How To Start A College Recruiting Process?
Beginning the recruiting process, and choosing to continue playing the sport you love in college, is both a big decision and something to celebrate. I am sure you, and your family, are wondering about how best to navigate the college recruiting process.
There is no one approach to the college recruiting process that is perfect. However, there are some things you can do to give yourself the best chance of finding the perfect college for you. Organize your relevant documents to send to coaches, email coaches at schools you are interested in, and be sure to take the time to respond to any questionnaires, emails, or letters you receive from college coaches. This will put you on the radar of college coaches around the country - the most important step to beginning the recruiting process.
Starting the recruiting process can be stressful. You can feel pressure to immediately generate interest from coaches, or even to quickly receive scholarship offers. The reality is that the recruiting process is a marathon, not a sprint. It can take weeks, months, or even a year to receive your first scholarship offer. To help you push through, however, we have included a more detailed guide for starting the college recruiting process below.
Starting The College Recruiting Process
Before beginning the recruiting process, it is important to ask yourself some questions. Are you positive you want to continue playing your sport in college? What are you looking for in a college, both athletically and academically? Once you have an answer to these basic questions, the recruiting process can really begin.
Get Your Academics In Order: This may not be what you want to hear, but strong academics will give you a huge edge in the recruiting process. Many programs only recruit athletes who meet the academic standards of their college. Furthermore, a coach is much likely to be interested in you if he/she believes you won’t be a problem off the field. In short, make sure you turn in all your work and keep your GPA up.
Schedule Specific Blocks Of Time: The recruiting process is not magic. It is incredibly rare for your dream school to randomly reach out to you. In most cases, you will only generate significant interest by reaching out to coaches around the country. This takes time. Schedule at least one, but preferably two or three, hour long blocks of time where you focus on doing research, sending emails, and talking to coaches.
Do Lots Of Research: Learning background knowledge about schools you may be interested in is essential for two reasons. First, it will help you decide if you are actually interested in the school, or that there are better fits elsewhere. Second, coaches expect you to have done your homework when you reach out to them. They will be impressed if you have clearly researched their program, and can explain why you are specifically interested in playing for them.
Introduce Yourself To College Coaches: While there are plenty of ways of doing this, the most used is email. Emailing college coaches is one of the most effective ways of communicating with them. Once you have your list of the schools you are interested in, compose personalized emails to each coach introducing yourself and explaining your interest in their program. In the next section, we go into more detail on how to compose the perfect introductory email.
Ultimately, beginning the recruiting process consists of two equally important steps. First, you have to make sure that you are ready to reach out to coaches. This consists of doing research, discussing the process with those around you, and deciding which schools you are interested in. The second part of this process is actually reaching out to college coaches, whether that be through emails, in person at recruiting camps, or through questionnaires and letters.
Tips For Communicating With College Coaches
Just as they are in everyday life, first impressions are everything in the college recruiting process. By writing the perfect first email introducing yourself, or providing specific, personalized answers to coaches’ questions, you can ensure that you make the best first impression possible.
Writing The Perfect Introductory Email: College coaches receive hundreds of emails each year from recruits. How can you make yours stand out? First, make sure it is personalized. There is nothing more annoying to coaches than an email that has clearly been copied, pasted, and sent to dozens of schools. Beyond that, make sure you include the relevant attachments, introduce yourself, and clearly explain your interest in that specific program. Your transcript and a highlight and/or skills video should both be attached.
Be Intentional When Speaking With Coaches: One of college coaches' pet peeves are prospects who don’t seem excited to talk to them. When you get the opportunity to meet a college coach in person, come prepared to talk. Actively participate in the conversation, and stay away from one or two-word answers to their questions. Additionally, coaches will be impressed if you come with a well-thought out list of questions about their program.
Be Respectful: While this may seem obvious, be respectful to every coach you interact with. While you shouldn’t act overly formal, remember that college coaches are more similar to your future employer than one of your friends.
Don’t Give Up: College coaches can be incredibly hard people to reach. Just because they don’t respond to your first (or even your second) email, does not mean they are not interested in you. They receive dozens of emails a day, and some of those emails inevitably get lost in their inbox. However, as long as you are respectful and polite, no coach will be put off by you sending them a follow up text or email – in fact, they may appreciate it!
The interactions prospects have with coaches can often make or break their recruiting processes. By being respectful, active, and persistent, prospects can greatly improve their chances of gaining access to, and impressing, college coaches around the country.
Visiting College Campuses
As you progress through the recruiting process, coaches may invite you to visit their campus. This is an essential part of the recruiting process, and provides a great chance for you to get to know the coach and his program. Here are some tips to help you have a successful visit.
Come Prepared: Showing up prepared will leave a good impression and greatly improve the chances that the program’s coaches think you are a good fit for their team. To prepare, do general background research on the school and specific program, and create a list of questions to ask the coaches.
Make The Most Of Your Visit: During the visit, there are many things you can do on your own to get the most out of your experience. Visit the school’s library or student union, eat lunch at a popular local restaurant, or even walk around campus by yourself.
Follow Up: After your visit, be sure to contact the program’s coach. This signals to them that you enjoyed your experience, and are still interested in becoming a part of their program. Most prospects choose to text or email the coach.
By preparing and making the most out of your experience, visits to campuses of schools you are interested in can be an incredibly valuable part of the recruiting process. Remember to be polite, respectful, and follow the other tips for interacting with college coaches during your visit.
Things To Keep In Mind
Leverage Your Support Network: The people around you can be very helpful, and alleviate some of the stress associated with the recruiting process. Your parents, siblings, coaches, and even teachers can be very helpful to have by your side.
Don’t Be Afraid To Start The Process Early: The earlier you start the recruiting process, the better. If you wait until your junior year, you could miss out on great opportunities that may have presented themselves with time.
Expand Your Search: When doing initial research, look at as many schools as possible. You never know which one will pique your interest, or which will be the perfect fit for you.