A positive attitude is very 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.

Now is a great time to visit colleges and meet with rowing coaches. Parents may or may not be with you when you meet with coaches. Some coaches like to meet prospects with their parents while others want to meet the prospect alone. 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.

To row on a Division I team takes time and commitment. All Division I teams work hard but college coaches who want to move up in the rankings are working their teams harder than ever. Rowers must stay fit which may mean training on their own in addition to team practice. It is important for high school rowers to understand what it means to row on a college team and the decision to pursue being recruited for a Division I team should not be taken lightly. Many high school rowers are already rowing for a serious high level team and rowing in college is the next logical step for them, while others may be unfamiliar with what it means to train seriously. For every new college rower, there is an adjustment period which happens during freshman year. Remember that you are entering a new environment, away from home which requires that you be more independent that in the past. Take freshman rowing seriously and stick with it through the adjustment period. By sophomore year, you will be in more familiar territory.

We have found that student athletes who manage the recruiting process the best are realistic about their goals. These students create a “deep” list with respect to both academics and athletics. At Rower’s Edge, we believe that academics “trump” (no pun intended) athletics and that student athletes often find it helpful to search for the academic match and “layer” the rowing team onto the academics. This is not to say that the recruit is less invested in athletics than academics but rather to note that when a recruit is happy academically, they will more often succeed athletically. Often we will have a client who is a very strong student and less strong rower. At that point, it is important to give thought to the strategy for school choice. Our experience is that most often, this type of student will not choose a less academically competitive school even if offered a recruiting spot. Likewise, a very strong rower who is less strong academically should think about where they will succeed academically so that they will be able to have a fulfilling college rowing experience. Giving thought to the strategy for the recruiting process will result in a more efficient and productive search with little wasted time and effort. We are happy to “reach for the stars” and evaluate any school with every client. We continually re-evaluate whether the client is moving forward in the way that works best for them and will change course mid-stream if necessary. It is important to be patient with the recruiting process since it takes time to figure out where you will have the best college experience.

The recruiting process can be a very exciting time but can also be intimidating and stressful. High school athletes are trying to meet the highest personal standards in both athletics and academics. Erg scores, water performance, standardized tests and strong grades are all important. In most cases, there are ups and downs for every recruit – from disappointing erg scores and races to lower than expected grades on a high school test or transcript. While it is important to do your best, it is equally important not to create unrealistic pressure. Remember that you are not expected to be perfect (you are in high school). The challenge is to do your very best and to find the optimal “match” in both academic and athletics.

A very important factor in the process is that the recruit must “own” each step. Parents are obviously active participants and we at Rower’s Edge welcome as much communication as parents desire. However, the student athlete must take charge and do the work at each step along the way. Just as parents cannot row the boat, so they should not do the recruiting work for their child. This is important from the college coach perspective since coaches want to communicate and develop a relationship directly with the recruit. Recruiting takes time and effort and the most successful recruits take ownership of each step including important strategic decisions along the way.

Now that the Fall season is over, it is important to have a plan for the winter with realistic goals for where you want to be when the spring season starts.

For most high school rowers and coxswains, the winter season is a less time consuming season so it is a great time to focus on things that may have taken a “back seat” in the fall. Standardized testing is important and winter is a great time to “knock off” some of the testing required for your college application. Winter is also a great time to do research on which colleges might be of interest to you and even make a visit to see how the campus feels. Winter training is the time to work hard on the erg so that when spring comes you are as strong and fast as you can be.

It is important thing to stay healthy and strong during the winter. Focus on healthy eating and getting as much sleep as you can. A productive winter season can be a great starting point for a successful spring.

The winter season is a great time to get started with your college search and college rowing recruiting process. The best place to begin is to use college websites (including the athletic/rowing page of the school website) and reference books to gain as much information as you can about the schools and rowing programs in which you are interested. Think about where you want to go to school, how far from home, whether you like an urban campus or a campus further away from a city and what size school appeals to you.

We know that it is hard to find the time to make the visits during racing season so we suggest using the non-racing season to make as many visits as you can. For those of you in the colder climates, winter training is beginning and it is a great time to visit schools. Be sure when you visit, that you take the time to meet with the rowing coach. Meeting the coach gives you an opportunity to ask questions about the school and the program. It also gives the coach a chance to get to know you. A face to face meeting with the coach will be a huge benefit when you continue your communication with the coach through e-mail or phone.

Remember-your time will be very limited once the spring racing season starts, so try to get as much done now as you can. We know that your non-athlete friends (and many high school guidance counselors) will not understand why you are starting so early-but trust us, now is the time to do it.



Just as employers see posts/tweets created by employees so too do both high school and college coaches. With the continued rise of social media, student athletes at both the high school and college levels must understand that anything they post/tweet or otherwise place in the social media sphere is accessible by their coach, athletic director or others in positions of authority. Inappropriate tweets/posts can result in suspension from a team, the end of recruitment or withdrawal of an offer of admission and/or financial support.




Many high school athletes make incorrect assumptions and then are surprised when they are not accepted at the school where they were being “recruited”.

The term “recruited” is used very loosely by many high school rowers and when questioned closely, the high school rower may reveal that the coach did not actually give any indication of their position with respect to the “recruiting class” or even indicate any level of coach support for their application. It is essential to direct questions to the coach to fully understand where you stand in the process.

Academics are critical so do not minimize the importance of the academic pre-read. Many high school rowers are hesitant to ask direct questions for fear of getting an answer that they will not like. However, it is better to get the truth-no matter how hard-earlier rather than later in the process. That way you can make adjustments to maximize your options.

Many coaches communicate with hundreds of student-athletes when recruiting for their teams. They often have limited time to read e-mails and make an initial determination about their interest in a potential recruit.  In order to help the coach determine if you might be a good fit for them, it is important to provide the coach with the right information about yourself.  The “3 legged stool” of recruiting is:  SAT/SATII/ACT scores; GPA;  Erg score.  Addition critical information is “on the water performance”.  Some schools no longer require standardized testing as part of their application so you need to provide whatever academics they do require for admission.

Sometimes, potential recruits don’t want to send a test score or erg time because they do not think it is good enough.  The problem with this is that many coaches will not look seriously at a candidate unless then have information in all of the areas listed above, and sometimes not sending a score is a “red flag”.

Recruiting is very individual.  There is no right or wrong answer that fits everyone. Think long and hard about what information to send and when to send it.  If you think you might improve your scores, you may want to hold off communicating with coaches.  However, it is important to balance when and what to communicate to coaches against the recruiting timeline so that coaches know all about you in time to seriously consider you as a potential recruit.

Due to NCAA rule changes, college rowing coaches can now contact rowers starting on September 1st of their junior year. High school rowers should take advantage of this date by doing their homework about individual schools of interest. Summer is a great time to research specific colleges and their rowing programs. College coaches are impressed when high school rowers know about their particular school and ask questions specific to their team.

It is great if potential recruits can visit the college and meet the rowing coach before the junior year but if this is not possible, there are a lot of resources that can help with the research. The websites for Row2k and USRowing are a great way to start. Use Rower’s Edge for news and blogs and follow Rower’s Edge on FB and Twitter. Also-look at the college website with specific attention to the pages dedicated to the rowing team.

The recruiting process can be intense and depending on the time of year, things can happen quickly. Take the time to do as much research as you can so you are prepared.