Do you envision college athletics in your bright future?
You train hard, show up, and put your all into your sport. But you may be wondering how to get on the NCAA’s radar. Here’s the secret – don’t wait around hoping to get noticed. Put yourself out there by demonstrating interest to the schools and athletic departments on your college wishlist.
As a student-athlete, your job includes maintaining a high GPA, putting your heart into your sport, and marketing yourself to college athletics recruiters.
8 Tips To Get On College Athletics Recruiters’ Radars
Taking that momentum to college with you seems like the right next step. Get a leg up on the competition by creating an account with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
1. Keep Your Grades Up
It’s important to realize the “student” half of student-athlete is just as important as your athletic ability. In fact, academics is one of the biggest aspects of the recruiting process. Moreover, the NCAA has eligibility requirements that include certain core classes and a minimum GPA. Don’t be quick to pass up opportunities to take optional tests either. A high standardized test score and/or good GPA is often the significant deciding factor between recruits.
We’ve all heard the stories of the star player sitting out the big game because their grades weren’t up to snuff. Whether or not your high school operates that way, college recruiters and coaches will expect excellence in both your athletic and academic performances.
All this to say, keep those grades up! It’s much easier to maintain a strong GPA than scramble to bring poor grades up. Don’t let the pressure of competitive sports hinder your GPA or class rank.
It’s never too late or too early to start thinking about college. Bright Futures helps student-athletes get on track (and stay on track) to get noticed by college recruiters. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation!
2. Identify The Schools You Want To Attend As A College Athlete
Whether you’re dreaming of playing ball for the team you rooted for in diapers or are keeping an open mind to opportunities, you need to identify your prospective colleges.
Consider how each school will serve both your academic and athletic goals. Here are some questions to keep in mind:
- Does the athletic department support student-athletes on and off the field?
- Is student-athlete housing available?
- Where do student-athletes train to stay in shape?
- What is the success rate of student-athletes joining professional sports?
- Will you be allowed to take advantage of sponsorship opportunities for extra cash?
You may realize that your goals are more attainable with one school over another. It’s best to keep an open mind and practice self-awareness to identify your best opportunities.
3. Be Familiar With Each School’s Athletic Recruitment Process & Deadline
Do your due diligence and be familiar with each school’s recruiting process. A big part of this is knowing the deadlines.
Create an email just for college recruitment and a spreadsheet to keep track of requirements, deadlines, and communications. Start this form of record keeping immediately to keep yourself organized and reduce the overwhelm of what’s to come. There are several quick preparations you can do now for smooth sailing once things get busy.
Preparing for the college application process is just as important as finally submitting your application. Make sure you are following the process to a T to ensure NCAA eligibility and secure potential scholarships. Bright Futures can help – contact us today to learn more!
4. Show Off Your Athletic Skills
This may come easier to some student-athletes than others, but it’s time to show off your skills.
Organize all the still shots, clips, and videos of yourself in your sport. Then get busy and put together a 5-10 minute highlight reel. Don’t get too nostalgic with all the photos of you in peewee leagues. This will be an opportunity to show off the skills you have now, so make sure to include the key skills coaches are looking for in their respective sport. This may mean filming yourself in a park or garage to make sure you get the point across – you have the skills, and you mean business. Get creative with this process and have fun!
There are plenty of apps and programs to help create a professional-ish reel with background music. If time permits, you may even consider changing the music bed to each school’s fight song. If you go this route, just make sure you are very careful not to send the wrong reel to the wrong school!
Take it a step further by embracing the power of social media. Create an account to post photos and videos of both your training and competitive accomplishments. Don’t be shy and tag the coaches and athletic programs that you want to notice you.
5. Create Profiles On The Recruiting Websites
As mentioned above, a great place to start is by creating an account with the NCAA Eligibility Center. However, don’t stop there!
Fill out athletic questionnaires on each of your prospective colleges’ athletic websites. Make sure to include links to your highlight reel, game film, or include statistics when the space is provided.
Ask your high school coaches if they have recruiting contacts they can put you in touch with. This is your time to shine. So get out there and let the coaches and recruiters know what you have to offer.
6. Demonstrate Interest With The Coaches
If you’re able to get a coach’s email address, craft a polite introduction email. Keep it short and sweet, but make sure to include information about yourself, your academics, and your sport. Here’s a checklist of what to include:
- Full name (first, middle, and last)
- High school name and graduation year
- Email and phone number (coaches love to text, make sure to include your cell phone number)
- Academic information (GPA, test scores, or projected dates of upcoming tests)
- Links to your highlight reel, social media sports account (again – keep it clean), game film, NCAA profile
- Confirmation that you completed their athletic department’s online questionnaire (Make sure you’ve actually completed the questionnaire)
- School or club coach name and contact information
- Questions or interest about upcoming prospect camps (Do your research FIRST to make sure your questions/comments are relevant)
7. Get Exposure By Attending Events, Summer Camps, & Showcases
Show off, improve your skills, and network by attending every optional event you can. This means summer sports camps and showcases. Even if you’re not presented at a showcase, your sportsmanship will be loud and proud as you cheer on your fellow athletes.
Traveling to every single event your prospective college or recruiters host may be difficult and expensive. But do what you can. Prioritize your spending so you can rub shoulders with the right people.
8. Schedule Official Tours Of Your Prospective Schools
Whether or not you have athletic scholarships coming your way, you still want to know you’ll be comfortable at your future school. You’re looking at the next four years of your life as a student-athlete.
Contact both the school’s athletic department and registrar’s office to schedule an official tour. You’ll want to coordinate ahead of time to ensure you get to see what it’s like for student-athletes. Ask to see their training area, housing options, and dining halls. Some schools have separate housing and dining options for their student-athletes. So don’t rely on just the regular tour for non student-athletes.
Get On Track For Your Bright Future As An NCAA Student-Athlete
Bright Futures helps all of our students realize their potential and achieve their goals through both our expert guidance and compassionate mentoring.
Student-athletes who are hoping to be recruited for a college sport have a big job on their hands. On top of staying on top of both their game and grades, you’ve seen there’s a lot that goes into getting on recruiters’ radars.
Our counselors will ensure you are taking the right courses for NCAA eligibility and meeting your prospective college’s own requirements. Furthermore, we guide our student-clients through the college search and application process to put their best foot forward and shine above their peers. Contact us today to get started!
Note: This post was originally published on April 10, 2014, and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness.