Getting Recruited as an Athlete to Play Collegiate Sports

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If you’re a high school athlete, maybe it’s been your dream to someday play sports at the next level — after all those practices, scrimmages and high school playoff games, you’ve decided to give it a go and take your talents to the collegiate level. 

It’s a great dream to have! And since there’s only a small percentage of high school athletes who move on to play collegiate sports, it’s important to understand the recruiting process and the steps to take to ultimately make your dream come true. 

Download our tips for getting recruited as a college athlete here!

Because the recruiting process can often be confusing and overwhelming, we’re here to help with our 10 steps for getting recruited as a college athlete! 

  1. Take the right classes
    The NCAA has core course requirements, so you’ll need to make sure your class schedule fulfills these. Classes taken in your first year of high school through senior year affect your NCAA eligibility, so make sure to get help from your school counselor before making your course selections.
  1. Register with the NCAA
    To be eligible to compete in the NCAA, you need to register online at the NCAA Eligibility Center ( It’s an easy process, with a ($50) fee, that should be done during your junior year in high school.
  2. Know what’s needed for standardized testing
    When registering for SAT or ACT, use the NCAA Eligibility Center code of 9999 to ensure all scores are reported directly to NCAA. It’s very important, because test scores appearing only on transcripts will not be used. For NCAA purposes, the evidence-based reading and writing and math sections of the SAT score are used; for the ACT, it’s a sum of English, math, reading and science sections.
  3. Create a recruiting video to showcase your talents
    Recruiting videos are a great way to attract the attention of coaches at the college level. Hire a videographer who specializes in sports, and make it short, simple and professional — don’t add unnecessary graphics, music and production components, just highlight plays that illustrate your ability.
  4. Do your research
    You put in a lot of work on the practice field. Now it’s time to work hard doing research. Make sure you know the difference between Divisions I, II and III. There is tons of recruiting information online. Look at rosters and stats of the players at a school you’re considering: can you compete with them? For the schools you are interested in, fill out their student-athlete questionnaire (usually found on the athletics section of a school’s website). Take your time and enter all of your important stats. The coaches may use this to see who is interested in their school and sort based on stats and position. Lastly, talk to current and former players who have already been through the process to get some first-hand info.
  5. Make your college list
    Next, make a list of colleges that have made the cut, placing each into safety, likely and reach categories. Don’t focus on just athletics; consider academic programs as well. Generally, 10 to 15 schools is a good, realistic list. Also, find out if any of your potential schools hold recruiting camps. These normally occur over the summer, so it would be best for you to attend prior to your senior year.
  6. First contact: Getting on a coach’s radar
    Get a coach’s email or address from the school’s website. Keep emails (or letters) short, a few paragraphs tops. Start with a brief introduction, including why you’re contacting them. Include a résumé of stats, honors and academics, as well as a way for them to contact your high school coach and a link to your recruiting video. If you plan on visiting a school (and you should; see below), reach out to the coaches a few days prior and ask if they have time to meet with you. Be aware that, if you don’t get a response, they may not be interested.
  7. Campus visits
    When visiting a prospective school, always do a regular campus tour, and don’t just meet with the coaches and staff, and when it comes to those meetings, manage your expectations. Be honest by asking them if there is a chance for you to play and if there are any walk-on opportunities.
  1. Attend a sports camp/recruiting day
    Sports camps and recruiting days are great chances to get noticed and network, network, network!
  1. Making your final choice
    Narrow your list down to the top three. Look for the best overall environment for not only athletics but also academics and personal growth. Think about schools where you’ll be happiest even if your athletic career doesn’t work out or if you get injured. Consider financial aid packages and scholarship offers, but remember, for most athletic scholarships, offers come near the end of the process.

Download tips for getting recruited for collegiate sports today!


Becoming a collegiate student-athlete is a lot of hard work. But if you do your research and sell yourself and your talent, you might get the rare chance to continue playing at the next level.

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