Student-Athletes: Recruitment Strategy 101 | Layman's Terms Skip to content
How To Get Recruited Student Athlete

Student-Athletes: Recruitment Strategy 101

Student-athletes go to the front of the line in the admissions process. They also have to start visiting and communicating with colleges earlier than other students because many coaches finalize their list of recruited students in the summer before or early during senior year. Although there may be some slight differences among various sports, the basics of the process work the same for most athletes trying to get recruited to play at the college level. Below are ten steps student-athletes should consider.


1. Be Good At The Sport

Be Good At The Sport
What do I mean by this obvious-sounding piece of advice? Most recruited athletes aren't just playing their sport in school; they're also playing in camps and tournaments and investing time in off-season training. For most sports, it's also essential to begin weight-training programs because college athletes are bigger, faster, and stronger than high school athletes.

2. Become Familiar With Four Important Letters- NCAA


The National Collegiate Athletic Association is the Walmart of college sports; they have everything you need. NCAA teams are divided into three classifications: Divisions I, II, and III. Each of these divisions has different regulations for how and when coaches can communicate with students, so check out the rules for both sport and division. The NCAA ( also provides a list of colleges with teams for each sport, where those teams are ranked, who coaches the teams, and which coaches win games. Finally, the NCAA is responsible for regulating and providing information on academic requirements, so review those conditions as well. Although the GPA cutoff for most college teams is a 2.0 (a C average), B students must familiarize themselves with NCAA courses and standardized testing requirements to ensure they meet them.

3. Find Role Models

Student Athlete Role Model

Because every sport is different regarding how much outside training is encouraged, it's important to research how other student-athletes in your sport got recruited. If you're on a competitive high school team that has sent recruited athletes to colleges in the past, ask your coach for advice or talk to the more senior team members who are going through the recruiting process. Some colleges also have athletes' biographies online, so do some digging and see if you can spot some themes. Did all of the lacrosse players at your top-choice school play for a particular team? Did the rowers' place in specific high school regattas? Did the gymnasts train at a particular gym? See what the athletes you admire have done to get them where they are.

4. Get a Head Start

Most athletes commit to a college before or early in the Fall of their senior year. Most coaches begin recruiting athletes in their junior year of high school, especially for Spring sports. Since the athletic recruiting process is earlier than the regular college admissions timeline, you should start considering colleges by the end of your sophomore year or the beginning of your junior year. Choosing college doesn't mean you must run to every college campus you've ever heard of. You can start by putting together a list of potential colleges that might be a good fit for you athletically and academically by doing some research online.

5. Get The Best Grades You Can

get good grades student athlete

Although student-athletes are favored in the admissions process, you still have to meet the college's minimum GPA and SAT requirements to be accepted. Student-athletes can cast a wide net at the beginning of the process because they still have time to improve as an athlete and a student. It is okay to keep your options open and have a working list of about twenty colleges at this point, even though you will end up applying to fewer schools.

6. Create a Resume

Don't wait until coaches track you down and ask you for your resume; take the initiative to send it to coaches at the schools that interest you. A good resume will have the following information:

• Name & contact information
• Relevant physical characteristics (height, weight, and so on)
• Athletic experience (include teams you play for, positions you play, the time you spend training, and so on; also, put future tournaments and camps you intend to play in.
• Academic experience (basics like GPA and SAT; if you haven't taken the SAT yet, then put the future date)
• You can also include things like outside hobbies and other extracurricular interests. Don't be afraid to put your personality in there.

7. Write a Cover Letter

Student Athlete Cover Letter

When you send copies of your resume, you'll want to attach a brief cover letter introducing yourself to the coach. Keep the letter short and sweet, and remember to show enthusiasm for the school by including one or two details about the college.

8. Make a Video

The purpose of an athletic video isn't to show off your filmmaking abilities. It's to show the coach what you look like in action. So ask your parents or friends to get out their smartphones or cameras, record your games or matches, and start filming. Then you can use the video to put together a short segment of a game or a series of clips that showcase your abilities. Don't worry too much about the video production as long as the viewer can see your skills in various situations. For example, if you play softball, you should probably have some shots of you fielding the ball as well as hitting the ball, and don't forget to show it to your high school coach or a trusted, knowledgeable friend for feedback. People who have seen you play can help you elevate whether the video clips capture your abilities.

9. Send Out Packets

Now that you have a list of colleges, the coaches' contact information, as well as your resume, cover letter, and video, you are ready to start talking to the people who will eventually decide if you are a good match for their teams. In addition to your resume, cover letter, and video, you should include a copy of your transcript in the packet because coaches can't recruit students who do not fit their college's academic profile. It is advisable to send these packets out by the winter of junior year. Sending this information gives you enough time to communicate with the coaches through the Spring of junior year and the Summer before senior year. Getting these packets out early is also an advantage if you consider playing certain Summer tournaments or attending sports camps where college coaches like to scout for recruits. They may remember your name and credentials from your packet before they meet you in person at one of these events.

10. Follow Up

After you send your packet to coaches, you may receive a response over email or the phone. If a coach writes to you, follow up with a polite response indicating your interest in learning more about the college team. It will also be an excellent time to ask questions about certain camps or tournaments you are considering attending over the summer and if the coach will also be there. Limit your questions to a couple of important ones because this is still early in the process, and you want to make a good impression by respecting the fact that the coach is busy. If you don't hear from a coach within two weeks after you send your packets, you should write an email to inquire whether or not the coach has received the packet and restate that you are excited to find out more about the school. Do not be discouraged if you do not hear from any coaches immediately. It may be that the coaches are just busy.

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