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9 Essential Steps to Getting Recruited

getting recruited

What percent of high school athletes play in college? 

There are over 7 million high school athletes in the U.S. alone who have dreams of playing at collegiate level but only about 7% of high school athletes make the jump into playing college sports at an NCAA institution.  

The recruitment process can be long and arduous, but it can also be extremely rewarding. By staying proactive throughout the entire recruiting process, you have a much greater chance of being recruited. We’ve prepared a guideline to help you along your recruiting journey with key tips to help you achieve your dream. 

1. Stay ahead academically

Before going through the recruitment process, make sure you are taking the correct classes and that you are succeeding in the classroom. As a student-athlete, it is your responsibility to meet NCAA eligibility by making sure you take corresponding NCAA approved courses at your school.  

The easiest way to do this is to schedule a meeting with your school’s guidance counselor and plan out a 4-year academic schedule with the necessary tests and classes. Make sure you understand what grades and tests you will need for each school you are considering. By maintaining a high GPA and solid test scores, you are ensuring that you have more options available to you during the recruitment process. 

2. Create a list of potential schools

Start compiling a list of schools that interest you. Keep in mind your athletic talent, academic level, and school preferences. Make a list of 13-15 schools with the majority being “realistic” options that match your academic and athletic ability. Within that list you should have several dream schools and backup schools, as well. 

Consider the financial costs and types of scholarships offered at each school on your list. Take some time to research the academic and athletic profiles of the schools on your list in depth. Consult with your coach and guidance counselor to make sure your list of potential schools best matches up with your needs and capabilities. 

3. Research the team and the coach

Take some time to learn about the teams of the colleges you are considering. Check out the school’s athletic website and do some research. Look at the team’s records in previous years, the current roster, and find out which players are graduating. Try to see whether there will be a need for the position you play.  

Also make sure to write down current coaches (including assistant coaches and head coaches) and their contact information, which can usually be found on the school’s athletic staff directory page. 

4. Create a highlight video

Having a comprehensive highlight video is one of the best ways to increase your exposure to college coaches and recruiters. Spending time to create a well-made 5-10 minute highlight video is a great way to showcase your skills and athletic ability. Your highlight video should include any major competitions you play in and provide coaches with a great perspective of how well you perform under pressure.  

You should look to have at least one video for each year of competition you play. Depending on your budget, there are professionals like NCSA, who can provide custom high-quality highlight videos for athletes. There are also a variety of free video editing software and YouTube tutorials available online for athletes or parents interested in creating their own custom highlight video. 

5. Create an online recruiting profile

Although traditional contact methods like phone and email are still great ways to reach out to coaches, using an online recruiting profile with NCSA is also an excellent way to get the attention of coaches.  

NCSA Recruiting Profile snapshot

The NCSA network provides a variety of tools to help connect high school athletes and college coaches. It is important for you to not only create a profile, but to also keep it updated with stats, videos, and photos. Make sure to also reach out and contact the coaches of the programs you are interested in attending. The more statistics, videos, and academic information coaches see on your profile, the better chance you have of being recruited.  

6. Reach out to coaches

With your highlight videos online and a completed NCSA profile under your belt, it’s time to start reaching out to coaches. Start by organizing a list of coach contact information from the schools you are interested in.  

Send an email to each coach with a brief introduction of who you are, your achievements, and why you are interested in their program. Make sure to include what current year of high school you are in as well as a link to your NCSA profile and other platforms you have uploaded your game film to (Hudl, YouTube, etc.).  

Once you have done this, search for these colleges on your NCSA profile, as well, and bookmark and invite coaches to your profile. Remember to keep track of any other college coaches outside your college list who view your NCSA recruiting profile and make sure to reach out to them! Keep an open mind, communicate respectfully with coaches, and make sure you are exploring all your options. 

7. Attend summer camps and showcases

One of the best ways to maximize your exposure is to attend summer camps or showcases. The first big benefit of camps/showcases is that they provide you with great experience developing your skills. You will be practicing and learning in a setting with like-minded peers, which can help you see what it really takes to get to the next level.  

The second major benefit is being able to play in front of head coaches of a university you may be interested in. Keep in mind camps and showcases are more likely to help you gain exposure if you have already had some previous contact with the coach already.  

Keep a look out in your inbox for invites from coaches to various camps and showcases. If you do decide to attend, make sure you are actively networking with coaches during the process. Remember that you are not just showcasing your skills as a player, but also your character as a student-athlete. 

Read more: The Ultimate Sports Camp Checklist

8. Visit your top choices

The best way to figure out which school is the best fit for you is to schedule an unofficial visit. You will be able to tour a campus, check out the facilities, and get an overall feel for a school.  

If you have communicated with a coach beforehand, let them know you are dropping by for a visit and you may get a chance to meet with the team or a coach during your tour.  

You aren’t just testing the school athletically. Take everything into consideration during your visit and ask a lot of questions about financial aid, academics, campus life, and anything that might interest you. 

9. Make your choice

It is the start of senior year and all those hours of research, emails, phone calls, camps, and questionnaires are finally going to pay off. After going through the lengthy college search process, and hopefully receiving some offers from some great schools, you now must make your choice.  

For some, playing at a college with a high-ranking athletic team may be the primary goal; while for others, academic prestige or a larger financial aid offer can be the deciding factor.  

Once you have reached this point, try to narrow down your offers to your top three choices. Keep in mind all the factors that are important to you and make a balanced judgement of what will be the best fit for you, both as an athlete and as a student. 

Looking for more tips? Check out our ultimate guide on How to Get Recruited. 

Want to be among the next 100,000 student-athletes NCSA helps?

The best way to get started is with an online recruiting profile. Create your free recruiting profile today!