College

Athletic Recruitment Timeline

Athletic recruitment can be daunting, overwhelming, and just plain confusing. This is Part 2 of our official “Road to Recruitment” series- straight from a college athlete who’s been through it all. Here are some guidelines of what you should be doing each year in high school to have the best possible chance of getting recruited!

Athletic recruitment can be daunting, overwhelming, and just plain confusing. This is Part 2 of our official “Road to Recruitment” series- straight from a college athlete who’s been through it all. Here are some guidelines of what you should be doing each year in high school to have the best possible chance of getting recruited!

FRESHMAN YEAR: The phrase, “The early bird gets the worm,” couldn’t be truer here. You need to start early! You’ll need to pass 16 core classes to be eligible for recruitment: four English, four math, four science, and four social science. Make sure you’re taking the right classes, and make sure you’re trying your hardest in each class. You may not think it’s that important, but if it comes down to a coach having to choose between two players with the same amount of talent, they’re almost always going to choose the athlete who performs better in the classroom. C’s might get degrees, but A’s get athletic scholarships!

Freshman year is also the perfect time to start reaching out to coaches at schools you’re interested in. Putting your name out there early on is a great way to stand out in the minds of decision makers.

SOPHOMORE YEAR: Register for each association— you never know where you might end up, so go ahead and cover all your bases.

  • NCAA: eligibilitycenter.org
  • NAIA: playnaia.org
  • Junior College: ncaa.org/eligibility

Go ahead and start compiling highlight videos of your athletic abilities. You might want to consider starting a YouTube channel and posting on it so as many coaches as possible get a chance to see your videos. Stay in touch with those coaches every now and then—let them know when you’re playing and where they can come to watch.

JUNIOR YEAR: Check with your guidance counselor and make sure you’re on track to complete all of your required courses. Register for the ACT, and then submit your scores to the Eligibility Center. Take this test as many times as possible— don’t settle! Higher scores lead to bigger scholarships. It’s more important now than ever to stay in touch with the coaches at your top-pick schools.

Keep sending out your game schedules and highlight videos— you’re ultimately in charge of how much exposure you get. Take a few unofficial visits to the schools you’re most interested in playing for. It’s important to have an idea of what the campus is like.

At the end of your junior year, ask your counselor to send a copy of your official transcript to the Eligibility Center. If you took any dual enrollment classes at a local college or trade school, you’ll need to submit those, too.

SENIOR YEAR: Start going on official college visits and meeting with coaches. You’re allowed five visits to Division I and II schools, but you can only visit each school once. There is no limit on how many schools you can officially visit with NAIA or Division III, but again, you can only visit each school once.

Complete your final required courses. Take the ACT again— practice makes perfect. Any athlete knows that! After you graduate, ask your counselor to send your official transcript and proof of graduation to the Eligibility Center.

Finally, make your choice! Consider and respond to all offers from schools— yes, you still need to reply even if you’re declining their offer.

ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS

Division I: To compete at a Division I school, you’ll need to maintain a 2.3 GPA and complete 16 core courses. Remember what we said about taking the ACT a few times and making good grades? Your SAT/ACT sliding score will need to match or exceed your GPA. The lower your GPA, the higher your SAT/ACT score must be. You can find a sliding core chart at ncaa.org.

Division II: If you enroll BEFORE August 1, you must complete 16 core courses with at least a 2.0 GPA. You must have a combined score of 820 on your SAT or a sum score of 68 on the ACT. If you enroll AFTER August 1, you’re going to have more competitive requirements. The minimum GPA jumps to 2.2, and your SAT/ACT score will now need to match your GPA on the sliding scale.

Division III: Division III schools set their own admissions and academic requirements. You’ll need to check with the universities you are interested in to get more information.

NAIA: To be eligible for the NAIA, you must graduate from an accredited high school and have a minimum ACT score of 18 or an SAT score of 860.

NJCAA: Junior colleges are the most lenient with academic requirements for athletes. To play a sport at these colleges, all you’ll need to do is graduate from high school or receive a GED that has been authorized by a state-recognized education agency.

In our next ( and final) installment of “Road to Recruitment”, we’ll teach you how to get noticed by coaches — plus the dos and don’ts of recruitment. Stay tuned—you don’t want to miss it!

 

Katie Goodson recently graduated from Faulkner University with a degree in English literature. She played softball for the Lady Eagles from 2013-2017, and served as a student assistant for the team while she finished her degree.

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