My daughter is a top setter recruit for the class of 2015. She is blessed with a lot of attention. She has several schools she would like to visit and evaluate. At what point should she tell certain schools she is not interested, because she is just entering her sophomore year? The recruiting process seems so early and there is pressure to commit. She has already been told that a top school has signed a freshman. It is pretty crazy. She has compiled a list of her top ten schools, but is it unfair to wait until next summer when I think the earliest decision should be made? We want the best situation for her. Do you have any etiquette suggestions?
Thanks in advance and love your site,
Congratulations on your PSA's talents and the collegiate opportunities they have created. In my book, Inside College Volleyball, I have a few etiquette suggestions about communicating the "no thank you".
There seem to be three categories of PSA's when it comes to the recruiting time frame; 1) pressured very early to NCAA Division I commit because they have obvious elite talent/potential and are usually hitters, 2) Sophomore to Junior year DI commitment time frame which reflects demonstrated collegiate potential, 3) Senior year commitments which encompass everything from midlevel DI to Junior Colleges.
As you have smartly waited until your sophomore season to get into the serious recruiting stages (which I applaud you for), you would fall into the 2nd category. In my opinion, to commit as a freshman is illogical; it ignores all the recent trends in college volleyball recruiting and collegiate athletics. College programs have become comfortable committing freshman because they know they can easily cut them as college freshman (or sooner), if they do not matriculate as anticipated.
In terms of your questions, I would keep an active list of 20 schools. It is still early and who is to say that a couple of your top 10 schools won't go through a coaching change? Your list can easily be reduced by 30 percent before January 2013. There are more college volleyball coaching changes than ever before.
I would also wait to commit until spring of your sophomore year - Again, the threat of a coaching change is the biggest reason. Even if a coach is heading a long time winning program, there are just situations that pop up; the most common being an Athletic Director change and the new AD wants their "own" head coaches. I have seen it happen too often.
Once she has established her top 20 list, then it would be best to start 'releasing' schools this fall she knows she won't be considering. Simplest way is just to send an email letting them know she is narrowing her list, and she requests that they remove her from their recruiting database. It is better for them to know they need to focus on other setters, and it simplifies your process.
With any new schools that contact her, you need to have a quick review of their attributes to determine if they should make her list - Do not automatically exclude schools because of solidifying the top 20 list. If a new school does not fit the parameters, send a response email letting them know you have narrowed your list. If a school does fit, then move forward. My instinct is that your VolleyPSA will continue to receive contact from schools, especially as a setter and as college coaches figure out what they have and don't have this college volleyball season in terms of setting talent.
I would start taking unofficial visits to these 20 schools in reverse order; from top to bottom of her list. Of course, 20 visits is out of the financial and calendar possibility, but the philosophy is the same.
The first visit to a program is to determine a general 'yea' or 'nay' vote on the school. Also plan on a second visit before making a commitment; remember that the college coaches are going to show you want they want you to see, not necesarily what you should see.
I would recommend making at least second visits to 3 schools, and only those which have offered. She will know when she knows, but do not let her commit to a school until she has taken a second visit and returned home.
If you have done your research, taken two visits, and the school fits the parameters important to your family, then a spring commitment to a school is ok. But, if she hesitates at all, and is not comfortable with everything about a school, then wait and keep going through the recruiting efforts - Doubt means Don't!
Hope that helps and good luck this club season!
Coach Matt Sonnichsen
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