When it comes to athletic scholarships and college sports recruiting, it is important for you to become familiar with the rules and regulations surrounding the various college associations, conferences, and divisions. Violation of the rules, even while still in high school, can result in ineligibility in your future athletic career. Your first task should be to determine which
associations (NCAA, NJCAA, etc.) your prospective colleges and universities belong to, and then carefully review those groups’ websites.
Unless you are one of the top athletes in the country, chances are college coaches don’t know who you are. This certainly doesn’t mean you aren’t a good athlete or aren’t going to be recruited into college. It just means you have to be an active part of the process; you can’t leave it up to the college coach to find you. You have already put in all the time training for your sport, now you need to put in the effort to showcase your talent. Below are a number of ways for you to do this.
College coaches receive lots of mail everyday, and will only be impressed by individuals that stand out. Therefore, take the time to personalize your correspondence; it shows heightened interest and will translate to more attention. Do research and don’t include questions easily answered by the school’s website. For example, don’t ask “I like biology. Does your school have that as a major?” but rather “I see your school has a major in biology, which is one of my favorite subjects. How have athletes on your team dealt with the time constraints involved with balancing biology coursework and athletics?” Open-ended questions like that will help initiate a more in-depth dialog with the college coach, while demonstrating your enthusiasm for the program.
Talk to your high school coach
Your high school coach probably has connections to local college athletic programs, and possibly some on the state or national level. Spend some quality one-on-one time with your coach to talk about what your goals are for continuing in your sport. Your coach may be able to suggest which direction you should consider, as well as what your coach feels is realistic for you.
If possible, visit your top choices of colleges and universities. Before you go, be sure to schedule an appointment with the coach for the time you will be visiting the school. While coaches are often looking for specific positions/talents, they are also looking for new members to join their team. Therefore, your personality and how you interact while visiting are definitely important characteristics they consider. During this trip, try to meet some of the current athletes and get a feel for what it is like to go there.
Use a college sports recruiting service
There is a large variety of different recruiting services for college athletes out there, both online and offline. Athletes Advance is a free online college sports recruiting website. Athletes Advance has many features, listed below, that you may want to consider when picking any recruiting service:
- Price: There are services that charge a fee and there are ones that are free. Be careful though, because more money doesn’t always mean better quality. Determine beforehand exactly what you are getting for what you pay. If a service is free, like Athletes Advance, determine how they are making money: Athletes Advance contains ads on its website, but be cautious of other services that profit by selling your contact information.
- Customized mailings: College coaches don’t want to be mass-mailed a random collection of profiles and will throw these away without looking at them. Identify services that allow college coaches to specify criteria before being sent prospective athletes. This means offline ones that form personal partnerships between the service and coach, or online ones, like Athletes Advance, that have specific search forms designed for use by the college coaches. This way, the coaches only see those athletes they want, and are more likely to spend time actually examining the profiles they receive.
- Detailed stats: The more college coaches know about who you are, the more of an informed decision they can make. Athletes Advance offers the ability to enter your academic information and detailed game-by-game stats. From this, season averages are automatically calculated and displayed. This gives college coaches the ability to get an in-depth view of your athletic career to see how you perform beyond just your season totals.
- High school coach: The person who knows your athletic background the best is your high school coach. A college coach can get a better idea of who you are through this perspective, which is why Athletes Advance includes approval of stats and coach testimonials by your high school coach. It is very helpful to have the involvement of your high school coach throughout the recruiting process.
This guide is meant as an introduction to the process of being recruited into a college sports program and potentially attaining a sports scholarship. There is plenty of other information out there, and it is now up to you to research more and begin the process. All of us at Athletes Advance wish you the best of luck in finishing your high school athletic career and continuing it on into college!
For more information about scholarships, return to the Scholarship Advice section. To find customized scholarships that you can apply for today, sign up or login to the ScholarshipExperts.com time-saving scholarship search service. It's fast, easy and completely free.