If you’re wondering where, or how, to start your recruiting process, there’s plenty to know, and it can all get confusing and overwhelming. But, for a quick and easy way to get your recruiting rolling, just follow these 10 tips:
- Start Early
You’re considered a high school recruit once you join your high school team. That doesn’t mean coaches will begin actively recruiting you. It does mean, however, that you can start thinking about where you might want to play in college and you can begin formulating a plan to make that happen.
Even if you’re a sophomore, junior, or senior in high school, you still have time to get recruited. But the best advice is, the earlier you start, the better.
- Learn Your Sport’s Recruiting Process
All college sports do not recruit the same. Nor do all college sports offer full-ride scholarships. Further, some sports recruit based on high school experience, and others recruit based on club team experience. Other sports recruit based on a combination of the two. Know the scholarship and recruiting structure for your sport so that you can put yourself in a position to get recruited.
- Consider Academics And Athletics
Competing in your sport in college will only be a small part of your college experience. The bigger, and more important of any college experience is the college education you’ll receive. That’s why academics should be a big part of your recruiting process. Does a school you’re considering offer the area of study that you want to major in? Are you looking for a small, intimate campus experience, or a sprawling, big-city school? Finally, ask yourself if you’d be happy at that school if you weren’t competing in your chosen sport.
- Think Like A Coach
It’s often hard to know what a college coach is looking for. But the one thing you can control is how a coach sees you. To do that, think like a coach. Make sure your social media paints a positive picture of you as a person and an athlete. Be interested, prepared, thoughtful, and gracious in every interaction you have with a college coach, whether it’s via email, phone call, or face-to-face meeting. Do everything you can to maintain good grades and a solid GPA. Finally, be a team player, be punctual, listen to your coaches, and keep working hard to improve yourself, physically and mentally.
- Make Your Own Decision
A college coach is recruiting you, not your parents. It’s only natural that your parents want to help, and that’s just fine. But a college coach wants to know that it’s your decision and no one else’s. That means it’s up to you to advocate for yourself and make your recruiting happen. Coaches expect parents and family to have some influence in the process, but red flags go up fast when coaches feel you’re not making your own decisions.
- Look At Current College Rosters To See Where You Fit
One easy way to see if you might be a good fit for a particular program is to look at the existing roster. If you’re notably smaller than the current players at your position, then you might not find a spot there. Conversely, if a coach recruits players with your size and skill every year, then you’ll likely have a better shot at that school.
- Don’t Count On A Full Ride Scholarship
While it may seem like every high school athlete gets a full-ride scholarship, the reality is only athletes in men’s Division I football or basketball, or women’s basketball, volleyball, tennis, or gymnastics get full-ride scholarships. For most everyone else in every other sport, a partial scholarship is far more common. Start thinking about evaluating partial scholarship offers and, if your sport doesn’t offer full-ride scholarships, how you’ll be paying for what the partial scholarships don’t.
- Learn How To Promote Yourself
Blowing your own horn may not come naturally, but depending on your sport and your ability, it will likely be up to you to get yourself on a coach’s recruiting radar. Don’t expect to be recruited automatically. Once you’re making a solid contribution to your team, start filling out athletic department surveys and reaching out to caches via email. Establish an online recruiting profile, assemble a highlight video or skills video and keep it updated. Then be persistent. It may take time and effort for a coach to respond. It may also take time to find the right match of schools for your skills. Ultimately, remember, to get recruited, it’s up to you to promote yourself and make it happen.
- Approach Recruiting Like A Business
In many ways, recruiting is comparable to multiple job interviews. Given that, while your past experience may have gotten you this far, a college coach wants to see what you can contribute to their program, that you’ll continue to improve and grow, and that you’d be a good fit with their team. And just like the job applicant who is only worried about salary, making name, image, and licensing (NIL) deals the center of your recruiting decision won’t get you many scholarship opportunities.
- Enjoy The Ride
The recruiting process can be fraught with stress and uncertainty. But it will only happen once in your lifetime, so do everything you can to enjoy the ride. Don’t let your recruiting consume you. Remember to enjoy being a high school student and athlete. It’s also very likely that your recruiting process may not go as planned. Go with the flow. Keep your eye on your goal of getting recruited, but also focus on enjoying the process.
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