I often write about insights I gain when I deliver NCSA’s College Recruiting 101. Last night, Wednesday Dec 3rd, I spoke to athletes and their families from South Bend (IN) Schools. South Bend Dir. Of Athletics Kirby Whitacre has seen what it takes to become a college student athlete over the years. When he was the A.D. at Mishawaka High School he had great advice for the athletes that got Questionnaires from Colleges. Of course, he advised them to return the Questionnaires. He also encouraged them to attach a personal hand written note thanking the College coach for sending the Questionnaire.
Whitacre also suggested they create their own note. A funny high school athlete would write something funny. A serious athlete would put a motivational quote at the bottom of the card. College coaches like that kind of thing. One of his high school softball players created a card in the shape of a softball. One signed her note “from your new centerfielder.” That showed moxie, but College coaches like that fire within.
Whitacre also had some interesting insights on the SAT. He said for twenty years he had been debating with counselors on when recruitable athletes should take the SAT. Often, students are advised to take it late in the junior year. The reason being is that they have more math under their belt. Whitacre has argued that the recruitable athlete should take it early in the junior year for these reasons: First, if they do poorly, they can work on improving the score. He cited a 6-2, 200 pound girls softball pitcher they had who could throw bullets. She had several D1 offers but her SAT was not high enough. Her parents immediately got her into a SAT prep program. In three weeks she raised her score by 200 points and got a great package to pitch at the University of Illinois. Second, if they do well by taking it early in the Junior year, the pressure is off and they don’t have to take it again. Of course, they can do well and still take it again and improve it even more.