Spring College Recruiting Checklist for Student-Athletes
Impact of Coronavirus on College Recruiting: The NCAA recruiting rules are now different for each division level. NCAA D1 has suspended all in-person recruiting through May 31, 2021. As of September 1, 2020, NCAA D2 and D3 have resumed the regular recruiting rules. Stay on top of the latest news involving the extra year of eligibility for college athletes and how it impacts recruiting. The NCAA has removed the SAT/ACT requirement from their initial academic eligibility requirements. Schools might still require you to take the SAT/ACT. See our full coronavirus resources section.
The athletic recruiting process can seem overwhelming at times. Between recruiting rules and calendars, important deadlines and essential steps to take every year, there are many boxes to check. So, how can student-athletes keep track of the steps they have to take? As student-athletes reach the end of the school year, it’s important to continue developing athletically and academically before taking some time to rest and recharge in the summer. To help you navigate the athletic recruiting process and stay organized (and motivated!) every step of the way, we created college recruiting checklists for every grade level.
Whether you’re an underclassman who’s just getting started in the process or ready to make a college decision, check out the spring recruiting checklists below to ensure that you never miss any essential to-dos as you progress on your athletic recruiting journey.
Spring Recruiting Checklist for Freshmen
Work on your time management skills.
It’s never too early to start learning how to manage your time. Between sports, schoolwork and extracurriculars, time management is one of the most important skills a student-athlete can have.
Continue adding colleges to your NCSA Favorites.
Keep track of schools you’re interested in—remember to cast a wide net first and narrow down your options as your preferences and interests change. If you’re unsure where to start, check out the most popular schools among NCSA recruits.
Add a few financial aid terms to your vocabulary.
Paying for college is still years away but getting a grasp on a few key terms will lessen your stress down the road—trust us. Our financial aid glossary breaks down all the terms you need to know.
- Research upcoming college camps and recruiting events.
Summer is just around the corner, and recruiting events will likely start to pick up again with additional COVID-19 safety protocols. You should focus on finding camps that target skills or technique development. Save combines and showcases for the summers after sophomore and junior year, as you develop athletically and start building relationships with coaches.
- Enroll in NCSA University.
Explore all the steps you need to take on your path to college and celebrate major recruiting milestones with a series of drills designed to give you a competitive recruiting advantage.
- Complete recruiting questionnaires.
For most sports, there is zero communication allowed between a D1 coach and a recruit before June 15 after sophomore year. The best way to let them know you’re interested? Fill out recruiting questionnaires—and update them regularly. And remember that you can contact college coaches at the NCAA D3, NAIA or junior college levels at any time.
- Impress college coaches—without saying a word.
What’s the number one way to show coaches you’re confident, coachable and would make a great addition to their team one day? Make sure you’re focusing on your body language—and parents, this one applies to you too!
- Keep Track of Important Dates:
Spring Recruiting Checklist for Sophomores
Register for an online recruiting class.
Whether you have specific questions about the recruiting process, need help making quality connections with college coaches or want to explore the benefits of an NCSA membership, there’s a recruiting class that’s right for you.
Learn how to communicate with coaches.
Depending on your sport, most D1 and D2 college coaches will be able to contact recruits beginning June 15 or September 1 this year. Make sure you know how to communicate effectively to maximize your recruiting opportunities.
Clean up your social media accounts.
Social media is a great way to connect with college coaches and learn more about athletic programs you’re interested in. Check out our guide on how to use social media for recruiting.
Start researching summer camps and recruiting events.
Once you figure out what type of recruiting event is right for you, make a list of camps you’re interested in attending. Don’t forget to reach out to college coaches once you register for their events!
Learn from our Recruiting Coaches.
NCSA’s team of recruiting experts answer thousands of questions a year to help families get the most of their college recruiting journey. Check out the most common questions (and answers!) that our Recruiting Coaches receive throughout the year.
Continue adding colleges to your NCSA Favorites.
Keep track of schools you’re interested in—remember to cast a wide net first and narrow down your options as your preferences and interests change. Don’t forget to check out the best schools for student athletes.
- Start getting ready for June 15.
Remember, starting June 15 after sophomore year, most D1 college coaches—excluding women’s basketball, football, lacrosse, softball and baseball—will be able to communicate freely with recruits via email, DMs, texts and phone calls (and vice versa).
- Create your highlight or skills video.
Highlight and skills videos play a crucial role in the recruiting process, especially because not all coaches will get a chance to evaluate you in person. Follow these tips for a better skills video.
- Post your summer schedule.
Not only does it help keep you organized if you’re participating in multiple camps or showcases, but it also makes it easier for college coaches to add you to their lists of potential recruits to evaluate if they attend.
Spring Recruiting Checklist for Juniors
- Compare colleges on your target list.
From college costs and types of scholarships offered to national rankings and more, comparing colleges can be a time-consuming process. See what types of criteria you should be looking for by downloading our college comparison chart.
- Schedule a college visit.
Both unofficial and official visits (whether in-person or virtual) provide a great opportunity to check out a college’s campus, meet the coach and take a tour of a program’s athletic facilities—and maybe even catch a game or team practice.
Insider tip: Between paying for your travel, accommodations, meals and more, visits can get expensive. Check out our money-saving tips for your unofficial college visit or consider taking tours online before choosing a select few to visit in person.
- Take—or retake—the ACT or SAT.
By now, you should have already taken your first ACT or SAT or completed a practice test. Don’t forget to add your best score to your profile. Keep in mind that the ACT changed its testing experience in September 2020.
- Meet with your high school guidance counselor.
Map out how many core courses you have left to take to meet NCAA eligibility requirements and ask them to send your transcript to the NCAA Eligibility Center at the end of the school year.
- Attend a college camp or recruiting event this summer.
Make sure you know what type of camp is best for you by doing your research ahead of time. Depending on where you live, some local camps may take place while enforcing social distancing guidelines, while others may offer virtual or small-group training opportunities instead
Insider Tip: Even if you’re not attending camps this summer, you can still build a relationship with the coach. Not interested in a camp or the coach’s program? Always respond back to a coach and politely decline their invite
Learn how to navigate the college application process.
You’ll be applying to schools in just a few months—which means it’s time to start preparing now. Staying focused and knowing the steps you’ll have to take will make going through the process less stressful and overwhelming come fall.
Update your NCSA profile.
From your most recent transcript, grades and ACT/SAT test scores to a new highlight or skills footage, update your profile now so you’ll have more time to focus on college application prep this summer.
Spring Recruiting Checklist for Seniors
Come up with a backup plan.
Got wait-listed at your dream school? Didn’t get any athletic scholarship offers? Whether you decide to develop athletically and academically at a junior college, explore other types of financial aid or join the 46% of D1 athletes who are walk-ons, always keep your options open.
Explore all your options.
College coaches recruit well into senior year—yes, even in the spring—especially at NCAA D3, NAIA and junior colleges. Opportunities may be limited, but they still exist. Still eyeing a spot on an NCAA D1 or D2 roster? Decommitments and coaching changes have been known to happen, but your best bet would be to ask a college coach if walk-on spots are available or if they host open tryouts during the school year.
- Request your final Amateurism Certification.
Enrolling and competing at a DI or DII college this fall? April 1 is the first—not the only—day you can log in to your NCAA Certification Account and request your final amateurism certification.
- D1 Basketball Regular Signing Period Begins
This is the first day D1 basketball recruits can sign the National Letter of Intent if they’re enrolling in college during the 2021-2022 academic year. The Final Signing Date for D1 basketball (and all other D1 and D2 sports!) is August 1.
Let NCSA know where you’re going to school.
Completing your College Decision Survey lets other college coaches know that you are officially off the market and allows us to help the next class of college student athletes!
Humble brag—we’ll allow it.
Let your friends and family know where you’re going to school by posting on your social media channels. Tag #NCSACommit for your chance to be featured on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages!
Celebrate your college commitment!
Take a step back and reflect on what you’ve accomplished on your recruiting journey. Pick up some swag from your new school and wear it with pride! You achieved your dream of becoming the next college student athlete, and we can’t wait to see where you go next.
End of Senior Year
- Check in with your high school guidance counselor.
Have them send your final transcript to the NCAA Eligibility Center at the end of the school year.
- DI and DII Signing Period ends on August 1.
This is the final day you can sign the National Letter of Intent if you are enrolling in college during the 2021-22 academic year.