Thinking about playing sports in college? If you love playing and think you have what it
takes to play at the college level then here are quick tips for getting started in your recruiting
Know the Level of Competition That is the Best Fit
The NCAA is the organization that oversees collegiate sports in three different divisions, DI,
DII and DIII. Universities that are part of the NCAA decide which of the three divisions they’ll join, according to school enrollment, finances, fan support and other factors.
DI and DII are considered the top levels of college competition. DIII differs from DI and DII in its eligibility process, and in not being able to offer athletic scholarships (DIII schools are able to help finance student-athletes by using non-athletic forms of financial aid).
What About the NAIA?
Another collegiate athletic association is the NAIA. Most of these institutions have fewer than 10,000 students per campus and over 90% offer athletic scholarships. Lastly, there is the NJCAA, the governing sports entity for two-year Junior Colleges.
Knowing which division is the best fit for you is a great way to start your college recruiting
process. Keep in mind that each governing body along with each division has its own eligibility standards that student-athletes must meet before being able to play at specific colleges and universities.
Starting your recruiting process during your freshman year is ideal–it broadens your options versus finding out your senior year that you have not met the eligibility standards for the college you choose.
Next, do some research on the types of colleges you want to attend. Ask yourself where
you would prefer to live, what you want to study, and how far from home you are willing to travel.
All of these questions must be answered by you, the recruit. Be confident in your decision. You are the one who will be attending college while juggling sports, academics, and a life.
Reach Out to College Coaches
Compose a letter of interest and a sports resume. If you don’t know any college coaches then they don’t know you. Send them information about yourself. Tell them why you’re interested in their program, why you will be a good match, what you plan to bring to the team.
Think of finding the right college and connecting with the right coach as a job search. Let them know what you are capable of on and off the field and most importantly see if they are “hiring.” Some coaches won’t be able to contact you directly because of the amount of emails they get from recruits all year long, while others will be willing to discuss college opportunities with you if they think you’re a good match for their program.
Finding the right fit may take longer than you expect. As a recruit you will have to be proactive, organized and persistent.