Factors To Consider When Making Your College Choice

Factors To Consider When Making Your College Choice:

It is getting close to that time of year when our Chris Sailer Kicking Seniors will have to make a college choice.  In the next few months, recruiting will pick up, and if you’ve approached recruiting the correct way, you should have options when it comes to making your college choice.  Don’t panic,  that time is not now, but it is coming.  This blog will help you prepare you for when that time comes.  Education and preparation are key. Not everyone will receive a scholarship to the D1 school of their choice.  Most will have to make a choice based on several factors.  I encourage you to read the factors below and take each into consideration when making your college choice.  It is important to realize that each player (family) will prioritize these factors differently depending on finances, goals, etc.  Take a look at some (not all) of the factors you should consider when making a college choice. After each factor I will give you and explanation and opinion. 


1. Education – Your degree will shape the rest of your life.  Football can help you get into a school that you most likely who not have gotten in to on grades (gap and/or test scores) alone.  Case and point, even with great grades and test scores, I would not have gotten into UCLA.  Without UCLA I am not who I am today.  My football playing days are long gone, but UCLA (degree & alumni-Rubio) continue to shape and develop my life.

2. Location – It is important to pick a school where you will feel comfortable living.  Some prefer to stay close to home.  Others prefer to get away.  If you pick and school and don’t take this factor into consideration, be warned, there is a decent chance you are going to want to transfer.  Go to a school where you will want to stay/live for at least 4-5 years, regardless if football works out or not.  Also remember that your alumni can play a large roll when it comes to a future job.  Also, consider the friends you will meet and maybe even a “girlfriend” or future wife!  You will most likely end of living in the place you choose to go to school. 

3. Financial Obligation – Scholarship, Partial Scholarship, Walk-On Opportunity, Try Out-Opportunity, etc.  What will it cost you per year to go to school there?  Don’t believe the promises a coach might make you.  Nothing is set in stone unless you sign a full ride scholarship to a D1 program.  Can you afford to pay your way at that school for the next 4-5 years until you graduate?  Look very closely at the amount of money that program is investing in you and how much you and your family will be responsible for.  Student Loans take a LONG TIME to pay off.  Also, the more of an investment a program makes in you, the more they want you.  The more they want you, the better chance you will have to see the field. 

*D1A programs are Full-Scholarship or no (zero) athletic aid.
*D1AA – D2 programs can offer partial scholarships and academic aid.  The more they want you, the better package they will put together for you.
*D3 programs offer no athletic aid.  They can offer other aid (academic / financial).  Again, the more they want you, the more money they will get for you. 


1. Strength Of Football Program – D1 vs. D2, vs D3, vs NAIA, vs JC.  Even the strength of program within the division (SEC vs. PAC-12 vs. Mountain West, etc.)  It is fun to play on TV, it is fun to play in big time Bowl Games, it is fun to play with future NFL players.  There is even a case to be made that by playing for a big time team, you will have more visibility to the NFL.  Something to think about, but make sure to read the next factor very closely. 

2. When Will I Play? – Realistically, when will you step foot on the field?  It is important to get field time to improve your game and gain experience.  Kicking/Punting is Kicking/Punting no matter what level you are playing at.  Think about it, It is just you and a ball.  If you are good, NFL scouts will find you.  But if you never get on the field, no NFL scout will ever find you.  Choose a school where there is a good chance you will see the field.  Not only will you get to actually play college football (not just watch from the sidelines) you will ultimately be happier. This will drastically increase your college experience.  Where did Adam Vinatieri play college football?  Exactly. 

3. Major – If you have a specific major you know you want to earn a degree in, make sure you find a school that offers that major. 


1. Coaching Staff – Believe me when I tell you, there is a good chance the coach that recruits you won’t be your coach by the time you graduate.  Do not pick a school simply because you like the coach…believe me.  Now, if you do NOT like the coach, this may be a reason to NOT pick a school.  If that coach does end up staying there for your entire career, you will be spending A LOT of time with him!

2. They Recruited Me First – Who cares!  Be patient. Work the system. Use one school to get recruited by another.  Compile options, then pick the school that is best for you.  Do NOT worry about hurting someone’s feelings.  This is your future that we are talking about.

3. They Have Cool Uniforms – Again, who cares!  Whether you like blue, red, green, or purple – play in Mustard and Pink if you have to.  It’s about the BIG THREE (Education, Location, Financial Obligation), not the uniforms. 

Finally, NEVER pick a school where going into it, transferring is an option.  “If things don’t work out they way I hope they will, I’ll just transfer”!  Nope.  Transferring is incredibly difficult for many reasons.  Avoid this situation at all costs.  Even if you transfer, chances are you will end up right back in the same situation.  If you have focused on the BIG 3 (Education, Location, Financial Obligation), transferring probably won’t be in your future. 

There are many other factors to look at (and you should look at) when making your college choice.  This should get you started off on the right track.  Once you have laid out which factors are most important to you are your family, rank each school based on who has the most of what you are ultimately looking for.  Remember this is a choice that will effect the rest of your life, not just the next 4-5 years.  Your education, your degree, your alumni will shape who you are and what you will become.  Take your time and make a choice looking at the BIG PICTURE!


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