September 27, 2010

College Volleyball Scholarship Offer Time Frame

My daughter is in the class of 2012. She has been fortunate to have been recruited by numerous top D-1 programs. She has several (more than 10) offers from schools in the top 50 rankings. She has made numerous unofficial visits, repeat visits, met with players, academic advisers, coaches, etc. She is not ready to make a decision yet, but she is down to a select few.

She is comfortable with these, but one of those on her list has stated that she is very high on their list but they are not ready to offer just yet. It is probably the school that is the best fit for her and top of her list. Evidently they were not looking for an athlete in her position in her year. But after they saw her in several venues, they are debating offering her despite this and red-shirting her the freshman year. This is a continual top 25 school, so they have many athletes to choose from. They are not the only top 25 school recruiting my daughter either, just the one where she is most comfortable. To add to this, she is being recruited by some schools as a setter, some as an attacker, some to play in a 6-2. This particular school is looking at her as a setter, and they were not planning on recruiting a setter until 2013.

We are aware that she can wait and still have options. But we also know that because of the higher level, if she waits too long, there may not be the options at this level. After this long description, my basic question is, how long should she realistically wait?

There have already been some offers with deadlines and she has said she isn't ready. She is prepared to let those go if necessary, (no one has presented her with a ultimatum for an answer yet, but that is probably coming soon) but as time goes, we become more worried about waiting too long. This process has been overwhelming, any suggestions would be helpful. And no, she doesn't have a preference if she hits or sets.

Thank you - CC

First of all - This is a very good problem to have and I hope that along with the feeling of being overwhelmed, there is the feeling of relief that your daughter has the ability to choose her athletic and academic future at elite institutions.

My instinct is that nothing will really become 'serious' with deadlines/offers until after the college volleyball season is done, and most likely after the Holidays. The elite level programs, which you have referenced, enjoy maximum staffing and can stay on top of the recruiting world, but they still have the duty of their day job - The college volleyball season.

The season takes the majority of the focus of college coaches (even the elite DI teams), and then we all tend to shut it down mentally over the Holidays. Just before we can get out to watch club volleyball after the Dead/Quiet period (middle to end of January), things will get a bit more stressed with current offers. College programs may press a bit on their current outstanding offers, whether it is to the 2012 class or the 2011 class. The coaches want to get the verbal commitments, so they can move on to open scholarships as their main focus (there is always another open scholarship because there is always another recruiting class). It is during this time frame that stress can really ramp up for VolleyFamilies.

A suggestion is to take the lead in the recruiting process - It is obvious that your daughter has elite talent and has acceptable options, so why not establish a time frame that she is comfortable with. I believe it is well within reason to tell all those schools she is keenly considering (including her best/top fit who has yet to offer), that you anticipate making decision by such and such a date; say, January 10th or December 26th or February 15th or December 1st. Just look ahead and try to figure out what date feels good for your daughter and go with it - Does not mean you can't decide earlier, and if you need more time it does not mean you can't delay. Remember that you're the boss applesauce!

By doing this, you provide feedback to college programs about her decision process and you take some burden off of your daughter and allow her to be a junior in high school. Again, I feel most college programs will be OK with waiting until or after the Holidays, and those that won't, well, maybe they were really not the ones for your daughter's future.

This window of time should also allow her top school to figure out their recruiting scenario, thus providing some clarity to your daughter. Your daughter needs to wait as long as it takes for her to become comfortable with her decision. I understand there is the anxiety of possibly having an offer pulled and the desire to put the stress behind everyone, but this is a life altering decision for your daughter.

Hope that helped and good luck.

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