Like anything in life, a deeply considered and executed game plan will increase your chances of success. The same is true for college athletic recruiting; the process is not as hard as you think. Simply put: develop a recruiting strategy, follow it, and be persistent. Here are some easy steps to follow:
1. Identify colleges where you have a chance to earn a roster spot.
Your recruiting experience will be disappointing if you are pursuing colleges that aren’t realistic for you, both academically and athletically. For most high school students, it isn’t realistic to become an Ivy League athlete, and most high school athletes shouldn’t count on a scholarship from an SEC or Big 12 program. The funnel that high school athletes go through to make it at the next level has a very small opening at the bottom.
2. Connect with the college coaches and stay involved in the process.
Believe it or not, handing off your recruiting efforts to a stranger, relying on your coach to find a college for you, or hoping the perfect college magically finds you actually decreases your chances to play in college. You need to make the decisions on which colleges to pursue, based on your personal preferences: school size, location, degree options, etc. (You can use Noodle to search for the right college for you.) If you don’t put in this effort, you will be disappointed with the end result. College coaches prefer to hear from student athletes interested in their programs. You can send emails or letters, attend camps, or even pick up the phone and give them a call.
3. Be persistent and you will find a college to continue your athletic career.
Don’t get discouraged just because your first contact doesn’t land a scholarship or even result in a returned phone call. Coaches are busy and may not be able to respond right away. If you send out 20 emails to colleges that aren’t reaches, a response from two or three coaches would be great! You have to be persistent. Unless you’re a five-star athlete, invest in a few hours every month and you will succeed in finding a place to play in college.
College athletics is the way to the pro-level for some athletes. More importantly, it opens the door, financially, for many to attend college. Don’t miss the opportunity to compete at the collegiate level while you get an education.