Where do you start?

DD is a sophomore in HS. Coaches haven’t reached out yet and aren’t technically allowed to until June.
My kid doesn’t know what their college major will be yet. she also doesn’t know what state she wants to live in because she is 15 yrs old and only has experience in one. She doesn’t know what weather she will like or not like or what type of environment will be best for her education future.
We want to leave our state as soon as she is out of HS, so there isn’t even any need for her to stay close to mom and dad.
How do we narrow the field of colleges to begin emailing? What filters should we start with? Please help!
 

Dargle

GOLD
Lots of things you can do now to lay the groundwork:

Visit local colleges of different sizes and locations to get a sense of whether she prefers small or large campus and city or suburban/college town, etc.

Go to some college ID camps on college campuses (as opposed to multi-college camps in neutral sites). Make sure they are at colleges of different levels so they can get a sense of D1 v D3 etc and what facilities might matter to them

Have a hard look at your finances to know if you have to impose your own limits or if you need scholarship $ (whether athletic, academic or need) to be an important factor limiting her choices

Examine her grades with a school counselor/ coach to see if she has academic limits. One of the downsides of the trend away from standardized testing is it makes it harder to figure out your realistic range, but grades do matter still and if your daughter’s grades don’t fit her college ambitions, there’s still time to work on that.

Speak with her coach or a trainer to see realistically what level would be a fit for her (factoring in how important soccer v school is and playing lots v being on team is for her). There’s time to improve, but by Soph year a girl is more likely to be fully grown than a boy and athleticism/skills/soccer IQ is more likely to be projectable. Playing at college ID camps and showcases can also help identify her level against other players interested in that level.

Email coaches at a wide range of schools with her highlight reel to see who is interested. If she’s really unsure academically (or just wants a good liberal arts education, which doesn’t narrow things down much) and she is sure she wants soccer in college, then who is interested in her might narrow things down considerably

Check out websites of a wide range of programs and watch recordings of their games, which often are available on those websites. That will give her a sense of playing style, roster size, playing conditions (have her watch a game in November in the snow etc)
 
Playing ECRL now, hopes to play ECNL next season. Varsity HS soccer. Was selected to ODP travel team. Not sure how else to ‘rate’ her level of play.
She is emailing coaches and reaching out herself but she doesn’t know how to filter her selections.
So far, we have:
*smaller school with low teacher to students ratios
*we haven’t ruled out private schools if there is any potential for scholarships
*she’s always been a A/B student.
*she hasn’t taken any ACT/SATs yet
*D2 or NAIA (hoping that the focus is more evenly spent between education, “college life” and soccer)
*City/urban schools are not desirable but then again, she won’t really know that until she experiences it.
*Close to a beach
What other filters can be applied to help narrow down the list?
 

Dargle

GOLD
Playing ECRL now, hopes to play ECNL next season. Varsity HS soccer. Was selected to ODP travel team. Not sure how else to ‘rate’ her level of play.
She is emailing coaches and reaching out herself but she doesn’t know how to filter her selections.
So far, we have:
*smaller school with low teacher to students ratios
*we haven’t ruled out private schools if there is any potential for scholarships
*she’s always been a A/B student.
*she hasn’t taken any ACT/SATs yet
*D2 or NAIA (hoping that the focus is more evenly spent between education, “college life” and soccer)
*City/urban schools are not desirable but then again, she won’t really know that until she experiences it.
*Close to a beach
What other filters can be applied to help narrow down the list?
If “close to a beach” means a beach with warm weather and that’s a priority, you can pretty much stop there and email all the schools that qualify. I think the conventional wisdom is that you should have 1 school for every month until graduation and that list of filters might leave you short.
 
Playing ECRL now, hopes to play ECNL next season. Varsity HS soccer. Was selected to ODP travel team. Not sure how else to ‘rate’ her level of play.
She is emailing coaches and reaching out herself but she doesn’t know how to filter her selections.
So far, we have:
*smaller school with low teacher to students ratios
*we haven’t ruled out private schools if there is any potential for scholarships
*she’s always been a A/B student.
*she hasn’t taken any ACT/SATs yet
*D2 or NAIA (hoping that the focus is more evenly spent between education, “college life” and soccer)
*City/urban schools are not desirable but then again, she won’t really know that until she experiences it.
*Close to a beach
What other filters can be applied to help narrow down the list?
Any idea on what her educational focus will be? That is the only other “qualifier” I don’t see being addressed.
 
DD is a sophomore in HS. Coaches haven’t reached out yet and aren’t technically allowed to until June.
My kid doesn’t know what their college major will be yet. she also doesn’t know what state she wants to live in because she is 15 yrs old and only has experience in one. She doesn’t know what weather she will like or not like or what type of environment will be best for her education future.
We want to leave our state as soon as she is out of HS, so there isn’t even any need for her to stay close to mom and dad.
How do we narrow the field of colleges to begin emailing? What filters should we start with? Please help!
Some frank advice...trying to be helpful. Sounds like you are driving this bus more than she is. Kids might not have answers at this age, but they should have opinions. Does she even care about playing soccer in college? From what you've written, the only thing I read as her want/desire is being close to a beach. Likely, she needs help with identifying the factors, but then she should be encouraged to let you know her opinions over time. So, does SHE want to live in an urban area or rural - city campus or greenscape with trees etc? Want to play soccer year round or seasonal or doesn't really care at all? What are her interests beyond soccer? Big school or small - large classrooms or intimate? Or, just wants to play soccer in college and that's priority #1, no matter where? Is student-body diversity important? My point is, it doesn't sound like she's offering any of her own thoughts on these issues. I could be totally wrong bc i'm basing my opinions on a few sentences here. But make sure you are GENTLY explaining the different factors that go into this decision and make sure she knows that it is HER decision and it's important to start thinking about some of these factors to narrow down the target list. Let her lead the discussion.

Last, as an ECRL player, again being very candid, D1 brand name offers will be a stretch. Her club will give priority to placing all the ECNL players, and colleges will look at ECNL and GA players before ECRL. Look at your club's history of placing ECRL players - where have they gone? Those will be likely options as well as comparable schools. True, coaches for sophomores cannot reach out till June 15, but they are already scouting sophomores - watching games in person, via videos, etc.

Good luck and enjoy the process as it goes very fast and your child has worked hard to get to this point. Just make sure she is driving the bus. And, if she decides that she doesn't want to play soccer at the next level, that's totally okay too. I know girls that got accepted into their dream schools based on academics and decided to forego soccer to attend. They are very happy they made that choice.
 
DD is a sophomore in HS. Coaches haven’t reached out yet and aren’t technically allowed to until June.
My kid doesn’t know what their college major will be yet. she also doesn’t know what state she wants to live in because she is 15 yrs old and only has experience in one. She doesn’t know what weather she will like or not like or what type of environment will be best for her education future.
We want to leave our state as soon as she is out of HS, so there isn’t even any need for her to stay close to mom and dad.
How do we narrow the field of colleges to begin emailing? What filters should we start with? Please help!
The Three keys of advice for Dad :) Remember, "If you rush it, you ruin it."
Relax is #1 advice.
Don't worry or fret is #2.
Take a deep breath and let it all go is #3.
If you allow the process to finish it's process, everything in the end will work itself out.
Where you moving when she leaves the nest? You might want to reserve your U-Haul now bro before their all gone.
 
Some frank advice...trying to be helpful. Sounds like you are driving this bus more than she is. Kids might not have answers at this age, but they should have opinions. Does she even care about playing soccer in college? From what you've written, the only thing I read as her want/desire is being close to a beach. Likely, she needs help with identifying the factors, but then she should be encouraged to let you know her opinions over time. So, does SHE want to live in an urban area or rural - city campus or greenscape with trees etc? Want to play soccer year round or seasonal or doesn't really care at all? What are her interests beyond soccer? Big school or small - large classrooms or intimate? Or, just wants to play soccer in college and that's priority #1, no matter where? Is student-body diversity important? My point is, it doesn't sound like she's offering any of her own thoughts on these issues. I could be totally wrong bc i'm basing my opinions on a few sentences here. But make sure you are GENTLY explaining the different factors that go into this decision and make sure she knows that it is HER decision and it's important to start thinking about some of these factors to narrow down the target list. Let her lead the discussion.

Last, as an ECRL player, again being very candid, D1 brand name offers will be a stretch. Her club will give priority to placing all the ECNL players, and colleges will look at ECNL and GA players before ECRL. Look at your club's history of placing ECRL players - where have they gone? Those will be likely options as well as comparable schools. True, coaches for sophomores cannot reach out till June 15, but they are already scouting sophomores - watching games in person, via videos, etc.

Good luck and enjoy the process as it goes very fast and your child has worked hard to get to this point. Just make sure she is driving the bus. And, if she decides that she doesn't want to play soccer at the next level, that's totally okay too. I know girls that got accepted into their dream schools based on academics and decided to forego soccer to attend. They are very happy they made that choice.
When my kid was a sophomore she had just left her small club and was playing DPL though she did start on Varsity for HS. What made the difference for her was not writing coaches or attending camps. Instead she focused on her game and eventually made a USSDA team. Then she focused again on her game. Eventually she got a ton of exposure and college opportunities came her way. She just finished her 3rd year playing D1 (though it requires constant hard work to get playing time). So it is very possible that your daughter can follow a similar path. Otherwise there are plenty of D2, D3 and NAIA schools with soccer but she will need to work to get in touch with them. Best Wishes!
 

supercell

SILVER
Playing ECRL now, hopes to play ECNL next season. Varsity HS soccer. Was selected to ODP travel team. Not sure how else to ‘rate’ her level of play.
She is emailing coaches and reaching out herself but she doesn’t know how to filter her selections.
So far, we have:
*smaller school with low teacher to students ratios
*we haven’t ruled out private schools if there is any potential for scholarships
*she’s always been a A/B student.
*she hasn’t taken any ACT/SATs yet
*D2 or NAIA (hoping that the focus is more evenly spent between education, “college life” and soccer)
*City/urban schools are not desirable but then again, she won’t really know that until she experiences it.
*Close to a beach
What other filters can be applied to help narrow down the list?
There are obviously many paths to this process. It's good that she's even thinking about her criteria. As a sophomore, she is supposed to still be figuring out what she wants. Teens are fickle though, sometimes the criteria can go out the window when she falls in love with a school. Or a boy for that matter. What worked for us is taking trips to different kinds of schools whether she thought they fit or not. Just walking around to get a feel for them, and doing a little research helped her develop her ideal profile. I would still have her email to start to build relationships to the extent possible even though they are one sided conversations. Keep the field open until her preferences mature, one can always say no. I would advise that the goal is not to find the perfect combination. The goal is to get as many possible candidate schools/programs into the process as possible.
 

Surfref

PREMIER
Playing ECRL now, hopes to play ECNL next season. Varsity HS soccer. Was selected to ODP travel team. Not sure how else to ‘rate’ her level of play.
She is emailing coaches and reaching out herself but she doesn’t know how to filter her selections.
So far, we have:
*smaller school with low teacher to students ratios
*we haven’t ruled out private schools if there is any potential for scholarships
*she’s always been a A/B student.
*she hasn’t taken any ACT/SATs yet
*D2 or NAIA (hoping that the focus is more evenly spent between education, “college life” and soccer)
*City/urban schools are not desirable but then again, she won’t really know that until she experiences it.
*Close to a beach
What other filters can be applied to help narrow down the list?
Remember, the education should be the primary factor in determining the schools. Your description fits Cal State Monterey Bay and their D2 soccer program. My daughter wanted a smaller school and ended up graduating from San Diego State which is fairly large. Visit multiple schools. We took two road trips. One up the west coast and one up the east coast. She now has a job on the east coast and doing a graduate program.
 
DD is a sophomore in HS. Coaches haven’t reached out yet and aren’t technically allowed to until June.
My kid doesn’t know what their college major will be yet. she also doesn’t know what state she wants to live in because she is 15 yrs old and only has experience in one. She doesn’t know what weather she will like or not like or what type of environment will be best for her education future.
We want to leave our state as soon as she is out of HS, so there isn’t even any need for her to stay close to mom and dad.
How do we narrow the field of colleges to begin emailing? What filters should we start with? Please help!
My daughter is a Senior (not a soccer player, but wanting to be on the dance team). She's submitted all her applications and has heard or will hear from all of her schools in the next week or so. She submitted "Early Action". We still don't have a clear picture of her opportunities and what she is going to do, so you shouldn't expect a clear picture for your DD any time soon.

I'll speak to our experience more so from the education side of things (dance is not necessarily comparable to soccer because only a few schools recruit and most require tryouts which most often occur after acceptance). Every situation is different so take with a grain of salt.

-The Princeton Review book "The Best 385 Colleges" has been a great resource for us
-Hire a college consultant now. The cost is worth every penny. They will help with HS course selection now, will give you the straight scoop on your DD's school choices and are invaluable for completing essays and applications when the time comes.
-Start with going to Youtube and doing campus tours. Follow-up with in-person visits for the schools your child is most interested in
-Most schools are test optional for admittance. However, a lot of schools academic scholarships consider test scores. Depending on your situation I'd strongly consider putting some effort into SAT or ACT. We regret not spending more effort on it but we partially blame Covid for it due to lack of testing availability
-If you haven't already done so, its not too late to open a 529, and if you already have I'd consider upping your contributions. Education is not getting any cheaper
-It doesn't hurt to get on Kayak and determine how long and the cost its going to take to get to any particular college if a flight is required. This can be a significant factor in narrowing down colleges
-Be patient and try to balance the pushing your child and letting your child take the initiative (may not be a problem with your kid but it was with ours)

Good luck.
 
-Hire a college consultant now. The cost is worth every penny.
If you don't mind sharing, what's a reasonable cost for such service? We know people who only paid for help with the essay. We also heard someone who paid tens of thousands to guide the kid for the entire 4 years in HS and even arranged for volunteer work in Nepal during summer break.
 
If you don't mind sharing, what's a reasonable cost for such service? We know people who only paid for help with the essay. We also heard someone who paid tens of thousands to guide the kid for the entire 4 years in HS and even arranged for volunteer work in Nepal during summer break.
Good question. We initially started with Explore Solutions (sophomore year) which was mainly group sessions for $450 a year. I think they charged $125 for personal one-on-one sessions although I believe we got one or two one-on-ones with your annual fee. They were a good start but found we needed more personal attention. Summer before senior year we were lucky to find a counselor from a prestigious private HS that did college consulting on the side. He was $75 an hour (which I understand is a deal) and was invaluable for specific college insights, completing applications and essays. Haven't added it all up but I would guess we're in the neighborhood of $5,000 all in. We didn't do an SAT or ACT prep class. I would suspect for us mere mortals your looking at $5 to $15k, based on my conversations with others. Of course there are those rare kids that have the smarts and motivation to do it all on their own.
 
If you don't mind sharing, what's a reasonable cost for such service? We know people who only paid for help with the essay. We also heard someone who paid tens of thousands to guide the kid for the entire 4 years in HS and even arranged for volunteer work in Nepal during summer break.
I heard one parent fork out $75,000 to get someone to take a math test for their kid.
 

MamaBear5

SILVER
As a teacher of the top half of the junior / senior class you don't have to spend a dime to get your kid into a high end college. Consult with the schools consoulors/ teacher and parents of kids who have recently gone through the process to get a feel for the classes your kid has to be taking. If your kid has narrowed it down to 5 schools reach out to the college to make sure they are on track with their course selection.

Most high school english teachers would be happy to read college essays for free (some even assign them in the fall of senior year).

My own non soccer player got into ALL her schools without me putting out any money. This includes ALL the UC's and SLO as well as some privates. At the end of the day she chose UC Davis.
 
As a teacher of the top half of the junior / senior class you don't have to spend a dime to get your kid into a high end college. Consult with the schools consoulors/ teacher and parents of kids who have recently gone through the process to get a feel for the classes your kid has to be taking. If your kid has narrowed it down to 5 schools reach out to the college to make sure they are on track with their course selection.

Most high school english teachers would be happy to read college essays for free (some even assign them in the fall of senior year).

My own non soccer player got into ALL her schools without me putting out any money. This includes ALL the UC's and SLO as well as some privates. At the end of the day she chose UC Davis.
Congrats to your daughter for doing it all on her own. I've found that to be the exception rather than the rule.

As far as having a teacher or counselor at the high school assist your child, I would describe our experience as "good f'ing luck". While my daughter got some quality recommendations letters from a couple teachers, the odds of getting essay help from the English teachers were slim to none. They can barely grade the papers they assign as homework. It took my daughter's counselor over two months to submit my daughters grades to the Common App and she did it at the very last minute, which you can imagine was very stressful. We had to get the principal involved to get it done. We got zero assistance from my daughter's counselor with any part of the college process. Our public school has a fairly good academic reputation, but the vast majority of teachers are LAZY and the counselors are worthless. The students are held to a much higher standard than the teachers. Our principal dresses like a bag lady.

Thankfully we found a counselor from a private school that was amazing.
 

Chelseafc

BRONZE
Some frank advice...trying to be helpful. Sounds like you are driving this bus more than she is. Kids might not have answers at this age, but they should have opinions. Does she even care about playing soccer in college? From what you've written, the only thing I read as her want/desire is being close to a beach. Likely, she needs help with identifying the factors, but then she should be encouraged to let you know her opinions over time. So, does SHE want to live in an urban area or rural - city campus or greenscape with trees etc? Want to play soccer year round or seasonal or doesn't really care at all? What are her interests beyond soccer? Big school or small - large classrooms or intimate? Or, just wants to play soccer in college and that's priority #1, no matter where? Is student-body diversity important? My point is, it doesn't sound like she's offering any of her own thoughts on these issues. I could be totally wrong bc i'm basing my opinions on a few sentences here. But make sure you are GENTLY explaining the different factors that go into this decision and make sure she knows that it is HER decision and it's important to start thinking about some of these factors to narrow down the target list. Let her lead the discussion.

Last, as an ECRL player, again being very candid, D1 brand name offers will be a stretch. Her club will give priority to placing all the ECNL players, and colleges will look at ECNL and GA players before ECRL. Look at your club's history of placing ECRL players - where have they gone? Those will be likely options as well as comparable schools. True, coaches for sophomores cannot reach out till June 15, but they are already scouting sophomores - watching games in person, via videos, etc.

Good luck and enjoy the process as it goes very fast and your child has worked hard to get to this point. Just make sure she is driving the bus. And, if she decides that she doesn't want to play soccer at the next level, that's totally okay too. I know girls that got accepted into their dream schools based on academics and decided to forego soccer to attend. They are very happy they made that choice.
Although I agree with almost everything you said, the sophomore/15 year olds that really have an opinion on what they want to that degree is probably rare. At this age this is a discovery process, so I think a helpful parent will help guide them by taking them to different schools, and asking those questions so they can formulate their own opinion. Isn’t this one of the reasons why the NCAA pushed the recruiting timeline back, because too many changed their minds.
 
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