The following is a post by Jason Smith, baseball recruiting expert and senior head recruiting coach at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. Jason is a former coach at the Division I, II and III levels, and he regularly contributes to the blog.
Whether you are a freshman or senior in high school, it is important to be researching both the academic and athletic opportunities at multiple colleges. There are over 1,600 colleges offering baseball in the United States. The more you can learn about different colleges will allow you to make the best decision on where to continue your academic and athletic career after high school.
Here are five tips to kick-start your research.
Search for college baseball programs locally.
Start within your own state. You may already know of a few colleges and whether or not you have interest in their college or baseball program.
Write down the reasons you do or do not have interest. Even if you say you’re uninterested in any of your local schools, recognizing what you like and dislike will help you start to identify important factors you are searching for in this process.
Research college websites.
Get on the websites of these universities. First, review the “Academics” page to learn more about the majors and degrees offered.
Then, visit the “Admissions” page and get more information about the application process, tuition rates, and even “Open House” or visit information. Take notes! Whether it’s in a notebook you can keep track of, or in a word document or spreadsheet, or on your phone, take note of important dates and other information. While some details, like the specific sticker price of tuition, might change from year to year, you’ll still have a good ballpark of what any given school will cost you.
Finally, search for the “Virtual Tour” to get a feel for campus without leaving your house.
Look at a college baseball program’s digital presence.
By this, I mean both their website and, if you can find them, any social media profiles.
On the website, review the “Top Stories” to see what is happening with the program. You may see stories about the current season, volunteer work by the program in the community, or academic success of individuals or the team. These can provide details about what is important to this coaching staff besides winning championships.
Research who is involved in college baseball programs
Don’t know the name of the coaching staff or current players, yet? While on the baseball webpage, click on “Roster” and “Coaches” or “Coaching Staff.”
Here you can learn more about the players currently on the roster and coaches on staff.
Pro tip: For the roster, specifically review players currently in your position. Where are they from? What’s their height & weight? You should even click on the player’s names to read more about their college and high school career. You can get a great idea of the types of players this current coaching staff recruits.
Complete college baseball programs’ questionnaires.
You’ll typically find this in a tab or link labeled “Prospects,” “Recruits” or even “Recruiting Questionnaire.” Take the time to fill this out to ensure your information is added to the program’s recruiting database.
If you cannot locate it, then send a quick email to the coaching staff requesting the link and expressing your interest in the program.
With so many options out there, it can be hard to find a starting point for your research. Look within your own state and work your way out.
It is never too early to start this process and it will only help you understand what options are out there. Remember, there are great academic and athletic options outside of Division I baseball. Look at each level and target colleges across the board to develop multiple options for your recruiting.
Are you interested in more tips about finding the right college baseball programs for you? The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.