35 Steps All Athletes Can Take to Win an Athletic Scholarship
Recruits are always wondering what they can to do improve their recruiting process. Here are 35 steps that ALL recruits can take to get one step closer to an athletic scholarship opportunity. (In no particular order)
1. Be aggressive. Don’t contact a coach one time and give up if you don’t hear back. Email a coach and wait a few weeks. If you don’t hear back from them in 3-4 weeks, try calling. If you get a voicemail, leave a message and also send an email. Reach out up to 3 different times and if a coach doesn’t respond after those attempts, then move on from that school.
2. Bring up visiting a school to that coach. Don’t wait for them to bring it up to you.
3. Use all the help you can get. Talk to your high school and club coaches and outside sources. They can help you with any connections and relationships they might have. Most parents do not have a network of college coaches…but trusted sources might.
4. Don’t rely too much on email. A personalized note or handwritten letter could go a long way towards separating you from other recruits.
5. Give more than just 1 word answers to coaches – show them your personality!
6. When visiting a school, remember that the current players are reporting back to the coaches so be cautious of what you say and how you handle yourself. Also, take advantage of the opportunity and ask them about the coach, school, program etc. Why did they choose this school over others?
7. The athlete should email a coach his/her information before just calling a coach. Definitely a good thing for them to be calling the coaches and being proactive but don’t just cold call coaches – they need to have some information on you before giving them a call.
8. Coaches are recruiting you – not your parents. Be sure to manage all of the communications.
9. College coaches talk to one another – maintain respectful and professional communication with all coaches.
10. College coaches want to see Varsity level film – this helps them create a better evaluation based on the level of play.
11. Coaches don’t want music and all of the fluff that is on most highlight videos.
12. Make sure that you have an appropriate voicemail greeting and email address to give to coaches – you don’t want to give coaches an email like firstname.lastname@example.org or have music playing for 3 minutes on your voicemail greeting.
13. Make sure you have an appropriate photo on your scouting report. Coaches don’t need to see you taking a picture of yourself in the mirror.
14. You should contact a coach before any visit to a school.
15. You should contact a coach before and after going to a camp to ensure an evaluation.
16. Take advantage of the calling rules. Coaches cannot call you or return your phone calls, and you will get VMs quite frequently—use this to your advantage. You may get a lot of voicemails, but leave a message. When you leave the message, tell them exactly when YOU will call back. This will do two things for you: 1) Better chance of getting on the phone with the coach. 2) Good idea of where you are on the recruiting board. (if you are high, you better believe the coach will be at his desk when you call in again).
17. Do not wait for a coach to contact you…initiate the contact.
18. When you open an email from a coach, make sure you respond within 12-24 hours. College coaches can track and see when you’ve opened the email, so if you do not respond for a week or two, you will not be taken serious.
19. Talk to some older athletes who have “been there”. It helps so much to learn from athletes about what playing in college at different levels is actually like. Athletes are shocked sometimes when they show up for D1 programs and were not aware of how much it actually entailed.
20. Ask the coach the tough questions about where you fit in. Just because he throws a little money your way does not mean he expects you to come in and start as a freshman! You need to know how you compare to other players in your recruiting class and what the coach is expecting to recruit in upcoming years, especially if a priority is playing time.
21. Learn how the Financial Aid process works and estimate your EFC.
22. Talk with Financial Aid offices at each school you are in contact with. Your goal should be to receive as much aid (athletic or otherwise) to help offset the cost of attending college.
23. You should research at least 4 schools a month.
24. You should fill out on-line questionnaires at schools you are interested in.
25. Start thinking about these topics when it comes to schools, size, type, location, distance from home, cost, student population, majors, requirements, athletics and events, activities, special programs and your gut feeling.
26. Learn about the NCAA contact rules.
27. Learn about the NCAA Eligibility Center.
28. Understand what different associations have to offer you: NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA, NCCAA, CCCAA, NWAACC.
29. Get an evaluation from a trusted source before you spend time targeting the wrong schools.
30. Ask coaches what their recruiting timeline is.
31. Ask where you stand on a coach’s list.
32. Ask if the coach can waive your application fee.
33. Learn how to get over your nerves when speaking with coaches. Remember, they want to hear from you and you have to separate yourself from thousands of other student-athletes around the country.
34. Prioritize your time. A college coach needs student-athletes who can balance their schedule NOW. If you can’t do it now, how will you do it in college?
35. Visit local colleges to get a feel for what a campus is like…it is cheap and helpful!
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