Education is Key to Recruiting Success

The world has shifted over the last decade with all of the latest technological advancements and the development of smartphones and social media. Our society is always looking for a quick fix and instant gratification. College recruiting has seen similar trends with prospective student-athletes verbally committing to colleges earlier and earlier. I am afraid this trend is not in the best interest of the prospective student-athlete. How do we expect a 16 year old, or sometimes younger, to make one of the biggest decisions of their life? Many of them don’t even have a driver’s license yet and we expect them to make a decision that is going to affect the rest of their lives. I don’t know if we can reverse this trend but I hope to educate prospective student-athletes to select the right school for the right reasons.  

There are hundreds of recruiting/scouting services that promise high school student-athletes they can them get an athletic scholarship. The essential information that prospective student-athletes need to know is what will be the right fit for them, the student-athlete, and how the recruiting process works. A scouting or recruiting service can’t help you build relationships with college coaches, answer questions those coaches may have, or tell you what the best fit is for you. The journey to find the right college is about self discovery.

The college recruiting process can be tricky to navigate unless you have a plan. Guiding Future Stars (GFS) is designed to help educate, guide, and inspire prospective student-athletes to chase their dream of playing sports in college. GFS breaks the process into five phases to help prospective student-athletes and their families navigate the college recruiting process successfully. You can find out more about the five phases in the College Recruiting Playbook: College Recruiting X’s and O’s. The College Recruiting Playbook outlines a surefire approach that will help you win in the classroom, on the field, and in the community. Follow the simple steps outlined in the five phases of the college recruiting process and learn not only everything you need to know, but also everything you need to do to find the right college for you. Then, start grounding your dreams in reality by developing a customized marketing plan that will highlight your abilities and gain the attention of your top choices.

Here is a breakdown of the five phases of the recruiting process and what you might expect to learn in each phase.

The 5 Phases of the College Recruiting Process

  1. Planning and Preparation Phase – This is an excellent place for prospective student-athletes to jump-start their college search process. The Planning and Preparation phase provides prospective student-athletes with an introduction to playing college sports. Why is it important for you to play in college? What are the benefits of being a student-athlete? What are the demands of being a student-athlete? This phase also breaks down the factors that go into building an initial list of schools to help prospective student-athletes find the right school that fits their academic, athletic, and personal needs. GFS will look closely at the ins and outs of the NCAA. What is the NCAA? What is the NCAA Eligibility Center? What are the recruiting rules and regulations? What are the differences between NCAA DI, DII, DIII, NAIA, and NJCAA?  
  2. Communication Phase – Now that you have a better understanding of the recruiting process and you have a grasp of what you are looking for in your college experience, it’s time to contact college coaches. It’s imperative to know what qualities coaches are seeking when filling their roster. What are the four attributes college coaches look for while recruiting prospective student-athletes? What are the three parts to writing an introduction letter? What should be included in your student-athlete profile? Learn some strategies to effectively communicate with college coaches. Discover social media tips that will help you build a positive personal brand.                     
  3. Gaining Exposure Phase – There are many aspects to gaining exposure from coaches at the college level. Discover the best ways to be evaluated. What do you need to do in order to make a great first impression on a college coach? Answer questions that you might expect from a college coach. Learn and effectively use the three key elements to gaining exposure. How can you stand out on and off the field? What are some tips to make the most out of your overnight visit? How can you narrow down your list of prospective schools?                                                                                                                                    
  4. Decision Making Phase – It’s time to make a decision. Learn and understand the intricacies of Financial Aid. What are the different types of financial aid available? Use the Cost of College Table to find the school that best fits your family’s situation. How can the College Comparison table help you choose the school that’s right for you? If you are an early commit, discover the terms of a verbal commitment. Who signs a National Letter of Intent (NLI)? What are the two types of walk-ons?                     
  5. Beyond the Decision – Congratulations, you have made a decision. Now what? You can take time to celebrate that you have navigated the recruiting process successfully but in all actuality, the work has just begun. College coaches recruit you based on your potential and the impact they think you can make on their program both on and off the field. It is important that you are prepared to be a successful student-athlete. GFS will prepare you to learn, achieve, and succeed in the classroom, on the field, and in the community.

As you navigate through the college recruiting process, you should look at it from three perspectives; as a student, an athlete, and as a young man/woman. You want to find a school that will help you develop in all three of these areas. If you choose a school based on only one or two of those perspectives, you will likely find that you’re not happy with the choice you’ve made.

Be sure to explore all of your options so that you can make informed decisions. Do your homework and seek out the appropriate help to find the answers you need. It is your future. You’re worth it.

The College Recruiting Playbook


In 2015, the College Recruiting Playbook was published to help educate prospective student-athletes about the college recruiting process. The College Recruiting Playbook is a student-athletes workbook to finding the right college to fit their academic, athletic, and personal needs.

Finding the right college for your student-athlete doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, with College Recruiting Playbook, you can navigate the five phases of the recruiting process with surprising ease.

1. Planncollege-recruiting-playbook-covering and Preparation

2. Communication

3. Gaining Exposure

4. Decision Making

5. Beyond the Decision

This step-by-step guide walks parents and students through everything they need to know and do in order to find the best college athletically, academically, and personally.

Discover the answers to these questions and much more

  • What does it take to play at the next level?
  • What are the academic requirements to play in college?
  • What are the differences between DI, DII, DIII, and NAIA?
  • What do college coaches look for in prospective student-athletes?
  • What are the Three Key Elements of Gaining Exposure ?
  • What is a verbal commitment? What is a National Letter of Intent?
  • What are the 50 questions every prospective student-athlete should answer before committing to a school?
  • And much more

Written especially for high school athletes, this guide is also an essential read for parents, teachers, and coaches. By utilizing the included organizer and looking at the process from more than an athlete’s point of view, you can form the best strategy for your young athlete’s near and distant future.