Whether it’s because of its winning tradition, the aura of the campus and athletic programs, or simply geographic proximity, every recruit has a dream school. However, even if you do receive a scholarship offer from your dream school, there are still plenty of things to think about before you accept. 

Consider the example of the class of 2025 quarterback Ryan Montgomery, who already has 11 Division I offers from some of the top programs in the country. One of those offers is from Ohio State, which Montgomery calls his “dream school.” His older brother Luke has already verbally committed to the Buckeyes’ 2023 recruiting class. But, with three years left before he graduates, Ryan Montgomery is still exploring his options even with an offer from his dream school. And, no matter where you stand with your dream school, you should consider some of the same factors.

Consider All Your Options

Even if you get an offer from your dream school, it’s always good advice to see what else is out there. Even if you’re 99.99% certain your dream school is the place for you, that .01% of doubt should still be answered by visiting other schools. You never know what you’ll discover elsewhere, but you’ll definitely never discover it if you never consider it. So, even if you have your dream school locked down, look at other schools, listen to what other coaches have to say, and see what other campuses and programs have to offer. In the end, that all may solidify your decision on your dream school. But, you might also be surprised to find another school that offers even more than your dream school. 

Find Your Fit

Montgomery is also looking at other schools to ensure he finds the perfect fit for him. While having an offer from a dream school is great, it doesn’t mean your style will completely mesh with the coaches and their current schemes or philosophies. That’s where getting to know other coaches and understanding their philosophies and schemes is important for finding the school and program where you fit best. Look past the glitter and aura of your dream school and ask yourself, “Can I fit in and thrive here?” If the coaches expect you to make big changes to your style to fit into their system, then that may not be the program for you. If you’re a tight end and your dream school wants you to add 40 pounds and become a lineman, you may want to question how much you’re willing to sacrifice to play for that dream school. Ultimately, if you don’t mesh with the system, scheme, or coaching style at a given program, your dream school could be a nightmare experience. 

Be Certain Of Your Decision

Considering all your options and finding your fit are huge steps toward being certain of your decision. But if there’s any uncertainty, there’s nothing wrong with holding off your decision until you are certain. Coaches can change. Assistants can take jobs elsewhere and pursue you from their new school. An older player at your position can transfer in before you ever set foot on campus. 

If you’re not 100% certain you want to be at a specific school, even if it is your dream school, it’s likely you’ll never be able to commit to it 100%. Leave no stone unturned in your college search and make sure the school you choose — dream school or otherwise — is the right place for you and no one else. Make sure it’s your decision based on what’s right for you, not your parents, teammates, high school coaches, or anyone else offering their opinion on your choice.

If you’re fortunate enough to receive a scholarship offer, be happy, but don’t be satisfied. Just like any offer that’s good, or too good to be true, read the fine print and look under the hood. Even if you do have an offer from a dream school, explore all your options, look for the best fit, and be completely certain about your decision. Getting an offer from a dream school is great, but actually making your college athletics dreams come true might take a lot more work. 

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