We have all felt the horror of staring at an empty word processing document, the cursor slowly blinking, quietly judging as we sink deeper into a paralyzing case of writer’s block. When it comes to writing a college recruitment letter, the pressure and expectations rise ten-fold. The recruitment letter is the opening stage of you hopefully getting recruited to the school of your dreams, and as such it should be done carefully and with some thought.
Here are 5 tips for writing a college recruiting letter that doesn’t suck–
1. Write it yourself. Your parents or your smarty-pants older sister aren’t trying to get recruited, so put pen to paper yourself. Giving the letter your own voice – obviously without dropping the slang and abbreviating that you’d use with friends and family – gives it a sense of authenticity that coaches don’t see in the boilerplate letters they typically receive.
2. Ditch the thought of writing a “perfect” recruitment letter. Writing can be the worst when we imagine that our first draft has to be absolutely perfect. Just write – nobody is going to see the first couple drafts of the letter anyway. Just bang out one out quickly, leave it alone for the night, and then come back tomorrow with some fresh eyes.
3. Start by explaining why you have chosen this particular school and program. Programs value having student-athletes that genuinely want to be a rep for their program (crazy, right?) so show your interest in the school and the team in the opening paragraph. Things such as the academics, the storied history of the institution, and so on. Next mention the program. Why you would like to swim there, any friends or family that have been an athlete there; you get the idea. Instead of beginning your letter by rattling off a list of your own achievements talk about them and their program, and they will be more open to hearing what you have done.
4. Avoid sending out boilerplate letters. Writing “to whom it may concern” at the outset of the letter signifies that you couldn’t be bothered to look up the appropriate contact. Not a great first impression, wouldn’t you say? Almost every program has a website and staff listing, so there really isn’t any excuse to not be able to find the appropriate person to address the letter to.
5. Use spell-check – and then go over it yourself. (Bonus points if you have someone else read it as well.) Think of your college recruitment letter like a resume, or a cover letter. This letter is representative of you, and you are smart, well-spoken and punctual. Just make sure that your letter reflects this as well by going over the grammar and spelling.
- Write it yourself.
- Just start writing.
- Start off by talking about the school and the swim program.
- Don’t send boilerplate letters or emails.
- Spell-check and grammar-check the letter.
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