Our daughter is a 5'11 setter, class of 2018. We have your book and it's been very helpful, love the website.
She has been getting unsolicited letters from very good (academic and athletic) D1 schools across the country with requests to fill out questionnaires. She currently feels she would like to stay within a few hours of home. However that isn't for certain, she has a long way to go in high school. And there is no guarantee a great school within a couple hours of here will offer her.
1. Should she respond to each and every inquiry that she receives even though she thinks at this time she'd like to be near home?
2. Is the letter with request for questionnaire a test by the college to find out if she has interest? If she fails to reply now will they likely take it as a sign and stop following up with her? Or will they follow up regardless?
I know you say sophomore slow but tall setters seem to be in a certain demand. Makes a parent a bit anxious.
It sounds as if your daughter is one of those select players which are going to be recruited early and active in the process. While this can be an exciting and positive projection of a collegiate opportunities, it can easily lead to more family stress, as it will accelerate the timing beyond what a family may anticipate.
Even though it can be extremely tough to accomplish, compounded by NCAA DI coaches creating artificial pressure via deadlines and referencing other recruits, families must work hard to slow down the tempo of recruiting whenever possible.
As to your questions:
1. Yes - Have her respond to each questionnaire she receives, within a big picture reality. Be open to schools outside of today's geographic comfort zone, be open to schools a little bigger or smaller than today's thought, be open to academic avenues, be open to a variety of rankings - all of the above examples should be within reason. For instance, if your daughter is into art and poetry, then responding to a hard core engineering school may not be the best questionnaire or if mom/dad are not comfortable with New York City dense population type school location, then maybe pass on the applications from such city schools. But in general, respond to all questionnaires.
2. The questionnaire is a test. Even though the information on the questionnaire will change (club team, cell phone, email), the schools need this response to make sure they are managing their database effectively, along with some athletic department recruiting paperwork mandates. If a player does not respond, many schools will send an additional questionnaire, but there is no guarantee. Families must remember that there are many, many players just as good as their daughter and the college coaches are not going to chase the non-responsive players when other comparable athletes are excited to engage.
With your daughter being on the upper end of the setter recruiting curve, she should be returning questionnaires and the family needs to be engaging in slow and steady research about the college coaches, the college volleyball program and the academics of the school. I say slow and steady, so families won't get overwhelmed cramming for the collegiate athletics/academic recruiting final exam.
Try as hard as you can to keep it Sophomore slow…