If you talk to a former student athlete, they will be the first to tell you how important your college decision will be. Many athletes refer to it as a 40 year decision. I like to refer to it as a life-time decision. Athletes and their families tend not to understand how important it is dive deep into the recruitment process to make the right college decision. Somehow, the emphasis remains on development and the hope that your coach or pure luck will get you to your dream school. While you need the athletic and academic stats to get on coaches radars, it is not going to help you make the right decision on which college you should attend. Most athletes dream of going to particular school(s) but often times athletes will change their minds for one reason or another during their high school years. Even when your original dream school list can be viable options. Transfer rates are far too high in every sport in my opinion. This is largely due to the lack of knowledge during the recruiting process to understand how to make the right college decision. Athletes can easily avoid this issue if they start the process on time! On time is beginning of grade 9, when an athlete become a prospect according to the NCAA bylaws. As an athlete, you need to give yourself enough time to complete the necessary steps in the recruitment process. Remember, the process takes time! I am always blown away by the amount of athletes that push the college process on the back burner. You are doing a huge disservice to yourself if you don't prioritize it. I've watched so many athletes who have had the chance to play at the next level and never do because it got too late. I cannot stress enough how important it is to start on time. Give yourself some breathing room. Take the stress off your shoulders and maximize your opportunities. You only get one chance.
By Tarek Merchant