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Recruiting services for high school athletes

Are you looking to be recruited to play sports for a college team? Do you believe that you have what it takes to be amongst the top 5% who do or, even more impressively, amongst the 1% who play in a NCAA Division I sport? Many who are in the same situation as you utilize athletic recruiting services. What are recruiting services? College recruiting services provide things such as assistance and invitations into network of athletes and coaches for those who are looking to gain valuable spots on college rosters.

The primary benefit of going into the college recruiting process with assistance is being able to feel much more confident about it. Understanding exactly what the process is like on both sides of the spectrum helps both players and coaches find the best fits possible. Athletes learn how to talk to coaches, how to present their best selves. Many sports recruiting services also provide extensive networks of athletes and coaches to help both sides find the best fits possible.

Note that several college recruiting services aid those looking to navigate this process. Although they are all similar in that they look to help you find a good match, how they go about doing so can vary significantly. For example, some focus on helping participants in a single sport. Conversely, other recruiting services provide assistance for athletes in every college sport.

Some of the most respected sports recruiting services include:

Regardless of which recruiting services you are considering, put time into researching them. This decision is an important one as the college recruiting experience can be complicated at times. You want a college recruiting service that helps you during this time in your life, not hinders you.

College recruiting services

One of the most significant benefits that college recruiting services provide is the ability to be seen by and interact with a significant number of coaches. For example, they can easily access your highlights video, your athletic resume and your contact information. If they are intrigued, that can lead to considering you as one of their recruits and contacting you during the times of the year when they can. Some coaches will consider hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of athletes, so it is important to ensure that you are also being considered by these athletic recruiters and that you stand out.

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Athletic recruiting services by sport

You need to ensure that any athletic recruiting services that you are considering are experts in your sport. It is okay if these college recruiting services do not solely specialize in your sport, but they need to be knowledgeable about the specific requirements and expectations for your sport. For example, NCAA recruiting rules differ in a lot of ways from sport to sport.  Baseball recruiting services will often have a better handle on what those are in that sport than services that do not focus on baseball recruiting.

Some of the most significant differences are related to the recruiting calendar. The dates that athletic recruiters who are involved with the sport of soccer can communicate with you and invite you to campus are different than is the case for softball. It should also be noted that the number of athletes who can be offered scholarships differs from sport to sport. Football teams at the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) level can award up to 85 full scholarships per team, but men's sports teams such as golf, tennis and volleyball can only offer up to 4.5 scholarships spread across those respective teams.

It should also be noted that if you are being recruited to play a high-profile sport at the NCAA Division I level such as football or basketball, you will most likely have a different experience than those playing other sports. One is a greater amount of media interest in your decision, and, in those cases, you need to consider recruiting services that can help with that aspect of your experience. You want to make sure that these football recruiting services or basketball recruiting services know how to help you present your best self to the media. Doing so will help you during the process as well as throughout your athletic career.

Recruiting services and camps, combines and showcases

Recruiting services should also know which types of camps, combines or showcases to take part in as some are more apt to help you find the best fit possible than others. More to the point, athletic recruiters in some sports are more focused on certain events while coaches in another sport might care about other types. As a result, you should consider sports recruiting services that know which of these activities are of special importance for your sport.

Regardless of your sport, athletic camps, combines and showcases will help you improve as a player, both individually and within a team, and provide exposure for yourself. However, your time is limited, so you want to ensure that recruiting services help you maximize it by helping you choose the right ones.

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Recruiting terms

As you navigate this process as an athletic recruit, it is also important to understand the terms that are used to describe you. The most common ones are prospects, recruits and commits. Being a prospect is an easy hurdle to overcome. You just need to be eligible to join a college sports team. The likelihood of that happening, as long as it is not zero, is irrelevant. Conversely, recruits have been contacted by athletic recruiters and are being recruited. Lastly, commits have come to an agreement with a school and have committed to play there. This can either be a verbal commitment or a binding written one.

NCAA recruiting and NAIA/NJCAA/CCCAA recruiting by divisions

Some athletic recruiting services narrow their focus to solely NCAA recruiting or, in some cases, specific divisions within the NCAA or other governing bodies of college sports.

NCAA recruiting for any individual athlete is generally but not always focused on one division. NCAA Division I is where the best players perform and where the most athletic scholarships are awarded. NCAA Division II also provides challenging playing and educational experiences with some athletic recruits being awarded scholarships. NCAA Division III schools do not provide any athletic scholarships, but they do generally combine solid academic experiences with a notable amount of non-athletic financial aid. In total, more than 1,000 schools are members of the NCAA with 350 of those being Division I institutions.

The NAIA is like the NCAA in that it is an association that oversees college athletics for four-year institutions. Its membership numbers 250 schools that are mostly located in the middle of the country but can also situated from coast to coast.

The NJCAA and the CCCAA provide playing experiences for junior college players. The former, which is a nationwide organization, is home to 500 schools, while the latter oversees athletics being played at 100 California-based junior colleges.

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Recruiting services help athletes and athletic recruiters

It is important to realize that most recruiting services also want to help coaches put together teams that both are more likely to win and that fit into their personal and scholastic cultures. Part of the reason for this is because doing so helps create an extensive network of coaches and players. This increases the odds of players who are working with those athletic recruiting services being discovered and ultimately landing at a school that is a great fit for them athletically, academically and socially.

Athletic recruiting services – Pros and cons

Take note of the pros and cons of using recruiting services. Playing college sports is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you want to make sure that you make the most out of it. Will these recruiting websites offer those they work with the best opportunity to do so? Do they provide athletes with realistic expectations based on their athletic and scholastic skills and other factors? How well do they understand the process and the schools? Will they help ensure that you have NCAA eligibility?

Be wary of the cons. Some concerns are related to which ways they help you get in contact with coaches, how much control you want to relinquish and the cost. Bottom line, make sure that if you do decide to use a recruiting service, it does not oversell and under-deliver.

NCAA recruiting accreditation

Note that NCAA recruiting accreditation is applied to some recruiting services. Specifically, football and basketball coaches who coach at NCAA Division I schools are only allowed to subscribe to recruiting services that are compliant with the governing body's regulations. This is determined by the ECAG (Enforcement Certification and Approvals Group).

However, this is not a requirement for athletic recruiting services in those sports to be quality ones. Consider the entirety of what they offer as other factors often outweigh this one.

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Quality recruiting websites

Of the main recruiting websites that exist, several of them offer a number of extensive benefits to help you in your recruiting process and increase the odds that you will receive scholarship offers. Some of these include:

Academic requirements

Do use a recruiting service that helps you meet academic requirements and, in many cases, exceed them. If you are considering NCAA schools, not only must you meet the minimum standards that the NCAA has, but you may need to meet other standards as well. For example, some schools have higher academic standards than the NCAA does. This is particularly true for Ivy League institutions, but those are far from the only academically prestigious universities that are located in the United States and Canada.

Regardless of the minimum academic standards that exist for the NCAA as a whole and for individual schools that you are considering, you do want to surpass those as much as possible. Doing so will help you fit into the school's culture academically and helps you be more recruitable. The less the coach believes that he or she needs to be concerned about you adapting to the academic standards of that university, the more apt you are to be recruited.

NCSA

NCSA is a recruiting service that dates to 2001. In fact, its roots reach back to the 1980s. At that time, Chris Krause, its founder, was having a difficult experience navigating the recruiting process and oftentimes felt lost and confused. It seemed like the coaches had so much more information about the process than he did. Although he did end up finding his fit as a football player at Vanderbilt University, he wanted to ensure that later student athletes would be able to much more easily navigate this process than he did.

In the years that have passed since then, NCSA has received a number of trusted reviews, endorsements and partnerships as well as a considerable amount of media coverage. In fact, NCSA's Google Reviews score is 4.9 out of a maximum 5.0 stars from 2000 reviewers. And it is not only players who are pleased with the help that they have received, but several coaches are also thankful that NCSA helped them fill out their rosters. The NCSA network also includes 35,000 coaches in 27 sports.

Are you looking to join the NCSA network? Would you like to be amongst the thousands of NCSA athletes who commit to a college to play sports every year? If so, make sure to fill out your free profile today so that you can start your recruiting process today. This is especially urgent if you have passed your freshman year. If you have any questions about it or what NCSA can offer you throughout your recruiting experience, call 866 495-5172.

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