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Remember when you were a kid and your parents taught you the game you love to play today? Do you remember when they said “sky’s the limit” and the first thing you thought was ‘I’m going to be a professional athlete’? Well, there’s this thing called “life” and it throws you curveballs like how tall or short you’re going to be, how much weight you’re going to gain or lose over the years, or even the thing we always hope to avoid as athletes: injury. As you begin the stages of getting noticed and recruited for college/university sports teams you have to come to terms with being realistic about the athlete and person you are now versus the athlete and person you want to become in college. You may be the best athlete on your team, you might win a ton of awards and trophy’s, and you can be the next Lionel Messi or LeBron James but you need to be aware of the facts when you’re looking at colleges based on athletics. According to the NCAA website, less than 2 % of NCAA athletes make it pro in the sport they play. Being realistic is a hard thing to think about when it comes to the game you’re so passionate to play everyday and hope to play for as long as you possibly can; so to make it a little more tangible here are some tips to keep in mind during the recruiting process when you’re looking for the right school to play for.  
  1. Find The Right Fit For You
As much as it’s every kids dream to play a Division I sport or play professionally, what’s most important is finding a school that is perfect for you. College is so much more than playing a sport, and some student-athletes don’t figure this out until the end of their playing career. It’s about finding your passions off the field, challenging yourself in classes, connecting with new people, discovering yourself, and growing up. Once you think about all of these aspects of what you want in a college and how they will benefit you in the real world then that can help you focus in on schools you want to look at and be recruited for. Try and visit as many schools as you possibly can, it’ll be easier envisioning yourself at that school.  
  1. Be Honest With Yourself and Ask Others to be Honest With You
The only person that truly knows your skills, abilities, and how much work you put into your game is YOU. When you are looking at schools you need to have a sense of what level you are comfortable playing, as well as what you want out of your college sports career. These two things go hand in hand because you may be capable of playing at a Division I or II level but you might be expected to sit on the bench during game days at those levels. This isn’t always the case but you need to be prepared for what you might have to deal with when you’re looking at these teams at the college level. Keep in mind your coaches are an important part of this process too. They have helped shape you be the player you are, they know how you are as a player, they’ve experienced what you’re going through, and they have a lot of knowledge of the skill and ability you need in order to play on all different levels. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions because they want you to be successful and they will be honest with you about that. Getting other perspectives is a good way to keep you in check of what you’re capable of and what is a realistic fit for you.  
  1. You Will Be Challenged At Any Level
Some athletes believe that you’re not getting challenged if you’re not playing at the Division 1 level. That is not true. When coaches and scouts are reaching out to you do not only look at schools based on their Division level because no matter what level you’re playing at they are all challenging. There are always going to be harder conferences and teams no matter where you play, so remember that when schools from a lower Conference/Division are looking at you. It’s not just about playing your sport at a high level; it’s also about enjoying your sport at a high level. Would you rather be sitting on the bench for four years saying you were on a team at the Division I level or would you rather play the game you love for the next four years at a school you love regardless of the level? The choice is yours.   At andGo Sports… We work very hard to get these student-athletes to play for the college or university of their dreams. We familiarize ourselves with what each family is looking for in a school based on academics, campus life, and level of play. Nonetheless, being realistic is one of the hardest concepts for families during the recruitment process. As an example, we communicate with families and face the challenge of aspirations of attending an Ivy League institution however their academic profile doesn’t support that. Another common obstacle we are faced with is when a client aspires to compete at a higher level athletically that is out of their reach. We truly want the best for these student-athletes however being realistic is a major component to finding the perfect school for you. Being unrealistic is detrimental to the process. Overall, we give our 100% to helping provide families with the best information and guidance in a realistic recruitment situation. We want to help these student athletes find the schools that they can compete in and enjoy as an athlete and as a student. Don’t forget these tips above and have an open mind, because you just might find the school of your dreams where you are least expecting it.   By: Melanie Escobar
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