Going to College Archive

When Should Junior Golfers Begin Visiting and Researching Colleges?

It is important to get ahead in the college placement process

Finding the right college to attend can be an extremely long and complicated process. As student-athletes, junior golfers must identify a school that provides the proper environment for them to succeed both academically and athletically. Knowing when to start this process can ultimately determine whether or not the school they attend is a good fit.

Junior golfers have the benefit of traveling, both regionally and nationally, to tournaments throughout the summer and occasionally during the academic year. In many instances, junior golf tournaments are staged in cities where college campuses are located. In these cases, it is very important that the student and his or her parents take some time during their trip to visit these local campuses. If possible, contact the coach in advance to see if he/she is available for a brief introductory meeting. Other than during dead periods, NCAA rules allow coaches to meet with prospects and their parents on their respective campus beginning September 1 of the prospect's junior year in high school. If you call an NCAA Division I coach and leave a message, recruiting rules will prohibit the coach from returning your call unless it is after September 1st of your junior year in high school. If the coach does not answer the phone, keep calling back. Introduce yourself and let him/her know you would like to visit their campus one day before or after your tournament. The more campuses you visit, the better your understanding will be with regard to campus size, academic offerings, athletic facilities, student population, and proximity to home.

Often times students will decide not to visit a campus because they have no interest in ever attending that school. Instead these visits can be very productive in helping college prospects better understand exactly what they are searching for in a college. Students can learn something important each time they visit a college campus.

I recommend that families begin visiting campuses as early as 9th grade and no later than 10th grade. These visits can also motivate a young person to work harder in the classroom and on the golf course in hopes of someday participating as a collegiate student- athlete.

Another important step in this process that needs to start early is college research. Junior golfers, along with their parents, should begin to collect as much information as possible on all of the colleges they have interest in attending. The Ping American College Golf Guide and Golfstat are excellent websites to use throughout this entire process. Again, it is important that the initial research begin as early as 9th grade but no later than 10th grade. Students should solicit the assistance of their high school academic advisors to identify and target potential college fits. If the student’s high school has someone specifically designated to assist with college placement, schedule a meeting with him/her early during 10th grade to get a head start on the process. Many people wait until late in their junior year or even during their senior year to think about where they want to attend college. As a student-athlete, you cannot wait this long if you expect to target schools that will be a good fit for you and have roster positions still available. Sometimes rosters fill up a year or two in advance leaving last minute recruits without an opportunity to play on the team of their choice.

Everyone knows how competitive the college recruiting environment has become. Make sure you have done your homework and visited colleges before being recruited during your junior year. It’s never too early to start thinking about where you want to attend college and what to look for in the search.

Good luck!

Coach Brooks
Red Numbers Golf®

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