Academics are critically important and can determine where you may or may not get recruited. While coaches can be very encouraging to a potential recruit, it is the admissions office which admits students not the coaches. A recruit needs to meet the school’s academic admissions standards in order to get recruited. Many coaches, through years of experience may have a good sense of whether a recruit will meet the academic standards of a school but if you are “on the bubble” in terms of academics, it can be harder to predict.

Different schools have more or less flexibility in terms of academic performance and admissions. Student athletes need to understand the importance of academics and may end up reducing their options and miss opportunities by not giving their schoolwork enough attention.

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.

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. In addition it is well understood that erg scores have been getting faster due to the attraction of strong athletes to rowing as well as improved training for many student athletes. It is important to be sure you understand what coaches are looking for in terms of erg scores so that you have a realistic idea of where you stand.

It is hard for both rowers/coxswains as well as their parents not to listen to  and be influenced by “chatter” both from current recruits as well as from people who have been through the process and “know how to do it”.  Try to keep what you hear in perspective and understand that someone else’s conclusions may not be the same as yours.

As rowing is exploding for high school athletes, college coaches can’t possibly all the athletes who are recruitable. They appreciate athletes reaching out to them and showing serious interest in their programs. All recruits need to be their own advocates. Coaches want to hear directly from student athletes. Critical recruiting information includes: height, weight, erg score, race performance, GPA, SAT/ACT’s and recordings for coxswains.

There is no question that being in a fast 1V with good rowing results is helpful with recruiting. However, even if you are in the 2V or 3V, and have never won a race you should not give up on recruiting or on getting stronger as a rower/coxswain. College coaches are looking for strong rowers and coxswains with potential regardless of boatings.

A wise coach once told athletes who wanted to get into a faster boat that they should make whatever boat they are in go faster. This is one of the most important lessons for recruiting. Do your best every stroke, every practice and every race.

Winter is a great time to get  started on completion of required testing-SAT/ACT/SAT II.  Admissions requirements are different for each school.  Take time now to understand what you will need to complete an application to every school in which you are interested.  For recruiting purposes it is best if you can have all required testing done by the end of your junior year.  It makes a coach’s job much easier if you can submit all of your academic information at the end of junior year rather than making them have to wait until fall of senior year.

Winter is a great time to make college visits. While the weather may be less than optimal, winter is generally a less intense season so may be one of the best times to visit.  It is very important as part of the recruiting process to get on campus  to get a “feel” of the campus and to meet with the coach to learn more about the rowing program.  Be sure to  do your “homework” about a school and rowing program before taking time to visit so that you make the most of your time on campus.

Remember that not liking a college is as valuable as liking a particular school.  You will eventually  make a prioritized list of colleges in which you are interested so the visits and your reactions to schools will be very helpful later in the process.



Nutrition is critically important for peak performance and overall health.  Now is a great time to think about nutrition as part of your overall training plan.