I was discovered in a search by a college team I don’t like. What should I do?

It happens. Some of the coaches who find you in CaptainU searches are from colleges you don’t like. You find yourself asking, “The University of What?!?!” If you want to handle this situation the way successful athletes do, what steps should you take? Don’t be discouraged! Give yourself credit for being discovered and then focus on the list of schools that matter to you.

Attention is great, right? It’s great when coaches find and pursue you. But what happens when a coach comes from a college that just doesn’t sound that good to you? Maybe you’ve never heard of the school, or maybe you have and that’s the problem—you haven’t loved what you’ve heard. Now you have to decide how to react. Here’s the big idea to remember: You can make any team, not just the ones that find you. So don’t panic. Just take a few easy steps to keep your mind right, your notes together, and your focus on the end goal.

1. Give yourself a pat on the back

OK, it wasn’t your dream school that found you. Even so, it’s great you were found and a good sign you’re getting attention. Your work in the classroom and in your sport is paying off, clearly, because you’re meeting the criteria these coaches have for their teams. There’s a lot of good news here.

2. Focus on your top college

Use this news as motivation to make something happen with the colleges you love. Look at your list of schools. Which coaches haven’t you talked with in a while? Are there schools where your status isn’t clear to you? Contact coaches, remind them of your interest, and ask what steps they want you to take next.

3. Dig up some info on the college that found you

Before you totally dump the college you don’t like, you might want to learn a little more about it. Maybe it has a few good things to offer. Ask the same questions you ask about all schools. Do I like the campus? Could I do well in classes? Would I probably get to play here? If you still don’t like what you find, drop it and move on to teams that excite you.

4. Cut it or keep it!

Maybe the school has some things you like after all. In that case, find a spot for it on your college list. But if the school still doesn’t interest you, you don’t need to do anything. There’s no need to respond to the coach at this point.

Stay positive and organized, and don’t let schools you don’t like take up too much of your time and energy. Your focus should be on making a team that’s a great fit for you.

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