Before you do anything in recruiting, you will need to evaluate and research the schools that you are interested in attending. This does not just mean put together a quick list of the top ranked schools because you like their mascots- it means truly learn what institutions offer you the best opportunities.
First Look at Division Levels
Start by looking at the landscape of college programs that have your sport. You can do this easily by registering for our Free Recruiting Database. There are opportunities to be found at many different levels, and you shouldn’t rule any of them out. Only a select amount of high school athletes are able to continue their careers at the college level. For sports like football, men’s soccer, baseball, and men’s and women’s basketball, the percent of high school athletes that make it to play in the NCAA are 5.7%, 5.5%, 6.1%, 3%, and 3.3% respectively; so, if you think that your skill level is above playing anything lower than NCAA Division I- the odds overwhelmingly say otherwise.
Come Up With a List of Potential Schools
Develop your list based on the things you know you want in your college experience. Whether you are most interested in attending school in a specific region, or you have a particular major, or another set of criteria- look for schools that have whatever it is that interests you. What school you choose to attend will have a huge impact on your next 4 to 5 years, not to mention the rest of your life; don’t overlook the important things just because you are window shopping based on school name.
Look at Team Rosters
Knowing what athletes are graduating when you will be entering school and the positions they play impacts the prospects of your scholarship opportunities at a given school. If you are a senior soccer goalie and the school of your dreams just signed three goalies in their last recruiting class- it is unlikely you will be offered a scholarship by that school (however, you can still try walking on). You can increase the chances of receiving a scholarship by researching rosters that are loaded with upperclassmen set to graduate in a year or two. Granted, you probably won’t be playing your first year, but you may just find a nice opportunity to grow into.
Check the Academic Requirements
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are going to get into college because you are a great athlete. Yes, athletics may help you get into a school if you are on the fence, but it is not a free pass to attend whatever school you want. Make sure you learn what the academic and eligibility requirements are for the NCAA and the NAIA. We recommend that you start looking at academic requirements during your freshman year, that way you will know exactly what to expect when the time comes to apply.