Wednesday, February 18, 2009

College Recruiting Question: Does a Letter Mean I'm Getting Recruited?

Parents often ask me whether letters mean their child is a "top recruit" and I have had several parents tell me a laundry list of schools that they thought were recruiting their kid based only on a letter campaign. If you want to know if letters mean that your child is being recruited by a school, the quick answer is no, not yet. Let me share a quick story that will make this all too clear.

There was one (unnamed) school that sent my son more letters than any other school. They never called, never contacted him in any other way, and never came to see him play that we knew of. They requested that he fill out their questionnaire (which he did), but they never followed up with him.

In preparation for a recruiting presentation I was doing where I knew this subject would come up, I decided to see how many letters they had sent. I was guessing 25. When I counted up the letters in his room from this one school, there were 87. That's not a typo--87. After the presentation, I called him at college and told him about it. When I told him how many letters had come from this one school, he laughed and told me that he had thrown away more than half of them.

Clearly, he was on the "if none of our chosen recruits decide to come here" list. There's nothing wrong with a school sending letters to a broad range of kids. You just need to recognize that many of these letters are coming to you from schools and coaches that need to build a database of kids who they can tap if they need to, not because they have an overwhelming interest in your specific kid. So keep it in perspective and know they're only really interested if the letters start to be personal and hand-written, and if they're accompanied by calls and requests for video and game schedules.

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