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    Softball Junkie shaker1's Avatar
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    Default 1st Visit

    DD's 1st visit is coming up, what should we expect? Local D3 school, DD has been to a few camps with them. Just feeling out the process, any advise, experiences, info you would like to share would certainly be appreciated.

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    I have no advice but just want to say congrats and awesome for her!!!! My DD for the first time turned a couple of heads this summer at ASA Gold Nationals and had a couple coaches come to all her games and extended an invite to their camps this fall. They are D2 schools and DD was pretty excited. Point being is visits, camp invites, attention and interest at the end of the day keeps them excited and in the game IMO. First time for DD so she is like who else may be interested????? Maybe nobody but keep yourself out there, do the right things to get visibility, and see who may have interest.

    Didn't mean to turn this into a MY DD thing Shake, just happy for you and your DD as the journey is as special as the final outcome. Maybe more special since we are with them during the journey to get to the final outcome.

    Congrats my friend and I am sure more visits for your DD to come!!! And hopefully somebody else can actually answer your question for you

    S3

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    Certified softball maniac FP26's Avatar
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    Congrats on the visit. The most important thing is to enjoy the process and make sure your DD asks questions. My DD visited several schools during her journey and a few were D3s. The thing that stood out to me is how much talk was about academics. Each of the coaches wanted to make sure that DD could handle the grind of balancing academics and athletics. It also seems very important that the recruit fits in well with the other players on the team. That topic was discussed by each coach. This may have just been the particular schools DD visited but those topics were discussed much more at the D3s than the D2s we were at. Best of luck!
    "Once you stop learning, you start dying" -- Albert Einstein.

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    Certified softball maniac marriard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaker1 View Post
    DD's 1st visit is coming up, what should we expect? Local D3 school, DD has been to a few camps with them. Just feeling out the process, any advise, experiences, info you would like to share would certainly be appreciated.
    Having gone to several this year, they are all different but there is also several things they all do. After a while you start to recognize these and you get a red flag when they avoid talking about something everyone else does. Here are some of the things you will want to hear about.

    - Fall season. How much coach contact/official practice is allowed. Some D3's it is none. Some have a fall season. What are expectations (weights/conditioning/captains practices/individual work/etc).
    - In-season. How is travel handled? Where do you travel to? Is there a parents contribution (in D3 those Florida trips are often done with parents $$$). When are games? Who is your rival school? What times are practices? How do you work around classes?
    - What do you do when weather means no outside practice.
    - Roster size. Do pitchers hit? Do pitchers field?
    - Can you help with admissions (most D3's seem to be able to walk X # of girls through admissions which is a MASSIVE help on getting into a school - some can not help with admissions)
    - Facilities improvement plans. Good programs are moving forward each year with SOMETHING if they have not recently got something big lately.
    - Overnights with teams and other come on campus events. They will want to talk grades in general as well.
    - Lodgings - is the team in the same dorm, are team mates room mates, is any of this required? If living off-campus is allowed by the school, do you let them? Etc, etc...
    - How upperclassman work with freshman - this is important with the restrictions coaches have in the Fall in D3
    - How do players get to the field. At many schools softball is the latest sport to get 'big' so many schools fields are off campus even if they are new or the field was built on the last available space available - some D3's don't have their own field so play at an off-campus field. So how do players get to practice? Games? Other events? Especially on campuses where students may be not allowed vehicles?

    Sounds like your DD is familiar with the school so a lot of the touring of the facilities and program details (and academics) are probably not news for her so may be a quicker discussion than at other schools. Talking to admissions is the real big step - that is serious :-)

    For most D3's if your DD is a senior they will be ready to discuss admission into the school. It is really time to decide. If she is a junior or younger it is more a pitch to say 'this could be the school for you - lets ramp up contact and discussion so we are always on your mind'. They may outright say that if your DD wants to come to the school, she has a spot on the team and they will help with admissions. For D3 where there is no athletic money, that is an offer. My DD has a school like this that is the bar that she compares all other schools to. Even as a junior your DD may be ready to say 'Yes' but if she is not, D3's are used to waiting for girls to be seniors before committing.

    It is all exciting and once you are confident she will find a home, it can be very enjoyable. It is also sometimes stressful. Try to enjoy it is as much as possible.

    Recruiting is very much like dating. I like you, do you like me? Ok, you like me, lets see where this is heading, Oh, someone else likes me as well, what should I do? Oh, you don't like me as much as you used to? Ok this is not going to work out. Ok this is the one. And so on. And everyone's journey and experience is different.
    Last edited by marriard; 08-08-2018 at 09:20 AM.
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    Need to add two more.

    For D3, you should also ask the coach what else they do. Though this is changing, very few D3 coaches are full time softball coaches and they often have other jobs and not necessarily on campus. Same with their assistant coaches - they are probably part time.

    Also for D3 in particular, as the academics are critical. If you have not done so before you should have visited admissions or gone on a tour or preview day or whatever else the college offers even before you have direct contact with the coach. We have got more than one college interested by letting them know you are interested enough in the school that you are going to do attend an admissions event even if the coach doesn't have time for you on that day You should be doing this for any level of college softball, but for D3 it is a much bigger sign of real interest in a college. Also some of the really good college info/tours we have been on have taught my DD and myself a LOT about how you get into colleges that I believe a lot of people miss out on because they don't bother.
    Last edited by marriard; 08-08-2018 at 04:05 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marriard View Post
    - Can you help with admissions (most D3's seem to be able to walk X # of girls through admissions which is a MASSIVE help on getting into a school - some can not help with admissions)
    What are you meaning when you ask them about helping with admissions process? Actually getting accepted into the school, or just helping to get the paperwork processed?

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    Certified softball maniac marriard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom View Post
    What are you meaning when you ask them about helping with admissions process? Actually getting accepted into the school, or just helping to get the paperwork processed?
    Actually getting accepted into the school. You still have to fill out the forms, get them submitted on time, etc, etc.

    The actual help you can get seems to vary greatly from school to school and conference to conference. Note this is all D3 and may not be directly relevant to other divisions. However there is correlation in other divisions - being on the team makes the admission process MUCH easier. At most schools you will still need to meet admissions standards but once you do you will be admitted unlike the general application pool where you could meet the admissions standard and still not be offered a spot.

    Some common examples....

    No help - Some coaches have ZERO influence on admissions. None. They openly encourage players to apply and they recruit only kids they think have a chance, but admissions is supposedly blind to their sports teams and coaches wants. MIT is one of these schools - they recruit broad, look for about 10 to apply and expect to get 3-4 admitted. That can be real problematic when you have specific needs.

    Some help - they get to basically 'walk' in a few players into admissions. Admissions know that the coach wants the kid admitted for their team and it is known during the admissions process and has influence. Some schools even have an admissions liaison associated with each team. You still have to meet all the admission criteria (grades, essays, interview, extra curriculum, whatever else the school considers - but as long as you do your admission is pretty close to guaranteed. Some schools have a # per year, some will do how ever many the coach needs this year. I know kids who were not part of the 'walked in' group at their college who still applied and got in by themselves and were part of the team. This is common if a team needs say 5 players but the coach can only walk 3 into admissions (this kind of happens at Ivy D1 schools as well)

    Lots of help - the coach is basically your admissions liaison. They will provide a lot of help getting through the process and while they can't get you more money, they have insight into places you could look then it is up to you. This is beyond 'some help'.

    'Some Help' is by far the most common scenario in D3 we have encountered. When you are looking at the very selective schools for admissions it is a BIG deal. These schools turn away some amazing students - they don't automatically take even the best SAT/ACT scores or GPA's. Softball or some other sport could get you past admissions where you very possibly may have been passed over. My DD met some of her intended major faculty in her last visit to her #1 school - she is working to get then onside as well - they have similar influence - if they want a kid in their program, they can smooth that acceptance.

    There are rules about how much help they can provide and the way it was explained to me is that the team and coaches cannot be seen to provide you access to something any other student couldn't access money wise.
    Last edited by marriard; 08-08-2018 at 04:59 PM.
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    I can talk softball all day mj1569's Avatar
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    Another thing I'll add to marriard's list. Talk to the coach about their personal career goals. Ask them where do they eventually want to end up at in the coaching world. Are they happy coaching D3 or do they want to try to make their way to D2 or D1. Are they happy living in the area or are they wanting to coach in another area of the country at some point. I won't go into it but sometimes you think you nailed the school and coach and the coach up and leaves for whatever reason. This happens a lot at the D3 level. I know they say make sure you like the school but if you're also going there to play ball the coach is also part of the deciding factor.

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    Certified softball maniac marriard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mj1569 View Post
    Another thing I'll add to marriard's list. Talk to the coach about their personal career goals. Ask them where do they eventually want to end up at in the coaching world. Are they happy coaching D3 or do they want to try to make their way to D2 or D1. Are they happy living in the area or are they wanting to coach in another area of the country at some point. I won't go into it but sometimes you think you nailed the school and coach and the coach up and leaves for whatever reason. This happens a lot at the D3 level. I know they say make sure you like the school but if you're also going there to play ball the coach is also part of the deciding factor.
    Very true - coach turnover is very high

    Here is something I posted from last year. The turn over rate of college head coaches in Florida was 35% over a 24 month period. That didn't change this year. It also appears consistent country wide - reports in the NE indicated it was even higher than normal this year.

    https://www.discussfastpitch.com/pla...e-coaches.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by mj1569 View Post
    Another thing I'll add to marriard's list. Talk to the coach about their personal career goals. Ask them where do they eventually want to end up at in the coaching world. Are they happy coaching D3 or do they want to try to make their way to D2 or D1. Are they happy living in the area or are they wanting to coach in another area of the country at some point. I won't go into it but sometimes you think you nailed the school and coach and the coach up and leaves for whatever reason. This happens a lot at the D3 level. I know they say make sure you like the school but if you're also going there to play ball the coach is also part of the deciding factor.
    True story.... DD had her decision narrowed down to 2 schools. One of those schools had their coach leave to coach at a D1. The change really didn't end up impacting DD's decision, but I am sure it had an impact on the program.
    "Once you stop learning, you start dying" -- Albert Einstein.

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