Student Athletes Share Their Advice on Reaching Out to Coaches

July 05, 2016

Being an athlete makes your college application process a little different from others, especially if wish to pursue it in college. The application and recruiting process starts much earlier, and your application priorities might differ too. Take it from college athletes at Duke, Ithaca, Chapman, Florida and Swarthmore that have been through the process before: 


Duke University ‘16

I was a huge runner in high school and had pretty decent times. Around sophomore or junior year I decided to reach out to the running coaches at the colleges I was interested in. I introduced myself and asked about the recruiting processes (since I was international it was different compared to runners in the US). I think doing something similar, (reaching out to the professors/coaches/instructors in the areas you are interested in) is a good move and one that can not hurt you. Although I wasn’t fast enough to get recruited, the coaches at Stanford and Harvard emailed me and asked if I applied early. Basically, the point is that the more interest you show, the better chances you have of getting in, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions! Another benefit of doing so is that in the supplemental questions for certain colleges, many of the questions are “why this college?” and by emailing the people in these different areas, you learn more about that college and can demonstrate that you’ve done your research!


Ithaca College ‘16

I reached out to the coach of the Ithaca College women’s rowing team because I really wanted a spot on their varsity team my freshmen year of college. I visited her during my junior year, had frequent correspondences with her, and worked really hard to get my times for 2K’s and 5K’s where they were needed to be a varsity rower. I went to the Park School of Communications multiple times so I could meet with professors and talk to them about what I was interested in and what they had to offer me as a school. It was really helpful because I was able to put a face to my application. I also see one of the professors I spoke to regularly. I also went and spoke to the assistant dean, and we still meet regularly and he’s been a wonderful help.


Swarthmore College ‘19

As a tennis player, I made sure to email coaches of schools I was interested starting in my junior year of high school and also used a recruiting website. Emailing coaches shows them you are interested and committed and starting early means it is more likely they will check you out as an athlete and applicant.



Chapman University‘20

I swim Division III at Chapman University. If you feel that you may want to participate in one of their intercollegiate athletic sports, then you should definitely email and reach out to their coaches to get your name on their roster! Try to gain any exposure you can by sending them any relevant information about your athletic abilities and your future goals in college athletics!


George Washington University ‘18

Being a competitive swimmer and knowing that I wanted to continue to compete in college this was usually the first step I took when looking at schools. I started reaching out to coaches toward the end of my sophomore year of college and signed my national letter of intent in November of my senior year of high school.



University of Florida ‘19

I originally decided to apply for Asbury University in order to play lacrosse at a Division 3 level. I started off by contacting the women’s lacrosse coach. For Asbury, in order to be considered to play for a sports team, you have to sign up and create a personal profile online. This is where you put your personal info and videos online. Every school does the recruiting process differently, so my suggestion would be to contact the coach first. During my phone call, the lacrosse coach said that he would come out to see me play several high school varsity games as part of the recruiting process. Most Division 1 (and maybe D2) will watch choose potential players at clinics and club/travel games, but rarely at a high school match.  

I eventually decided not to play for Asbury Lacrosse because of several factors. Here is what I have learned through this process that will be helpful for anyone thinking about playing intercollegiate sports:

1) It’s A LOT of commitment. Before deciding to play for a team, consider what you are majoring in, and how much time you will need outside of class to do research, service, internships, and work. I wanted to work in the medical field after graduation, so playing a sport would have possibly taken away from time to focus on my studies.

2) Financial aid sometimes may not what it will be cracked up to be. Be aware that depending on what division you play for will dictate how aid you get. Division 1 is the most competitive and demanding, but 99% of the time, student athletes in this division will receive full-rides.

3) Know that you have to try out every year for a spot on the team, and financial aid is not guaranteed for all four years. Every year, athletes must try out against incoming college freshmen for a spot on next year’s team. It’s possible for a college senior to be beat out by a freshman, and lose aid for the last year.

4) Make sure you really want to go to that college. Many people will choose to play for a college that they didn’t really want to go to in order to receive a sports scholarship. Make sure you are considering all factors, especially if it’s financially the right choice before choosing a college to play for.

5) Playing intercollegiate sports does have its perks! You may get most of your college paid for, and even have an opportunity to coach after graduation.

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About The Author

Frances Wong
Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.


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Mark Yen
Florida ‘21

Accepted to Florida, UCF, FSU, FIU, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Berkeley

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Accepted to Rutgers, Fordham, Northeastern, Wellesley, Swarthmore, Davidson, Scripps

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Accepted to Swarthmore, UC Davis, UCSD, UCSC

I'm a junior at Swarthmore from California who plays tennis, violin, and is into the environment

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