- Getting started:
- Thousands of high school seniors are waiting
for calls from college coaches. Some of those calls will
be made, but many highly talented athletes will not get called.
What went wrong? Why didn't an All-league or All-state athlete get
recruited? The answers can be complicated, but the most important
reason is visibility. There are many things
you can do to raise your visibility among college coaches and to
improve your chances of being offered a college sports
scholarship. Rule 1 is do not wait.
soon as you read this, it is time
to begin working on your recruiting strategies.
- Are you on college coaches'
- In most sports, NCAA coaches cannot make
phone calls until near the end of your junior year in high school.
Before that time, how do you know if you are on their recruiting lists?
Before your junior year in high school an NCAA coach can send a brief
questionnaire. During your junior year the coach can send you a
recruiting brochure. If a coach has sent
a questionnaire or a recruiting brochure before the end of your junior
year, then you are on that
coach's recruiting radar screen.
- If you are
not getting those signs of interest, then you may need to seize the
to raise your visibility. The Sports Scholarship Handbook
can show you how to take action and get on the coach's radar screen. Do
not put it off. Start now! If a coach does not know about you, he
cannot recruit you.
What will be your best college
- What are the odds?
- Approximately 1 out of 25 high school students
goes on to compete at an NCAA school. Approximately half of those
receive athletic aid.
So, the overall odds are that about 1 in 50 high school athletes
receives a college sports scholarship. The odds
are better in some sports than others. Talent is important, but your
talent must come to the attention of coaches. You can improve your odds.
The college sports
opportunity that is best for you will depend on many things: your
goals; your sports talents; your academic achievements
and more. The only way to know what is possible is to explore those
possibilities. Not all opportunities will come knocking on your door or
ringing your phone. NCAA or NAIA? Division I, II or III? Scholarship or
not? Small college or large university? The way to know what fits your
interests, talents and goals is to explore on your own initiative. The Sports Scholarship Handbook
can be your guide to that exploration. It can show you how to seize the
initiative and be the explorer instead of sitting back and hoping that
something good comes your way.
- Don't delay:
- Each athlete's season for being recruited lasts
for just a few months and the time flies by. You can stretch this
season out by taking charge early and making contacts. The Sports Scholarship Handbook
gives you specific actions you can take that will extend the time
period for coaches to get to know about you and your talent. By the
recruiting officially starts, many coaches have already identified
their top choices. You want to be on their list of top
prospects before your recruiting
season begins. Regardless of
your year in high school, there are steps you can take today,
tomorrow and next week that will increase your chances of being
recruited and of
competing at the college of your choice.
- Early signing pushes the pace:
- Most NCAA sports have an early signing period
before the end of the fall semester. This signing period, early in
November, is often overlooked in the planning by high school athletes
but it can dominate the timing of everything involved in recruiting.
Calls by coaches, home visits, official visits to colleges all will
happen before that early signing period for the students who sign
early. At some schools and in some sports a majority of the
scholarships will be offered at this time, leaving fewer for the
regular signing period. If your sport has a first semester early
signing period, it is even more is essential that you become visible to
recruiting coaches as early as possible. The National
of Intent pages have a schedule of signing
The first two years of high school are an athlete's time
to grow and to develop skills. It is also a time to get an
essential start on academic eligibility. No matter how good your
skills, you will not be eligible to play as a college freshman if you
do not have the right high school courses on your transcript.
Therefore, your very first job, even as you develop your
athletic skills, is to read the NCAA
for the College Bound Student Athlete (download the free
PDF). Then plan your
school schedule with eligibility in mind. Enlist the help of your
counselor early. Remember, it is not enough to have
good grades and get a good score on the college entrance exam. You must
also have the right mix of courses to meet NCAA standards.
Sophomore year is the time to get serious if you are interested in
competing in college and in getting a sports scholarship. Learning
about recruiting and the rules around sports scholarships now will put
you ahead of the game when it counts. You can start working on raising
your visibility as well as learning about colleges and their sports
programs. The Sports Scholarship Handbook
is a great way to start learning about recruiting and investigating
college sports opportunities.
- Sophomore year is also about development. This
means both developing
your sport skills as well as working on your leadership abilities. You
will be a more valuable recruit if you
have built a reputation for teamwork, sportsmanship and maturity.
Establishing that reputation is a long process and it requires
consistency. It is important to have fun and keep a sense of humor, but
even more important to be fair, honest and mature. College coaches need
motivated athletes who contribute to team unity and stay clear of
No year is more important to recruiting success than
your junior year. Most people know about recruiting as a senior
activity, but it is the accomplishments of your junior year that will
get you recruiting
phone calls. The earlier that you get onto the coaches' radar screens,
better your chances of having a successful recruiting season your
senior year. Do not sit back and wait for lightning to strike.
- You can boost your visibility to coaches by
making phone calls, visiting
schools and meeting coaches. You might think that it is
the coach's job to meet you. However, there are various NCAA rules that
prevent coaches from reaching out until late in your junior year. Learn
about the rules and learn how you can use those rules to get a head
start on recruiting. You can
contact the coaches and you can meet with them and show your interest
as long as you follow the rules. The Sports Scholarship Handbook
has specific strategies and tactical advice on the things that you can
do to improve your recruiting chances. If you wait, you risk running
out of time and losing out on opportunities.
- For NCAA
Division I sports other than football, you can receive one phone call
in March of your junior year. In football you may receive one phone
call in May of your junior year. With a few exceptions, active
recruiting in most sports starts July 1, following your junior year. In
Division II, coaches can start making recruiting calls on June 15th of
your junior year.
You have many things to juggle at once. Time is in
short supply. You need to continue to make sure that you are eligible
by filling any holes in your transcript. Your sport skills should show
continuing development. You may be receiving calls and you may get a
request for a home visit by the coach. How should you handle a home
visit? You may be fortunate enough to get an early scholarship offer.
Is this offer the
best you will get? Will you have to make a commitment before the
signing period? What if the offer is good but you do not think that the
school is right for you? What should you do and who should you see on
an official recruiting visit?
- Be prepared.
How can you best
prepare to make the best of
opportunities that come up? The most common comment I have heard
from dozens of recruited athletes is that they wished that they had
known at the start of the recruiting process the things that they
had learned by the time it was over. Almost every scholarship athlete I
have met told me that they could have done a better job during
recruitment if only they had known in advance some important things.
That is where
the The Sports Scholarship Handbook
can help. The handbook will help you to prepare for all stages of
phone calls by coaches, home visits by recruiters, official and
unofficial visits to colleges, verbal and written offers and the Letter
of Intent. If it keeps you from being taken by surprise by one question
or one event it will have been worth buying and reading.
- Recruiting Services:
- There are dozens of so-called "Athletic
Services," "Sports Scholarship Services" and "Sports Marketing
Services" ready to provide recruiting help for a fee. I have talked to
athletes and parents who have
spent hundreds of dollars on such services. In virtually all
cases the athlete has not ended up accepting a scholarship from a
college identified by the service. The
bottom line is that the money spent on recruiting
services can be far better spent on visits to colleges and marketing
yourself in other ways.
- Recruiting yourself:
- For every star high school athlete who gets the
attention of major regional newspapers and who is recruited by dozens
of college coaches, there are dozens of other talented athletes who go
on to compete for college teams and receive sports scholarships. There
may be dozens of equally talented athletes who for whatever reason do
not gain the attention of college coaches and who do not compete in
- Recruiting yourself means carefully evaluating
college sports programs and learning where your talents may best fit
in. It also means contacting coaches, visiting colleges, highlighting
your talents and much more. The sooner you start evaluating and
planning the better handle you will have on the process.
- College Sports
- A majority of college sports scholarships are
granted by schools that belong to the NCAA. However, a relatively small
number of NAIA schools and schools belonging to other athletic
organizations also offer sports scholarships. It will be useful to read
the NAIA Guide
the College Bound Student Athlete to learn about NAIA
sports, eligibility and recruiting.
- Recruiting rules:
- Learn how recruiting rules affect your
prospects of a scholarship and how they affect your interactions with
coaches. When can the coach can talk to you at a location away from his
own campus? When are times to avoid making campus visits? When can you
contact a coach by phone, by letter, by email or in person? When can
the coach contact you? The answers are not always simple. They vary
between NCAA and NAIA. They even vary with the NCAA Division and with
the specific sport.
- Your primary goal in understanding the rules of
recruiting is to use those rules to maximize your opportunities. A
major part of The Sports
Scholarship Handbook is devoted to eligibility and
recruiting rules and how they relate to maximizing your opportunities
for a scholarship. The handbook has advice on how to evaluate
schools and sports programs and specific advice on actions that you can
take to gain the attention of college coaches and get an opportunity to
compete for a spot on the team and a sports scholarship.
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© 2004-2009 by Don Campbell