The college recruiting process is very personal and is different for each prospective recruit.  Each rower/coxswain’s profile is unique both in terms of rowing as well as academic achievement.  In addition, every one of you is different in terms of which schools and rowing programs will be appealing.  It is important that you do your own research and communication with coaches and not rely on anyone else’s conclusions about a school or rowing program.  Sometimes, if a particular rower or coxswain has had a less than positive visit to a college, they will report this back to their high school team and the other kids from that team will “write off” that school/program.  This is unfortunate because there are multiple reasons why a rower/coxswain may not have liked a particular school or program.  The opposite may also be true-that a prospective recruit comes back from a school and tells his/her friends that the school was the greatest school/program that they have ever visited.  That is great for them but may not be the right place for you.

Be aware that who gets recruited can change from year to year depending on the profiles of the potential recruits-so stories about who got recruited by a particular school in the past may not be relevant.

We know it is hard for both rowers/coxswains as well as their parents not to listen to  and be influenced by “chatter”.  Try to keep what you hear in perspective and understand that someone else’s conclusions may not be the same as yours.


Check out this video about racing at the Head of the Charles.  It is great to be able to learn about the course since many teams will not have an opportunity to practice. This is a terrific video for coxswains and rowers.

A good rule of thumb for recruiting is to make it as easy as possible for a coach to recruit you. Coaches are looking for what we call the “3 legged stool of recruiting”. The first leg is rowing-both erg and water performance. The coach needs to be interested in your ability as a rower/coxswain before you continue to the next step in the process. The next leg is your academic performance in the classroom. This means taking challenging courses and doing well. There are different standards for academic performance for different colleges. You need to know what each college admissions office is looking for in order to determine if you fit within the range for a potential recruit. The third leg is standardized testing. You need to know which tests are required by the admissions office and what range of scores will keep you in the mix as a potential recruit.

Coaches are looking for potential recruits who will fit in well with their team culture. They are looking for recruits with a strong work ethic, enthusiasm, and the ability to be a good team member which are invaluable on a college team.

Recruiting is very competitive with many high school rowers and coxswains seeking recruiting spots on college teams. By doing your best with your rowing, academics and high school/club team participation, you put yourself in the strongest position to get one of those coveted spots.

We have always told student-athletes (and for that matter all students) to be careful about posts on their Facebook page.  Whenever you post on Facebook, you must assume that anyone who wants to see the post, can get to  it.  A recent report finds that some employers and colleges are asking for access to Facebook pages.

A positive  attitude is critically important throughout the rowing recruiting process and a negative attitude will be noticed by a college coach and may be cause for concern.  Coaches are aware that one person’s attitude can influence others on the team-both positively and negatively.  Be the person who will be a positive influence on others.  It will serve you well.

Be aware of how you act towards other people-specifically your parents.  Coaches will be watching as you interact with your parents and many believe that the way you act towards your parents will be the same way that you may act towards them and towards the members of your team.  We understand that there are times when you may be frustrated by your parents-but expressing this frustration in front of a college coach is  not a good idea.  Parents probably are not as familiar with rowing as you are and may ask questions that seem obvious to both you and the coach.  It is important that through this process, your parents understand what is happening.  Parents want to be part of their son’s or daughter’s  search for a college that is a good match-so allow them get the information that they need.


The college where you get recruited is based on your academic performance, test scores, erg scores  and race performance.  Just because you row does not mean you will get recruited.  The college admissions office is responsible for your admission so you must have the appropriate academic profile for the school.  Make it as easy as possible to get admitted  by doing as well as you can academically.  The rowing piece gets the coach interested in you but you need the academics to get admitted.

Many student athletes make the mistake of sending out e-mails to many coaches stating that they want to row for that college.  Coaches receive hundreds of these e-mails and can often tell fairly quickly whether or not the prospect would fit their profile for a potential recruit. Do your homework about a program and college to get an idea of whether it might be a good fit before telling a coach that you want to row for them.

A recent study of 30 highly selective colleges finds that “legacy applicants are more likely than non-legacy applicants to receive admissions offers”. The study also found that some of the admissions offices give legacy applications more “reads” than non-legacy applications.

UVA Women’s Head coach Kevin Sauer talks about Title IX and its importance for women’s rowing.

Dartmouth college admitted 465 students through the early decision process for the class of 2016.  The applicants are exceptionally strong with higher SAT scores than in the past.  While recruiting can be helpful with college admissions, it is critical that the student-athlete stay on top of the process in a focused and organized manner because there is a lot of competition for very few spots.