How to Begin Identifying Potential Target Universities and Colleges
Start by constructing two lists : the first list is a purely academic list of schools that have your son/daughter's majors/interests. The list should contain about ten to twelve schools broken into three buckets : stretch schools (100-200 points above your current SAT scores), on-par schools (those that match your GPA or SAT/ACT scores), and safety schools (those which are an obvious acceptance where you would be in the top quartile of the student body). When you do this academic listing, think to yourself "suppose I could never play lacrosse again - where would I go?" (CollegeBoard.Com is a great resource for these types of searches.)
Now, construct a second list of the ten lacrosse programs that would interest your child. Be sure to consider all NCAA divisions as the commitment level will vary greatly. Construct this list without any notion of money/scholarships, but give thought to whether your son/daughter would be a bench-sitter or an active player. For some families, a Division III opportunity with a starting role is worth much more than a Division I limited action role until the junior year.
You will have at most 20 schools at this point. Now, figure our where the overlaps might are between the two lists. This overlap list might have between five and eight schools - which is your initial target market!
It is ideal if you already have these lists, but working on these before your junior year Winter Recess or Easter break is critical. Those are the High School vacation periods where you really need to start your campus tours. Try to visit campuses while student activity is active - you get a much better sense of the campus "vibe". Take the tours, eat a meal at the campus, and speak with students.
Importantly, start e-mailing the head coach and assistant coach at each school. Send a copy of your profile along with your e-mail to the coaching staff. Express your interest in their schools and do not hesitate to show some enthusiasm. Fill out any on-line recruitment material. Schedule a visit with the coach to see the athletic facilities.