If you’re thinking about playing sports in college, you may be considering athletic recruitment. Here we will talk more about NCAA recruitment, and how you can make the most of this process.
Talk to your current coach
Your high school or club coach will be familiar with your skills, work ethic, and athletic potential. You should start your recruitment process by evaluating the level of athletics you hope to pursue. Which Division would be a good fit? After setting your goals, your coach can help you plan your training for upcoming seasons ensuring you catch a recruiter’s attention. Check out this resource to learn more about the differences between each division.
Fill out recruiting questionnaires
A super quick way to get on a coach’s radar is to fill out colleges’ online recruiting questionnaires. You can fill them out at any point in your high school career and update as needed. This is not only a great way to get yourself in the colleges’ recruiting database, but also a way to research the athletic programs at a variety of schools, check out recruiting standards, and discover the sorts of colleges that appeal to you.
Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center
You can register online as early as sophomore year! Create a free “Profile Page” if you plan to compete at a Division III school or are not yet sure where you want to compete. If you want to play at a Division I or II school, you will need to create a Certification Account so the NCAA can certify your academic and amateur credentials.
Keep up with your school work
To be eligible for DI or DII, you must complete certain core courses as well as maintain grades and test scores dubbed adequate by the NCAA sliding scale. (Click here for the most recently-released standards).
Additionally, most college athletic programs have team-wide academic averages they must maintain. Great athletes who also have high academic index scores (good grades, high test scores) are particularly attractive to coaches as they try to fill a recruiting class.
Be wary of questionable recruiting practices
First, make sure you know the basics about the recruiting process by checking out this resource from the NCAA. As you go through the recruiting process and speak with coaches, you may encounter pressure to commit to a program without considering all your options. Keep in mind, college coaches have a job as complicated as yours: fill a roster with incoming athletes who are considering other schools. Therefore, hearing claims such as, “If you don’t sign with us in the next week, we won’t be able to offer you a scholarship,” while ethically questionable, are not all that uncommon.
While you may be unable to avoid coaches who dish out vague offers or aggressive tactics, it’s important to be prepared for shady recruiting practices. Be sure to ask lots of questions and clarifications, especially in regards to scholarships. Stay confident and don’t hesitate to turn to your support system when making decisions.
Make the most of official visits
Official visits are paid for by colleges. If you’re invited to take an official visit your senior year, congrats! You are allowed up to five visits to schools with DI programs (and an unlimited number of DII programs), so be selective if you anticipate many offers. While visiting, ask crucial questions about the student-athlete experience. This includes, how’s the coaching staff, training regimen, team culture, and training facilities? Click here to read some more great questions to ask when talking to coaches. By accepting offers to explore campus, attend sporting events, classes, and so on, you will have a real taste of student life at that college.
We hope these tips help you along in your NCAA athletic recruitment. See you on Signing Day! For more information, visit the NCAA’s website here!