Marketing Yourself:

How to standout from the competition

College-bound student-athletes often struggle to effectively market themselves academically and athletically. Even supremely talented and attractive student-athletes encounter difficulties in promoting their abilities. Two student-athletes of the same academic and athletic caliber might be separated by a strong initiative for successful self-marketing. This article focuses on how to stand out from the other swimmers.

The first ingredient of successful marketing is an attractive product. Just as an automobile company spends years perfecting a new model, exert the necessary effort and time to better your swimming skills and results.

Do college research early and often and create a tentative list of probable colleges. Gather the email addresses of these colleges' swimming coaches and inform them of your interest and athletic and academic ability. Persistence pays off! If a coach does not respond, be sure to send a follow-up email. Many coaches will then send (via mail) an inquiry form; be sure to complete and return the form immediately. Start relationships with these coaches, but be careful to stay within the guidelines of NCAA regulations

Inform the coaches of more than just your best times. Alert them of any progress you have made either in the pool or in the classroom. Between two comparable swimmers, a coach will find the one demonstrating marked improvement most appealing. Remember to constantly update coaches of recent results. When talking to coaches, sound interested and remain honest.

Having your club coach contact collegiate coaches is an excellent way to convey your interest and provide him or her with another useful source of information.

Plan and take recruiting trips. They are an excellent opportunity for you to learn about a particular school and for that school and swimming program to learn about you. Be attentive, aware, and interested. Be sure to interact with the coach and to reiterate your interest in his school and his program. Ask the coach if he has any questions for you.

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Colleges place great importance on and pay close attention to grades and standardized test scores. Prepare for standardized tests such as the SAT by hiring a tutor or taking a local course. You can also buy books and audiocassettes geared towards improving SAT scores. While training in the water, be careful not to neglect your academics.

Unfortunately, the SAT tends to overshadow the PSAT. The PSAT, however, is an excellent opportunity for students to market themselves academically. A high score on the PSAT not only generates interest and recognition from colleges and universities, it provides scholarship opportunities.

Many students overlook the importance of the college application. Take time and care when preparing applications; fill them out thoroughly. Write essays that admissions officers will find interesting and insightful. Get recommendations from those teachers who know you both (as a student and a person) personally and academically.