Technology Without Guidance: How To End Up At The Wrong College

  • The rate of technological advancement has changed the way many industries operate and the recruiting industry is no different. Recruiting technology has removed many barriers to acquiring college information and communicating with college coaches. Student-athletes and families can now use technology to find, evaluate and compare any colleges in the country. They can then use this technology to send online resumes and highlight reels along with messages to any coach in the country, en masse. On the surface this looks very convenient for families. However, without sufficient guidance this technology can easily lead you to the wrong college.

    Consider this metaphor: using recruiting technology without guidance is like driving in a foreign country without a map – the car will help you get somewhere faster, but will you arrive at your desired destination? Probably not. What does your ‘desired destination’ look like in the recruiting process? It looks like committing to a school that is a good fit for you as a student-athlete: academically, socially and athletically. This will lead to an excellent 4-year experience and also set you up for success after college.

    Technology needs a map (or guidance) to work the way it is intended. This is no different in the recruiting process. Consider the examples below of specific technology features and the guidance they require to achieve a desirable outcome in the recruiting process.

    Many recruiting companies present you with technology to find any school in the country, communicate with every college coach and host highlight reels. This technology makes these recruiting steps more efficient, but not more accurate. As the table above shows, technology can help you find any school or athletic program in the country, but without the guidance to help you evaluate which factors you should be using to compare these schools (if the technology even identifies the right factors) you cannot make an accurate list of best fit colleges. Likewise, technology can help you find and contact every coach in the country, but coaches receive thousands of emails every year from interested athletes – how do you stand out? Additionally, coaches detest the mass emails that emanate from many recruiting platforms, so how do you message them in the way that will elicit a response?

    As mentioned in previous ACA Recruiting Blog posts, the 4-year graduation rate in the US is approximately 40%. This means that you are more likely to add additional years to your degree (or drop out of college) than to graduate in 4 years. In fact, 39% of students transfer to another college or drop out altogether after freshman year. Therefore, it is extremely important for your use of technology to be sufficiently guided in order to ensure that you don’t become just another transfer statistic.

    Why Do Recruiting Companies Offer Such Limited Guidance?

    Recruiting companies don’t generally provide in-depth guidance to families because it’s expensive. Focusing solely on a recruiting platform makes sense for many recruiting companies because it is easy to scale: minimal extra work is created when a family signs up to use their technology. The company does not need to invest time and money into creating much in the way of guidance (content or additional assistance) for families. This makes it easier for these companies to maximize profitability. While this may make sense from a business standpoint, it certainly doesn’t make sense for student-athletes who want to maximize their recruiting outcome and end up at a best fit school.

    What Does Recruiting Guidance Look Like?

    Guidance is best provided to families in the form of helpful resources and personal assistance that facilitate the proper use of recruiting technology. Guidance should help you learn to use a college search tool for instance, before telling you how to narrow down your list based on certain factors. Guidance needs to show you how to use technology to find a coaches contact information, and then help you to write an email that will stand out and generate interest with a coach on your list.

    ACA incorporates into their Individual Plans resources such as the College Pathways Course, a comprehensive 5 module educational course to guide you on how to effectively use the ACA Platform through each aspect of the recruiting process. ACA also provides Personal Advising by ACA Experts within certain ACA Individual Plans, helping you navigate ACA’s recruiting technology and the recruiting landscape in general. In addition, ACA focuses on running one of the nations most helpful and comprehensive college recruiting blogs as well as providing Free 20 Minute Consultations which give some early recruiting guidance to families.

    ACA’s Technology and Guidance were created in tandem, to provide the two essential components of a clear college pathway. Together, these two resources provide a more efficient and a more accurate recruiting outcome.

    For more information on ACA’s Individual Plans click here.