The Phillipian met with College Counselor James Hightower to discuss athletics in the college admissions process. The following questions provide an overview of the process. When does the college admission process begin for potential college athletes? The college counseling process begins at the same time for all students, which is early March of their Upper year. When should students start contacting coaches from colleges in which they are interested? Students should contact coaches as early in their athletic career as possible. The most important thing is to let coaches know you are interested in their program, institution, and team. Students should just get their name out, whether it is by e-mail or by a phone call to the coach. What do colleges look for in a potential student/athlete? Coaches look at the interest level of an athlete in the school and also the athletic program they are hoping to contribute to. Coaches like to know the ability level of the athlete, so if you are a swimmer or runner, you send in your times. They are also interested in how you fit within the academic profile of their school. How do coaches find out about successful high school athletes? A lot of times coaches will hear about an athlete, or see them at tournaments, which might generate a letter. Sometimes students will come into the college counseling office thinking they’re being recruited because they received a mass-mailing questionnaire from a college, but they forget that it might be one of 20,000 letters sent out. Can you define “athletic recruit?” What defines a recruit from any other student that might get in on their athletic merit? For me, being recruited means you are getting a lot of phone calls from coaches interested in you and you are going on official visits. An official visit is when a coach invites you on a paid visit to spend two or three days on their campus. Basically, a recruited athlete is going to get much more personal attention from the coach because they really want that athlete on their team. What are the most popularly recruited sports? Football, basketball, hockey, crew and lacrosse. Field hockey is pretty big too. How does an injury affect an athlete’s chances of being recruited? Well, a lot of the process depends on the pool of other potential athletes. If a coach has a list of six athletes that they are really interested in, and you’re number two and you get injured, you might bump down to number five. This is why some students choose to do a Post-Graduate year. If students get hurt during their Senior year, another year offers them another opportunity for gaining athletic recognition. What is the difference between athletic scholarships in Division I compared to those offered by Division III colleges? Division III colleges do not offer athletic scholarships. Division I colleges, with the exclusion of the Ivy Leagues, offer athletic scholarships. What are the different levels of commitment to athletics in Division I colleges compared to that of Division III colleges? Division I colleges want a 24/7 athletic commitment from athletes. Division III colleges tend to encourage involvement in other activities besides athletics, allowing students to pursue many interests. More students need to consider Division III colleges as an excellent opportunity to combine a rigorous academic program with an intense athletic program.