How Colleges Recruit
To achieve your Dream of performing in college, it is critical that you understand the recruiting process and where you are in that process. The recruiting process is divided into four steps. We will discuss each of these steps below. Be honest with yourself and determine if you are being recruited at the level you think you should.
1. Identification – The MOST critical step in the process. College Directors use a variety of methods to identify students. Until they identify you, you have NO chance of being recruited. You must get identified by as many schools as possible, as early as possible. Following are several of the most common means of identification used by Collegiate Performing programs:
a. Regional & State Competitions/Assessments – Regional and State performances offer centralized venues to see multiple players from a large geographic area. Not participating in these endeavors reduces your chances of being identified by schools outside your local region.
b. Summer Camps – Directors use Summer Camps to identify prospective students for their programs. Most college camps identify Freshman and Sophomores that can be evaluated throughout High School. With 200-400 students in camp and several camps per year, you must be a true stand out to set yourself apart enough during camp to be identified.
c. Outside projects, Youth Orchestras, Community Performances, Displays, Recitals etc.
d. Directors Recommendations – College Directors have a network of contacts between other directors. Recommendations from your High Schools can help get you identified. Identification through this method is limited by your teacher’s time, willingness to recommend you, their contact network, and the past credibility of their recommendations.
2. Evaluation – The second step in the process is evaluation. This step begins with Qualification. This qualification and evaluation begins as early as your Freshman year.
a. Qualification – A questionnaire, introduction letter, or invitation is sent to determine if you qualify for their program. Colleges mass mail hundreds, if not thousands, of initial letters and questionnaires. Receiving these letters means you have been identified, but does not mean you are being recruited. The number of questionnaires you receive indicates the level of identification you have achieved. Top recruits will receive several hundred questionnaires. Returned Questionnaires allow colleges to evaluate you academically and socially to see if you are a good student and a good citizen. Colleges use this information to sort through students, and “weed out” prospects that do not fit their program.
b. Video Recordings – The importance of this tool is evident. Your audition tape must “compete” with the videos from other qualified students being evaluated. A personalized, professionally edited video that shows a personal interview, a teacher recommendation, and skills footage will provide a college director with needed information and a memorable way to evaluate your potential in their program.
3. Recruitment – The third step, the desired step, is recruiting. You are not considered a “Recruited Student” until you are “Contacted” by a college.
One of the following seven conditions must have occurred for you to be considered Recruited:
You must have been Requested for a Live or Tape audition
You must have received an invitation to “sit in” on rehearsals
You must have been contacted by the college via telephone at least 2 times.
You must have been contacted in person by a college recruiter at least once.
You must have been offered an Official Visit by the College.
You must have been contacted by an Applied Professor.
You must have received an invitation to Scholarship Auditions.
A few key points to remember:
1) Receiving Questionnaires does not constitute a Contact.
2) You are not the only student being recruited for a given position.
3) When contacted, determine the school’s interest level by what they are offering. Official visits cost money. Are they interested in you or are they willing to spend resources on you?
4. Offer – The final step is the scholarship offer. The total financial package the school is willing to offer you. Please be advised it is not uncommon for schools to increase this offer when other schools also offer you.
The recruiting process is quite extensive and complex. You have worked hard to hone your skills and become a potential collegiate performer. A clear knowledge of this process will help you, but the best way to successfully navigate the recruiting process is to have Harmony Recruiting, the Nation’s only recruiting service, on your side.