Before we take a deep dive into the recruiting timeline lets start with a couple of topics we must touch on. First and foremost, LISTEN to your recruiting adviser. They are the ones who will help you through this entire process. This will save you time and heartbreak. Next, your education is the foundation of the college recruiting process. As you will see below ACADEMICS is listed first and for good reason. When choosing a school you want to ensure their academically what you are looking for, because one day we will have to forgo sports and we will only be left with our education. Next, be realistic about your athletic abilities. We all want to play Division 1, but does that fit our skill level and academically? You can't wait to be recruited. You must stay active throughout the entire process. You need to keep track of your GPA, test scores, accomplishments, and stats. Then, post those online to show all the schools you are interested in. Lastly, never close a door. If a coach contacts you and you do not have interest in that school you need to still reply in a kindly fashion. He may be your coach in the future at a different school. Now, on to the timeline.
- ACADEMICS - #1 PRIORITY - When you excel academically it will keep you on the playing field. It also is a good first impression for college recruiters. They know not only are they getting someone who has the drive to excel on the field, but also in the classroom. That is why it is IMPOSSIBLE to overstate the importance of earning good grades and it starts the first day of your Freshman year.
- EXPOSURE - If you are serious about competing at the next level, then this is the time to start proving it! You must demonstrate to your coaches that you have what it takes to work hard at practice, during competitions, and in your spare time when no one else is around. It is also encouraged to begin speed and weight training at this time, if and only if approved by a physician. You should be looking to play on teams that will give you the most exposure such as: travel elite teams, select soccer, AAU Basketball, Junior golf, etc.
- CAMPS/SHOWCASES/COMBINES - This is a inexpensible value because usually when you attend these events you are able to learn from sport-specific experts and it gives you the ability to compare yourself amongst others who are striving to earn the same scholarship you are. At these events, you must stand out from the crowd and force dialogue with coaches or event staff.
- RECRUITING - As a Freshman you may receive general correspondence from colleges and universities that may come in the form of an email or questionnaire. Even though it is general correspondence we encourage you to respond to these promptly and include a short introduction about yourself (not any longer than two paragraphs).
- SELECTION - It is time to find which school may fit your future needs. This list should be a large list of 20-40+ schools that you could be interested in over the next four years. It is ideal to identify schools across all collegiate organization levels: NCAA Division 1, Division 2, and Division 3; NJCAA Division 1 and Division 2; and NAIA. Once you have your list formed find out as much as possible about each school and list the PRO's and CON's.
- ACADEMICS - #1 PRIORITY - When entering your Sophomore year you should have a good idea of your academic standing. If you have good grades continue your study practices. If on the other hand you do not, then you need to seriously think about changing your routine to get the best results in the classroom. Also, you will want to be thinking about taking preliminary ACT and SAT tests to prepare you for the real test.
- EXPOSURE - You should start to see your hard work in the weight room and on the field improve. Your coaches should take noticed as well and possibly give you more chances to display your abilities. You must stay committed and focused on your athletic goals. Nothing can replace competition so continue to find the team(s) that will give you the best chance to expose your talent.
- CAMPS/SHOWCASES/COMBINES - Not much has changed here. You should continue to go to as many events as you can afford. Again, This is a inexpensible value because usually when you attend these events you are able to learn from sport-specific experts and it gives you the ability to compare yourself amongst others who are striving to earn the same scholarship you are. At these events, you must stand out from the crowd and force dialogue with coaches or event staff.
- RECRUITING - As a Sophomore you may still receive general correspondence from colleges and universities that may come in the form of an email or questionnaire. You may have been put on recruiters mailing list from your submission during your Freshman year. We encourage you to write letters of introduction at this time to your top choice of schools. Phone calls are not permitted at this time.
- SELECTION - After comparing the schools you listed during your Freshman year you should have a good idea of what you want out of the college or university of your choice. We suggest making a list of ten things you expect from your choice of college or university. It is also suggested to visit three schools on your list. If you are traveling during the course of the year on vacation or for competition, try to find a way to make time to visit a school on your list.
- ACADEMICS - #1 PRIORITY - You have been working diligently over the last two years to establish a great GPA and now is the time to put it to use. College recruiters will use your GPA as a tool along with your athletic ability to see if they need to take a closer look at you as a fit for their school. It is also important to take the SAT or ACT Test in the fall semester and then plan to take it again later in the school year. Once you have completed the test you can register at the NCAA Eligibility Center.
- EXPOSURE - This is the most important year in the recruiting process!!! All of your hard work should pay off at the Varsity level. If not, don't panic, but continue your hard work. During your Junior year, coaches will seriously evaluate you on everything you do or have done (GPA, Test Scores, Interaction with coaches, peers and family, personal accomplishments, and your athletic abilities and development). Notice how athletic ability was listed last. They form their own analysis to establish whether or not you fit their program. You should also still find competition outside of your high school to help get you the most exposure.
- CAMPS/SHOWCASES/COMBINES - If you have attended events during your Freshman and Sophomore year then you should see invitational events arriving in your mailbox. You may also see specific college camps information arriving as well. We still encourage you to go to as many as you can afford. You must evaluate each event you are thinking about attending to ensure it aligns with your goals and choice of schools.
- RECRUITING - Handwritten communication from colleges is permitted during your Junior year. Phone calls may also be permitted depending on the time of year and sport you are pursuing. You should also prepare a recruiting video that highlights your abilities that includes real game footage.
- SELECTION - You should visit as many colleges as you can during this year. You should visit institutions that have expressed interest in you along with the remaining schools on your list. Most of these visits will be "unofficial" meaning that you will have to pay for the expenses. Get out there and get to know the school and the environment to ensure that it fits your specific needs.
- ACADEMICS - #1 PRIORITY - Evaluate your academic standing and focus on areas of weakness and improve them. If you have scored well on the ACT and SAT consider taking the SAT II. You may also combine your SAT subject category scores to create the best overall test score. You should also update your status with the NCAA Eligibility Center. Don't let up your Senior year you still must finish with good grades to help you get into the school of your choice educationally first, then athletically second!
- EXPOSURE - Continue to work hard. You may see coaches and recruiters in the stands but don't let that distract you. You need to continue to play at your highest level. Continue to display excellent sportsmanship and play on the best team(s) you can outside of high school competition.
- CAMPS/SHOWCASES/COMBINES - By now, you have experienced multiple event formats and you should focus on events that will help you specifically such as: special camps, events where the coach of your top schools will be at, and school specific events. Coaches may still have voids in their program that they need to fill.
- RECRUITING - There are dead periods, quite periods and evaluation periods which vary by sport, but during your Senior year coaches may call you depending on which period their sport is in. YOU may call as often as you would like, but make sure that program fits your needs.
- SELECTION - You may receive "Official" (school pays for your visit) visit offers from schools recruiting you. If you are not receiving "Official" visit offers don't sweat it, because some athletic budgets do not allow them to offer "Official" visits.
CONGRATULATIONS!!! After working hard for the last four years academically and athletically, you should have a good idea of which schools fit your needs. You have your list of PRO's and CON's for your top three schools and now it comes down to decision time for you and your family. You should feel confident in the decision you make. Over the next four years, you will reshape your life and it will be filled with priceless experiences.
**Due to frequent NCAA Recruiting Rule Changes we want to refer you to NCAA.org for the most up-to-date regulations concerning NCAA Recruiting Rules