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April 22, 2018

Checklist for the High School Recruiting Process

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The decision to play a collegiate sport, and the subsequent recruiting process that you will have to go through, presents a challenge every step of the way. Depending on what level you want to play at—Division I, II, or III—you should be well-prepared and have a plan that works for you.

LRT Sports compiled a helpful checklist for each year of the recruiting process. Although you should keep in mind that every prospective student-athletes recruiting process is unique, this is a reliable resource that you should make frequent use of throughout your high school years.

 Freshman Year: Start Planning Now

  • Make a list of schools that you would be interested in and academically eligible for.
  • Meet with your high school guidance counselor to inform them that you want to play at the college level and establish a four-year academic plan.
  • Maintain a minimum 3.0-grade point average. Take honors and AP classes if you are a solid A or B student.
  • Make sure you will meet all core course requirements (required by the NCAA)and take a course load that will challenge, but not burden you.
  • Research programs that you would be interested in playing for. Identify what collegiate level you are interested in playing for.
  • Your “dream school” should be the right fit for you, do not choose a dream school because it’s the school your parents or friends are pushing you to attend.
  • Visit college athletic websites to get a feel for the team culture, as well as to identify shifts in the roster. Example: Is an athlete that plays your position graduating right before your freshman year?
  • Email at least ten coaches that you are interested in playing for.
  • Create a budget for the recruiting process with your parents. Costs of I.D. camps, travel, have a cumulative effect and can add up as far as costs are concerned.
  • Be honest about your academic and athletic limitations. Ask coaches for feedback so you can strengthen your skills.

Sophomore Year 

  • Download NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete. Check to see if there are new rule changes.
  • Take Pre-SAT or ACTs. Maintain a 3.0 or better.
  • Start thinking of ways to increase your exposure to your sport.
  • Attend I.D. camps at a variety of colleges and universities.
  • Don’t let your first I.D. camp experience be at your top-choice college. Gain confidence and comfortability with the structure and rigor of camps before you go to one that “matters.”
  • Make it your mission not just to try to impress the coach at I.D. camps. Competing against other top players is an excellent way to improve your skills.
  • Videotape your games or begin to assemble footage for your Hudl highlight tape.
  • Keep in mind that Hudl is an excellent resource for making highlight videos.
  • Keep coaches up-to-date on your progress. A great way to do this is by email.
  • Visit at least three colleges.

Junior Year

  • Continue to keep your grades up. Meet with your academic advisor to make sure you are track— stay eligible to play your sport in college!
  • Prepare for standardized testing.
  • If you plan only to take the SAT or ACT, make sure the colleges you are interested in attending accept that test. Also, look up the average scores for these tests at the schools you are interested in attending— try to meet these scores.
  • Make sure you register for the exams by their due dates!
  • Request the test scores be sent to the NCAA Eligibility Center by marking “9999” in the code box where indicated.
  • Attend college fairs, visit campuses, do research on campus culture, the academic majors it offers, etc.
  • Take at least two unofficial visits.
  • Update your target schools.
  • Familiarize yourself with NCAA rules and regulations. Understand the channels in which college coaches can and cannot contact you.
  • Start contacting coaches. Call or email coaches to express interest in their school and athletic program.
  • *Send them your academic transcript and scores on exams.
  • *Let them know what tournaments you will be playing in.
  • *Send them a highlights video or raw game footage.
  • *Attend I.D. camps where the coach will be present.
  • Attend overnights at schools that are actively recruiting you.

Senior Year

  • Whew…. almost there!
  • Continue to work hard in your classes. Retake standardized tests, if need be.
  • Keep your college application materials organized.
  • *Meet with guidance counselors to discuss the application process.
  • *Complete your financial aid reports, such as FAFSA, by their due dates (FAFSA is due on January 1).
  • Continue to engage in conversations with college coaches.
  • Be proactive and persistent— ask direct questions. Pin down if they are interested in you joining their program.
  • Ask how and when you should apply.
  • Apply to colleges.
  • For Division III athletes, even if you are applying “early decision” to one college, there is never a guarantee of admittance.
  • Keep your options open, just in case something (such as Financial Aid) falls through.
  • Even when the application and recruiting process threatens to stress you out, remain calm. Know that you will end up at your dream school— even if it’s not the one that you almost imagined ending up at.

Updated: December 2, 2019

Handpicked for You:

 Unofficial Visits: What are They and What are the Rules
 What Student-Athletes Need to Know Before Going on an Official College Visit
 Recruiting Horror Story: A Shower of Puke Came Our Way

YOUR JOURNEY STARTS HERE