Here you are, the end of the summer before your senior year of high school and your last summer of club lacrosse, and you still have no clue where you want to go to college to play lacrosse. All that you know for sure is that you definitely do want to play. Sure, you’ve been in contact with 8-10 college coaches, letting them know what tournaments you’ll be at throughout the summer. But, there is still something about the process that is keeping you up at night.
Every night at the dinner table, your parents ask those few questions that send your mind into overdrive…..”So have you sent out any emails this week?….Have you thought of anywhere else you want to visit?…What are your top three schools as of right now?” Most of your teammates already have their top 3 schools picked out, if not their top school, and at this point they’re just waiting for signing day to sign that little piece of paper confirming their decision. You know it’s almost time to take that leap of faith, and make that decision, but honestly, the thought of signing the next four years of your life away to a college is nothing short of absolutely frightening for you.
Here are 5 things that may (or may not) help you to make this frightening, yet exciting decision:
1. Understand that lacrosse, or no lacrosse, this will be your home for the next 4 years. This is extremely important to remember, as things do happen, and if you decide that playing collegiate lacrosse is not for you, or if you (by some chance) become injured and cannot play, you should still be happy about the school that you have chosen. Although it is possible to transfer if you become unsatisfied with your experiences on campus, you should never choose a school just for their lacrosse program. There is so much more that schools have to offer, and you should be looking for a school that will give you the overall experience you are looking for.
2. Understand the difference between the divisions (Division I, II & III and Club). Not every division has the same time commitment, and this is important to remember. Especially with Division I and II teams, the time commitment can be equal to or even more than a full time job (during the season), so you need to realize this when deciding whether or not you want lacrosse to play that big of a part in your life. As for Division III, and club, you need to realize that there is a higher emphasis on your academics over your athletics, and that you cannot get athletic scholarships through their athletic departments. Also, Division III and club are required to have less of a time commitment, for students to focus more on their academics.
3. DO NOT let your parents make this decision for you. This is where YOU will be spending the next 4 years of your life, not where your parents will be spending the next 4 years of their lives (other than the occasional visit/ game). Yes, you should listen to your parents in terms of financials and that sort of thing, but this is a big decision for you, and the school you pick should feel right for you. You should be comfortable with not only the location of the school, but also with the dynamics of the team, as well as the atmosphere of the campus.
4. DO NOT overlook academics. Does the school lack the major that you are really interested in? Are you worried that the academics are not something that will be challenging for you? Or could they possibly be too challenging for you, and cause you to become stressed out? If so, you may want to rethink your decision, because your education is what you will be able to take with you and use for the rest of your life.
5. HAVE FUN! College should be some of the best years of your life, and if you think that playing lacrosse at a high level could get in the way of you enjoying this experience, consider playing at a lower level, such as Division III or Club. But, on the other hand, if you like to have a lot of structure and enjoy playing at a high level, Division I might be right up your alley.
A good way to get to know the lifestyle of players on the team is through an overnight visit, which can be arranged for you by the team’s coaching staff. Don’t be afraid to ask these players about the dynamics of the team, how often they have free time and things they do for fun while at school. They might be your future teammates, so it’s to your benefit to get to know them.
Hopefully, these tips will help you out with your decision a little bit. If not, there’s nothing wrong with making a pro/con list. Also, don’t forget to check out our full database of collegiate lacrosse programs at ConnectLAX. Good luck!