Being Recruited as a Student Athlete
The intricacies of being recruited as a student athlete largely depend on the sport you play. For a general overview of the process, including getting noticed, contacting coaches, visiting and deciding, take a look at these guidelines.
Some athletes will hardly work hard to get noticed and eventually sign with a university. High-profile football and basketball players, for instance, start receiving letters and questionnaires as early as 9th grade. If you're passionate about your less visible sport, ask your coach to reach out to their contacts at various universities.
Consider making a professional athletic profile with videos demonstrating your skills to make yourself known to coaches. If it's financially viable, sign up for a summer camp to improve your abilities and exhibit your talent to coaches and scouts.
If you're an athlete in a less popular sport, you'll have to do more than just showcase your abilities. Being extroverted will require self-promotion. There are no written rules concerning the timeline of contacting coaches, but generally, students begin writing emails to coaches the summer before their junior year or shortly thereafter.
Messages should include your personal details, athletic experience, statistics, awards and academic achievements. Don’t forget to include a link to your sports reel or athletic profile if you have one.
Being Contacted: Are You Being Recruited?
As senior year approaches, schools might contact you. As you receive brochures, questionnaires and informal invitations in the mail, you’ll have to assess the legitimacy of the letters. For example, if you received a questionnaire, it likely means a school is interested in you, but you might be on a long list. If a coach calls you or comes to watch you play, chances are you're being seriously recruited.
If a school decides to recruit you, they will invite you to campus for a visit. The details of this visit will depend on the school and team. They might put you in a hotel room or pair you with an existing team member to give you a sense of university life. Whatever the case, this is an opportunity for you to gauge how comfortable you feel with your potential teammates and how you like the college or university in general.
Scholarships and National Letter of Intent
Once you go through the formal recruiting process, including a campus visit and conversations with your future coach, you’ll receive a scholarship and/or an offer of enrollment from the school. Next, you will sign a National Letter of Intent, a binding agreement stating that you'll enroll at a college or university and provide athletic aid to the sports program.