Congratulations, you made it to senior year! After three years of hard work, tiring workouts, games, homework, exams, and more, you're officially close to the finish line with your recruitment. Hopefully by now, you've hooked a few coaches with your athletic talents and are ready to wrap up this four-year long process. I have just a few more tips and tricks to share about the recruitment game before I send you off to the big leagues, so let's dive in . . .
Hang in there
You are so close to finishing high school and as much as you want to give in to that senioritis, you have to keep your head in the game. Your schoolwork, grades, and athletics need to stay strong right up to the end because your final transcript will be sent to the NCAA and if your grades drop, they will see.
That being said, make sure you are still on track to finish in May with all of the appropriate college-preparatory courses and that you are sending the best possible SAT Reasoning or ACT scores into the Eligibility Center (see my last blog about the importance of the Center and your recruitment).
It's not guaranteed that you will get a full ride to the school/s that is/are recruiting you, and if you have an affordability gap, it is essential that fill it up with a dogged pursuit of financial aid. For starters, you must check out the CollegeXpress scholarship search and apply for as many as you can over the course of your senior year. I did some legwork for you on the scholarship front: check out a few athletic scholarships—there’s no excuse not to apply for these!
Talk to your counselor
If you haven't talked to your guidance counselor in a few years, it's time to figure out where their office is and go have a chat, because you definitely need their help in the admission/recruitment process. After you have graduated, your counselor has to send your final transcript to the Eligibility Center. The transcript will be uploaded so coaches and schools can see how you rounded out your high school years.
Division I recruiting rules
Alright, now that the tips are out of the way, time to get down to the nitty gritty and make sure we wrap up recruitment with what to look out for this year as far as the NCAA and coaches are concerned. All of the following are directly from the 2012-2013 Guide for the College-Bound Student publication, so if you have any questions, go back and refer to that resource or the Eligibility Center site.
Can coaches call me yet?
- Men's basketball: beginning June 15 they can make unlimited calls to you
- Women's basketball and all other sports: once per week beginning August 1; unlimited after you sign an NLI, written offer of admission and/or financial aid; or the day after the college receives a financial deposit from you
- Football: once per week beginning September 1; unlimited after you sign an NLI, written offer of admission and/or financial aid; or the day after the college receives a financial deposit from you
- Men's ice hockey: once per week beginning August 1
- Women's ice hockey: once per week
Can I meet with a coach off campus?
- Men's basketball and all other sports: yes
- Women's basketball: beginning September 16
- Football: allowed beginning Sunday following the last Saturday in November
When can I make an official visit?
- Men's basketball: you can make only one visit per college and up to a maximum of five official visits to Division I colleges; no limit to Division II schools
- Women's basketball, football, and all other sports: allowed beginning opening day of classes of senior year; you can make only one visit per college and up to a maximum of five official visits to Division I colleges; no limit to Division II schools
How many evaluations and contacts are allowed?
- Men's basketball, women's basketball, and all other sports: up to seven times during your senior year; unlimited number of contacts and evaluation the day after you sign an NLI, written offer of admission and/or financial aid, or the day after the college receives a financial deposit from you
- Football: up to six times during your senior year; unlimited number of contacts and evaluation the day after you sign an NLI, written offer of admission and/or financial aid, or the day after the college receives a financial deposit from you
How often can a coach see me or talk to me off the college's campus during my senior year?
- Men's basketball: seven times
- Women's basketball and all other sports: not more than three times
- Football: six times; one evaluation during September, October, and November; two evaluations (April 15 through May 31) to evaluate athletic abilities and academic qualifications
Division II and III recruiting rules
I think we've all learned by now that DII and DIII schools are much more lenient than DI. That being said, the only rule for both of these divisions is that you have to wait until the opening day of classes in your senior year to start making official visits. With DII schools, you can only make one official visit per college and up five official visits to DI schools; there is no limit to official visits to DII schools. With DIII schools you may only make one official visit per college.
What it all means
This is a big year for you! Coaches are going to be more in your life than ever, so you have to be on point because they will be at your games and maybe even practices. You should be hopefully invited to a few schools for an overnight to get a grasp on what “life as an athlete” is like at that college. Who knows, that could make or break your decision on what school you want to go to.
Remember to be polite and courteous to any coaches or players that are checking you out or housing you for the night. If they get a bad vibe from you, your chances will be slim of moving forward, so stay calm and just be you. You got this far, so they must see something in you that will benefit their team and their school.
There's not a doubt in my mind that you'll secure your place on a team next year so long as you have taken your time and gone through this process correctly. Good luck and enjoy the experience!