Boston college: great school, strong academics and alumni network make the BC perfect match for Matt Ryan, star football quarterback.

The first step in the recruiting process involves figuring out how to direct your college search. The best way to start the process is to gather information about the various colleges and rowing programs that might be a good “match” for you. At the same time, it is important to take your academics and rowing seriously since you will not know what your academic and rowing benchmarks will be until your junior year in high school.

We understand that it is very tempting to put off doing research about colleges and rowing programs because your schedule is so busy. If you are thinking about rowing in college and you are a sophomore in high school, you should use the time during sophomore year to do your research-online, with college books and visiting college campuses. If you are a junior, try to streamline your search by using online research tools before you travel to college campuses. Try to make any travel to college campuses  as efficient as possible by grouping colleges geographically before you leave home. Schedule information sessions and college tours and meetings with coaches before you arrive on campus.

The research you do in advance of your junior spring will serve you well whether or not you pursue recruiting. Your research may lead you to choose not to go the recruiting route but rather approach college rowing as a walk on. Whatever you decide, the knowledge you have gained from the process will help give you clarity about your ultimate  decision.

Early recruiting can be harmful to high school athletes-changing their focus from academic and athletic development to the college search.  Early commitments may change if the prospect does not progress  academically  or athletically as expected or if the prospect is injured.

College coaches want motivated student athletes.  This motivation can be demonstrated both athletically and academically.

Plan your high school courses wisely. The academic courses you pick in your junior and senior year of high school can indicate your ability to push yourself academically but may also demonstrate your academic interests. Recruiting is very competitive and coaches use the recruiting process to determine who will be a good fit for their team and academic institution. Be careful not to ignore the academic piece of the process since strong academics could tip the decision in your favor.

Try to do everything in your control both athletically and academically to make it as easy as possible for the coach to recruit you.

Interesting analysis of how Title IX  impacts  the Dartmouth University athletic department.

Interesting analysis from a former Harvard alumni interviewer.

It takes more than talent and skill to get recruited and Coaches are looking to recruit athletes who will integrate well into their team.  Your actions on and off the field/water can make all the difference.


Many of our clients want to send emails to coaches at schools which they have never visited and about which they really have no information. They often feel an urgency about starting to communicate so that they can be “ahead of the pack”. Success in recruiting is not about being first to communicate with a coach but is rather about having the rowing/coxing profile that is interesting to a coach (which we have outlined in other posts on having the academics to gain admission and having the desire to go to the particular school because if it is a good fit.

I want to highlight in this post the importance of gathering information about the school and rowing program before you start to communicate with coaches. There are various ways to gather information that do not involve miles of driving with your parents to walk around a campus. First of all, you should read about the school in a college guide book and look at the website for the school. Look at the athletic department page on the website and the particular page for the rowing team. Read whatever you can about the rowing team to get a sense of the team culture, performance level and goals for the future. Check out the roster so that you get a sense of the particulars of the team. Of course, there is nothing like a walk around campus to really get a sense of the school so it is best to get onto the campuses that seem most interesting to you. Be realistic about how many schools you can visit in one day-we recommend no more than 2 visits in a day depending on the locations of the 2 schools. If you are going to be on campus, you should arrange to meet the rowing coach during your visit. You should also take a campus tour and attend an information session. After the visit you will probably have a good sense of whether the school and rowing team seem like a good fit for you.

Doing your homework before you get in the car or on a plane will save time and energy and will help focus your search. High school rowers have no time to spare so doing your homework about the school and team will help make the search most efficient and productive-and fun too.

Rowing is a sport which can be started in high school and even college.  Walk ons with no experience can learn the sport and within their college career could achieve expertise to allow them to compete at the highest levels.

Official visits are a great way to get an inside look at a rowing team as well as the life of a student athlete in college.

Just as there are many varieties and different “cultures” among academic institutions, there are just as many variations among rowing teams. It is important to look beyond the excitement of being on a college campus and consider whether the team seems like a good “match”. Watch how the coach interacts with the rowers and coxswains and how team members interact among themselves as well as the level of seriousness with which everyone approaches practice. Look at the university as a whole-both the academic offerings as well as student energy and enthusiasm for the school.

The official visit is a 2 way street-the recruit is trying to determine if the school and team are a good “match” at the same time the coach and team are trying to determine if the recruit will be a good addition to the team. Also-remember that an official visit is not an offer-it is rather the beginning of the next phase in the recruiting process.