The Five Most Important Areas of Consideration:
Does this school have the academic curriculum that you are interested in?
Is this the appropriate level for your abilities? Would you be happy with
III. Geographic Location
Can you spend four years of your life here? Would you choose this school if
you were not swimming?
Can you afford this school? This area? Will you receive academic or
athletic aid? Is this school financially secure enough to continue its
current level of commitment to swimming?
V. Institution Size
Are you going to be comfortable in a big school or would you prefer a
- Does this school have a solid academic reputation?
- Does this school have a graduate program that fits your interests?
- Upon graduation, what percent of the students get jobs in your field of
- In order to gain experience, are summer internships or employment
available in your field of study?
- Ask former students about the program.
- What percent of student-athletes, in swimming, graduate?
- Is tutoring available? At what cost?
- Is academic counselling available?
- Do you like the staff and team?
- Are you choosing the appropriate level of competition for yourself?
- Can you make the travel team (top 18-21)?
- Will you be able to compete in the championship meet?
- Does the history of the staff and team meet your needs?
- Is the level of training intensity what you are looking for?
- Type of training
- Of what value is the swimming program to the athletic department, the
community, and the state?
- Ask former swimmers about the program.
- Do you want a coed or separate training environment?
- Are you aware of the coach's strengths and/or weaknesses?
- If the program is not coed, what is the relationship between the men's
and women's programs?
- Can you fit in socially with this team?
- Do they have a spring training program?
- What are the coach's summer training expectations?
- What type and amount of strength training is available?
- How many practices per week are required?
- How much travel is required?
- Is there a Christmas training trip? How much will it cost?
- What are the goals of the program?
- What is the possibility of dropping the men's program?
- Do you like a metropolitan area or a college town?
- If that is important to you, can you afford the cost of travel to and
from home for holidays?
- Do you like to travel home for the weekend or to have family and friends
come to watch your meets? (Consider the distance from home.)
- Weather. Is the sunshine important in selecting a college?
- Can you afford this school?
- What types of aid or financial assistance are available?
- Student loans
- Work study
- Departmental aid
- Academic aid
- Athletic scholarship
- What does it take (times) to receive an athletic scholarship?
- How do I get information regarding other types of aid?
- Can I earn athletic scholarships or improve my current scholarship
through improved performances?
- What size of school do you like?
- Which size of school will you thrive in?
- NCAA Division I
- NCAA Division II
- NCAA Division III
- Junior College
- Community College
- Service Academies
Making the Decision
- Choose 6 to 10 schools that fit your desires.
- Make a folder/notebook for each school.
- Develop a list of the coaches' addresses.
- Draft a letter to those coaches/schools and include the following:
- ACT and/or SAT scores.
- High school grade point average and class rank.
- High school/club coach's name and phone number.
- Best events and times for both short and long course.
- Financial needs (if any are known).
- Future goals and ambitions (what you want to major in, if known).
- Brief history of training.
- Birthdate, height, weight.
- Ask if you can visit the campus. Give a good time. The coach will let
- you know if your visit will be paid or not.
- Ask for brochures and information on the team and school.
- Ask for admission standards and application.
- Ask for a college catalogue.
Planning Your College Visit
- Plan your visit early to allow you time to think over the information you
have gathered from the visit without feeling rushed.
- Have a goal date by which you would like to have finished your campus visits.
- NCAA rules allow only five official paid visits. This visit may not
exceed 48 hours. There are no limits to unofficial visits.
The College Visit
- Take notes and record in your notebook the plus/minus aspects of the
program, school, etc.
- Talk to academic advisors and other students.
- Do not take a trip unless you are truly interested in that school.
- NCAA rules do not permit prospective athletes to train with the college
team during a visit.
- Get to know the team and coaches.
- Visit all training areas. Tour the campus, classrooms, dorms, dining
- Visit a class in session in your major area of academic interest.
- Visit with a professor or department chairperson in your major area of
- Be sure to ask questions-this is your decision and it affects your future!
- Stay in contact-update times and performances.
- Respond immediately to correspondence and inquiries.
- Expect phone calls.
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