October 5, 2011

College Volleyball Recruiting - To Commit or Wait?

Dear Coach,

My DD (6’1” Junior  - front row player) is playing her High School season now.  She has taken 8 unofficial visits which were organized by using her club as a “communication handler”.  Out of those first visits, she received one offer, but not from one of her dream schools.  Although, two of the eight schools that she visited are “dream schools (i.e., top 40 D1)”.  Her single offer came from a school not much farther down the 2010 RPI ranking though so I think she may be on the bubble for dream schools and might be a number two or three pick.  Now, she has two 2nd visits scheduled to watch home matches and spend the night with the team…again not in the “dream school” category.  She received letters on Sept 1 which included one from a visited dream school.  She replied to dream school and asked about their 2013 needs.  The visited dream school replied and said that they still need 2013 players that play her position.   

So, I have 3 questions…

  1. Second visits: One of these is a 5 hour drive, missed day of school, and hotel expense.  With all of this effort, and knowing that the coaches are really busy now, is it safe to assume that an offer will be made on this visit?  We’ve already done a full day visit before.  Given the effort, is it rude to ask?  It’s a couple of weeks out.
  2. Waiting for the dream school:  I’m pretty sure the dream schools have offers out to their number one pick and are waiting to find out if they need to drop to their number two pick (my DD).  Do you have any recommendations on how long to wait this out, and how to manage the process?  I expect some pressure from her existing offer before too long.
  3. President’s day 2012:  Are there many top 40 D1 programs scouting for 2013 players, or are they mostly done except for a few that are following their number 2 picks?

Thanks so much,
Volley Dad

First of all, I would like to thank Volley Dad for presenting a very clear and structurally pleasing email and questions!  
My structurally pleasing and (hopefully) very clear reply:

1.  Before committing the time and money of a second out of town visit, you must ask where they stand in the offer of a scholarship for your PSA.  As both you and the school are beyond the 'meet and greet' stage, it is now business, and it is just good business to ask if an offer will be made.  They should at least be able to tell you directly where your PSA stands in line for a scholarship offer.  It can be as simple as, "Coach, please let me be direct - If we come for this second visit, is Mary going to receive a scholarship offer?".  A simple yes or no question and it should be answered just as simply.  If the Head Coach (and make sure you are talking to the Head Coach and not an assistant) will not commit to offering a scholarship, then I would not spend the resources to make this trip, unless there are some areas of the school/program your daughter wishes to re-examine.

2.  That is a tough call; each school and each VolleyFamily has a time frame from which they operate.  I have seen both sides want to have a decision within 48 hours, while others will sit on a scholarship offer for months.  Best guesstimate I can give you is a 1 to 3 week window; the hyper accelerated time frame of current recruiting has seemed to lead to much quicker decisions by everyone now.  I believe the better question is how effective are you communicating with current and potential schools? Don't close the door on opening doors with schools you may not have considered or schools which had originally told your PSA they did not have any opportunities.  As you only have one scholarship offer on the verbal table and your DD is not 'sold' on that, keep reaching out to new schools as you communicate with current schools.

3.  I do think that a number of top 40 programs will still be recruiting the 2013 PSA class come President's Day next year just because of roster changes during this current season and potentially during the 2012 season.  Scholarships have a way of opening up because of injury, academics, The One and Done of college coaches, etc.  Also, please consider that today's Top 40 program may not be the Top 40 team of 2013.  Sure, Penn State and Stanford are not going anywhere, but the 25-40 range is always in flux; especially with the conference craziness driven by Football.  For example, Utah made a huge jump in its ranking just by being accepted into the Pac 12.

There is something to be said about your PSA (and her parents) following her instinct, her 6th sense, that voice she hears at night when things are quiet.  It is amazing how often that voice is right and how in hind sight, if we had listened to that voice, it may have made our path more enjoyable.  

Keep working hard on communication and getting answers to your questions, but also listen to that inner voice.


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