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The Role of the College Coach in the Admission Process

By Next College Student Athlete, 09/05/19, 7:30PM CDT

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Athletes and parents often think that college coaches have s big influence on the process, while many coaches may think their influence is minimal.

Athletes and parents often think that college coaches have a big influence on the process, while many coaches may think their influence is minimal. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle.

Ask college coaches, parents and athletes what the role of the college coach in the admission process is and there’s a good chance you’ll get some different answers. Athletes and parents often think that college coaches have tremendous influence on the process, while many coaches may think their influence is minimal. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle. Read on to find out the main ways college coaches get involved.

College coaches serve as the first barrier to getting admitted

Contacting college coaches is something that all recruits should do and they should also know what schools academic requirements are before they reach out. Knowing if you can get into a school academically is extremely important and it saves a lot of back and forth with college coaches. After all, it’s pretty difficult to convince the admissions department at an Ivy League school to admit a recruit who has a 2.5 GPA when there are hundreds of other interested athletes with strong grades. Most athletes who are set on playing in college won’t bother applying to a college where the coach has no interest in them, so in effect, the coach serves as the first hurdle that potential college athletes need to clear.

Helping secure other forms of financial aid

For athletes that play in equivalency sports, college coaches can divide athletic scholarship funds as they see fit, giving most to a few athletes or spreading them out more evenly. But if you’re going to compete at the Division III level—the division with the most college student-athletes—athletic scholarships are not available.

Each division has a limit on the amount of scholarships they can give out.

So, what happens when an athletic scholarship isn’t enough? Schools have financial aid and grants available to help offset the cost of tuition. College coaches know what aid is available and can help recruits identify which they qualify for annually. Without this assistance, many athletes would not be able to attend.

Walking your application through

Recruits don’t always meet all of the academic requirements that they need to get into a college and sometimes coaches are able to help when they think an athlete is an elite talent. This process is oftentimes referred to as “walking your application through,” but even the most powerful college coaches have a limited amount of influence with admissions and they are going to use that influence only for the recruits they want the most.

Recently, a college admissions scandal has brought college coaches and admissions departments at some elite colleges under scrutiny. The scandal showed how certain coaches exerted their influence to help applicants get admitted in return for bribes. However, even in most of these cases, applicants had cheated on their standardized tests or had their scores altered, and even fabricated their athletic resumes. Most coaches still needed this fabricated or altered information to help get applicants admitted.

Even though some coaches have a way of helping recruits get admitted to a school you are better off pursuing schools that you qualify for without the extra help. Staying on top of your grades and preparing for standardized tests will help increase your chances of meeting their academic requirements. The policies that govern the relationship between athletic departments and admissions are set by each school and they are all different. To get more admission tips, read the NCSA College Recruiting Guide.

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NCSA is the world's largest and most successful collegiate athletic recruiting network. A wholly owned subsidiary of Reigning Champs LLC, NCSA's 700 teammates leverage exclusive data, proprietary matching algorithms and personal relationships built over nearly two decades as the industry leader to connect tens of thousands of college-bound student-athletes to more than 35,000 college coaches nationwide across 34 sports every year.

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