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What if I don’t get a scholarship offer from my first choice?

April 3, 2008 01:12 PM

By Dede Allen
April 2008 

Spring signing date is just around the corner - this question will become a concern for many seniors.


I’m afraid that I might not get a scholarship offer from my first choice, what should I do?


There isn’t a player out there who doesn’t have their “perfect school” in mind.  I like to refer to the recruiting process as matching your personal desires with your academic talents and your athletic ability in finding an “excellent choice” of school. Unfortunately, not everyone will be offered a scholarship at their first choice.  There are several reasons that you may not receive an offer from your first choice.

• There may not be any “openings” for next year.  Perhaps no one is graduating that may free up some scholarship money.
• The school’s athletic budget may not allow for a full complement of scholarships
The coach may only have limited money available for next year and can only bring in one player.
• You may not have as high a ranking as the coach is looking to recruit.  Some coaches recruit only off of rankings.
• Academically, you may not make the grade - the better your grades the more opportunities will be available to you.
• The coach may feel that you just won’t fit it with the type of players he/she currently has on the team.  Or perhaps the coach feels that the two or you just don’t “fit”.  Trust me, you want to attend a school who has a coach that “fits” your personality as much as the coach wants the same.

Hopefully, you developed some type of backup plan that will help you through this.  If you are a senior this year and you don’t have a plan in mind, you may end up at a school that you haven’t researched very much.  For those of you who are underclassman, you do need to start now to develop a backup plan. 

As the old saying goes “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.  Coaches usually have a good-size list of players with whom they are interested – just as players hopefully look at more than one school.
• Start your sophomore year with a file on schools.  Make notes of any school you have ever heard that has a tennis team. 
• By the time you reach your senior year, this list may not look anything like the one you started two or three years ago.
• Decide on what criteria you will be using to “grade” the schools. (Academics, strength of tennis program, size, location, team and coach personalities - just to name a few)

Prepare three lists: Remember, you have to get into school first!

• Long shots – your “excellent choice” may be in this list.  This should include either athletic and/or academic “long shots”
• Realistic choices – schools that you will probably get in either athletically and academically
• Slam dunks – schools at which you feel sure you will be accepted and be able to play.

As you go through high school continue updating/editing this list and start researching some of the schools that are on your list. These lists may change some as you go through high school.  The criteria you use in the selection process will most likely change as you mature and your ideas of the “perfect school” change.  Use some of the forms included in the Collegiate Guide for High School Tennis Players to help you get organized.

As a sophomore or junior your list may include as many as 20-25 schools.  By the time you get to your 1st semester senior year, your list should be narrowed down to about 6-10 schools (applying to 20 schools gets costly).

• Keep track of the materials that are sent to you from each school
• Study it carefully
• Talk to others – family, friends, guidance counselors, to help give you some ideas
• Keep your list updated; use the comparison sheet (found in the college guide).

If you stay on top of everything, you should be okay.  Keeping the lines of communication open with the coaches involved is key.  Don’t worry spring signing date lasts until August 1.  I’ve had coaches call me in July asking if I know any players who haven’t yet signed.  There is hope!!

If you have specific questions for Dede, please email her at dede@ddasports.com. Answers to your questions may appear in next month’s column! 






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