Great insight on college recruiting process for distance runners, as well as track athletes. You do not have to go D1 in order to be successful. Go to where you are valued. Go to where they love you, not where you love to go!
The Mater Dei Cross Country program's sole mission is give every athlete a chance to train at a high level and compete at a high level. Although we are proud that many of our varsity athletes are competing in college, we do not train athletes for the sole purpose of getting a college scholarship. Cross Country performances and very important but not as important as Track performances.
Review the USC Recruiting Standards below for a good idea of what times and marks Division 1 schools are looking for when recruiting a Track & Field athlete. Also review the USC Cross Country Recruiting Standards which are posted in the Women's Track document below.
Social Media. A quick way to discourage a college coach is post something that reflects you in a negative manner. College coaches do not want to see your negative attitude on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook pages. They certainly do not want to see you in a social atmosphere (photo) that questions your commitment to Track & Field. More and more college coaches and future employers are looking at social media to determine the true character of their future athletes as well as employees. BE CAREFUL!
College Recruitment Tips
1. Where do you really want to go? Create a realistic list of the schools you are planning to apply to or attend. Factor in such things as majors available, weather, cost, level of team (can you make their team?), etc. Return any questionnaires that are sent to you by coaches, even if you think you won't be going there.
2. But they haven't recruited me yet! Once you have your list, email all of the coaches on the list to let them know you are interested in their team as a possible destination. Be sure to include you name, PR's, grades, reasons why you want to attend their school, and questions about the program. Remember, with all of the great runners out there, it is easy for you to get overlooked. By getting your name out to the coach, you have a better chance of getting interest.
3. Visit take a tour! During the fall and winter is a great time to go and make visits to all of the colleges that you are interested in, especially the ones the coaches get back to you on. Visits can give you a good sense of the campus, the coaches, and how the team environment is. Remember, running in college is more of a business than it is in high school, so you have to be sure to pick the place you want to go to practice at everyday, all year long!
4. Keep your options open! Remember, by applying to multiple schools, and not jumping at the first offer that comes along, you increase your chance of finding the right fit for yourself at the next level. Continue to email/call all the coaches on your list through the track season. Sit down with your parents and your coaches for guidance on which school is the right fit for you. Ultimately, YOU are the one who is attending this school, pick the one that you will be happy at!
5. Have your paperwork in order! There are a lot of steps to going to college. Make sure to take the PSAT and SAT. Make sure you are eligible in college by applying through the NCAA Clearinghouse. Fill out all of the applications for the schools you are applying to by their deadlines.
6. Know thy levels... Colleges come in all shapes and sizes, and so do their athletic teams. There are many different levels of college XC and track available to you. The level of competition is a little less as you go down the list below. Think about which level you can realistically run at, and where you would enjoy yourself the most.
7. Make sure you want to compete in Cross Country. One of the most important items for success is desire. Athletes who really want to run in college usually will be successful. Athletes that don't want to put in all that time, usually will find it difficult to continue on. Remember, running in college is a full time year round commitment. If you are unsure if you want to run, discuss it with the coaching staff well in advance of joining their team.