HOW TO BECOME A COLLEGE RECRUIT LETS GET STARTED:
This information provided to all NLSC members. In this sometimes confusing world of college recruiting, we hope this information help you find that perfect college.
The Official Recruiting Guides for the NCAA and NAIA programs are listed at the bottom of this page.
This information is from the NCSA-Athletic Recruiting Program. For more info please visit the NCSA website and create a login and membership.
There are plenty of steps that you can take as a college recruit to make the process of earning an athletic scholarship easier. NCSA can help make sure that you do every little thing that you can to separate yourself from other recruits, which can help you earn an athletic scholarship.
1. Develop your game plan and get evaluated by a third party. Involving a third party like NCSA can help make finding sports scholarships much easier. College coaches are inundated with information from potential recruits, but they rely heavily on evaluations from third parties that they trust. A neutral talent evaluator can provide honest answers about your skill level, which helps you set realistic goals about where you should look for an athletic scholarship.
2. Post your academic/athletic resume online. Providing easy and organized access to your highlight videos, statistics, and academic information makes a coach’s job much easier. NCSA has the largest digital platform available to high school athletes, which makes it extremely easy to post profiles and videos and makes you immediately visible to hundreds of coaches. College coaches need to know about you before they’ll spend the time scouting you in person.
3. Create a winning highlight/skills video. College coaches watch hours of video from recruits, so you need to make yours count. Learn exactly what coaches in your sport are looking for. Some coaches may want detailed skills videos and limited in-game footage. Others may only want to see your in-game skills.
Don’t send coaches unsolicited DVDs or expect to be seen on YouTube. When a highlight video comes from a trusted recruiting expert at NCSA, that video will be seen by college coaches.
4. Contact 50 to 100 realistic college athletic programs. There are more than 1,800 colleges with athletic programs, so when you’re a college recruit you’ve got plenty to choose from. Starting with a large pool of schools can help ensure that the perfect fit rises to the top when the recruiting process is over. It’s important to know that the majority of college athletic programs aren’t in Division I, so set your expectations accordingly. There are plenty of opportunities for scholarships for college at the Division II, Division III, NAIA or junior college level.
5. Realize that it’s not a four-year decision. It’s a 40-year decision. Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions of your lifetime. Do your research and make an educated decision when you pick a school, not only as an athletic recruit, but as a student. Input from a neutral third party can help match you up with a school that’s an ideal fit for you during the four years that you are there.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT RECRUITING
Finding an athletic scholarship can be a difficult, but it’s easier if you know the steps that need to be taken to give you the best shot during the complicated recruiting process.
When does the recruiting process start?
1. The athletic recruiting process started yesterday. You don’t have to look far on the Internet to find lists of college sports prospects that are still in junior high. Ideally, you should begin thinking about athletic recruiting in the seventh or eighth grade, and by the beginning of freshman year you should have a good understanding of the NCAA rules and core course requirements. The recruiting process is complicated and time consuming, and waiting until the last minute is never a good idea if you’re looking for an athletic scholarship.
How do I get discovered?
2. College coaches find athletic recruits based on third-party evaluations from trusted resources. You’re an outstanding middle blocker. You run through linebackers like they’re butter. You can routinely bury open three-pointers. Having the skill on the court or field doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be spotted by college programs. College coaches work with experienced talent evaluators and rely on online resources to identify and discover top athletic prospects.
How do coaches evaluate prospects?
3. Make sure coaches see your highlight video and use the Internet as your most powerful recruiting tool. Highlight videos help college coaches determine talent. But coaches don’t have the time to look at every video they receive, and they certainly can’t spend hours scouring YouTube for clips. When a highlight video comes from a trusted recruiting expert at NCSA, that video doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Easy access to video highlights and statistics lets coaches find players that fit their system. Showcasing your skills on the Internet makes the athletic recruiting process easier for both you and the coaches you want to impress.
Where am I qualified to play?
4. Less than 1% of college athletes earn a Division I full ride. More than 1,800 colleges have athletic programs and 94% of them are outside of Division I. The majority of college athletes don’t compete in Division I, so set your expectations accordingly. Most college athletes are at the Division II, Division III, NAIA or junior college level. An experienced talent evaluator can tell you exactly which level you should shoot for and where you’re likely to find the most success.
What is my coach’s role?
5. Your coach can take care of your development on the field or on the court, but getting an athletic scholarship is your responsibility. Ultimately, your athletic ability is what earns you a scholarship, but the recruiting process requires a lot of work off of the playing field. Your high school or club coach probably can’t dedicate the time that the athletic recruiting process requires.
ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIP STATISTICS
Statistics rarely lie. And unfortunately, the numbers show that the recruiting game is a tough process to go through.
There are more than seven million high school athletes, but there are college roster spots for just two percent of them. Getting to the NCAA Division I level is even tougher. Just one percent of those seven million student-athletes get a full ride to a Division I program.
The recruiting process takes work, and earning an athletic scholarship is far from easy. That’s why it’s essential to join forces with experts like NCSA.
NCSA’s Stat Line
The stats for NCSA are impressive. We have more than 450 former college athletes on staff, and those experts find college matches for 93 percent of the student-athletes we work with. The online athlete profiles hosted by NCSA are viewed over one million times by college coaches each year. One of the stats we’re most proud of is the fact that student-athletes have earned an average of $16,700 in scholarships and aid each year, as reported by NCSA athletes.
COMMUNICATION WITH COLLEGE COACHES
Coach communications guidelines vary according to the level of competition and by specific sport. The NCAA strictly regulates the recruiting process and dictates when and how college coaches can approach you.
When will I start hearing from coaches?
You won’t see any official “recruiting materials” from NCAA Division I and II schools in the mail before the summer of your junior year. And that’s because coaches at these levels can’t send specific recruiting literature until then. (Note: Division III and NAIA coaches can sent recruiting materials at any time in high school.)
But that doesn’t mean the recruiting process doesn’t start until junior year. Coaches can send you the following at any time in high school:
Can I contact coaches at schools that I’m interested in?
Absolutely, and you definitely should.
In most sports phone calls are limited and coaches can’t start making them until after your junior year (basketball and football and major exceptions and allow some calls during your junior year). Coaches are regulated, but there’s no limit on how many calls you can make to coaches as long as those calls are at your own expense. Take advantage of this and establish communication with coaches early and often.
Emails and Letters
Communication with coaches by emails or printed letters can certainly put you on their radar. Try not to send the same generic email/letter to each coach. Make the correspondence specific. Mention something about the college that you like, or congratulate a coach on a big win. Personalized contact might just set you apart from others.
Also, make sure you close every email or letter with a professional signature. Include your name, address, email, cell number, and NCSA recruiting profile link.
What about text messages?
A new rule adopted by the NCAA allows recruit/coach communications via text message only for Division I men’s basketball recruits. It’s likely that the NCAA may relax text messaging rules for other sports in the near future.
Coach Communications Guidelines
Below is a brief overview of NCAA rules for communications with college coaches. For in-depth recruiting rules download the most recent NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete
NCAA Division I
NCAA Division II
NCAA Division III and NAIA
The NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) essentially began in 1937 based around basketball, but its current multiple-sport form took shape in 1957. NAIA members tend to be smaller schools, which makes NAIA colleges a good choice for students looking for a more personal touch and a small school atmosphere.
The NAIA’s Champions of Character program promotes the five core character values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership to help ensure that college athletes also become model citizens.
Athletic Scholarships in the NAIA
NAIA schools provide $450 million in athletic scholarships. Each sport has scholarship limits set by the NAIA, but those scholarships can be dispensed as partial awards to spread financial aid around among athletes.
For example, the NAIA allows for 24 full scholarships for football. But that doesn’t mean only 24 players receive scholarship money. Those 24 full scholarships can be divided into as many half and quarter awards as needed. So, a school could award 12 full football scholarships, 12 half scholarships, and 24 quarter scholarships without exceeding the limit.
Eligibility for NAIA Colleges
High school seniors who plan on competing at the NAIA level need to register with the NAIA Eligibility Center first to determine their eligibility. In order to be eligible, high school students must meet two of these three requirements:
College Recruiting in the NAIA
The NAIA has fewer recruiting rules than the NCAA. NAIA coaches can contact student athletes anytime during high school. Ideally, a longer period of communication between an athlete and a coach helps to develop a solid relationship.
To learn more about NAIA recruiting, download the NAIA Guide for the College Bound Student-Athlete.
The NCAA was created in 1906 largely to protect college football players in the early days of the sport. Today, the mission of the organization is to see that 450,000 student-athletes in the NCAA’s three divisions achieve academic success, and compete in a fair, safe, inclusive and sportsmanlike manner. The NCAA distributes more than $1.5 billion in scholarships annually and oversees 89 championships in 23 different sports.
NCAA Division Breakdown
The NCAA consists of Division I, Division II and Division III. Athletic scholarships are offered only at the Division I and II levels, but Division III athletes can receive merit-based and financial need scholarships so don’t count them out during the recruiting process.
NCAA College Recruiting
The NCAA strictly regulates the recruiting process. See below for a brief overview of college recruiting timetables. For an in-depth profile of recruiting rules download the most recent NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete
Eligibility for NCAA Colleges and Universities
Student-athletes that plan on competing at the NCAA Division I or NCAA Division II level must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center and prove that they meet the requirements set by the NCAA.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR LEVEL OF RECRUITMENT
According to the NCAA, less than 2% of high school athletes earn college athletic scholarships. It’s important to gauge the level of attention that you’re receiving from college coaches so that you know what to expect from the recruiting process.
There are several levels of recruitment. See where you stand in the list below, and find out from NCSA the best way to move up a level or two and improve your chances of earning an athletic scholarship.
Heavily Recruited athletes are top-tier recruits who will likely go on to compete at the Division I level. The recruiting process for these high-level athletes is outlined below.
Seriously Recruited athletes are high-level recruits who will certainly play sports at the college level.
Moderately Recruited athletes may not end up at the Division I level, but there’s a good chance that they’ll find the right fit at Division II or Division III.
Lightly Recruited athletes need to draw more attention to themselves if they want to earn scholarship offers.
Not Recruited athletes aren’t on the radar either because they haven’t reached out to college coaches, or they don’t realistically have the athletic ability to play at the collegiate level.