Sometimes, the best way to fill an immediate recruiting need is with a junior college prospect.
The thing is, J.C. prospects are a completely different animal than your regular, garden variety high school prospect. Different needs, different motivations, and different objections.
However, when we work with our clients on putting together a plan to recruit these unique prospects, we find that college coaches tend to want to use the same methodologies and techniques to try and close those junior college prospects and get them to their campus.
So, what are some of the key differences in these two groups? And, how do you use those differences to your advantage against your competition who is looking to sign the same J.C. recruits? Here are three big things we think every coach should know:
- Unlike their high school counterparts, junior college prospects don’t rely on their parents’ opinion as they make their decision. After two years playing their sport at a junior college, we find that these prospects are largely independent in their decision making as they are recruited. In the sample testing we’ve done, 84% of junior college prospects tell us that their parent’s opinion of a particular program that is recruiting them ranks as either not very important or not important at all as they make their final decision. Why? They tell us that they feel like they are in charge of their educational and athletic careers now, where as in high school they looked to their parents for advice and direction. What this means for you is that you won’t need to spend the same amount of time recruiting their parents as we recommend for a high school prospect.
- Unlike their high school counterparts, location and division level matters less to junior college recruits…a LOT less. Junior College prospects have a much deeper appreciation for the continuation of their athletic career compared to a high school athlete you are recruiting. Because of that, they are much more open to consider any and all opportunities presented to them: 71% say that they’d be open to any opportunity at any division level, and 81% say that they’d be willing to continue their career outside of their home state. Those are big differences compared to the typical high school athlete, and what we think it means for coaches is that they can radically expand their recruiting sphere to include areas that they might otherwise ignore due to distance. With Junior College prospects, they are open to almost any opportunity if they view it as a good fit for their goals.
- Unlike their high school counterparts, junior college prospects are going to be really, really hard to get in touch with. It’s harder for them to receive mail, coupled with the fact that it’s often hard for you to get their mailing address as they attend junior college. A lot of J.C. prospects are difficult to reach by phone, forcing a college coach to go through their prospect’s junior college coach to pass information back and forth during the recruiting process. Is all this sounding familiar? For the vast majority of college coaches, the answer is undoubtedly “yes”. What should you do? We find that our clients find the best success when they establish set times to communicate with Junior College prospects, and develop standing appointments to talk – same day of the week, same time, a set day to exchange emails…some kind of regular, set communication. Even that isn’t a perfect, fool-proof approach; however, it gives you a fighting chance to establish some important back-and-forth communication with those prospects.
Junior college athletes don’t usually make-up a big portion of a coaches’ roster. However, when there is a need for an immediate impact-athlete for your team, sometimes a Junior College athlete is a perfect fit.
Just remember that you need to approach them differently than your high school prospects. They are very, very different.
New recruiting data and research findings are going to be unveiled exclusively at the upcoming National Collegiate Recruiting Conference this coming June. Plan on being there to get the latest training from recruiting experts from around the country. Click here for all the details!