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.