Athletic Recruiting Recruiting is Like..

3 Top Pieces of Advice From Student-Athletes Graduating This Year

(Flickr – Southern Arkansas University)

Whenever a student-athlete in the NCSA Athletic Recruiting network commits to a school, there are a few things we like to do. The first thing is ring our commitment bell in the office to honor him or her and celebrate together as a team. Once we get our cheers and cartwheels out of the way, we like to give the student-athlete and their parents a chance to reflect on the road that got them to their school and scholarship.

This serves a couple purposes.

It’s a cathartic and rewarding experience for the family, as they have a chance to let the dust settle and really realize the emotions their recruiting journey handed them, the places it took them, and just what an accomplishment it is to have it all behind them.

Hearing their testimonials and advice also helps our team here at NCSA. It helps us gain a better understanding of the challenges and triumphs of the recruiting process from a real-time, first-hand source, which in turn help us understand how we could be doing our job better.

We receive a lot of thoughtful, insightful, and heartfelt feedback on a daily basis, so every point would be hard to summarize here. If you’re interested in learning more about tips from other student-athletes and their families, you can get weekly or even daily updates over on Recruited Today. We do, however, tend to hear a few of the same things on a regular basis from an overwhelming majority of student-athletes and families, no matter their gender or sport.

Take a peek at the top three pieces of advice from student-athletes and their families looking back on their recruiting journey.

You have to be proactive when it comes to calling college coaches.

The excitement, anxiety, and fear of calling college coaches is mentioned in no less than every-other testimonial. But it’s something a student-athlete has to do. And the most common reflection when it comes to picking up the phone and speaking with a coach? “It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be.”

And “After I called one coach, the rest felt so much easier!”

Speaking with a person for the first time – no matter who they are – always takes a few minutes to get going in a comfortable direction. Calling a college coach presents even more pressure because their impression of you has a lot riding on it. I assure you almost every student-athlete before you went through this same tricky situation, came out alive, and even better for it. Here are some tips to consider when it comes to calling coaches.

Keep an open mind – evaluate every opportunity and don’t discount smaller or lesser known schools.

With over 80 percent of all college athletic opportunities coming outside of Division I, many of our now-committed student-athletes learned early on just how necessary it was to follow every lead and get to know a school or program instead of immediately dismissing it because they had never heard of the school.

Until you really get a feel for the options and many types of schools out there, it’s hard to know what will be right for you. So many of our student-athletes report back that they never even knew the school or program they are now on scholarship with had existed before they opened up their search and considered schools and areas that had never occurred to them going into the recruiting process.

Grades matter.

This is a huge, huge final point brought home by so many student-athletes and their parents.

Having athletic ability and strong character are all essential in getting recruited. However, none of these can get you into a college or university on their own. The #1 thing coaches need before they can work with you? Grades. They need to know your grades can not only pass the board of admission requirements, but that given their particular academic rigor, you will grow and thrive at their school, as well.

The next four years affect the next 40.

We like to say where you choose to play in school is a four-year decision affecting the next forty-years of your life.

What does this mean? Your athletic experience combined with your end degree is going to be what matters most. Considering a school for what they offer academically as well as athletically, and making sure you’re keeping the grades to get in, are vital in the recruiting process. Grades matter.


Our scouts talk with student-athletes like you every day. And most of them are alumni of college athletic programs, themselves. They can help you understand how the recruiting process works and where you are on your personal recruiting journey. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Laura Chmiel

Laura Chmiel is a marketing coordinator and a lead writer for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. As someone with a passion for athletics and education, she graduated from Indiana university with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After school, she gained first-hand experience helping student-athletes and their families get to college.