Top 50 Recruiting Tips by NCSA Athletic Recruiting

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1 Recruiting Tip
coaches have any restrictions on contacting potential recruits?
No, NAIA and NJCAA coaches can call, email, text, send direct messages on Facebook, post to a recruit’s wall, and chat online— anything at any time.

2 Recruiting Tip
What is the National Letter of Intent (NLI)?
The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution.

3 Recruiting Tip
Attention senior families: Create an account at and apply for a PIN so that on January 1st, you will be able to fill out the FAFSA forms. Money is first come, first serve!

4 Recruiting Tip
Reminder to all aspiring college athletes: as we get closer to Turkey Day, communication will die down. Now is the time to reach out to those coaches.

5 Recruiting Tip
If an athlete fails to respond to a coach, the coach might think that athlete is not interested in the program. To stay on the coach’s recruiting list, student-athletes need to be prompt, thorough, and personal when responding to correspondence.

6 Recruiting Tip
Connecting with the coaching staff before an unofficial visit is critical. The purpose of an unofficial visit is to allow the athlete to experience campus life and build a relationship with the staff. But if the coaches are not eager to host a student, they likely are not interested in recruiting that athlete.

7 Recruiting Tip
An athlete who receives a scholarship to play a “head count” sport is always given a full ride scholarship. An athlete who receives a scholarship to play an “equivalency sport” might receive only a partial scholarship.

8 Recruiting Tip
An athlete should send videos only to college coaches who have requested them. An athlete’s video might not be looked at if a coach is not expecting it, especially if the coach is from a big program that receives 40 or 50 videos a week. If students want to mail a video or email a link to a coach who has not requested their highlight or skills video, they should call to make sure the coach is expecting the video.

9 Recruiting Tip
The following are not signs of recruitment:
-Invitation to attend a camp.
-A generic admissions letter.
-A scout attending a game (unless the scout came to evaluate the student-athlete).

10 Recruiting Tip
It is never too late to be a good student, according to Coach Chmiel. An upswing in a student’s grade-point average in later semesters can give a coach the ammunition to make a case for an otherwise-unqualified student-athlete to gain admissions to a college. For this reason, a student’s GPA in later semesters is more important than their GPA in early semesters.

11 Recruiting Tip
According to a study by the University of Virginia, 80% of female Fortune 500 Top executives describe themselves as former athletes. Like this stat if you think it’s significant to be a college athlete.

12 Recruiting Tip
A student-athlete only has one chance to make a first impression, so parents’ help in building a child’s confidence for communicating with adults is critical. Parents should start this process early so that a coach does not later mistake an athlete’s shyness for lack of interest.

13 Recruiting Tip
The Recruiting Funnel:
A college football staff might send 10k to 15k letters -> And watch 1k-2k videos -> Before making 500 phone calls to potential recruits -> Verbally offering between 65-200 scholarships -> Extending up to 85 offers for official visits -> Before signing a maximum of 25 players per year.

14 Recruiting Tip
Communicating with coaches is the single most important aspect of the recruiting process. It should come directly from the athlete, and it should come early.

15 Recruiting Tip
Parents should be their child’s assistant and mentor, not just a cheerleader. The parent’s job is to prepare the child and assist with the recruitment process. The athlete should turn to the parent for help, but not for approval. Children who learn to stand on their own two feet will make better decisions and be more confident and capable.

16 Recruiting Tip
When reaching out to college coaches athletes need to send emails to coaches one at a time. “CCing” several coaches, or sending a mass email, is not looked upon favorably.

17 Recruiting Tip
To all potential recruits hoping that college coaches will call, email, or engage socially with you: Please make sure your voicemail, email, and Twitter handles are set up professionally, and are appropriate. These two small things make a huge difference in the recruiting process.

18 Recruiting Tip
More than 80% of athletic opportunities are at the NCAA Division II, III, NAIA, or junior college levels, with these schools often providing more playing time, strong academics, and a better fit for the student-athlete.

19 Recruiting Tip
A student forced to choose between two sports should choose the sport the athlete loves most, regardless of whether this is their stronger sport. During college, playing a sport can be a full-time job, so being passionate about the sport is critical to success and longevity.

20 Recruiting Tip
Among the most overlooked opportunities are those at the DIII programs. Athletes and their parents miss out because they fall prey to the technicality that DIII programs do not offer athletic scholarships. While this is true, it is also a technicality. DIII schools offer grants-in-aid and non-athletic scholarships that often make the cost of attending less than that at their DI & DII counterparts.

21 Recruiting Tip
If offered a scholarship, a student should always ask for it in writing. Remember that nothing is guaranteed until the athlete signs on the dotted line on Signing Day, but a written offer will provide a student with some level of assurance.

22 Recruiting Tip
A 4-2-4 transfer is a student-athlete who started their collegiate career at a 4-year program, transferred to a 2-year program and then ended up at another 4-year program. The most important thing to know is that when a student-athlete is a 4-2-4 transfer, they MUST graduate from the 2-year program in order to transfer to another DI program.

23 Recruiting Tip
Sports camps are in excellent opportunity for an athlete to build skills, experience campus life, or connect with a coach. However, students are usually not discovered at sports camps. Sports camps are businesses that most often accept as many students as will pay to attend the camp, which means coaches do not often recruit from camps because the level of play is so diverse.

Once awarded a scholarship, a student-athlete must maintain the scholarship. Three criteria dictate whether the student-athlete will maintain the scholarship:
– Performing well for the team
– Adhering to the NCAA or NAIA
rules and regulations
– Maintaining the required GPA
Recruiting Tip

25 Recruiting Tip
Coach Contact Prior to September 1st of Junior Year Division I college coaches can’t send “recruiting materials” prior to the start of a student-athlete’s junior year of high school, but college coaches CAN and DO send the following information to student-athletes before junior year in high school:
– Questionnaires
– Camp Brochures
– General information about the college,
generated by the admissions department

26 Recruiting Tip
Just because the visit is “unofficial” doesn’t mean you should come unprepared; think of it as a preliminary job interview. If you’re hoping for a scholarship offer from a school, why not take the time to prepare some thoughtful questions about the direction of the program, or about the school’s academic reputation, so that a coach understands you’re responsible and concerned about your future.

27 Recruiting Tip
The key to a successful recruiting process is knowing what to do and understanding when and how to do it. When working toward an athletic scholarship, approach your four years of high school must like you would the four quarters of a game. Although the pressure might seem greatest during the third and fourth quarters, the points scored during the first half can be the difference between winning and losing.

28 Recruiting Tip
It is extremely important to reply to all correspondence you receive. Avoid judging universities based on name recognition. There are over 1,700 colleges and universities at the NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA, and Junior College levels. Don’t ignore any of them!

The key to this process is research, research, research. Determining which school is a perfect fit for you involves much more than merely deciding which college you like the most. Not every school in which you’re interested will have a need for a student-athlete of your caliber or at your position, so you need to study and contact as many schools and coaches as you can to determine which one is a perfect match for you.

30 Recruiting Tip
Visit as many colleges as possible during the summer, holidays, spring break, etc. There is no limit on the number of unofficial visits you may take. Target colleges you’re interested in and that have shown interest in you. Be sure to contact coaches before you set up visits. Coaches are typically more than happy to meet with an interested student-athlete. Remember that any time you call or email a coach you gain an advantage over you competition. College coaches appreciate student-athletes who are proactive and mature.
Recruiting Tip

31 Recruiting Tip
Many of the best packages come from “non-scholarship” Division III programs. The reality is that if a Division III program wants an athlete, the school often finds a need- or non-need-based scholarship that applies to the student. In other words, Division III schools give financial aid based on how much they need a student-athlete. The key is to have multiple opportunities to negotiate the best bottom line.

32 Recruiting Tip
The average high school coach has contact with fewer than five college coaches, most of whom are local. Student-athletes and families are ultimately responsible for connecting with college coaches.

33 Recruiting Tip
An invitation for an official visit is a strong precursor to a scholarship offer. One rule of thumb in recruiting is that if an athlete is not offered an official visit, that athlete likely will not be offered a scholarship.

34 Recruiting Tip
College coaches do a majority of their initial evaluations by looking at videos requested or received from reliable sources and delivered online or digitally. After watching a video, a coach may decide to make an in-person evaluation.

35 Recruiting Tip
Financial Aid January 1st is the first day seniors are able to submit the FAFSA. Reminder for families you need to get your FAFSA submitted ASAP! Money is given on a first come, first serve basis. Use last year’s tax returns.

36 Recruiting Tip
High school student-athletes who compete in college win on average more than $12,850 per year (for in-state, public school students) to $21,266 per year (for private school students) in scholarships, grants, and financial aid to play sports at a collegiate level for 4 or 5 years.

37 Recruiting Tip
Student-athletes who take the initiative to schedule unofficial visits will likely move up the recruitment list if they:
– Bring a list of questions to ask the coach,
– Express knowledge about the program, and
– Arrive on time with a copy of theirresume and highlight or skills video.

38 Recruiting Tip
Remember that the greater the distance, the greater the opportunities. Parents should make sure the Name Game does not blind the child and encourage the athlete to search high and low, in every nook and cranny, for the right college fit.

39 Recruiting Tip
College coaches send admissions material, brochures, and questionnaires to high school students to see which ones respond. Those who respond will stay on the recruiting list; those who do not respond will be removed. If a student-athlete receives a questionnaire, admissions material or brochure from a college coach, she should respond immediately, regardless of whether she wants to attend the school.

40 Recruiting Tip
Before sending emails to twenty-five coaches and administrators, an athlete might want to call, make an introduction, and ask for the name of the person to whom the athlete should forward information in order to be evaluated to compete for the program.

41 Recruiting Tip
Student-athletes should make the most of official visits. Athletes should walk around campus and get a feel for the atmosphere.
– Do the students seem friendly?
– Is this a place they can imagine living for the next four years?
Student-athletes might also want to try to meet the team, sit in a class, or watch a practice. They need to be sure this is a school they would want to attend if athletics were not part of the picture.

42 Recruiting Tip
Student Athletes should consider the answer to these two questions when considering specific camps:
– Has a coach from the school called me and specifically invited me to the camp?
– Have I had any face-to-face contact with any of the coaches holding the camp?
If the answer to both of these questions is a no, the only reason to attend the camp is to build skills or gain experience.

43 Recruiting Tip
A list of questions to ask the coach. Regardless of whether the student is a freshman or junior, or whether this is the first or fifth call with the coach, an athlete should always ask two questions:
– What else would I need to do to have a chance to compete for you program and earn a scholarship?
– What is the next step I should take with you?

44 Recruiting Tip
Start researching institutions to get a feel for the different types of campuses. A student-athlete should be directed to evaluate a wide range of schools, understanding that bigger is not always better, and Division I schools do not always offer better playing time, opportunities, or education than Division III or NAIA schools.

45 Recruiting Tip
A request to ask the coach a few questions. Remember that the coach is a busy person. If he doesn’t have time, the students should ask when he can call the coach back. If an athlete calls a Division I or II coach before July 1 or June 15 of his junior year (depending on sport and excluding football or basketball), the coach is not allowed to return the student’s call, so if the coach is unavailable, the student-athlete should ask his assistant when he can reach the coach.

46 Recruiting Tip
Student-athletes cannot redo the recruiting process. They cannot take a mulligan. The recruiting process is a once-in-lifetime experience that requires both the parents and the students to jump in full steam ahead. High school consists of only about 720 days.
How will the student-athlete make the most of this small window of opportunity?

47 Recruiting Tip
What the student does off the field is just as important as what takes place on the field. As the recruiting process begins, maintaining good grades becomes more and more important. Performance in the classroom tells a coach plenty about an athlete’s likelihood of reaching their potential on the playing field. Coaches know that good students tend to make the most of their abilities and stay out of trouble.

48 Recruiting Tip
When communicating with coaches, a parent should not be a “helicopter mom” or “we dad”. Parents should loosen the reins and let the child take the lead. College coaches are not interested in dealing with their player’s parents, so an overly involved parent might hurt a child’s chance of being recruited.

49 Recruiting Tip
In most cases college coaches will begin the recruiting process by sending letters and questionnaires to the student-athletes on their lists during freshman year. Relationships are developed by student-athletes who take advantage of their ability to call, write, and take unofficial visits to these college coaches at any time. Waiting to connect with a coach might be the biggest mistake a young student-athlete can make! Coaches from DIII and NAIA schools can call a student-athlete at any time, though some opt to follow the Division I and II rules.

50 Recruiting Tip
Only about 6.76% of high school athletes will play at a college level, and only 1.68% will receive a full or partial athletic scholarship to an NCAA-affiliated school. Only 0.98% will make the cut to play on a Division I college team. But guess what isn’t a Division I school? Williams College. Neither is Amherst, or countless other colleges that offer world-class education. Only about 15% of collegiate athletic opportunities are at the Division I Level. The rest are at the DII, DIII, NAIA, and JUCO.

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