12 Stops on the Recruiting Road

Picture the college recruiting process on a map and in order to get to your final destination you need to make 12 stops along the way.    How do you go from being undiscovered to highly recruitable to college bound?  Here are your 12 Stops along the Recruiting Road.

STEP #1 ESTABLISH YOUR MOTIVES AND GOALS

Start by establishing your goals and aspirations for college and beyond.  You want to find a place where you will be able to develop academically, athletically, and personally.   As you begin the college search process you want to find the school that will provide you with the best overall college experience.

STEP #2 KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT BEING A STUDENT-ATHLETE

Understand what it takes to play at the next level.  What are the demands of being a college student-athlete?   How difficult is it to balance school, sports, and your social life?  What does a typical week look like for a college student-athlete?

STEP #3 UNDERSTAND THE LANDSCAPE OF INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS AND THE RECRUITING PROCESS

Familiarize yourself with the Initial Eligibility and amateurism requirements.  You should have thorough of understanding of the recruiting rules and regulations for your sport.  When and how can you contact a college coach and when can they initiate contact with you. What are the major differences between DI, DII, and DIII that effect you as a student-athlete?

STEP #4 BUILD A LIST OF SCHOOLS

When you begin the college search process you should build an initial list of at AT LEAST 20 – 30 schools.   Start by looking at schools that match your academic and personal needs first then look at schools that match what you are looking for athletically.

STEP #5 CREATE A CUSTOMIZED MARKETING PLAN

Now, that you have a list of schools you should create materials to send to a college coach. Create a quality student-athlete profile or player resume, and introduction letter, and a video.   The student-athlete profile should include key academic and athletic information.  Each letter you write should be personally written and tailored to fit the school, the program, and the coach.

STEP #6 CONTACT COLLEGE COACHES

College coaches will not discover you magically.  First thing you should do is fill out a recruiting or student-athlete questionnaire found on the athletic programs website. Second, is to contact coaches directly through email, phone, or even social media. A phone call is more powerful than an email.

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STEP #7 BE IDENTIFIED AND EVALUATED BY A COLLEGE COACH

In order to be recruited by a college coach, you need to be identified and evaluated by a coach. You should attend college showcases, tournaments, ID camps/clinics to gain exposure.

STEP #8 VISIT COLLEGE CAMPUSES

There is no substitute for visiting college campuses.  You get to experience what campus life is like. It may also be your first chance to meet the coach so you want to give a good first impression. You want to be confident, not arrogant, and genuinely interested in what the coach is saying about the school and their program.

STEP #9 NARROW YOUR COLLEGE LIST

After doing plenty of research, communicating with coach, and visiting campuses you need to begin narrowing down your options.  Increase conversations about playing opportunities and scholarships both academic and athletic.

STEP #10 WEIGH YOUR OPTIONS AND SELECT THE RIGHT FIT

Pick a school where you think you will have the best college experience, your “College Experience Trifecta.”  Don’t always choose the school that gives you the best financial package it may not be the school where you will be truly happy.

STEP #11 MAKE A COMMITMENT 

It is time to make your intentions known to the college you have selected. In addition, you should also let the other schools that were recruiting you that you have decided to go somewhere else. You should understand the terms of a verbal commitment. A verbal commitment is a non-binding agreement between the coach and the prospective student-athlete, prior to signing an NLI (DI/DII) Either party can pull out from this agreement for any reason. That is why I encourage you to utilize the Million Percent Rule before making a verbal commitment. Everybody involved in the process, student, parents, and coaches are a million percent sure that this is the right fit academically, athletically, and personally.

STEP #12 CELEBRATE AND PREPARE

Congrats, you have made your college decision. Now what?  Selecting a college is a sense of relief for most high school students but for a student-athlete, your work is just beginning.  You need to begin preparing for the transition of a high school student-athlete to a college student-athlete. How will you become the best version of yourself academically, athletically, and personally?   How will you be a successful student-athlete in the classroom, on the field, and in the campus community?

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Check out the GFS College Recruiting Education Resources to help you navigate through the college recruiting process