Varsity Advice

“Empowering The High School Student Athlete”

5 Steps to help you choose a Major ? January 1, 2010

Filed under: News — Varsity Mentoring @ 9:48 pm

Step 1

List your interests. Then research available College Majors, and compare them to your list ofinterests. Chances are you’ll find more than one major that corresponds to something you like.

Step 2

Study course brochures for the major you are deciding on. Talk with senior students about their experiences and what lies ahead academically for you and if that chosen course is one you would definitely like to pursue.

Step 3

Speak with a career counselor at your college. He can offer advice and insight you may not get elsewhere. The counselor can help you make the right decision by steering you toward the right faculty or student leader who can answer questions about a specific major.

Step 4

Take some assessment tests. They can be found at the career services office at your college or online. Also check out the websites that offer assessment tests.

Step 5
Sit in on a few classes related to your major to help make your decision. Consider an internship in the field to expose you to the types of jobs you might find after college. Interview people working in your field of study to determine if this might be a for you.


” A Man is only as good as his word”

Filed under: News — Varsity Mentoring @ 9:19 am

My Grandaddy use to say ” A Man is only as good as his word”   With Signing Day not too far off, football recruits are making college decisions.· But verbal commitments at this point in the process mean much.· If you have scholarship offers from several different schools, you might tell the coaches at each program that you are committed to them.· The crazy thing  is that some athletes do that.

 It is important to keep your word throughout the  recruiting process.· and most teenagers change their mind as often as they change their socks.· But when committing to a school, I feel strongly that unless the coach quits,dies or gets fired, you should stick to your word.

 There are two reasons why I feel it would be acceptable for an athlete to re-open the recruiting process after having already verballed to a college program.· The first, as mentioned previously, is a change in the coaching staff.· FYI, the National Letter of Intent states that you should pick a school based on the school, not the coaches.· The problem with that is the school doesn’t recruit a player.· It is the coaches at the school that recruit athletes.·

The second main reason why I feel it is okay to change your decision in recruiting is if you have committed to a school and they have received word from the NCAA that they are going to be penalized for breaking rules.· This happens very rarely but it has occurred at a variety of schools.·

 As for the reasons to keep your word, the first is that it is about integrity.· If you are 18-years old, committing to multiple schools, and changing your mind after every official visit you make, then your integrity is probably low and will stay that way throughout a good portion of your life.· My question to recruits who change their mind is why commit in the first place if you are not 100%?· Unless a school is pressuring you into a decision (which can happen), then you might as well wait another month or six months until you feel extremely comfortable with the program.

 This is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make so don’t rush it.

 George Jefferson Founder of Varsity Mentoring and certified College Admissions and Career Counselor has been working with High School Students since 1994 helping them get into and pay for college.In 2008 he launched Varsity Mentoring for the opportunity to help more young adults reach their goals and full potential and create a clearinghouse of products and services for the College-Bound

“Our primary goal is to empower the student athlete and help them identify careers and find colleges/schools where they can showcase their skills/talents.We hope to get our students the best education at the best possible price, while allowing them to continue to participate in a sport they love.”

Whether you are a student-athlete,parent or coach feel free to use the resources on our website
If you need more assistance call us at 877-245-5885 Mon-Sat 8AM -8PM EST our visit the website



Who Really Gets the Most College Financial Aid? December 29, 2009

Filed under: News — Varsity Mentoring @ 3:02 pm

Who Really Gets the Most College Financial Aid?

| Kim Clark College Cash 101

One of the complaints I hear most often, and which I see posted most frequently on Web stories about financial aid, is a version of this: “If you’re poor, you get all the free money you could possibly want. If you’re rich, you already have all the money you need or want. But if you’re in that nice medium called middle class you get screwed right out of your socks,” which was posted last year at by “College studen” (sic) of Texas. (I’m assuming CS simply mistyped and knows how to spell the word student.)

Is there any evidence supporting this?

A soon-to-be-published book by a Princeton sociologist found that low-income minority students (mainly African-Americans and Hispanics) who have good grades and test scores appear to have an edge over whites and Asians with similar grades and test scores (but not necessarily other factors such as extracurricular activities or recommendations, which were not considered in this study) at getting into the elite private colleges that tend to give out the most scholarships.

But by U . S . News‘s count, only 54 of the 5,000-plus American colleges and universities promise to provide enough scholarships to meet all students’ financial need. And those colleges give plenty of aid to the far greater numbers of middle- and upper-middle-class students whom they admit. Harvard, for example, charges no more than 10 percent of a family’s income for all those who earn $180,000 or less.

A few dozen other schools promise to meet the need of students from low-income families only, typically cutting their generosity off at annual incomes of about $40,000.

The few students who meet these criteria may very well receive better financial aid deals than similar students who aren’t lucky enough to win admission or whose families earn slightly more than their school’s cutoff. But the numbers of students who get this advantage is surprisingly tiny. Most of the really generous schools are quite small. Princeton University, for example, enrolled just 1,300 freshmen this year. An analysis by Postsecondary Education Opportunity, a think tank based in Oskaloosa, Iowa, found that only about 10 percent of Princeton’s students come from low-income families. Using some back-of-the-envelope calculations, I’d estimate that these generous schools take no more than 200,000 or so of the 3 million freshmen who start college each year. But because the majority of those admitted to elite schools tend to be from well-off families, the number of low-income freshmen who get full financial aid probably doesn’t exceed 30,000—or 1 percent—of all college freshmen.

For the other 99 percent, the think tank found that it is the poor and working class who particularly get the financial aid shaft.

PEO researcher Tom Mortenson has found that families earning less than $70,000, on average, don’t receive the amount of scholarships and grants they need to meet the stingy budget formula the government uses to determine a student’s “need.”

Mortenson calculated the amount of grants students received and subtracted that from the costs of their colleges. When he compared that number with what the government thought the student could afford, he found some depressing results: The poorer the family, the bigger the gap between their aid and their need.

Take students from families earning about $35,000. The government calculates they typically can afford only about $2,600 a year for college. But considering dorms, books, travel, and tuition, those students’ bills come to about $20,000 a year. Mortenson found that the average grant these students received in 2008 was about $7,000. That means those families had to spend about $13,000—almost 40 percent of their 2008 annual incomes—to support one child in college. Even adding in more than $5,000 worth of loans and work-study earnings leaves a gap of more than $5,000 between what they actually had to pay upfront and the aid they received.

Families who earned about $65,000 were expected to contribute almost $10,000 toward the student’s cost. But they typically got only $4,600 in grants to cover their $11,600 need. Even if the student worked and borrowed, the family was typically left with a gap of $1,443.

Now look at what happened to students from families earning about $170,000 a year. The government estimates those families can afford to pay, on average, more than $36,000 a year, or about 15 percent of income, toward college. That’s more than most in-state public universities, and even some private universities, charge. But some of those students nevertheless win “merit” grants or scholarships, such as Georgia’s Hope Scholarship, which covers tuition at in-state public universities for any Georgia student with good grades. In fact, one study found that more than one quarter of students from families in the richest 25 percent got some state merit grants. While good students should be rewarded, no matter how wealthy (or poor) their parents are, the result is that some wealthy students are getting more aid than the government calculates they need.


NCAA’s new rule has detractors April 27, 2009

Filed under: News — Varsity Mentoring @ 9:38 am
NCAA’s new rule has detractors 



The NCAA’s new limitation on college basketball recruiting in April put a crimp in Jerrance Howard’s game plan. But Illinois’ creative assistant coach already has obtained a couple of important commitments for the future.

”I have two commitments for the class of 2026, my newborn son, Jerrance Jr., who is 5½ months old, and [former Illini star] Luther Head’s son, who is 6 months old,” Howard said.

But Howard, college coaches and recruiting analysts claim the NCAA’s decision to curtail springtime recruiting isn’t a laughing matter. In their opinion, it limits opportunities for youngsters to get maximum exposure to college evaluators, reducing their chances to earn scholarships.

The new rule is designed to reduce excessive coast-to-coast travel and stymie the perceived negative influence being peddled by some summer and AAU coaches, street agents and other outside sources.

”It is a disservice to kids and coaches,” Howard said. ”Now the first time you’ll see a kid is in July. If you see them five or six times in April, you can know if you’re going to offer a scholarship or not.

”It affects kids more than coaches. We have less time to evaluate them. April was the most important time for college coaches, an opportunity to evaluate kids around the country that you didn’t see before, a chance to find sleepers that nobody knows about.”

But Bobby Dodd, president of the National AAU, disagrees. He thinks the NCAA’s decision is just what the doctor ordered and long overdue. In fact, he said he told NCAA president Myles Brand two years ago that ”if you don’t do something, it will become a nightmare.”

Dodd describes the NCAA ruling as ”marvelous” and said he wishes the NCAA would restrict all recruiting until an athlete’s senior year, even perhaps to the point of eliminating the early signing period. He said the next logical step is to place limitations on recruiting services.

”They would be able to clean up some of the problems that we find ourselves facing with the escalation of the recruiting cycle to fourth- and fifth-graders,” Dodd said. ”I disagree with coaches who think kids have to be seen. A year should be enough time for a coach to recruit a kid.”

April is like Christmas for college coaches. Must stops on their recruiting trips are Kingswood in Houston, Texas, and Real Deal in the Rock in Little Rock, Ark., two of the biggest AAU events in the nation, King James in Ohio and Mike Weinstein’s popular showcase at Joy of the Game in Deerfield.

”Before this year, in April, I was on the road every weekend, evaluating kids and sleepers and tweeners,” Howard said. ”It gives you leeway to July so you can nail down a list of kids you will offer scholarships to.

”Sure, you can go to the high schools and make contacts or watch them play in April. You can see them all year. But now you want to see them play against the elite players, the best players across the country.”

Under the new rule, coaches will have to rely more on Chicago-based scouts such as Joe Henricksen, Roy and Harv Schmidt and Brian Stinnette, nationally recognized analysts such as Bob Gibbons and Van Coleman and recruiting services such as Rivals and Scout. They’ll attend more local events in Chicago, Milwaukee, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Columbus, Ohio.

”Coaches still need to know who can play and players need to be seen. And now it’s which recruiting service is seeing you at which event,” Coleman said. ”The rule doesn’t help the coach do his job; it hinders it. It won’t keep players from going to weekend events. And it won’t diminish the influence of the summer coach.

”It’s a silly rule and won’t accomplish any of its objectives. It only makes for the possibility for coaches and players to make more mistakes as far as who to recruit and where to go to school, especially since a large majority of Internet recruiting analysts and scouts have a limited knowledge of what it takes to play at the various levels of Division I.

”Coaches will only be as knowledgeable as those feeding them information on who to consider as prospects. We seem to have a stream of transfers now. It could make that even worse.”

Boo Williams of Hampton, Va., and Mac Irvin, two of the leading pioneers of summer basketball, argue that kids will play if college coaches are present or not.

The rules were made for only 5 percent of the players across the country, the elite players, but they affect the other 95 percent, the marginal players who need exposure.

”The process has to be monitored, but the NCAA shouldn’t eliminate it,” Williams said. ”It hurts mid-major college programs with limited budgets that have to get out and see as many kids as possible.

”My biggest problem is the NCAA doesn’t do this in any other sport, not soccer or tennis or baseball. I don’t have a problem with the NCAA controlling the process. But they can control it a lot better if they limit the number of games and have educational courses at the tournaments.”

Irvin, who has coached for 40 years and has operated the Chicago-based Mac Irvin Fire since 1992, said ”as long as Coleman, Gibbons and other analysts are covering kids, they will be exposed to college coaches. Some kids will be missed no matter where they go. But more kids will be missed now. This will make the Las Vegas and Phoenix events in July even bigger.”

But Coleman suggests more prospects will be missed, and, worse, more mistakes will be made during the evaluation period if coaches are only able to evaluate seniors for 20 days before their senior season.

”That’s an absurdly short amount of time to evaluate and make decisions on who can play,” Coleman said. ”That’s why the coaches need to evaluate them as sophomores and juniors, to see if they are progressing and have the skills to become players at whatever level they play.”


Recruiting isn’t fun By Jim Halley, USA TODAY

Filed under: News — Varsity Mentoring @ 9:35 am
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — For players who reach the level of a McDonald’s All-American, basketball is a job, recruiting isn’t fun for long and high school basketball would be better served if it used a shot clock.

At least that’s the collective opinion of four McDonald’s All-Americans who took part in a USA TODAY roundtable discussion Monday. The All-American Games are today with the girls game at 5:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU) and the boys game at 8 (ESPN).

All four players who were part of the roundtable have signed with major-college programs.

Forward Joslyn Tinkle of Big Sky (Missoula, Mont.), the only girls player in the group, is headed to Stanford; guard Xavier Henry of Putnam City (Oklahoma City) has signed with Memphis; Oak Hill center Keith “Tiny” Gallon has signed with Oklahoma; and forward Ryan Kelly of Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.) is bound for Duke.

The No. 1 topic for the athletes was recruiting.

“The schools will do a lot of stuff for you and tell you what you want to hear, but when they keep calling and then they text and they get people to start calling you, it begins to get on my nerves,” Henry said. “They get the players to text you. It’s good and all, but after a while you get tired of it.”

Official visits can be a lot of fun — Gallon said he got to hang out with and even get his shot blocked by Blake Griffin on his visit to Oklahoma — but coaches often put enormous pressure on athletes to make their college choice during those visits.

“Some coaches were forcing you; that’s why I didn’t take too many visits,” Gallon said. “I felt good pressure and bad pressure.”

Kelly added that the recruiting process can be overwhelming.

“You have to control it, because it is impossible to handle all the phone calls you get or the number of text messages,” he said.

“The person getting recruited has to handle it and set lines where people can’t cross, that say, ‘I don’t want you to call me that many times.’ If they’re recruiting you, they had better listen to what you say.”

“For me, the pressure was more during the school year, because for a lot of the summer, they’re not allowed to talk to you and I was away a lot with USA Basketball,” Tinkle said. “That was kind of nice because I was away from recruiting for about a month.”

As for on-court issues, Tinkle said she would like to see a shot clock become more common in high school basketball.

“A shot clock would prepare those who are going to the next level, and also it speeds up the pace of the game,” Tinkle said.

“I think having a shot clock would speed up the game and even up the playing field in that a lot of teams couldn’t hold the ball,” Kelly said. “You run into weaker teams that hold the ball, and that’s not exactly basketball.”

All four players did charity work this week at a Ronald McDonald House in Miami, but none of the group has ever worked at McDonald’s — or at any job, for that matter — outside of a little babysitting by Tinkle.

“I’ve never had a job in my life,” Henry said. “My job is playing basketball.”


Social Networking Sites for College Students April 22, 2009

Filed under: News — Varsity Mentoring @ 3:34 am









Here are some popular social networking sites for students.

AlumWire is an interactive site for college students and alumni to network for job opportunities.

Members enjoy free use of all site services and features, including detailed online profiles, photos, group chat, one-to-one video chat, onsite email, event planning and detailed member searches.
Use BuddyU to keep up with your friends, upload photos, videos, music and meet others from around the country. Only students with an .edu email can join BuddyU.

A student social networking website to make friends, browse profiles, ask questions, and get advice from other students.
One of the oldest social communities for students.
A student version of Craigslist – where students can buy, sell and share information.

College Tonight
College Tonight is a social networking place for college students, graduate students and alumni,. This site promotes social interactivity.
This is a cragslist for college students.
Yeah, you already know about it – but I have to add it here.
Social networking sites for students in the United Kingdom 
A social networking site helping graduates to stay connected.

A place for college students and business professionals looking for networking opportunities. They have a nifty internship and job search.
LibraryThing is a website that allows students to catalog their books online. You can access this online catalog from anywhere—even on your mobile phone. Because everyone catalogs together, LibraryThing connects people with the same books, and comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth.
A student trading site for buying and selling on-campus books with other students. You can even cell your phones through your cellphone with this service.

Quizilla is a social network for young teens who share quizzes, stories, journals, and polls.
RateMyProfessor connects students together, and also allows students to rate and talk about the professors they’ve taken. They even have a Facebook app that you can add to your profile. is a social bookmarking website for students. You need to have a .edu email address, and your school’s blackboard system must be linked with

Book swapping network between students. is an online community for college students, high school students and teens. Ages 18 to 24. is a social networking site mixed with an online auction. Studentbid is currently serving seven schools in the Boston area (Harvard, MIT, BU, BC, Tufts, Emerson, and Northeastern) and requires a valid .edu email address from a supported college to ensure out network’s safety.
A nifty social networking site for students in Australia. Members can share videos and photos.
Uloop allows students to trade textbooks, promote community events and do host of other activities.


Reruiting Road Map April 19, 2009

Filed under: News — Varsity Mentoring @ 5:23 pm
Varsity Mentoring

Varsity Mentoring







Here is your Recruiting Roadmap 

How do I get there from here?


If you truly want to continue in sports at the college level on a scholarship program then you must adopt a focused mindset: from your freshman year on your part time job will be creating a marketing program for yourself. Yes, you are an athlete and a student. But until you become accepted into the college of your dreams you will also be a marketing firm and your company is YOU.

Life Decision

          Student Athletes have the opportunity to set themselves up for life. What they do today will affect them in their retirement because they can use athletics to get a better education.  This is more than sports.

Start the Process Early

          College recruiting begins in your freshman year. Thus, it is important to start marketing yourself as soon as possible. This includes building an online profile, collecting and editing video footage, news articles, references and reaching out to recruiters, sponsors and college coaches.


Rarely do Coaches Discover Athletes

          Spend as much effort on marketing yourself as you do on conditioning your body. Receive better opportunities through a better advertising package.

          Do everything you can to win over your high school, travel team and club/showcase coaches in order to receive better recommendations and get you to better colleges.

Make It Easy, Digital and Credible

          The easier you make it for a college coach to view your talents the better your chance of being recruited. So put your edited reel and profile online and on an easy to navigate DVD. Only after they have looked at your video will they decide to see you live.

          College coaches evaluate student athletes on video (tape, DVD or online) that they have received from credible sources. In other words, they are not spending their energy going to games or viewing unexpected video. You must have your network refer you to the college coaches in addition to sending video. 

Expand Your Search

          Most students dream of playing for the biggest schools in the country not realizing that almost 2000 schools offer scholarships. If you are not in the top1% of student athletes then you should spread your wings and apply to schools that realistically meet your education and athletic abilities.  The key is getting a quality education with sports as the conduit.

Manage Your Opportunity

          You should solicit help from your school, club coaches and travel team mentors. Collect as many written references as possible and exploit your coach’s network (with their blessing). It doesn’t hurt to ask and you will need as many credible references as you can find.

          Realize that it is you, the student athlete, and your family who are going to acquire the scholarship, and not your coach. The harder you work and the more you prepare the luckier you will be. 

Play Matchmaker

          Qualifying your potential schools is the best way to up your batting average. By “qualifying your schools” we mean ones that have athletic programs you are best suited, in parts of the country you want to live and with a campus whose educational system interests you (remember, you are not always participating in sports). Additionally, you should consider the social aspects and city vs. rural conditions of the each potential school.

          In regards to athletics, through researching, speaking with your high school coaches and camp mentors- and being realistic with your abilities- you will be able to apply to the right programs that need your skills as the best fit


          What level do you qualify for? Are you in the top 1% of all athletes country-wide or are you applying to a Top 10 school when you really are best suited for Division III? It is important to close some doors and save energy and resources by having a professional evaluation conducted by your coach or third party recruiting specialist.

The Ultimate Makeover: Behave

          By the nature of the beast athletes are aggressive, competitive and focused. Manners, following protocol, great grades and being respectful of other athletes, coaches and the system are equally as important.  Complete your makeover by being a well-rounded, polite and educated individual. 

          Additionally, excel at your camps and showcases and have a all-star year on the field or court

Applying To Colleges

          We recommend applying through a two pronged approach:

o       Target 10 – 15 of your top priorities (again, be realistic about schools that you like and that you qualify). Some of these schools should have relationships with your coaches and reference base and can contact ahead of time on you behalf.

o       Blanket 50 additional, qualified schools

Communication,  Communication, Communication

The secret is to be in front of coaches via email and written letters as much as possible within the proper protocol. In other words, be persistent while following reasonable guidelines (and please have a third party read your communication emails or letters before sending but DO NOT have parents write the letters. The words must be in the language of the student).

          Here is our suggested communication game plan:

o       First, send a simple, well written, two paragraph letter (mail or email) to the coach from each school on your Top 10 – 15 list requesting information on their program.

o       Once you receive the package send a thank you email or letter. Again, keep it short and sweet.

o       One week later, fill out the forms you received and include a professional looking, customized, three-paragraph cover letter that sets you apart from other applicants. Include information that indicates you are a well-rounded adult.

o       DO NOT SEND REFERENCE LETTERS. Instead, indicate on the form that references will follow.

o       One to two weeks later send most of your reference letters with a one paragraph cover letter.

o       One to two weeks later send a schedule of your athletic performances (do not include practices). Try to create these schedules one season ahead of time (send them your spring schedule in the winter). Make it easy for them to attend by including dates, times and addresses.

o       Follow that up a few weeks later with an updated schedule and more references and news articles.

o       Finally, if it is the right time of the recruiting season (not the playing season) contact the coaches by requesting a one on one meeting and/or college campus tour. Remind them that you are interested in the school as an education institution as well as the sports programs.

o       After attacking your top 10 – 15 choices, repeat the above sequences for the other 50 qualified schools. 

Establishing Credibility

          It is one thing to sing your praises, it is quite another to have someone else do it on your behalf. In order to establish your credibility you must have it done by as many third party experts as possible- as many people in power as you can find: coaches, camp directors, travel team mentors, teachers, faculty, community organizers. Anyone who can establish you as an athlete, scholar and great human.

          Include all your press (newspaper clippings, TV news spots) when you send references.

Travel Teams, Showcases and Camps

Note about extracurricular sports organizations: Conduct your due diligence before signing up. Many companies are in business to make money, not find students a college program (no matter what the brochure might say) and will accept any athlete who pays the admission fee. Most scouts avoid these camps in favor of the ones that only accept students that meet strict ability standards. 

Here is how you can determine the best camps and showcases:

          Know the attendance number. If a camp is projecting 500 athletes then they are too big.  Additionally, discover how many recruiters to attendees will be on hand and do the math. Are you going to a camp with a 10-1 shot or 4-1? The better your odds the better your chances.

          Find camps and showcases with the best coaches and reputation. Many summer programs can tout a great ratio of coaches to students. But do they have the right coaches? By doing a little research you can find out how successful camps are at becoming the springboard to college scholarships.

          Additionally, find the camps and showcases that will be attended by the top schools on your list. How? Just ask. Write the coach from each school on your priority list and ask them what camps and showcases they will be attending. 

Note about recruiting services: We believe that the information in this forum IS a recruiting service that is as effective as any service you can buy. Thus, you and your family, your coaches and mentors, your teachers and clergy are all volunteers in your dedicated approach to finding the perfect situation for your sport(s) and higher education.


Make it Easy for Yourself and Coaches: Create an I-Profile

Why not make everyone’s job easier and more effective with an online video profile? There are many great features that online video profiles can provide:


For athletes:

•       The ability to constantly update your information and video

•       Keep from producing additional DVDs and mailing them out

•       Sending emails with links to your video profile

•       Tracking profile hits to your site by coaches

•       Affordability

For college coaches:

•       Easily managing player videos

•       Quick viewing and reviewing video of athletes

•       Creating watch lists of favorite athletes

•       Searching for athletes that meet their requirements

•       Receiving notifications when athletes sign up

Use today’s technology by creating an easy-to-use, professional-looking website (5 pages) that profiles your statistics, achievements, abilities and highlight video reels.

          The home page should be simple in layout, on one screen shot (we should not have to scroll to see everything) and include:

o       Your sports photo (closeup)

o       Sports and physical statistics 

o       Academic statistics and community achievements

o       Upcoming schedule (update it regularly)

o       Contact information

          Page 2 should include your full schedule of games, camps and showcases (again, update it regularly)

          Page 3 should house your two videos:

o       Top plays by position (10-15 max)

o       Entire game (include every play unedited)

          Page 4 is your reference page

o       Include contact information and quotes from your best references and most credible sources

o       Make it easy and desirable to contact your references by supplying phone numbers, email addresses and titles

o       Include other sports contacts (example: you are a football player but also run track)

o       News articles and TV coverage

          Page 5 is your evaluation page

o       List all credible evaluations for each position and sport

o       Use information from any credible coach

o       Include a bio of the referral person

Professional Video

According to Michael Husted with Active Recruiting

“In a recent survey 100% of all college coaches responded that video is VERY important when evaluating talent. Especially when first assessing the athlete… (yet) only 2-3% of student athletes have video readily accessible online for college coaches to view.”

Competition is fierce and the number one way college coaches evaluate athletes is by comparing video demos. The best player may be overlooked because his video is unorganized, of poor quality or too long.  We can’t stress enough how important a professional highlight reel will be in obtaining a scholarship.

Follow these best practices when creating your video in order to be seriously considered by your favorite college programs:

          Quality First

o       No matter where you obtain your footage you must make sure the quality of the tape is worth viewing. If the tape is too grainy, has obstructions (fans standing in the view), earthquake-like shaking, poor lighting, etc. then you should not use the footage. There are three places to find tape to make your highlight reel:

§         High school game tape

§         Family or friend camcorder

§         Hire a professional


o       Make the effort to have a professional highlight reel created from a company that knows sports (wedding editors may not be your best bet). It will be your job to obtain great footage and the editing house to professionally assemble your video and package a great looking marketing piece

          Highlight the Player

o       When editing your clips use an arrow or some effect to indicate who you are in each play and the number you are wearing. This effect should be used during a freeze frame before the play continues. The easier you make it for the coach to recognize you the better.

          10 Second Rule

o       Wow the coach in the first 10 seconds of your reel (again, starting with the best play within the position you are being recruited)


o       Put your best plays first and, if you play more than one position, organize the clips within each position starting with the position you are being recruited. Example: Tom is being recruited as a quarterback but has great skills at wide receiver and defensive end. He would showcase his top 10 plays at quarterback followed by his top 5 plays at wide receiver followed by his top 5 plays at defensive end.

          Organize The Best Athletic Plays

o       DVD’s allow chapters in which you can have separate, individual position highlight reels and full game tape. Use the technology to organize your reels.

o       Only include video clips that are scholarship worthy for your position (think Sports Center Highlights) and that show your athletic talent. Throwing a 20 yard touchdown to a wide open receiver, for example, is not as impressive as a 10 yard strike in traffic.

          Use Two Reels

o       It is encouraged to have two video reels that will allow an interested coach to see more of your abilities:

§         One would be your top 10 – 20 plays (no more than 4 minutes)

§         The second reel would be all your plays from an entire game (your best game of the year). This reel will be labeled “Unedited” even though it will be highlighting you as the player AND cutting out all the plays that you are off the field.

·        Include all the plays- even the ones where you miss a shot or are uninvolved in the action. Coaches want to see your total game presence

          Put it on The Web

o        Upload your video onto the web using a service that is easy to connect, easy to use and free of pauses, slow loading time, glitches or dropouts.

          Make it Easy

o       When mailing DVD’s, send them in easy to open packages (priority mail), clearly document your contact information and highlight your sports/education and extracurricular achievements and statistics

Things to avoid:

          Highlighting a Full Year

o       Do NOT Showcase every play from a particular year. We recommend a video with your top 10 – 20 plays and a full game highlight as described above.

          Avoid special effects:

o       Do NOT edit montages set to music, two or three camera angles of the same play, repeating plays, graphics or text over motion, voice analysis.

          No Homemade Look and Feel

o       Your first impression is everything. Try to avoid the hand written DVD with unedited footage, the DVD that does not play properly, long moments of tape in between plays, time and date stamp, etc.

          No Hollywood Movie, Either

o       On the other hand, try not to be too slick. Spending thousands of dollars on a Hollywood production could also have a negative effect if you are giving the coaches things they are not looking for (fast paced openings set to rock music, voice over interviews, showing the athlete working out, random images, following the action after the play is dead, etc.)