How to Get Recruited

Typical recruiting process

Regardless of how you plan on getting recruited, there are a number of steps you need to take and milestones you would need to work towards in order to start your undergraduate degree in college.

  • Build your recruiting profile
  • Take necessary academic tests
    See more information on SAT and ACT
    Internationals: Click here for more information on TOEFL, IELTS and Duolingo
  • Register with the NCAA or NAIA Eligibility Center
    See more information on NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA
  • Research schools & teams
  • Set up a list of target schools
  • Contact college coaches
  • Build relationships with coaching staff
  • Apply to universities
  • Receive scholarship offers
    See more information on Scholarship types and Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Commit to a program

3 recruiting options

Getting recruited has changed. Speak to somebody who signed with a school in 1999 and she's going to tell you stories of sending letters to schools in order to present herself and get on coaches' radar. Long gone are the times when letters were mailed and the recruiting world has changed accordingly.
With more information at your fingertips than ever before, it hasn't necessarily become easier, but there are ways to stay on top of things. The big question many athletes (families) ask themselves is the following:
How should I tackle the project of finding a school, team & scholarship offer, allowing me to spend 4 really important years of my life, which will set me up for my future career?

1. "Do nothing – just wait"

This recruiting option is not going to work for 9 out of 10 people. You have got to be among the very best in your sport, winning championships, leading the various rankings, or showing an impressive development of your personal best times. But even then, “just sitting back and waiting” means you may deprive yourself of the school that could be the perfect fit for you, as the school may not have you on the radar (yet). This option works, but it only does so for a very small number of people. Don't go down that route, unless you receive calls, messages or offers from college coaches (already).
For 9 out of 10 athletes, the “DIY”-option or getting support from a placement expert (see 3. below) are key in mastering the recruiting process.

Recruiting Advice

Sit down with your family and be brutally honest: what kind of student athlete are you? What kind of character and discipline do you have when it comes to working on a project. How about your level of knowledge on the recruiting process?

2. Do-It-Yourself (DIY)

The DIY-approach can mean anything from being all on your own to getting help from your parents or siblings, friends or coaches in high school / the local club.
This is an option which can work out wonderfully, but it's important that you have somebody in your team with strong knowledge of what's being required. This could be yourself who really is on top of things or mum and dad, who devote significant amount of time to helping you. Either way, you have got to be able to navigate through the pitfalls.

i. Run your own strategy

Research schools/teams/conferences, put together a list on your own, look up contact information, establish contact with coaches, get enough exposure, secure yourself a scholarship offer.
Needless to say, you or whoever supports you will invest countless hours in your recruiting process.

ii. Online recruiting profile

Complementary to running your own strategy, an online profile on a recruiting platform comes with lots of advantages. Exposure, researching schools, seamless contacting of coaches, understanding which teams fit to you, structure. We can only speak about our recruiting platform of course, but an online College Pipe Recruiting Profile is a small investment and comes with plenty of useful features! Some of the features our users appreciate the most are:

  • Personal Fit Rating (5-star scale, telling you how well you match with a school)
  • Conversation tool (reach any coaches directly through the platform)
  • Find a University (up-to-date database of all schools across divisions)

MacBookSmarthlete - Your Recruiting Process on Smarthlete
IphoneSmarthlete - Your Recruiting Process on Smarthlete
College Pipe Features

Your Recruiting Process on College Pipe

Use our University Database for your sport, see your Personal Fit & contact any coach.

3. Get support from placement experts

Many families are really more looking for something completely different. Support with the recruiting process from A to Z.
Some families do so because of prevalent NCAA / NAIA rules, such as that coaches may not communicate with athletes early on in the process. Others would like support from advisors to get them in contact with certain schools. Others seek guidance through the jungle of schools, options, divisions, conferences and coaches' coaching styles and philosophies. And others simply trust that the scholarship offer or college experience will be better at the end of the day.

If this is what you're looking for, get started by checking out what our partners at Smarthlete can do for you and get a free assessment of your chances by the recruiters.

Your athletic level

Your athletic level greatly determines what kind of recruiting process you are going to have. As a rule of thumb, you could say: the better the athlete, the less important support with the recruiting process, as coaches at big schools tend do have big athletic departments behind them, supporting recruits throughout the recruiting process.
But there may still be reasons why even very strong athletes may want to get an online recruiting profile or support; especially so for Internationals, who are not as familiar with the way college recruiting works, NCAA/NAIA eligibility rules and who may find it very difficult to handle everything in a language other than their mother tongue.

Keep in mind that a diminishingly small number of people is in the position to be considered for a full-ride scholarship at all. Everybody else looks at a combination of partial athletic scholarships and other sorts of financial aid (e.g. academic).

Should I get support getting recruited?

If money is tight and the budget you are able to contribute towards the costs of your future education low, paying a college counselor to support with everything from A to Z may not be the most likely option.
If you see the value of having a true expert overlook the entire process, mentor you, prepare you, work with you – all with the goal of committing to a school, this is a really smart investment.
Not only will the outcome be better (a school that really fits to you), chances are your return on investment is way higher than it would have ever been if you said Yes to the first-best school, which you got in contact with.
Keep in mind any pending eligibility questions, and you have plenty of reasons why professional support may be a good option.

Next Read

Read up on your Recruiting Timeline and when to get started with the recruiting process.