Ideally, you should start the scholarship recruiting process very early on. The earlier you start, the more time you will have to make any changes which will affect your eligibility (such as improving your grades) and negotiate scholarships with coaches. If you are starting later than freshman or sophomore year, you can still use these steps to get an athletic scholarship – but you may have to do a lot of work at once to catch up!
- Have a Sports Assessment Completed: Work on your weaknesses
- Research NCAA and NAIA Eligibility Requirements: make sure you are taking the right high school courses for eligibility
- Have a Sports Assessment Completed: Talk to the assessor about which division you should aim for and what weaknesses you need to work on. Learn more about sports assessments here.
- Check Eligibility: Make sure you are on track with your grades and courses so you are eligible for the NCAA and NAIA
- Develop Leadership Skills: Now is a good time to volunteer as a counsellor at a camp, give sports lessons, or prove your leadership abilities in other ways, such as non-athletic extracurricular activities
- Develop Athletic Skills: If you aren’t already doing it, start playing for a club and not just your high school team. Coaches like to see that you are training year-round
- Make Your Athlete PR Kit: This includes your online profile, CV, and highlight video
- Research Colleges: Make a list of colleges you’d like to attend and write down the coach contact info
- Send Coaches Info: Write letters of introduction to coaches and send them your PR kit
- Update PR Kit: Update your kit with the latest information and video
- Contact Coaches: There are now periods when coaches are allowed to reach out to you. Contact them to show your interest. They may give you a call back!
- Plan College Visits: You can make “unofficial” visits to colleges and meet coaches.
- Make a List of Questions for Coaches: See the chapter about talking to coaches for ideas.
- SAT Test: Take practice tests and schedule the real test
- Learn Contact Rules: Coaches are only allowed to contact you during certain periods. Learn these periods so you can maximize contact opportunities.
- Retake SAT: Retake the SAT test if you aren’t satisfied with your scores
- Practice Talking to Coaches: You can now go to official visits with coaches and meet with them off campus, so practice speaking to them and representing yourself.
- Evaluate Scholarship Offers: Make a list of scholarship offers you receive and determine what is really included
- Negotiate Offers: Early on, you will have more leeway to negotiate for a better scholarship.
- Make a Decision: Make sure you are satisfied with the offer. Once you’ve decided, it is time to sign the Letter of Intent.