With high school in full swing, it’s more important than ever to not fall into a winter season slump. There are still steps every student-athlete can take to maximize their recruiting opportunities during the winter recruiting season. From exploring college rosters, building relationships with college coaches or negotiating scholarship offers, there’s something for everyone to do to continue managing their athletic recruiting process.
Luckily, our winter recruiting checklists break down what you should be doing during every month so you can focus on developing your athleticism, working on your grades and test scores, and figuring out your personal preferences, like what division level is the best fit for you or what type of campus culture you’re looking for.
Take a look at the recruiting checklist for your grade level below to stay on track throughout your athletic recruiting journey!
Landing a roster spot means understanding the basics of the recruiting funnel. Knowing what coaches look for, how they find recruits and common traits successful student-athletes share will give you a leg up throughout the process.
Talk to someone who’s familiar with the recruiting process: an upperclassmen teammate going through the process, a current or former college athlete, your high school/club coach or an NCSA Recruiting Coach.
This guide answers questions for student-athletes and parents navigating the initial eligibility process. Remember, this information only applies to NCAA schools. The NAIA has its own guidelines.
This is a great time to focus on setting SMART goals for the upcoming year. No matter what you want to accomplish, from making the varsity team next season, bringing up your GPA to developing healthier habits, setting goals will help you stay motivated, focused and committed.
By now, you should have wrapped up your first semester of high school—congrats! Get into the habit of updating your transcript and GPA after each semester so coaches always have your most recent academic stats.
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.
Personal statements are a great opportunity to show college coaches your character. Reflect on your athletic and academic achievements and identify what experiences or people have motivated and inspired you to pursue your sport at the next level.
PSAT scores are generally released beginning mid-December. Your scores are a good indicator of what you’ve learned so far, and pinpoint areas of improvement ahead of the ACT/SAT.
D1 college coaches can start sending men’s ice hockey student-athletes emails, DM’s, texts and letters. Recruits can also make calls to and receive calls from D1 coaches and set up unofficial visits.
Setting SMART goals and planning your year ahead will help you stay motivated throughout the recruiting process. Focus on what you want to accomplish—from developing athletically, maintaining your NCAA eligibility to implementing healthier habits, set goals to stay focused and committed.
We’ll walk you through the differences between a CSS Profile and the FAFSA, the types of loans and grants awarded to student-athletes, and what your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) might be.
Whether it’s by uploading your most recent highlight/skills video or verified stats to your profile, comparing your athletic talents to recruits currently on your favorite schools’ team rosters, or getting evaluated by an NCSA Recruiting Coach, get a better understanding of your talent to kick off your college search.
By now, you should have at least 30 schools on your NCSA Favorites. Start considering how they’re similar or different from one another, whether it’s by division level, size and location, or general rankings.
The FAFSA4caster gives you a free early estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid, so you can get a general idea of how much you’ll receive from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as what you have to make up in athletic/academic awards and loans.
This will give you enough time to retake the test to increase your scores and your chances of landing an academic scholarship. Don’t forget to add your scores to your NCSA Profile.
If you’re interested in D1 or D2 colleges, make sure you understand the NCAA’s eligibility requirements. In 2023, the NCAA permanently removed SAT/ACT from the eligibility requirements for student-athletes.
Planning ahead and setting SMART goals will help you stay on track throughout the recruiting process. Focus on what you want to accomplish, and what steps you need to take to get you there.
The average college coach gets less than seven phone calls a week from recruits, so you’re guaranteed to make an impression. Plan what you’re going to say ahead of time, jot down a few questions and key facts and practice with a parent or teammate.
Insider tip: NCSA’s Progress Cards also show you what you should be doing next—and when, so you’re guaranteed to never miss a deadline, even if you’re at different points in the recruiting process with multiple colleges.
After you finish the semester, review your transcript to ensure that you’re on track to meet the NCAA core course requirements. Remember, you should have 10 completed core courses before the end of the year, and seven of those will be locked in.
Keeping up with admissions standards and deadlines can be tough—by now, you should know which of the schools on your target list offer rolling admissions v. set admissions deadlines and whether they use the Common App.
Are you applying to NAIA programs? Every student-athlete has to create an account with PlayNAIA.org in order to play sports at an NAIA college or university.
Football recruits can sign with D1 schools between December 20-22, 2023 ahead of the regular signing period beginning February 7, 2024.
If you haven’t submitted your FAFSA, now is the time. Financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. This form determines your eligibility for federal grants, loans and work-study funds. The FAFSA typically opens on Oct. 1 each year. For the 2024-25 academic year, however, it will open in December 2023.
This is just the first (not the only!) day in the regular period football student-athletes can officially sign with D1 and D2 schools. This period ends on April 1 (D1) and August 1 (D2).
Whether you’re signing with an NCAA D1 or D2 college or still narrowing down your options, make sure you’ve completed your amateurism questionnaire within your NCAA Certification Account.