The Edge Our college admission blog

How Parents Can Contribute To Their Student-Athlete’s Recruiting Journey

by Admitster February 19, 2016


Here’s another great guest blog post from our friends over at NCSA Athletic Recruiting!

Do you think that recruiting evaluations are just between a student-athlete and a coach?

Think again!

It’s absolutely important that a student-athlete be careful when considering whether a school fits their needs academically, athletically, and socially – which means both that the student-athlete fits the school and that the school fits their needs – but there’s something else that gets added to the mix when college coaches are looking at which players they want to join the rosters.

College Coaches Are Also Evaluating The Parents of Recruits

In a recent Signing Day interview, Coach Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern University shared that a large part of his prospect evaluation is looking at how parents of high school student-athletes act:

“When we talk about our fit, we’re evaluating the parents too. And if the parents don’t fit, then we might punt on the player and not end up offering him a scholarship. That has changed over a decade. Ten years ago, that wasn’t as big of a role. Now it’s a big part of it.”

Check out the rest of Coach Fitzgerald’s comments on how coaches evaluate parents in the video below:


How Parents Can Contribute To Their Student-Athlete’s Recruiting Journey:

When college coaches look at parents, they’re not just looking for warning signs that would make them drop a player. They’re also looking for ways in which parents are supporting their student-athlete:

  • Are they supporting them in keeping a healthy school and sport balance?
  • Are they helping their son or daughter get all of their paperwork in on time – without doing it for them?
  • Are they setting a great example by respecting other players, families, coaches, and refs – no matter how strongly they might disagree with a particular play or call?
  • In recruiting, are they showing that they’ll be there to help their son or daughter in the sometimes difficult transition from high school to college?


Do you want to learn more about what coaches look at? Here’s Sue Enquist talking about ways that parents can make a great impression on college coaches at the ballpark and during official visits!

If you have questions about how you can help your son or daughter to succeed in the recruiting process, we’re here to help. One of the best ways to help him/her get started is with a recruiting profile!

The Importance of Community Involvement

by Admitster February 8, 2016


Today’s guest blog post is written and contributed by ScholarPrep! The organization brings students, parents, and counselors together to prepare for the college and scholarship application process. The ScholarPrep Organizer saves time and money by encouraging students to start planning for their future now, helping them to set goals, organize information, and track their progress. To learn more about ScholarPrep, click here


Community involvement is essential to a well-rounded and impressive college or scholarship application, and community service/volunteering demonstrates community involvement!

Definition: Community service is defined as an act of volunteering one’s time to help others in need. Typically, community service, or volunteering, takes place through a legitimate channel, such as a non-profit organization or a student club.

What counts as volunteering?

While doing nice things for others is a great way to spend your time, the following examples do not constitute community service: helping a neighbor out by mowing their lawn, volunteering time on a local politician’s campaign, or raising money for your cheerleading squad at a bake sale. Community service is an act of giving back to your community, for instance by volunteering your time in a home for the elderly, working in a soup kitchen, or tutoring children who need extra help in school.

Helpful hints for demonstrating community involvement:

  1. Set a goal for the number of volunteer hours you want to have completed by the time you graduate. A goal of 200 hours means 50 hours each year during your high school career. Your goal will depend on your career path or emphasis.
  2. Diversify your service. Try to find at least three organizations to volunteer with, even if the majority of your community involvement is through only one. This shows that you are committed to the act of volunteering itself, and not just to a particular organization or group of individuals.
  3. Seek out community service opportunities as soon as you graduate from 8th grade to ensure that your hours will be spread out over time. A large number of hours accumulated nearing graduation could look like procrastination and leave others questioning your commitment to community involvement.
  4. Some scholarships may require verification of community service. These verification letters should be provided by the individual responsible for overseeing the community service and should include the volunteer’s name, the organization for which they volunteered, and the dates and hours worked. Keep a copy of all verification letters in one place.
  • Bonus Tip: Anyone who has supervised your community involvement is a great person to ask for a letter of recommendation!


Quick Tips:

  • Set a community service goal.
  • Continue brainstorming ways to get involved and diversify your service.
  • Log your community service hours.
  • Keep all verification letters.

What are some ways you are showing your commitment to community involvement? What is your favorite way to volunteer? Tell us in the comments below!

A Stress-Free And Fun FAFSA?

by Admitster December 30, 2015


Another great guest blog post from our friends over at NCSA Athletic Recruiting!

Think about how stressful it can be to learn about the college admissions and recruiting processes. Put that same learning curve, the same nerve to figure out a complex project with a definite due date, into a much smaller window and you get the FAFSA!

Did you know that for students who attend school for four years, the average incurred cost of loans is approximately $147,000? Further, know that the window to complete the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) opens on January 1st. You can submit your FAFSA at any time (between January 1st, 2016 and June 30th, 2017), but some families feel time crunch because depending on your school, state, and type of aid, awards go out on a first come, first served basis.

Don’t stress out. Seriously. This FAFSA paperwork isn’t going to hurt you. Just be sure that you don’t make errors when filling out your FAFSA – check out this post to avoid the most common mistakes!

Here are the top ways to fill out the FAFSA without stressing out about it:


The FAFSA will ask your family to provide information in five categories. Specifically, you will be asked about:

  1. The student-athlete.
  2. The student-athlete’s dependency on his/her parents (this is a legal question – does a parent or guardian list the student-athlete as a dependent on their tax returns?).
  3. The student-athlete’s parents or guardians.
  4. The student-athlete’s financial background.
  5. The schools that you want the FAFSA to send information to directly.

There are also a bunch of advanced tips (from Chegg) about the FAFSA that can help you to understand some of the more complicated arrangements some families might pursue to maximize their student aid.


In addition to the general bucket categories we listed above, you’re going to need to have a couple of things on-hand that you probably don’t have memorized. Take some time to gather this information together so you don’t feel like you’re searching through your lock box and paperwork and losing your place in the FAFSA. You’ll need:

  • Social security numbers for the student-athlete and parents (if the student-athlete is filing as a dependent).
  • Driver’s license numbers.
  • W2′s from the current and previous year.
  • Tax returns from the previous year (since you probably haven’t done your 2015 taxes yet, the FAFSA lets you use the most recent one you have).
  • Information about any additional benefits you might have: welfare, veteran’s, social security, investments, etc.
  • Information about any additional financial figures that you might need to report: businesses, mortgages, etc.

Did you know that missing out on important financial aid information can mean paying as much as $90,000 extra?

All of the above will help the FAFSA to compute your Expected Family Contribution. Also, please remember that no matter your family’s income, it behooves you to complete a FAFSA.


This might come from years of trumpeting that my sport was other sports’ punishment, but I am a firm believer that there’s a silver lining in everything. Hill repeats? There’s going to be a downhill soon enough. Circuit workout? Get an awesome song playing and it’ll make the time fly by.

ncsablogDo the same when you fill out the FAFSA. Put on some music that everyone enjoys. (I know, I have a dad, too — that might be easier said than done.) Give yourself a reward when you’ve finished it – maybe the family can go out for pizza or an ice cream.

The FAFSA may seem like a chore, but it doesn’t have to be. After all, it’s time that your family gets to spend together!

We have an incredible resource library of tips, how-tos and strategies for every part of your recruiting process. Want access? Get started with a recruiting profile!

Great Majors For Sports-Oriented Careers

by Admitster December 4, 2015


Another great guest blog post from our friends over at NCSA Athletic Recruiting!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

These surprising fields might help you to have a career in sports!

For many student-athletes, working in sports is a top career goal for the future. And at NCSA Athletic Recruiting, we totally get it. It’s a thrilling field to be a part of day-in and day-out. It’s fast-paced and ever-changing. Above all, making a career in sports is a means to positively impact the world. (By the way, we’re hiring!)

There is not a place humanly inhabited on the planet that hasn’t been touched by sports. It is a universal language, and is incredible to be a part of. So, aside from having a love for sports, how can a student-athlete begin to successfully approach and plan for a future career in sports?



The truth is, given the times we’re in, many, many of the opportunities lie in technology-based companies. The past three decades have seen technological advances touch literally every aspect of life and work, and the world of sports was not exempt from that sweep. Look at NCSA, where we connect student-athletes with college coaches through one-on-one interactions with student-athletes and their families, and through a digital platform where student-athletes and college coaches can connect. That digital platform has been built by developers and programmers, all of whom have a background in technology and, of course, a love of sports.

Why A Career In Sports Could Absolutely Be In Your Future

Made In Chicago week just wrapped up. It’s a series of events and workshops that highlight all of the wonderful things made in our flagship city. A seminar that sparked a lot of interest was titled “Get in the Game: A Sports & Technology Panel.” Our president and COO, Lisa Strasman, participated on the panel, discussing how thirsty sports companies are for employees with technological backgrounds.

So, what should student-athletes who are interested in a future in sports and technology be looking to study in college? Well, you might start here, with one of these top 10 majors in the field of technology:

  • Computer Science
  • Management Information Systems
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Computer Programming
  • Software Engineering
  • Database Management
  • Web Development
  • Network Engineering
  • Network Management
  • Game Design

The point is, a lot of student-athletes think of sports management, kinesiology, physical therapy or other hands-on careers in sports — and that’s great! The world needs all sorts of different people. However, if you have a passion for technology, finding and deciding on a field of study in college can help you to explore other majors than you might have realized. And if you find yourself ready to change lives, work in sports, and put your technological savvy to use in four years, we need more people like you on our team!

Even if you know what major you want to have, finding a school that’s the right social, academic, and athletic fit for you can be tough. That’s where we come in. Let our scouts and digital platform help you to discover the right fit for you. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile!

The Student-Athlete Campus Visit

by Admitster November 17, 2015



Another great guest blog post from our friends over at NCSA Athletic Recruiting!

NCSA Recruiting Expert and Educational Speaker, Coach Bob Chmiel, travels the country year-round, providing families with recruiting education at partner camps, combines, and high school events. With over thirty years of experience in college football – specifically football recruiting – Coach Chmiel now lives his passion for sports and education as a speaker at NCSA.

One of the most exciting aspects of the recruiting process is visiting a college campus. The dream of moving on to play a chosen sport in college really starts to feel like a reality once a student-athlete has had the chance to go and check out the school, meet potential teammates, and get to know the coaching staff. Even just walking the paths between class buildings and dorms starts to give a good idea as to what campus life is like, and whether or not student-athletes could see themselves attending a particular school.

Now, there are two ways to visit a school as a prospect or recruit: an unofficial visit or an official visit.

When looking at Division I schools, a student-athlete can take five official visits and an unlimited amount of unofficial visits, according to NCAA regulations. In all other divisions (DII, DIII, NAIA), official and unofficial visits are unlimited.

But what’s the difference between the two? As fall sports are in the middle of campus visit season, and spring sport student-athletes are preparing to accept offers to visit schools, let’s review.

ncsa post


Official Visits To A College

An official visit is when the school invites a student-athlete to visit campus, paying for their travel, lodging, and certain per diem expenses. For instance, if a student-athlete flies to visit a school on an official visit, the school will pay for their plane ticket (although the school will not pay for the ticket of a family member or anyone else coming along). If the school is close enough for a student-athlete to drive to for an official visit, the athletic program will pay for gas mileage.

Again, student-athletes are allowed up to five official visits to Division I schools, and unlimited visits at schools in all other divisions. By the same token, college programs are only allowed to host a certain amount of official visits, and this amount varies by sport.

It is my advice to take as many official visits as are offered and of interest outside of Division I. Why? Precisely for the reason that outside of Division I, you can take unlimited visits! You’ve got nothing to lose, the trip is paid for, and you may fall in love with a college and program you wouldn’t have experienced had you not gone on an official visit there.

If you are getting multiple offers for official visits within Division I, the “up-to-five” rule means that it’s going to take some planning and discretion when deciding where to accept an official visit. Keep this in mind as you start to map out when and where you want to visit and what division the school is in.

Unofficial Visits To A College

Just as the word suggests, an “unofficial” visit is the exact opposite of an official visit in regards to having your expenses covered. On an unofficial visit, a student-athlete pays their way to the campus, and is also responsible for covering all lodging, food, and other expenses.

Once you have committed to taking an unofficial visit to a program, a recruit may be issued up to three tickets to a regular season game being played during their visit, according to NCAA regulations, which the school will set up for you. However, no school can offer a recruit tickets to tournament or bowl games.

Again, a recruit can take an unlimited amount of unofficial visits!

How Recruits Can Set Up Both Official and Unofficial Visits

Both types of visits require an invitation from a college coach or program, meaning a school has to proactively send you some form of an invitation offering either an official or unofficial visit, and that’s when it’s up to you to follow-up.

As a high school student-athlete, however, you can absolutely reach out to a college coach and let him/her know your interest in visiting their school. In fact, I highly recommend doing so! In an e-mail or over the course of a phone call, it’s a great idea to mention to a coach, “I want to be clear that I really love what I know about your program and school and would be honored to be offered a visit.”

Taking an enthusiastic, respectful, and proactive approach to getting offered an official or unofficial visit is a great place to start with schools that are on your radar.

Coach Chmiel’s Last Pieces of Advice

There are some final thoughts I want to leave you with.

Being offered an official visit by a college program generally means a program has a very high level of interest in you. Take this into consideration, and remember, if it’s a Division I school, you only get five official visits. Use them wisely.

If a school is offering you an unofficial visit, there is at least some interest there, however not anywhere near the same level as an official visit offer.

When schools outside of Division I offer you an official visit, I don’t really see any downside in taking it. You may learn you love a school you never knew much about, or it may make it easier to cross it off your list. Furthermore, practice interacting with coaches and their teams is always a positive thing when it comes to your recruitment.

Plan visits early on and with efficiency by area of the country. For instance, schedule them in an area where you’re vacationing with your family or perhaps traveling for a tournament. The more you make campus visits a priority early on in the process, the more confident you’ll be in your decision later down the road.

The scouts and digital resources at NCSA Athletic Recruiting can help you prepare for your campus visits. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile!

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