Recruiting Questionnaires: Why should I fill them out?

Recruiting 101Correspondent IOctober 13, 2008

If you have any ability in the sports that you play, there is likely a very good chance that you will receive recruiting questionnaires from college coaches.  It may not seem like a big deal to fill them out or just toss them in the garbage but coaches at the next level feel these recruiting questionnaires show a lot about the interest that you have in their school.

Over the past year, I spoke with two different college coaches.  In one instance, we were talking about a recruit who seemed to be locked into staying close to home.  But because the recruit had filled out and returned the questionnaire, the coach felt there was interest there and that they would continue recruiting him.  While he may not end up at the school, this athlete was doing the smart thing and keeping his options open.

The other coach I spoke with brought up a player that was close in location to their college.  We were just talking about him as a player because I felt he would be a good fit at their level.  The coach said that he had sent the athlete a questionnaire and it had never been returned.  It may have been lost in the mail or not given to the player but the coach knew months later that the recruit did not fill it out.  Because of that, he was going to no longer recruit the athlete and had moved on to other players.

As I wrote in the Updated Levels of Recruiting Interest from College Coaches, the questionnaire is basically the second lowest form of contact from a college coach.  In my opinion, it really does not constitute recruiting attention.  The college coaches are trying to find more information on you and that will include things like contact information, address (This is vital for college coaches), stats, awards, and anything else of interest.

But as I mentioned, these college coaches know what recruits fill out the forms and which ones don’t.  If you hand write the answers, filling out multiple forms may actually take some time.  But there are also a few other options to save time.  The first is to print out your recruiting profile and return that to the coach.  If you do that option, make sure that you send a personalized letter.  A recruit that sends back a recruiting profile and nothing else will look like they don’t have enough time for the school.  Also note that there may be other questions on the questionnaire that your recruiting profile does not answer.  They may ask things about your parents or a potential major that you are looking into.

Once you receive a profile, you can also go online to research the school and fill it out there.  My guess is that there will be a comments field on the bottom of the form where you can mention you received the questionnaire in the mail.  This will save you time because you can basically cut and paste from your recruiting profile and go from there.  Both of these options work but filling these questionnaires out is always important (Click here for more information on building that recruiting profile).

Going back to the original question, why exactly should I fill these out?  If I think I am a Division I player and Division III schools are sending these, should I really waste my time?  In my opinion, unless you have written scholarship offers from those Division I schools, you need to consider all of your options during the recruiting process.  These Division III schools may even be able to offer you a better education than the Division I programs so keep that in mind as well.

Even if you are getting Division I attention now, that does not mean that you will be playing at the Division I level.  I wrote an article sometime back about a prospect who was getting hand written notes from Division I schools and calls in the spring.  In the end, he didn’t pan out as a Division I recruit and ended up at the Division III level.  If he had failed to return questionnaires and not paid attention to the “lowly” DIII interest, he may have given up sports all together.

The other reason to fill these out is if things don’t work out at the biggest school.  If that happens, you may have already developed relationships with the coaches at smaller schools that you may want to transfer to.  In the end, taking the time to contact the coaches after sending these is a great way to keep your options open at all levels.  The time you put into them may open up a possibility that you never considered.

For position by position help throughout the football recruiting process, Recruiting-101 has put together a 28-page guide to help athletes get a better feel for what college coaches are looking for at each spot.  Click here to learn more about the e-book now, which is currently on sale for only $5.00!


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