Cor4 soccer: College Prep

I. What does it take to play in College?
Auburn University
Samford Hall / Auburn University
This question is asked of college coaches across the nation on a daily basis. The answer can be as broad and as vague as the question itself. Is there a program for you? Yes! Can you walk into any program and compete immediately? No! To compete as a college soccer player, a student-athlete must be focused,dedicated, and opportunistic.  However, to play college athletics you are not limited to only Division I programs.

College coaches look for players with skills and the right mentality / passion... Does the player put their head down and walk back after a bad play? Do they whine if a call doesn't go their way? Does a player shy away from physical contact?  Is a player encouraging to their teammates? Does a player walk or jog in when the coach calls? Do they listen when the coach is talking?  Is their jersey tucked in and socks up? ...UCF coach Matt Dillon says " many coaches don't notice those little things... but I do. We (college coaches ) have to look at these little things because we are basing our job on those 17 year old players."

When you are competing, you measure your capacity to take physical risks, your capacity to push through your pain threshold, and your capacity to compete psychologically. Those defining moments are constant in contact sports. If two players are running for the same destination, the one with the weaker psychological dimension is going to time it so he/she gets to the defined point late. In other words, he/she is going to time it so he/she misses the confrontation with the other player. That's the defining moment of that duel: Who is going to slow down and who isn't?  [Anson Dorance- Head Coach-Univ. of North Carolina]

The level of play of collegiate athletics is nothing like high school or club. The collegiate level player is challenged to help his or her team each and every day. Your training and travel will account for nearly 20 hours per week and then you still must maintain your grades and class work. So if you are serious about collegiate athletics, you must make a commitment, take a mature attitude and approach to the game and understand your role as a member of the team.
All soccer players must have physical, technical and tactical skills. To become a collegiate player you must add the Psychological dimension to your game!

Check out what the United States Youth Soccer Association has to say about making the Jump to College Soccer.

II. Paying for College

A. College Costs
     Today, college costs an average family $122,350 per child and in 15 years, the cost of a college education is projected to exceed $204,975 per child.  Check out the College Costs & Savings Calculator to forecast how much money you will need to pay only tuition fees for college. The following is a list of items to consider in the total cost of college: 
        -  Tuition                       -  Books                    -  Fees 
        -  Supplies                     -  Computer               -  Room
        -  Board                        -  Travel                     -  Car
        -  Insurance                   -  Gas                        -  AAA membership
        -  Cell Phone                 -  Moving costs          -  Clothes
        -  Utilities                      -  Misc. Expenses       -  Entertainment
        -  Special Athlete Insurance (Required - your insurance may not  cover                         if injured  playing collegiate sports)

B. Scholarships & Differences between Division I, II and III

    Division III and Ivys do not offer athletic money but all colleges want to win, so they are incredibly liberal in their interpretation of the term "merit". These college coaches must get creative and you can help with high test scores and grades.

C. The Financial Aid Package
There are five kinds of money that can make up a college's offer to a student-athlete.
1. Athletic Money - scholarship money awarded strictly from athletic department.This amount is regulated by NCAA rules.          
2. Merit Money - awarded based on the college's very broad interpretation of the individuals desirability. High test scores often justify these awards. This source is infinitely large and all colleges have it.
3. Work Study - on campus jobs based on need. Usually very light duty allowing for athletics & study time.
4. Grants - awards from the college,city,foundations,states and the government.
5. Debt - Borrowed money that must be paid back (PLUS, GSL,Stafford, private loans..)

D. Financial Aid Websites / links
  Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

  • The FAFSA is the basic application for all financial aid at Marietta College.

  • It is used to apply for all forms of financial aid from all sources: federal, state, and institutional

  • Students may complete either a paper application or may choose to complete the form on-line

  • Either way, be sure to carefully read and follow all instructions and complete the entire form.


  • National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators home page

  • Provides general information about financial aid programs, access to financial aid publications and links to other financial aid web sites.

Financial Aid Information Page

  • Possibly the most comprehensive financial aid site available on the web

  • Information about all types of financial aid

  • Links to financial aid applications and free scholarship searches

  • Provides checklists and calculators

  • Ability to ask questions on-line


  • Free scholarship search engine

  • Also provides general admission and financial aid information

Federal PLUS Loan

  • On-line application for federal parent loan

  • Makes the entire loan application process faster and more efficient

  • Receive full credit check approvals on parent loans in minutes

  • Use the phone (1-888-2-SALLIE) if you don't have Internet access

  • Use Laureate's up-to-the-minute information to review the status of their loan funds at any time of the day or night

Financial Aid - Peterson


  • Site for college savings plans & student loan information.

The Princeton Review (" Must see" site for any student )

  • Great Scholarship search engine

  • College Info

  • Test preparation

  • On-line college applications

College Board

  • Planning for college

  • College profiles

  • Paying for college; aid, scholarships, financial tools…

  • Test preparation


III. The College Selection Process
The process of identifying your interests and selecting the appropriate colleges should begin early. Your freshman year in high school is not too soon. Most college coaches begin to identify student-athletes as high school juniors. The majority of students and parents believe talented athletes are actively recruited and offered " full ride " scholarships. The reality is that only 2% of these student-athletes are actively recruited by leading college coaches, leaving the remaining 98% left to recruit themselves. You must take the initiative to contact the schools that interest you !! 

Create a Game Plan and be Realistic

     1. Try this formula for getting scholarship money for college: Look for expensive, private schools, with an excelent education and a weak team… especially those colleges that have a source of funding. A weak team means a need for skilled players. Sources of funding are schools with successful football & basketball teams, endowment cash (Princeton ), research grants and institutional backing like the Academies or religious institutions ( Notre Dame,SMU,Baylor..)       

     2.The following College Timeline / Calender will lay out what you should be doing now, in high school, to earn a scholarship:

Freshman/Sophomore Year
Academic Tasks:

Take a strong academic course load so you will meet the NCAA regulations at graduation. The regulations state that before graduation you must successfully complete your core curriculum as outlined by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Make a 3.0 (B average ) your absolute minimum.
In your Sophomore year consider taking a PSAT that will give you an early look at the format of the SAT and also as an early indicator of some strengths and weaknesses. Also, write to your 25 target colleges and request information on admissions and athletic programs.
Athletic Tasks:
Begin to develop a sports record of athletic accomplishments.
Participate in select programs for advanced coaching, high level of competition, exposure.
Target 25 colleges and attend summer camps to improve skills, experience living away from home to compare your current skills with others. You will also meet the coaching staff and players!!Tryout for ODP(Olympic Development Program) or CAP(college athlete program) if in AYSO.

Junior Year
Academic Tasks:
Work with your guidance counselor to develop a list of possible schools you might attend based on your athletic and academic achievements.
Continue to take strong academic courses. Your junior year grades are very important.
Register for or take the required standardized tests: PSAT, ACT, SAT. Scores will improve every time you take them.
Attend college nights and fairs, read any and all literature sent to you. Send postcards requesting information.
Develop an Extracurricular Activity worksheet.
Investigate if your school has a college search computer program.
Visit college campuses and collect information.
Summer SAT Prep course if necessary (investigate such courses first; consult with Guidance).Submit the NCAA Cllearinghouse form.
Athletic Tasks:
Develop an athletic profile sheet.
Ask your coach to thoroughly evaluate your athletic skills and recommend the appropriate level of college competition.
Collect all newspaper clippings in which you are listed.
Read the booklet "NCAA Guide for the College Bound Student Athlete." This booklet summarizes rules and regulations that govern recruiting, eligibility, financial aid, and transferring.
Attend summer camps. Consider attending one at the college you might most like to attend. Especially if the coach of that program knows you are interested in that school.
Ask your coach to be active on your behalf by responding to questionnaires sent by recruiting coaches and by calling or writing college coaches.

Senior Year
Academic Tasks:

Send for college applications early in the fall
Register and take the standardized tests as early as possible.
Update your extracurricular Activity Sheet (GPA,awards,honors..) and include it with your application.
Write a personal statement and include it with your application.
Complete your college applications and give them to your guidance counselor to mail to the admissions office.
Apply for financial aid by completing the FAF form. This form must be mailed after January 1st.
Schedule visits to schools where you have applied. Tour the campus and talk with an admissions representative.
Athletic Tasks:
Write to college coaches to express your interest in their school and athletic program. Include your Athletic Profile. Inform him or her if your application has been sent. Include a copy of your seasons schedule.
Respond to any general college questionnaires and specific athletic inquiries from coaches.
Ask your coaches to write letters of recommendation for you.
Market yourself. Do not sit and wait to be contacted. You must take the initiative and work on your own behalf.
Visit every college you are seriously considering. Talk with athletes to find out what they like or don't like about the program or coach.
Make a list of the positives and negatives of each school immediately after the visit.Call each coach and honestly discuss the offers you have.

     3.Student – Athletes must register with the NCAA Clearinghouse. Go to the site for information , forms… Check out NCAA Clearinghouse Schedule for a timeline of when items should be completed or check with school counsellors.

B. Know all the Rules

1. NCAA Recruiting Rules & Terminology

2. NCAA– National Collegiate Athletic Association

3. NAIA - National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

C. College campus visits / tours

1. Campus Recruiting Visits

2. Making the Right Choice – a checklist of questions to ask while visiting. You must figure out what kind of "atmosphere" you would be going to.

D. Narrowing your Choices – a checklist to help analyze programs / schools.


IV. Communicating with College Coaches

A. You should plan out what information to include when writing to coaches. Many coaches are not the best at keeping organized in the office. The great ones do their work on the field. With that in mind be short,concise, and neat. Show interest in their program and make it easy for the coach to find out about you.

B. Look at this College Coach’s Questionaire from Coach Karen Hoppa at Auburn University to see what type of  information coaches are looking for.

C. Sample Letters / Profiles from college bound site of SBS

    Sample Letter 1

    Sample Letter 2

    Sample Resume 1

    Sample Resume 2

    Sample Resume 3

    Sample Player Profile


V. College Resources / Links
Information provided by the follwing:

1. The Sport Source - College profiles & " Matchfit ", an online college/player matching     service. See links page!!
2. Student Athlete Magazine - Publications on how to win scholarships...
5. Petersons - Guide to 4 year colleges
6. The Princeton Review
7. The College Board