Athletic Recruitment

A student’s search for the right athletic fit can be a daunting process. Jim Schaefer can help the student-athlete deal with the college admissions process at this moment, finding the right fit academically to conduct a parallel search for the right fit academically, athletically, and socially. The search weaves together all these areas to find the best situation for the student-athlete.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do as an Educational Consultant in the realm of athletic recruitment?

As a consultant, I work for students and their families.  I advise them on the college athletic recruiting process and the many steps in the recruiting process. I work strictly for the student and their family, rather than for a school. I help interpret “coach-speak" so you know what is really and what is not really being said, and what it means.

What are your qualifications as an Educational Consultant in athletic recruitment?

I would consider working with student athletes my strongest area.  Having coached at the collegiate level for three decades I am very familiar with the recruiting process at all levels from Division I to Division III. Having worked as Athletic Liaison during my tenure as a college admissions officer for a decade my breadth of sports recruiting knowledge goes beyond the sports that I have actively coached.  I have a unique perspective to share with the student athlete in preparing them to work with coaches, understand communications with coaches and the option of the Post Graduate (PG) year.

In addition, I have done some educational advising on the side for the past decade at the behest of friends and family.  Many of those that I have guided are athletes who continued their respective sports at the collegiate level. The success of those that I have guided through the process has peaked my interest in helping student athletes and their families navigate the ‘college’ and ‘prep school’ process as a profession.

Do you evaluate athletic talent?

First of all, I have evaluated talent long enough now that I am a steadfast believer in the axiom ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. Each coach evaluates talent a bit differently depending on the systems they run, past history with athletes and their immediate needs. However I have evaluated film for many years, especially in the sport of football, and I have a good idea of what level a prospect can compete at.  I would prefer to watch film of the student athlete or watch the student athlete in game action to help me better advise the student athlete. The trick is finding a program where the student athlete fits the needs of the program as well as the system of the program.

Do you have “connections” to help a student get into a competitive college through athletics or to help get an athletic scholarship?

The answer is two fold.  Yes, I have many friends who are college coaches.  No, I do not use these connections to help students get accepted or receive athletic scholarships.  I can tell you first hand as a former college admissions official and coach that both admissions officials and coaches have their own specific wants and needs that help them make their own decisions.

What are your confidentiality policies?

I do not share lists of clients, personal information, or other details with outside groups or individuals without the permission of the client. I do my best to protect the privacy of the families I work with and do not share clients’ names with other current or prospective clients.

How do you work with our school counselor and/or coach?

I do not work with school counselors or school coaches unless the counselors or coaches ask to specifically work with me.  In these cases I can work in concert with a counselor or coach to provide the best possible service for the student and their family. I do not take the place of a school counselor or coach. I see myself as another piece in the puzzle that can be used to enhance the process. 

Do you understand the recruiting calendar and can you help us to keep on top of the requirements as they come along?

There are so many different recruiting calendars not only for different sports but within the different divisions of a particular sport.  I certainly understand how recruiting calendars work, including the real and imagined time frames one has to be very careful to follow.  Specifically I am more familiar with some than others.  However once you have a good handle on recruiting calendars as a whole it is not difficult to adjust to specific calendars.

Do academic requirements for athletes differ from those for the overall students? Can you help us understand realistic academic college options?

You would be surprised at how little difference there is between the student athlete academically from the regular student. With that being said most coaches can dip below the norm academically in the admissions process.  In some leagues they have an index which is used to determine if a student can be admitted.  I am very familiar with those as the Ivy League had a pretty strict index system in place during my tenure there, with which I became very familiar.

Do you advise about the grades, courses and test scores needed to be a viable candidate?

Your guidance counselor should be able to figure most of this out for you.  What I can help with is the timing, which is different from the average student, and the indexes, specifically the Ivy League index which the guidance counselors will have limited, if any, knowledge.

Do you help the student athlete decipher the communication from coaches?

My experience with the other side of the communication and my knowledge of the rules for coach communication allows me to have a very good feel for what is serious recruitment and what is not. I feel this is imperative in helping the student athlete move forward or move on in the process with each school.

Do you help with summer sports camps, clinics, jamborees, etc?

Having worked numerous camps through the years I can help a student athlete navigate these waters and get the most attention possible without burning them and their parents out physically and financially in the process. If I am working with a student athlete early in the process I can usually tell by the contact level of coaches what the ‘true’ level of interest is in the athlete before they attend camps.

Do you help with official and unofficial visits?

Unofficial visits are easy to navigate because there are few restrictions on them.  Timing becomes the key for the athlete, especially the multi sport athlete, on the unofficial visits. What my experience can be the biggest help with are official visits which can be a little bit tricky but easy to manage with a helping hand.  Knowing how different programs operate is the key.

How early do you begin working with students?

The majority of time I will begin working with students in their junior or senior year of high school.  I will start working with high school students as early as the freshman year to prepare them for the process for college or secondary school.

Do you help deciphering ‘Offers’?

What is a ‘real’ offer and what is a ‘soft’ offer is something I have a good handle on whether it be an athletic scholarship or admissions. It is crucial to understanding the commitment on both the coach’s side and the athlete’s side in an ‘offer’ situation.

Do you advise students about Post-Graduate (PG) applications?

I have extensive background in Post Graduate (PG) programs having both recruited PG athletes and most recently helped place PG athletes as a coach at both the college and preparatory school level.

Do you provide financial aid counseling?

I can help families with the Financial Aid process.  The financial aid forms to use, the timeline on completing the forms, how to read and evaluate the financial aid awards and scholarships, how to understand athletic scholarships and how to apply for outside scholarships.  I am not a tax specialist and can not help a family fill out the financial aid forms.  I can work with the ‘cost conscious’ family on finding colleges that are an affordable fit.

As a rising senior, I am coming to you “late in the process.” Can I still 
take full advantage of your college counseling program?

It is never too late to start the process.  Granted the options decrease as time passes but there are in fact many more options than most people realize even late in the process.  One thing that is true is the later one starts the more intensified the program needs to be.

Still have a question about the athletic recruitment process?

Jim Schaefer