For many high school students, playing their favorite sport in college is a goal that they work toward relentlessly. The process includes hours of training, months of practice and playing, and dedication to staying sharp and fit during the off-season.
It’s no surprise, then, that getting recruited to play college sports is a years-long process as well, whether it’s college sports recruiting, swimming, or gymnastics. So how do students that want to take their game to the next level even begin?
1. Start the recruiting process early.
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Many recruiting firms encourage students to start the process sooner rather than later. If you’re a freshman or sophomore in high school, you’re right on track to begin the recruitment process.
College sports recruitment
also depends on your skill level, too. If you’re the freshman or sophomore player that is already playing varsity or considered All-State, it’s time for you to start the process.
However, many high school athletes are late bloomers in their talent, and recruiters are well aware of this trend. That’s why it’s normal for most students to begin their junior year of high school.
2. Reach out to coaches first.
In movies and television shows, top high school athletes are typically pursued by college coaches. In those instances, their reputation proceeds them, and college recruiters come to their games to watch them play. While this may happen occasionally, it couldn’t be farther from the reality.
Usually it’s up to the students to pursue coaches and teams. They can first contact the coaching staff with an email that states their qualifications (like height, weight, graduation year, and position) as well as academic achievements.
At this point, some student athletes may look into recruiting services to help them identify and contact teams that would be the best fit for them. These firms provide free services as well as paid services that range from recruitment at top college teams to college scholarships.
3. Be all in if you want to be all in.
Just like the college search process, you need to show your interest in colleges that you really want to play for. That means being responsive to coach’s emails, setting up college tours to see the campus as well as the athletic facilities, and keeping in contact with coaches as well as admissions officers at your top choices.
Being recruited as a college athlete will require lots of great communication skills on your part. You will have to juggle phone calls and emails from coaches, assistants, and admission officers at different colleges. Your interest and communication will play a huge role in whether or not you are invited to play for the team as well as college athletic scholarship
At the same time, you need to remain open-minded about the process and which colleges are pursuing you. Your top choice may not be interested while others are in touch with you almost weekly. Don’t ignore those colleges in the hopes that your top choice will come around.
4. Keep your grades up and be a team leader.
As important as playing college sports is to you, your grades matter more to coaches and admission officers. They want to be sure you can keep up on the field and in the classroom.
Just like you train for your sport, you need to train for the classroom as well. Keep up your grades, and if they falter, seek out help in the form of tutoring or after-school sessions with your teachers. After all, the chances of moving on from college to professional sports are extremely slim.
Though playing a college sport may be your passion right now, it’s likely not going to be your future after graduation. That’s why your grades and academic performance matter.
Also, you can work throughout your high school career to be more than just a great player; you can become a great leader, too. Talk to your coach about responsibilities that you could take on as a player in support of the team. This won’t just build character; it will look good to college coaches.
5. Don’t get discouraged.
You may encounter quite a bit of rejection as a high school athlete trying to play at the college level. That’s ok. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad player – or a bad student.
If you’re a high school senior who has not been recruited, it’s not too late to reach out to coaches and send in your film reels. Some students have also had success walking on teams once they reach college. Essentially, it’s not over just because you’re told “no” right now, but it is incentive to keep working hard and showcasing your skills, abilities, and achievements.
The college sports recruitment process can be an emotional roller coaster – very exciting, exhausting, and disappointing. However, most student athletes
will probably tell you that it’s worth the ride. By getting your start early, staying in contact with coaches, and growing in your abilities on the field and in the classroom, your hard work could be rewarded with an offer to play in college. Good luck!