For high school student athletes who are looking into prospective colleges, there are more things to consider than the ordinary student. What division is the school in? Does the school have the particular sport I play? Is that sports team even good? Making that choice about where to spend your undergraduate years can be difficult as it is.
Some of this stress can be alleviated by the athletics recruitment process that colleges go through. This is when a university sports coach contacts a student through a variety of ways and expresses interest in the student attending their college and playing on their team. Getting recruited is something that high school athletes talk about and potentially dream about, being recruited to play for a school. Even having interest shown by a college coach can be incredibly meaningful to an athlete.
“It made me feel like someone actually cared about my preference other than my parents,” Cameron Moosley, a Cabrini swimmer, said.
Spring season can be a perfect time for Division III schools like Cabrini to look and find potential candidates for its sports teams. This is when college coaches are either wrapping up their initial selection process or beginning a new search to fill slots on their team. Coaches can go about watching highlight reels of particular players, browsing recruiting websites (and profiles) and even attending games/meets to watch the prospect compete.
“It varies from sport to sport, coach to coach, but more of the processes are probably pretty similar when it comes to identifying a student athlete. Through either watching them play at a high school level, some are self-initiated the recruit might contact us, ask us to watch them and make an evaluation.” Steve Colfer, assistant director of athletics, said. “Once we make the athletic evaluation and obviously part of that process is determining the fact that they’re a right academic fit for our university.”
When looking at prospective students, there are several things that factor into whether or not the student would make a good fit with the university on both an academic and athletic level. It’s not just as simple as a coach offering out a recruitment opportunity, there’s give and take on both sides.
“The first thing we ascertain as coaches is an athletic fit. Are they capable to play at this level in our program? Then obviously once you meet with the recruit and engage with their family, you start to get a feel for their personality. Are they going to be a right fit for our program, are they going to be the right fit for the university? Then also they’re feeling us out also, do we have the right majors, is it the right size, right location, what’s the student life environment. There’s a feeling out process on both sides, it’s not just ‘hey we want this recruit; let’s get them to go to Cabrini,'” Colfer said.
Another important aspect that goes into the athletics recruiting discussion is the freshman retention rate. The freshman retention rate is the rate at which students return to the university from freshman to sophomore year. Cabrini’s retention rate is around 72 percent, which falls below the national average of 78 percent. However with student athletes there trends to be a higher retention rate.
“Our student athlete retention is higher than our non-athlete retention across the board. I think last year we were somewhere in the 85-86 percent in terms for our freshmen returning as sophomore as athletic recruits. And that generally only goes higher from that point on, from freshman to sophomore year. Some years it’s closer to 90 percent and it kind of fluctuates from that mid 80s to low 90s percentage range from year to year, ” Colfer said.