Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer Tips for the Prospective Student-Athlete By, Tom Kovic

Many believe the summer is a time where college coaches switch to lower gears. The regular season is complete and the student-athletes have headed home for a well-deserved break. Nothing can be further from the truth! Opportunity is eminently knocking and if there is a prime season for recruiting, it is during the summer. Below are some auxiliary tips to consider as you move your college recruiting effort to a higher level.
Define Goals:
Whether you had that “magical season for the books" or one where you hit a brick wall at the end, now is the time to “ferret out” your past season and put it into lucid perspective. The young prospect that has the ability to be introspective in his approach to the past year and pull significant learning points from both positive and negative experiences is well on his way in developing self-awareness and effectively plotting the next target in his college search.
Don't just muddle forward through your summer. Face it as the ultimate challenge in "rising up" to a higher athletic level. Determine the skill set you want to achieve and ask yourself two questions: Are these aims reasonably within my grasp? Am I selling myself short? Once you have done a "reality check," determine your goals and place them at the vanguard of your priority list.
Team Approach:
Include your club and/or high school Coach in reviewing your goals and helping you build your plan of attack. This approach shows respect for Coach and your willingness to reach to him for advice. Second, it demonstrates a mature approach in utilizing a team approach and in this case, with an individual who wants to help!
By including Coach in the mix, he now has a vested interest in the final product and with that interest will grow a willingness to become a key player in the effort.
Whether you intend to provide the college coaches with your latest SAT score or with an improved look to your athletic skill set, the rule of thumb here is to give it "grip." Coaches are simply swamped, even during the summer when their travel schedules accelerate. By keeping communication updates simple and crisp, you are assisting Coach and he will appreciate the effort.
As soon as you have compiled your academic progress records (past year grades, standardized testing and academic awards), forward them along in a clean and easy to read format.
Next, re-cap your past season in a bullet format that includes your team record, individual statistics and personal accolades. Let Coach know where you will be attending tournaments and showcases and as these events draw nearer, send a more personal and detailed communication about each event.
Finally, update your personal profile, video stream and share it with the coaches. Keep it clean and crisp and remove any unnecessary and outdated information.
Take a Road Trip:
A good road trip is your “backstage pass” to the college search for athletes and taking unofficial visits to several of your top schools of interest is a great way to get a "look under the hood" to determine if the institution is a potential "match."
The campus visit is extremely important and requires careful planning. Coaches are like hot potatoes during the summer and it can be very difficult to track them down without proactive communication. Contact the office of admissions and determine when campus tours and information sessions are offered, but you also want to make every attempt to schedule a meeting with Coach.
Contact the college coaches 4-6 weeks prior to your planned trip and determine their schedule and availability to meet with you. You should be pleasantly surprised with how these campus visits will jump start your recruiting quest!
Summer vacation provides the prospective student-athlete with a great break from school and a wonderful time to "lighten the schedule." That said, prospects and families who are willing to make proactive efforts in executing key areas of their recruiting plan will position themselves best for great success in the college search.

Tom Kovic is a former Division I college coach and the President of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families on college recruiting. He is the author of Reaching for Excellence: An educational guide for college athletics recruiting. For further information visit: www.victoryrecruiting.com

Copyright © 2011 Victory Collegiate Consulting. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wired for Success: Five Ways You Can Maximize College Recruiting By Tom Kovic

Wired for Success: Five Ways You Can Maximize College Recruiting

By Tom Kovic

So your top college hasn’t come knocking on your door. That doesn’t mean you’re doomed never to enter its hallowed halls. Prospective student-athletes can wire themselves for success to maximize their chances of gaining admission to their top college choice.

Below are five things you can do to have a shot at attending the school of your dreams.

Begin With a Dream
My mantra for the students and families I have the privilege of advising is “victory begins with a dream.” Every effort requires a starting point, and I believe we should never deny ourselves the opportunity to reach high, especially in the college search.

That said, maintaining a grounded approach when lining up potential college options is equally important. I suggest identifying three groups of colleges for your recruiting plan: Dream, Likely and Back-Up.

Define Long-Term Goals
As an adviser, I like to begin by envisioning “the end game” and working backward to define specific goals. The initial phase of the college search might appear a bit daunting, but the trick is to begin big and then chisel away at a plan to simplify it.

Look long-term when defining your goals. Although the athletic component will be exciting during your four-year college experience, ask: “Where do I see myself in 40 years?” Keep the academic component in the vanguard to position yourself for years of success beyond college.

Use a Team Approach
A team approach maximizes efficiency and minimizes individual pressure and stress. Forming a group of trustworthy individuals who assume specific roles during the process will increase your chances in grabbing the brass ring. The team should include:

• Prospect
• Parents
• Team Coach
• Club Coach
• Guidance Counselor/College Adviser
• Personal Mentor/Adviser

With a team approach, responsibility for effectively executing your recruiting plan is distributed among the various team members. All assignments should be clearly spelled out, and communication among team members should be frequent and consistent. This will help streamline the plan and avoid mistakes and confusion, which can contribute to unclear thinking, misdirection and potentially poor choices.

Establish Time-lines
You have envisioned your dream and defined your goals. Your team is in place, and you are anxious to get started. Not so fast! A key component of the college search is to establish specific time-lines that you will hold yourself to in executing your plan.

Without strict adherence to time-lines, you reduce your chances of hitting your targets. Deadlines can get missed, raising the stress level. Start broad and develop long-term to-do lists with calendar dates up to a year. From there you can break your time-lines into more detailed formats that include weekly and monthly targets.

Express Desire
Unless you are a blue chip athlete whom every college coach wants, you will need a recruiting plan that helps you rise above your competition. Various character components can assist you, but one that stands out above the rest is desire.

When it comes to the recruiting process, most college coaches make comprehensive assessments. Coaches always look beyond athletic and academic achievements at intangible factors that define a great recruit. The successful college recruiter looks for self-aware, independent prospects that bring strong character to the table.

At this point, you have your college recruiting vehicle put together and are ready to take it out for a spin. Desire is the fuel that moves the vehicle forward.

In the final analysis, recruiting success depends on a number of factors, but having a dream, defining your goals, forming a team, establishing time-lines and showing your deep desire to play your sport will push you to the top.

Tom Kovic is a former Division I college coach and President of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families in navigating the college recruiting process. For further information visit: www.victoryrecruiting.com.

Copyright © 2011 Victory Collegiate Consulting. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Creating Closure to the College Search for Athletes By Tom Kovic

Creating Closure to the College Search for Athletes

By Tom Kovic

The college search for athletes is an enduring process with a definite starting and ending point and just like a well run race, the successful student-athlete will remain focused until she breaks the tape. Below are some simple tips to consider when heading down the homestretch in the college recruiting process that will assist families in remaining diligent in "closing out" a very important life decision.
Whether a prospect is looking for an athletic scholarship or support in admissions, it is important to remain committed to the relationship you have cultivated with the coaches. By the time you reach this point, you will have likely narrowed your college choices down to a select few and trust me...So have the coaches.
Review Your “to do” list

A key component of your college search organizing system will be a list of your target areas moving through each phase of the recruiting process. Heading into the final turn you want to “sharpen the tool” and review your final target points for clarity and accuracy. By this time, you have devoted yourself completely to a worthy and successful effort and now it’s time to close out the experience.

We have all heard coined phrases such as “dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s,” “polish the effort,” “sharpen the tool,” leave no stone unturned” etc. This is the time to execute. This is the time to begin your final kick to the finish line. Highlight important contacts you plan to make with the coaches and organize any additional information Coach has requested and mark it on your calendar and execute.

Student-Athlete Statement
One of the first things I attempt to get the boys and girls I advise to accomplish is to write a personal statement. This is not only a great way to get a glimpse of how you see the college experience playing out for you, it shows self awareness in the eyes of the college coaches and in the current recruiting climate, trust me…the best recruiters are looking at this component carefully.

It is a difficult concept to wrap your arms around but I suggest taking three simple steps to reach this end. Firstly, take 20 minutes to simply become “introspective.” The first few moments will be turbulent, but when you settle down, try to envision your interpretation of how you would like your college experience to unfold. From this point, simply write down “operatives” that define that experience. Moving forward, polish the statement into no more than a 1 page document you can share with the coaches.

Remember, there are 3 primary attributes college coaches are looking for in prospects: Good students, strong athletes and self-aware, high character kids.

Outside Connections
College coaches attempt to cover every base they can in evaluating every prospect they recruit and if they happen to be in a "grey area" with a grouping of recruits, they will be looking for a "tie breaker" to solidify the rankings.
Your high school and/or club Coach can make a difference here and as long as you have provided the college coaches with the tools he has needed to do a thorough and regular evaluation (updated transcripts, test scores, video etc.) of your talent as a student-athlete, this would be a prime opportunity for your current Coach to connect directly with the college coaches in an effort to support your commitment to a particular program.
Tough Questions
At this point in the process if you do not have a "firm" commitment from Coach to where you stand on his recruit priority list, I suggest you find out. There are several tough questions families and prospects encounter throughout the college search and the well prepared and organized prospect will have the best chance in reaching out to the coaches for straight answers.
If you practiced an honest, truthful and consistent recruiting effort, you can expect the same in return from the college coaches. Whether you’re hoping for that financial aid pre-read or feedback on where your application stands in admissions, do not be anxious about approaching Coach. It is his position and obligation to assist families. That said, coaches and good recruiters are brutally honest and there may be cases where the answer you receive is not the one you were anticipating.
In closing, the family that approaches the college recruiting process with integrity, persistence and an organized approach will build mutually strong and respectful relationships with college coaches and position themselves best to navigate the college search. And like a great race, game or competition, the best athletes remain focused and committed from start to finish. The brass ring is out there and it is different for every prospect. Focus on the process and remain diligent in your approach… Everything else will take care of itself.

Tom Kovic is a former Division I college coach and the current director of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families on college recruiting. Tom is the author of “Reaching for Excellence, an educational guide for college athletics recruiting. For further information visit: www.victoryrecruiting.com.

Copyright © 2011 Victory Collegiate Consulting. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Muriel Davis Grossfeld Endowed Scholarship at Southern CT State University

Congratulations to Arianna Mallardi!! The first recipient of the prestigious Muriel Davis Grossfeld Endowed Scholarship at Southern CT State Univ - Awarded Feb.12, 2011 - Celebrating Muriel's dedication to Women's Gymnastics!

Arianna Mallardi
Class: Senior
Hometown: Norwalk, Conn.
High School:

As a Sophomore in 2010:
Posted a 9.1 on the floor exercise against Springfield and Brown on 1/16…Scored a 9.225 on the floor exercise against Brown and New Hampshire on 1/24…Registered a 9.475 on the floor exercise against Brockport, Wilson and West Chester on 1/31…Posted a 9.05 on the balance beam and a 9.325 on the floor exercises against Ithaca, Bridgeport, Rhode Island College and Yale on 2/6…Finished 10th on the floor exercise with a 9.425 against Cornell, Bridgeport, Ithaca and Towson on 2/13…Scored a 9.375 on the floor exercise against Yale and Bridgeport on 2/20…Took first on the balance beam with a 9.5 against Springfield on 2/21…Registered a 9.475 on the floor exercises against Rutgers, Bridgeport and William and Mary on 2/27…Posted a 9.375 on the floor exercises against Bridgeport, Temple and Towson on 3/5…Posted a 9.125 on the balance beam against Penn, Temple and Maryland on 3/12…Scored a 9.575 on the floor exercise against Towson and Brown on 3/20…Finished 10th on the floor exercise with a 9.4 at the ECAC’s on 3/27.