University of Central Florida Alum
"Without NCSA I wouldn't be where I am today. I was skinny in high school and didn't develope into a good football player untill senior year. I had no offers after my season ended senior year. I knew that I needed help so I signed up with NCSA, I started the recruiting process late but through NCSA I was able to get my video out and have coaches from schools like UCF, TCU, Northwestern and Western Michgain contact me. NCSA had sent my video to UCF who called me immediatley and after a few conversations offered me a scholarship. My final decision came down to UCF and TCU but UCF was the right decision for me. NCSA helped get me the exposure I needed to go to school and earn a degree. I now have a successful career in the NFL and I owe it all to NCSA"
Matthew Gallik, 2007 M Volleyball Commit to Lewis University
"My recruiting process was like no other, the attention to detail as well as the amount of effort put into me personally was immense, I felt like I could ask any sort of question at any time of day and they would gladly answer. Personally, I did not have many obstacles if any. The staff of NCSA took care of everything and left no room for error, it was very comforting to know I was in the right hands.
Academics was important during the recruiting process, I knew I wanted to play volleyball at a good school, but when volleyball was over I knew I needed something to show for my time there, therefore academics was a huge part of my decision.
The transition to becoming a college athlete was not hard to adapt to, nor did it take much time. The college I went to was very big on putting academics first as well as the coach. Practice times as workouts were scheduled around our class times and study halls were installed for first year players. All of this made it easier to pursue my academics first, and then turn focus to volleyball.
It felt amazing to represent my college, being at Lewis University not many people outside the Chicago area know where Lewis is, but in the volleyball world everybody knew who we were. Wearing Lewis on my back and taking our school to the Final Four and maintaining a regular season rank within the top ten in the nation along with schools such as USC,UCLA, Stanford, UC Irvine, BYU to just name a few that were also listed among us. When I wear a Lewis shirt now, it seems that more people tend to take notice and ask when our next game was, or to compliment me on our season. A feeling that will never go away easily
I was voted captain my senior year, and at the end of the year amongst my peers I was voted to be "most inspirational" this to me helps show the leadership and ability to put the team before myself the college athletics gave me. In addition to those skills, I believe athletically I became stronger, faster, and I jumped higher than I could ever before.
I would advise that aspiring athletes and parents one major thing and that is to not get caught up in the glamour or the pull of the name of a school. While looking into a school a lot of athletes want to go to big name schools because that’s what they get to brag about, but in reality if you go to that school and you don’t play, or don’t focus on your schooling what is the point? If you go to a school that fits your and you can play and have an impact on your team while pursuing academics and not falling into the blur or other students go for it. But the worst that I have seen happen is that guys go to huge schools so they can brag they go there, but if you’re a bench warmer and never see the playing field or court, what’s the point? Though if that’s what you want to do by all means go after it.
And right now I’m pursuing to go play professional volleyball overseas."
Jeanna Dudley, 2009 Augsburg College Graduate
I graduated from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN in 2013. I knew I wanted to play college hockey and NCSA was there to match me up with plenty of schools where I would succeed both academically and athletically. They helped me create a fantastic video and gave continuous advice on communicating with coaches. It was up to me to make the final decision. The biggest advice I can give to people in high school is, do not pick a school based off of team records or the number one reputation. Find the school where you personally fit in the best and can see yourself. Records and reputation don't matter in the end; it is what you take away from it that really counts. For me, that was Augsburg. I am grateful to have been one of the leaders that molded the women's hockey team into a more competitive and respected team than before I entered. Augsburg helped shape me as a person and I am still growing tremendously because of my experiences. Prior to college I did not know what I wanted to do with my career, but it really does become clear if you are in the right place. Growing up I aspired to become a police officer and coach but prior to college I was unsure of the path I would take to get there. My college experiences taught me the leadership, communication, diversity and proper skills to be confident I can succeed in the Law Enforcement field and coaching. I use everything I have learned along the way in all interviews and every aspect of life. If it weren't for hockey and my college choice I do not know where I would be today as a person. Because of that I owe a huge thank you to my parents Jon and Jan and brother John for always being my biggest supporters and pushing me, my college coach Michelle McAteer for never giving up on me and helping me succeed in all aspects of life, my teammates for being absolutely amazing and lastly, to NCSA for showing me all of my options and assuring me that I was making the proper decision for myself. Never ever give up, if you want something bad enough, go after it!
Anne Schuenke, 2007 W. Volleyball Commit to Lindenwood University Kindergarten Teacher
"I had the pleasure of working with Dave on my journey to find the perfect university for me. Dave made my experience such an exciting and educating time in my life and became a family friend for years. Playing volleyball through high school I knew that I wanted to play in college, and I knew that I wanted to go out of state. With those guidelines NCSA was able to help me and my family and I could not believe the letters that literally started flowing in expressing interest in showing me their school and meeting the team to see if we could be a good fit. Volleyball was always a passion for me as was educating children and I was lucky enough to have a few choice of school that I could go to that had both!
Going to different schools to different states I was able to narrow it down to two schools and it was up to me, I actually was in the position where I had two coaches wanting to pay me to come to their school and I could not believe it! Talking with my family and with both coaches I was able to make the right decision for me. Lindenwood University, 6 hours away from my home town was the place for me and since then I have never looked back. I love playing, I met a ton of life long friends and even my soon-to-be husband! I made the decision my Junior year to not play anymore but because of the school type I was able to keep my scholarship. I stayed very involved with the volleyball teams, and even ended up coaching 2 years for a high school club team.
I am confident that I would have never heard of Lindenwood University, and they would have never heard of me if it was not for NCSA and my mentor through the process Dave Carl. It was such an easy process and I had so many options so I could really make the best decision for me.
I am forever thankful for the services that NCSA provided because going to Lindenwood University continued my love for volleyball, made me into a great Kindergarten teacher, allowed me to meet life long friends, and meet my husband!"
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