How to Evaluate an Early College Offer

One recruiting scenario that seems to play itself out over and over again is what to do with an early offer.


It is more common on the girls side, but there are plenty of schools out there too that offer prospects an opportunity with an early commitment date. So what should you do?


I have seen it work both ways, but if the school is a great fit, I often advise, it could be the right move to accept the offer and commit.


I have seen many prospects get early offers, but they were hopeful something else would come along. They might be waiting for the “unicorn” school to show up and offer them or often they think that a school of a higher level will still recruit them later. What ends up happening almost every time is the student passes on an offer from a coach in hopes of bigger, better offers. In the end, they lost their chance with the school that was probably their best fit of the schools interested in them.


Coaches that offer early have a lot of reasons for doing so. More than likely, they have a lot of interest in you joining their program, so they want to try and earn your commitment before another school has a chance to “steal” you. Additionally, these programs have limited roster spots, so the sooner they can secure their incoming recruiting the class, the sooner they can begin making plans for the following season.

I have a client who was offered a roster spot recently at a great fit opportunity in his junior year. This is pretty early for a men’s soccer offer, but it was a great offer nonetheless. When I sat down with the family to discuss the offer the other day, it was honestly refreshing to hear what they had to say. The student and his parents both agreed that the opportunity checked nearly all the boxes, academically, athletically, socially and financially. It is the first school the prospect has visited and they realize there is more out there, but they asked themselves, “Will it really be better than this, and if they turn it down, will something better come along?” If you find yourself in a similar position, ask yourself, “Is it worth that risk?”


This family also realized that you make your right fit as much as you find it and that college is a time of growth and that maybe there is no such thing as a “perfect fit”. They understand how hard it is to get offers and that waiting may not produce a better offer, rather, he might get stuck with opportunities that don’t check as many boxes.


A lot of people overthink this or overshoot the recruiting process. It is refreshing when someone isn’t just looking for the next big thing or hoping to get recruited by a more “name brand” program so they can post on social media. I see too many folks out there chasing something that is so hard to get or maybe even impossible for them and it becomes so stressful for them and their families.

I am very confident the client I mentioned will commit to the offer he has soon. On top of being such a great opportunity and offer, he can now go enjoy this summer and his senior year and not be in the recruiting chase, he doesn’t have to worry about showcases and camps, highlight videos, what team he is on, etc. He can really enjoy senior year with way less stress and knowing where he is headed to play at the next level.


I do my best to guide prospects and their families to find awesome opportunities and to help them make decisions like this, but keep in mind, everyone has a different path and journey.


I don’t fault those that turn down offers in hopes of something else, but I have seen it not work out and that prospect ends up not playing in college or only having offers and second rate opportunities.

Dan Rothert, founder of TSA Recruiting, has helped almost 200 prospects and their families land opportunities at right fit colleges at all levels. Each prospect has different priorities in what they are looking for in a college and has different qualities that a coach may or may not be looking for. TSA Recruiting leverages Dan’s 24 years of college coaching experience and connections to help those they work with find great opportunities that fit their needs.


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