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Do You Want To Play College Sports? Being Identified vs. Being Recruited

One of the biggest steps in the recruiting process is gaining college exposure. A college coach needs to see how you perform on the field, court, pool, course, etc.   

There are stages of gaining college exposure. For the other 98% of student-athletes who are not 4 and 5-star athletes,  they have to market themselves so that college coaches know who they are. Student-athletes are not just magically discovered, as you might think. There are things to do to get on a college coach’s radar.  

  • Fill out a Recruiting Questionnaire
  • Email a college coach directly
  • Call a college coach

As a prospective student-athlete, you must have the opportunity to showcase your athletic talents and abilities to college coaches. You should develop a plan on how you will get a college coach to evaluate you.

To understand the gaining exposure phase, you should distinguish the difference between being identified by a college coach and being recruited by a college coach. Just because you receive an email or a camp/clinic invitation does not necessarily mean that coach is actively recruiting you. It is what you do from that point on that will determine your recruiting process’s next steps with that coach and program.

Being Identified

There are many ways to be identified as a potential recruit by a college coach.

Being Recruited

How do you know when a college coach is actively recruiting you? To understand this, be sure you have a working knowledge of the recruiting rules specifically for your sport. The recruiting rules will affect the type of communication a college coach is permitted to have with you as a prospective student-athlete.  

Being Recruited Pyramid

  • You know that if a college coach goes out of their way to write you a personal email or call you on the phone, then they obviously have some interest in pursuing you as a possible recruit for their program.
  • Most coaches interested in a prospective student-athlete want to get them on campus, and there’s no better way to do that when hosting a camp or clinic. As a coach, you can really get to know a player both on and off the field. If the recruiting rules allow it, be sure it is a personal invitation and not just a blanket email sent to all recruits.  
  • There is no substitute for visiting a school and getting a feel for what campus life is like. A coach will not invite everyone for a campus visit. (Check recruiting rules to see when unofficial visits are permissible.)
  • As you get further into the recruiting process with a coach, they may request your unofficial transcripts. Many schools (usually private schools) can offer prospects a “Pre-Read” on their application in the Admissions Department. This pre-read can give you an idea of how much academic aid you might receive with your GPA and your test scores. This allows head coaches to figure out how much athletic aid they could offer to create a total financial package for equivalency sports. For example, a prospective student-athlete could qualify for $15,000 in academic aid, and the coach can offer $10,000, which is a total package of $25,000/year for that prospective student-athlete.
  • The overnight visit might be the biggest deciding factor for a prospective student-athlete. You can stay overnight on an unofficial visit, but you are required to pay for all expenses; travel, meals, and entertainment. On an official visit, the school can pay for part or all of those expenses. The overnight visit allows you to spend the “day in the life” of a student-athlete, attend classes, eat in the dining facilities, stay in a dorm, watch a practice/game, and interact with the current players. I recommend taking a few of these before committing.
  • The final step is a coach who offers you a scholarship or a spot on the team.

All the best in your college search. Take your time to do the research and make an informed decision. If you want to learn more about the recruiting process, download the GFS App, and learn the #GFSWay. Get the GFS Designing Your Pathway to College Sports E-Book and College Recruiting Road Map workbook to help you go from Undiscovered to Highly Recruitable to College Bound. All our resources are inside the App.


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