If you are a high school graduate, then this article is for you. After reading this, you will have an understanding of what you will have to do in order to compete at the college level.
It May Not be too Late
High school graduates can still be considered eligible for college competition, unless they fail to meet the NCAA eligibility rules. NCAA Division I and Division II colleges must follow eligibility guidelines set in place to make college competition fair. Athletes that hope to compete at these levels must register with the NCAA eligibility center in order to pass academic and amateur compliance.
NCAA recruiting rules are Aimed at Current High School Students
Being recruited as a student athlete is a task requiring lots of time and dedication. College coaches are actively seeking high school athletes because of their current athletic involvement. As a high school graduate or college student, you will need to make your presence known to coaches in order to gain exposure.
Understanding the Recruiting Timeline
Once student athletes graduate from high school, their NCAA eligibility clock begins ticking. Athletes have approximately five years to complete four years of college eligibility at the NCAA Division I and Division II levels. High school seniors and graduates who do not sign an NLI within the mandated time frame for their sport will no longer be recruited by college coaches.
Another obstacle that graduated players face when trying to find a college team to play for is keeping up with sports training and skill development. Athletes that have been sedentary and have not been active in their sport will be passed over quickly by college coaches. If you are still looking for the right program, you will need to find a way to continue training and competing.
College coaches want to get a sense of the type of player they are dealing with and want to view current video and current competitive standings. If you are not involved in playing your sport, it will be difficult for coaches to understand your athletic ability. In some cases, there are special circumstances; check out how this college freshman was able to get noticed by college basketball coaches.
If you are already enrolled in college, reach out to the college coach of your sport, ask about walk-on opportunities, and explain to them why you want to be a part of the team. As an enrolled student, you may have an advantage of being considered for walk-on tryouts.
Contact college coaches at universities that you want to apply to and study at. At this point, you will not be actively recruited because you are not a high school senior. Your best chance is to inquire about “walk-on” opportunities. Send coaches your sports resume and a current skills video. From here, you will need to be enrolled in a college in order to try out for the team.
Athletes who are able to join athletic programs will not be more than likely offered an athletic scholarship until their second competing season, which gives coaches time to evaluate the player and determine if they are ready to continue being part of a team. Walk-on athletes will be eligible to receive other forms of financial aid during their initial year. It’s not unheard of for walk-ons to gain athletic scholarships, but it is rare.
Consider NCAA DIII, NAIA, and NJCAA
High school graduates should not limit themselves to contacting only NCAA sports programs. The NAIA and the NJCAA have outstanding sports teams that may be a perfect fit for student athletes.
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