Adapted from an article by Prep Scholar
Focus on Your Academics
Many prospective student-athletes neglect the importance of academics in the recruiting process. Not only do you have to be eligible to compete, but also you still have to gain admission to the school. College coaches often won’t recruit students who they don’t think are qualified academically for their schools, regardless of these students’ athletic skills.
If you’re being recruited athletically, you will receive some preferential treatment when your application is processed, but the school still has to determine if your academics are good enough to be accepted. Especially at top academic colleges, your academics should be on par with non-student athletes if you want to have a legitimate shot at admission.
The amount of preferential treatment you receive in the admissions process varies depending on the school, your sport, and how heavily you’re being recruited.
Especially for so-called “minor” sports (anything other than basketball and football at most schools), being recruited may only give you a minimal boost in the admissions process.
Do Everything Earlier
For recruited athletes, the timeline for when you should do things to prepare for college is sooner than for other students. You should start studying for your ACT or SAT by your sophomore year. You should have reached your SAT or ACT target score by the end of your junior year. Remember that college coaches won’t want to spend time recruiting you if they don’t think you’ll be admitted.
Also, you should be able to show coaches that you’ve taken college prep classes, passed AP tests, and have good standardized test scores before the start of your senior year.
Furthermore, you should narrow down your college list by the end of your junior year so you know which coaches to contact. Don’t wait until the second semester of your senior year to start sending out e-mails. It will be too late by then. Colleges will likely have offered their scholarships and filled their open spots by then.
Be prepared to complete your college applications early. Depending on your sport and recruit status, you may have to complete multiple college applications in the early part of your senior year, months before many of your peers.
Research the Schools You’re Considering
Regardless of whether you’ve started the recruiting process or not, you should research the colleges you think you may want to attend. For each of these schools, learn about the campus, the majors offered, the athletics facilities, and any other information that you think may be relevant in making your college decision.
Also, most college websites will have information specifically for prospective student-athletes. This information will provide specific rules regarding recruiting and there may be information regarding the recruiting process for that school. Often, you’ll be able to fill out a recruiting questionnaire directly from the website.
Make Sure You’re Eligible
All NCAA athletes have to be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center . You’ll have to send in your transcript and SAT/ACT scores.