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College 101

Recruiting Emails
Article Type: Quick and Dirty

So you’ve made a list of schools that have caught your eye. Good progress. Now it’s time to email some coaches. Feeling nervous? Excited? Just wait until you get to talk to them on the phone! Talk about stage fright. Until that joyous time arrives, here are some guidelines for creating appropriate electronic mail messages for college coaches: 

Be formal, but not stiff. This will be your first form of contact with most coaches you talk to, so you want to be respectful and professional. No “wassup dude” or “yo your school is legit.” Street slang and instant messaging abbreviations will not work here. However, you don’t want to be overly formal either. If you write, “Greetings, good sir or madam. I wish to speak with you regarding your highly prestigious program,” coaches will think you are either sucking up to them or simply joking. So how are you supposed to sound, you ask? 

Be yourself. While writing your first drafts, think conversational. You want to sound like you are simply talking to the coach of your dreams. Er, we mean the coach of the school of your dreams. Imagine if you ran into him or her in the hallway. What would you say? Probably something like, “Hello, Mr. or Mrs. Brooks. How are you today? My name is…” The more comfortable and down to earth you sound, the easier it will be for coaches to picture you as a real person. After your first draft is complete, go back and edit it to match our first guideline. Change “Hello” to “Dear” and try to get rid of any contractions. Once you spruce it up a bit, you should be good to go. 

Be informative. You know everything about you. College coaches (most likely) know nothing about you. Be sure to include all the basics: name, grad year, hometown, high school, sport(s), club team(s), and all contact info. Do it right off the bat, too. No pun intended… Fine, it was intended. Anywho, you don’t want to keep coaches in the dark about your identity. This isn’t a game of Clue. 

Be optimistic. As a general rule. It’s always good to have a positive outlook on life, grumpy pants. More specifically, tell the coach about any upcoming tournaments, games, or competitions you have. Give them your exact schedule and jersey number. You may just see them checking you out from the sidelines as a result. If you are going to attend a camp that coach or college is hosting, tell them when you will arrive and where to pick you up. Kidding, but definitely tell them you will be there!

Be video-genic. Get it? We switch video in for photo. Why? Because you’ll want to send your highlight video in along with your initial email. If it’s a YouTube video or recruiting website, link to it right there in the text. If it’s on DVD, then send it via snail mail and let them know in your email that it’s on its way. Don’t have one? Make one. Seriously. If coaches do not get the opportunity to see you play in person, how else will they witness your total awesomeness? Include a few minutes of personal highlights as well as unedited game footage. Coaches like to take in the big picture. 

Be honest. There’s no need to stand on ceremony. You are contacting these colleges because you are extremely interested in playing for their baseball team, swimming for their program, etc. Do not be embarrassed to say so. If you are emailing your dream school, tell them that it’s your dream school. In fact, go ahead and tell multiple schools they’re your dream school. Coaches look for athleticism when they recruit, but they also look for passion and dedication. They want players who care, both about the program and about the school that will be their home for the next four years. 

Be knowledgeable. You want to show the coach you are emailing that you have researched that particular school. Coaches know when your blanket email is exactly that. If you have a template where all your changing is the name in the “Hello ____” greeting, coaches might just gloss on past you. Be sure to mention how you are interested in their top-notch engineering program. You have always wanted to go to a school on the quarter system. So on and so forth. 

Be cocky. Alright, maybe cocky isn’t the right word. What we’re trying to say is that you should toot your own horn a bit. Remember that unless a college is actively chasing you, then it’s on you to convince them of how much they need you. You belong at that school, and you belong on that team. Tell them why you would be a great addition to their team or program. Maybe you are the one your team relies on under pressure, or maybe you know how to kick it in high gear on that last leg. Whatever your strengths are, identify one or two (or three) of them in your email. 

Be determined. College coaches are busy people. Believe it or not, they don’t sit around all day checking every email that pops up. Although they totally could, because they get a ton of emails. Regardless, if you email a coach and do not hear back from them within a week, do not be afraid to email them again. You may have just been lost in the shuffle. Besides, what’s the worst that could happen? They see firsthand how interest you are in their program? Oh no!

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