Part of my job as a coach is recruiting. This first year, my approach is very much reactive. It's hard to get into the college, and I haven't yet developed instincts about which prospective sailors are long shots and which sailors can probably get in. Although my support and endorsement for an application can help in the admissions process, it's far, far from determinative. I'm still figuring out whether or how much my support can tip the scales for a particular applicant who might be on the borderline. I don't think it's ethical to recruit over-aggressively and have kids pining for the college who may not be able to get in. And although I want admissions to smile on the sailor applicants, I don't want kids to be admitted who will struggle academically or be in over their heads.
On the other hand, I want to make sure the sailors who are thinking about this college know about our program and the opportunities here. Basically, my goal is to have those sailors who are already thinking about this school have it as their top choice. I spent the fall asking the current students, "what kind of person might think they want to come here, but would be happier at a different kind of school?" The answers have been consistent (someone who wants a big-city, hipster experience will get restless here) and gave them a chance to tell me in a variety of ways how this school suits a range of students and interests. I always speak highly of the other schools with sailing programs that prospective students tell me they're thinking about, but it's easy to speak with sincere praise about this school and our sailing program. I've been very impressed with the college.
In my contacts with students and parents I've been reminded of what a pressure-filled and mysterious process applying for college can be. I want them to think of me as a friendly resource to whom they can direct questions they might be shy about asking admissions. Students sometimes freeze up, afraid that somehow they're going to blow it if they don't call me "Ms." and don't say the right thing. I like the moment that they start to relax, and speak more freely about sailing and what they want from college.
There's lots to say, but talking about this part of my job is a landscape littered with mines. An imprecise turn of phrase might give the wrong impression about the college's admissions process, which I don't understand all that well but is obviously a matter of tremendous interest to lots and lots of people. I wouldn't want any prospective sailors to think I was writing about them, or to fear that I would (I won't). One of the most interesting things to me about talking to sailors and parents is what I learn about my colleague coaches at other schools, as seen through the eyes of people considering those colleges. None of this belongs on the Internet, particularly.