While taking care of the soccer side is just as critical in the college recruiting process, identifying and finding the right school is equally, if not even more important.
If playing college soccer is the central ambition of a recruit’s high school years, getting started as a freshman can help set the course over the next four years. That is the approach offered at IMG Academy Soccer, starting in the first year of high school.
“In the college planning process, our goal at IMG Academy is to support the student-athletes in their journey to select a school,” Danny Vivas, IMG Academy College Counselor, said. “Throughout their four years of high school, we want to provide the student-athlete and their family with information, advice, and support during the process. Ultimately, we’re empowering student-athletes to take charge of their journey while they’re guided by a team of coaches, educators, and counselors to find the right fit at the next level.”
Student-athletes at IMG have the advantage to meet in person with their coaches and counselors on a weekly basis. Families receive a detailed program with established “College Placement Guidelines” that emphasize the process from every angle and explains the link and responsibilities between student-athletes, parents, college counseling and coaches in order to find success throughout the journey.
Obviously, in order to get into a player’s dream school, there has to be the right fit between the athletic and academic piece. Each year of high school, IMG Academy Soccer lays out specific benchmarks away from the game that any recruit can follow.
As a freshman, learning to take care of the little things, managing the balance between school and soccer is a starting point. Focusing on strong grades, and getting off to a good start in the classroom can help a player reach the academic standards necessary for high-level Division I schools. Drawing up that list of colleges, spanning a number of levels and keeping it as broad as possible can set the course for the rest of the search.
Sophomore year, taking the PSAT is an ideal next step. Meeting up with a guidance counselor at school provides insight and tips from someone with experience to help a recruit meet his or her academic goals. Getting more serious in the college search can include filling out online recruiting forms and setting up unofficial visits to colleges. Make sure to register with the NCAA eligibility center as well.
Under the Division I recruiting rules, the end of a player’s sophomore year is the juncture when contact with coaches is now allowed. That makes junior year pivotal. Being armed with an ideal level of play that fits a student-athlete’s skill set is important here, and can help to narrow options from the broad list. Asking both coaches and counselors for input for a realistic college list can help to either add or subtract names. Taking the SAT or ACT factors into that as well.
Finally, senior year is the all-important step in the process. Whether armed with a verbal commitment or not is a big piece to this, but regardless, knowing deadlines for the application process is critical. Scheduling official visits, reviewing applications, essays and tracking down recommendations are all items to add to a to-do list. For seniors still looking for the right opportunity, maintaining communication and continuing to narrow options will help each student-athlete’s search get over the line.
IMG Academy Soccer Class of 2021 College Destination