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Back to School Recruiting Checklist for High School Student-Athletes

Game Plan for Recruiting Success Critical, Say Experts

The start of a new school year is one of the most important times for high school athletes who want to play sports in college.

"Every athlete needs a game plan for recruiting success. Unfortunately, most recruits are unsure which steps to take and when to take them," says Director of Recruiting, for NCSA Athletic Recruiting, Randy Taylor. Girls soccer players forming defensive wall

Here's a checklist for parents to give their high school student-athlete from NCSA to help them stay on the right track:


  • Meet with high school guidance counselor to inform him/her of your goal to play college athletics and make sure your core course curriculum matches with NCAA-approved core courses;
  • Fill out an Initial Target List with 25 schools you want to pursue (5 Division I, 5 DII, 5 DIII, 5 NAIA, and 5 Junior College (if applicable);
  • Research athletic benchmarks for your sport and use Recruiting Guidelines to set specific athletic goals. 
  • Introduce yourself to 3-5 college coaches at levels at which you meet the recruitment guidelines. Start off low and you can always move up divisions.


  • Maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average and take Pre-ACT and Pre-SAT classes.
  • Update your Target List to include 40 schools across all divisions. 
  • Join a team or club outside of high school to provide more competition and additional coaching.
  • Introduce yourself to 5-10 new coaches and keep track of contacts in a Correspondence Log.


  • Begin ACT/SAT preparation and use Division I core course worksheet to review and update specific academic goals. Be prepared even if you don't think you'll play DI sports.
  • Get phone number and email addresses of all your coaches and ask them for references. 
  • Review the recruiting timeline for each division in your sport and make sure your recruiting process matches the levels you are targeting.
  • Update priority list and re-rank Target List of 40 schools. Consider how interested coaches seem in you.


  • Complete FAFSA form.
  • Request that ACT and SAT scores be sent to NCAA Eligibility Center by marking "9999" in code box where indicated.
  • Narrow down Target List to 10-20 schools you are seriously considering. At least five should be schools that are heavily recruiting you. 
  • Schedule official visits, unofficial visits and game day visits. If a coach has not extended an official visit, ask the coach if one will be extended. 
  • Prior to signing day, ask top coaches where you stand on their recruiting list. 
  • Begin scholarship negotiation early, and consider what you will say if an offer is extended during an official visit. 
  • If you are corresponding with less than 15 schools, call at least 10 new coaches at level where you are receiving attention. Introduce yourself and ask if they are still recruiting.

Source: NCSA Athletic Recruiting

Posted September 4, 2011

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