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The Ultimate Fall Recruiting Checklist for High School Student-Athletes

How to Prepare for Recruiting Season with NCSA’s Fall Recruiting Checklist

Being a student-athlete means managing the stress and to-do’s that come with the athletic recruiting process—and with school back in session, your list just got a little bit longer. Regardless of where you are in the college sports recruiting process, from starting your college search as an underclassman, gearing up to communicate with college coaches as a junior or heading into the final stretch as a senior, it’s more important than ever to stay on track athletically and academically this fall to set yourself up for success for the rest of the year.

Click on the recruiting checklist for your grade year below to stay on top of managing your athletic recruiting process.

Fall Recruiting Checklist for Freshmen

Download your Freshman Year Fall Recruiting Checklist here.

Start of Freshman Year – August/September

Offseason Tip: Create—and stick to—a regular workout/training schedule, either on your own, with your teammates or by joining a club team. When practice starts up again, you’ll be prepared physically and mentally!

September

October

November

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Fall Recruiting Checklist for Sophomores

Download your Sophomore Year Fall Recruiting Checklist here.

Start of Sophomore Year – August/September

Offseason Tip: Create—and stick to—a regular workout/training schedule, either on your own, with your teammates or by joining a club team. When practice starts up again, you’ll be prepared physically and mentally!

September

October

  • Create a free profile page with the NCAA.
    This your best bet if you’re keeping your options open or if you’re interested in DIII schools. You can always upgrade to a Certification Account if you start receiving interest (or offers!) from DI or DII college coaches.
  • Determine your family’s EFC.
    Calculating your Estimated Financial Contribution can help estimate your federal student aid eligibility and then establish college funding strategies.
  • Regularly update your NCSA profile.
    This is your athletic recruiting resume, so make sure coaches are seeing and evaluating your most recent info.

November

  • Size up the competition.
    How do you compare to your dream schools’ team rosters? Are your academics on par with the average player GPA? How about your measurables and athletic stats? Where are the players from? Does it seem like the coach recruits in a certain area?
  • Broaden your horizons.
    We always recommend that you cast a wide net when searching for schools. Check out your top matches, see what the most popular schools are with other NCSA recruits and explore schools where college coaches are viewing, following or searching for athletes like you.
  • Continue adding colleges to your NCSA Favorites.
    Keep track of schools you’re interested in and rank them by your top picks or next action steps. By now, you should have 5-10 safety schools, 10-15 target schools and 5-10 dream schools on your list.
  • Keep Track of Important Dates:

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Fall Recruiting Checklist for Juniors

Download your Junior Year Fall Recruiting Checklist here.

Start of Junior Year – August/September

  • Check in with your high school guidance counselor.
    Are you on track to graduate on time with the required number of NCAA core courses? 10 of your core courses will be locked in at the end of your junior year. If you failed or got a low grade in an important class early in high school, make sure you retake that class before the end of your junior year.
  • Talk to your high school/club coach or an NCSA recruiting expert.
    By now, you should have a clear game plan for your athletic recruiting to-do’s. What areas can you improve in—both athletically and academically? What types of schools do you want to apply to, and how do you compare to current team rosters?
  • Keep Track of Important Dates:

September

  • Register with the NCAA.
    If you’re unsure of which division level you want to compete in, or are set on DIII schools, create a free profile—you can always upgrade to a paid account later. Receiving interest from DI and DII coaches? You may be better suited for an NCAA Certification Account.
  • Narrow down your list of target schools—and reach out to coaches.
    Whether you’re checking out your Top Matches or Coach Activity Report, make sure you have at least 30-40 schools—a mix of safety, target and dream schools—added to your NCSA Favorites. Then, make sure you’ve reached out to each coach on your list.
  • Regularly update your NCSA profile.
    This is your athletic recruiting resume, so make sure coaches are seeing and evaluating your most recent info—including your transcript, verified stats and in some cases, your highlight footage.

October

  • Create a game plan for the ACT and SAT.
    Stay current on testing dates for the ACT and SAT—including when you have to register for each test. Consider taking the test in the fall/winter, so you have some time to prepare if you need to retake it in the spring to meet NCAA eligibility requirements.
  • Remember to consider all the costs associated with the ACT and SAT tests.
    There are fees—and fee waivers—for each test, but don’t forget about the costs of tutoring or test prep resources like online classes and guides.

November

  • Follow your top choices on Twitter and Instagram.
    Following a team or coach on social media is a unique way to set yourself apart from other recruits. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at a team’s dynamics, stay up-to-date on their accomplishments, and show coaches that you’re genuinely interested in their program.
  • Go on unofficial or official visits.
    They provide a great opportunity to get some one-on-one time with a college coach, meet your potential team and tour the campus/athletic facilities. For many student-athletes, this is the moment everything “clicks”, and they know where they want to go to school.

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Fall Recruiting Checklist for Seniors

Download your Senior Year Fall Recruiting Checklist here.

Start of Senior Year – August/September

  • Check in with your high school guidance counselor.
    Confirm your NCAA eligibility—once you start your senior year (seventh semester of high school), ten of your core courses are “locked in”—you can’t retake or replace any of these courses to improve your GPA.
  • If necessary, retake the ACT or SAT.
    Whether you’re trying to maximize your scholarship opportunities, improve your admissions chances at highly selective schools or ensure you’re NCAA eligible, consider retaking the test in the fall.
  • Make sure your NCSA profile is up-to-date.
    As you reach the home stretch of your recruiting, your profile should be 100% complete—make sure you uploaded your most recent transcript and update your highlight footage and verified measurables/stats from summer recruiting events, camps or combines.

September

  • Keep Track of Important Dates

    • Stay up to date with the DI and DII Recruiting Calendars.
    • Learn more about how the new NCAA Recruiting Rules affect seniors.
    • Write down college application/scholarship deadlines, and when you’re going on unofficial/official visits.
    • Go on unofficial or official visits.
      They provide a great opportunity to get some one-on-one time with a college coach, meet your potential team and tour the campus/athletic facilities. For many student-athletes, this is the moment everything “clicks”, and they know where they want to go to school.

October 1

October

  • Refine and finalize your target schools.
    Be realistic with your safety, target and dream schools—if you haven’t received an offer or much attention from college coaches, expand your search to include schools at all division levels.

Insider Tip: Don’t stress! You can still find competitive programs outside of the DI level. Maximize your options by considering DII, DIII and NAIA schools—some of these coaches recruit well into senior year.

November 13

  • Initial Signing Date
    For most sports—excluding football and basketball—this is the first (not the only!) day you can officially sign with DI and DII schools.

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