April 11, 2018

How to use our databases’ data to find the best college fit

There is a huge amount of information listed on the new-and-improved Contact College Coaches databases. It will help athletes identify which schools are best-suited for them.

All of the data on the spreadsheet (Sample 1, Sample 2, Sample 3) can seem overwhelming, however.

There are 26 columns of information. The majority of the school-specific data is via the National Center for Education Statistics. In the following sample of the women’s basketball database, coaches’ names, positions and contact information are to the left on the spreadsheet — and a list of majors offered, number of undergrads and U.S. News rankings are to the right.

Although there is an enormous amount of information on the new-and-improved databases, don’t let it be intimidating. If you follow these eight steps, using the database will be very easy and effective.

Step 1

Athletes: Fill out the survey we created. Doing so will help you identify which characteristics you’re looking for in a college. It will guide you throughout the ensuing steps.

Coaches: Provide this survey to your athletes. Ask them to fill it out and return it to you. They can complete it electronically, or print it out and give it to you. Their answers on the survey will provide you with all of the necessary information to eliminate schools that aren’t good fits for them.

Step 2

Athletes: Create an extra copy of the coaches database on your computer. Keep the original intact.

Coaches: Create a copy of the coaches database on your computer. Rename it for the specific athlete you’re working with. Keep the original intact.

Step 3

Athletes and coaches: Using the copy you just created, identify which division, or divisions, you’re going to target. Delete the other tabs.

IMPORTANT NOTE: From this point forward, it’s imperative that you sort the entire spreadsheet — not just one column within the sheet. To do so in Microsoft Excel, press ctl+a to highlight the entire sheet each time you sort it. To sort a specific column, highlight the entire spreadsheet, click the data tab and then click the sort button. Next, choose the column by which you want to sort the entire spreadsheet. Then sort it.

This process is easier on Google Sheets. To do so on Google Sheets, highlight the column you want to sort the sheet by, right click and click the “sort sheet a -> z” option.

Step 4

Note: Skip this step if you’re targeting JuCos. JuCos don’t have academic data. They’re open-enrollment institutions. 

Athletes and coaches: It’s time to begin eliminating schools based on the information provided in the athlete survey.

Start with academics. Delete any schools with an average GPA .4 or .5 points higher than that of you, or your athlete. Then, delete ACT or SAT scores in which your score, or your athlete’s score, is significantly outside of the 25th-75th percentiles. When doing this, make sure you don’t delete any schools with “n/a” listed in the ACT or SAT scores.

Tip: The best way to delete multiple rows at once is to click on the row numbers on the left side of the spreadsheet, hold and drag to select multiple rows. Then, right click anywhere on the selected row numbers and delete your selection.

Step 5

Coaches and athletes: Now, look at the data on the survey that was deemed important. It’s the last box. Sort the entire spreadsheet, column-by-column, to eliminate the schools who don’t fit the specific criteria listed as important factors on the survey. 

Step 6

Note: Skip this step if the “Major” question on the athlete survey is left blank. 

Coaches and athletes: When finished, sort the entire spreadsheet by one of the three “school” columns. Now, check the “List of Majors” column. Click each of the links to ensure that the remaining schools have the major, or area of study, listed on the survey. Remove any that don’t.

Step 7

Coaches and athletes: If you plan on conducting an email campaign, sort the entire spreadsheet by the “Email address” column. Remove any coaches that don’t have their email addresses listed. What remains is your mailing list — a list of people that coach at schools that would be a really good fit for you, or your athlete.

If you plan on calling each coach, sort the entire spreadsheet by the “Phone number” column. Delete any rows without numbers listed. This is your contact list.

Step 8

Coaches and athletes: Contact each of the people remaining on the list.

The best way to do so is up to you, but do your best to stand out. Don’t send a lazy, generic email. Coaches get a lot of those each day. If you choose to send an email, be succinct and genuine. Personalize it. First, describe why you (or your athlete) would be a good fit, athletically and academically. Then, explain why you (or your athlete) would be a good fit for the school itself. The criteria listed on the survey can help you do so.

We have a tutorial posted here that focuses on what to include in an email.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the importance of what you put in the subject line of your email. It’s critical. This document provides good advice on what to write.