College Recruiting Center
Genesis understands there are some athletes interested in playing in college. The organization has worked with a recruiting agency to provide guidance for homeschool athletes to help with the college recruiting process. In addition, past homeschool parents involved in college recruiting process have added their advice as well.
How best to transition from homeschool sports to college sports
These two links provide all foundational details on where to start if you want your homeschooled child to play sports in college:
NCAA vs NAIA Difference
Here is a great link that explains the difference between NCAA and NAIA:
NCAA & NAIA Eligibility
To make sure your child is NCAA eligible in terms of academics to play, the resource linked below provides more broad information:
All college-bound student-athletes interested in playing NCAA sports at a Division I or II school need to register for a Certification Account with the NCAA Eligibility Center. In the link below there are various resources home school students and information regarding the Eligibility Center registration process
Starting the Recruiting Process
Getting recruited is rarely a fairytale story. It doesn’t just happen to you. The recruiting process is a complex, winding journey that is directed largely by the student-athlete. The more you know about the recruiting process—and the more effort you put into getting the results you want—the better chance you have to fulfill your dream of competing at the college level. The good news is that many have gone through this complicated process before you, and there are many resources available to make it less overwhelming.
How Do Colleges Recruit Athletes?
How does college recruiting work? For many families, the most difficult part of the recruiting process is understanding how colleges recruit, evaluate and show interest in student-athletes. To better explain the college recruiting process, let’s look at it from a coach's perspective.
The steps of the college recruiting process
College coaches generally follow specific steps through their collegiate athletic recruiting process. Knowing these steps will help potential recruits understand where they are in the recruiting process and what still needs to occur going forward. These steps include:
Gather a list of prospective athletes
Send out recruiting letters, questionnaires, and camp invites
Extend verbal offers and scholarships
Are You Good Enough to Play College Sports?
It's easy for high school athletes to picture themselves at their dream school, competing at a prestigious university and playing against the best of the best. But it’s harder to grasp some of the gritty details, such as rigorous training programs, winter breaks spent on campus and little-to-no free time.
The Difference in the College Division Levels
According to the NCAA, there are 351 Division I schools, 308 Division II schools, and 443 Division III schools. To give you a better idea of size and how they divisions compare, about 176,000 student athletes compete at the Division I level. A little more than 118,000 student-athletes compete in Division II and Division III has just under 188,000 student athletes on its various rosters. And that’s just the NCAA divisions. There's also the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) with more than 250 schools and of course many options at the junior college level for high school athletes. While there are some similarities, you'll find each college option is somewhat unique.
For example, one difference is that all DI and DII athletes must meet certain eligibility requirements set by the NCAA. Division III eligibility requirements are set by the school.
Student-athletes and parents should note that for the small percentage of high school athletes that end up playing at the DI and DII level, only about 56 percent of DI athletes receive some type of athletics aid and DII athletes fare just a little better at 60 percent that get athletics aid.
Athletic Scholarships: Everything You Need to Know
Receiving an athletic scholarship to compete at the college level is the ultimate goal for many student-athletes. However, there are plenty of misconceptions about how scholarship offers work—and how much aid student-athletes actually receive. College isn’t cheap, so understanding the details of this part of the process is important if you’re looking to lessen your college costs.
Early Recruiting: When Does Recruiting Really Start for
Every year, it seems like there are more and more stories about middle school athletes receiving college scholarship offers. Some athletes have made the news by receiving offers when they are as young as 9 years old! Early recruiting is a controversial topic, but it’s important to understand why and how it works.
NCAA Rules Update: New rules passed by the NCAA in 2017, 2018 and most recently 2019 have made it illegal for college coaches to offer scholarships to recruits before August 1 or September 1 of their junior year. These new rules apply to all sports except football, W/M basketball and baseball.
While making verbal scholarship offers to recruits in 8th, 9th and 10th grade is illegal, you can expect college coaches to be recruiting and evaluating prospects. Here is how that process works. See how recruiting services help athletes and athletic recruiters.
Academic Eligibility Requirements for Student-Athletes
Academic eligibility might be the least favorite recruiting topic, but it’s one of the most important parts of the process. Some of the best athletes have had to forfeit their ability to compete in college because they weren’t academically eligible.
You should start thinking about your academic eligibility when you are going into your freshman year of high school, especially if you’re interested in being an NCAA Division I or Division II athlete. By focusing on your eligibility early, you can ensure that you’re on track to complete all core courses in time and you are maintaining the grade point average (GPA) requirements.
We've outlined the main eligibility requirements you need to meet to be eligible for NCAA, NAIA and JUCO schools, respectively. The best way to approach eligibility is to first set academic goals for yourself based on the requirements of the schools on your target list as if you were a normal student. Then, stay on track to meet the NCAA DI and DII requirements. If you can meet those standards, you will be eligible at all other division levels. If you're struggling to stay caught up academically, review the standards for the specific division level you’re targeting to ensure you're eligible for schools at that level.
"Insider tip: Just because you meet the minimum academic eligibility requirements to compete at that division level, doesn’t mean you meet a school’s entrance requirements. For example, if you’re interested in a school that requires all students to have at least a 3.0 GPA and 25 ACT, then you need to consider if you qualify when you’re creating your list of target schools."
For the complete breakdown of NCAA eligibility requirements, visit NCSA's NCAA Eligibility Center.
Top colleges for student-atheletes
NCSA Power Rankings recognize the best colleges for student-athletes. What makes a school “best” for student-athletes? There are several factors student-athletes consider when choosing the right college or university including size, location, academics, and cost, just to name a few. NCSA analyzes schools by what matters most to athletes and families to offer a comprehensive list of the top athletic programs in the U.S.
The NCSA Power Rankings are based on proprietary analysis using NCSA Favorites which identify the most desirable schools according to over 2 million current high school student-athletes on the NCSA platform, U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges, and the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard's graduation rates and institutional net cost from the average cost after aid.
Learn how to choose a college that’s right for you
Criteria for finding the right college (what to look for)
Get some college search tips
Figure out what division level is right for you
What are the best small colleges
Learn more about NCSA college search tools
HOW TO CONTACT COLLEGE COACHES BY EMAIL, TEXT, DMS, AND PHONE CALLS
How to contact college coaches is a question families ask every day. While coaches have their different methods for scouting out new talent, the best way to ensure a coach knows about you is to contact the coach yourself. Email, texting, phone calls and even social media messages are all acceptable ways for student-athletes to contact college coaches. Learn more about when and how to start communication with college coaches using these methods below.
How to Email College Coaches
Sending an introductory email to a college coach can get your foot in the door with a program you’re interested in and give a coach the opportunity to conduct their initial evaluation of you. However, emailing college coaches as a means to get discovered isn’t as effective as it was five years ago. Coaches are getting hundreds—if not thousands—of emails from recruits. Simply sending an email isn’t enough to get a coach’s attention. You need to create clear, concise emails with attention-grabbing subject lines to give yourself a chance at the coach opening your email, reading it and responding.
Before you start firing off emailing college coaches across the country, there are a few specific details you need to know first.
Calling College Coaches: Phone Scripts and Voicemail Templates to Use on Your Next Coach Call
In an era filled with text messages, emails, tweets and other communications, a well-placed phone call to college coaches can be extremely impactful. In fact, our research has found that the average college coach receives a mere seven phone calls from recruits each week—or fewer! Taking the time to call college coaches is a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd and get attention.
Your Guide to Texting College Coaches
While texting has become a favorite means of communication in daily life, it only recently became an acceptable way for college coaches and recruits to correspond in all sports. There has been a lot of ambiguity around texting college coaches in recruiting, with many athletes asking: “Can college coaches text recruits? The answer: Yes, they can! Now, college coaches can send unlimited texts to recruits starting either June 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year or September 1 of their junior year (check your sport in the NCAA recruiting calendar to find the exact date when you can start receiving electronic communications from college coaches).
How to Use Social Media for Recruiting
Whenever social media and college athletic recruiting pop up in the news, the articles usually focus on recruits who have lost an offer or a scholarship because of their poor social media choices. However, social media when used properly, can be an effective recruiting tool. In fact, recruits can use the power of social media to contact coaches, show coaches what kind of recruit they are and even gain the attention of college coaches who weren’t previously recruiting them.
What College Recruiting Letters Really Mean and
How to Respond
While college athletic recruiting relies heavily on digital communication—like texting, email and social media messages—college recruiting letters still play a major role. However, it can be difficult to interpret what a specific piece of mail from a coach really means. If you receive a typed letter with your name inserted in a few places, are you actually getting recruited by that coach? Why did the coach send you general school information? We've broken down the different types of college recruiting letters that you might receive and how to respond to each one.
The Important Role of Highlight and Skills Videos in Recruiting
There is no denying the crucial role highlight videos can play for many student-athletes in their recruiting process. College coaches are extremely busy; it would be impossible for them to travel the country to evaluate every potential recruit. Highlight videos are a chance to get student-athletes in front of coaches and give them an unbiased look at their skills and abilities. It’s a fact that online recruiting profiles that include a highlight video receive more than 10 times as much traffic as those without one. A great highlight video can sometimes be a difference-maker that gets a student-athlete some serious attention from college coaches.
The Ins and Outs of Camps, Combines and Other Events
Every year, student-athletes from around the country participate in sports camps, combines, tournaments and showcases to sharpen their skills and gain exposure to college coaches. Coaches value the opportunity to see the best of the best compete. The more chances they have to evaluate a player, the more likely they will be to recruit them. Attending these types of events can be a crucial step in your recruiting process, but it's important to know how to make them worth your while, as they can be fairly costly and time consuming.
Managing Your Recruiting Process: Understanding Key Recruiting Milestones
It’s been said that the college sports recruiting process is more like a marathon than a sprint. For many, it may seem like full-time job. There are dozens of people to communicate with, events to attend and deadlines to meet—all while juggling the everyday rigors of being a high school student.
If you’re doing it right, the recruiting process isn’t just a senior-year responsibility, and the amount of time you dedicate to your recruiting each week—or even each month—will fluctuate. Initially, you’ll need to spend extra time researching schools and writing individualized introductory emails to each coach. However, after your first round of emails and calls, you might hit a few slower periods, in which you send short follow up emails, refine your highlight videos and work on maintaining your recruiting. The key is to steadily keep moving your recruiting forward and hitting the major milestones.
If there is one mantra above all others for recruiting, it's "be proactive." This is especially true for communicating with college coaches. Coaches are extremely busy; they have countless recruits to consider, plus teams of their own to coach during the regular season. It's up to you to take control of your recruitment and stay in touch with the coaches at the schools you're interested in. Professionalism and persistence in your communication will put you ahead of other recruits—even those who might be more skilled athletes. Learn about when to communicate, what to communicate and ways to communicate with coaches.
"Insider tip: An online recruiting profile will help you keep track of the many communications you'll have with college coaches."
Maintaining Communication with Coaches
The goal of both student-athlete and the college coach in the recruiting process is to find the right match. In order to make that determination, both need to connect regularly. Because college coaches at all levels are extremely busy, the responsibility falls mainly on the student-athlete to keep the lines of communication open.
Being proactive can be your biggest advantage; athletes who effectively communicate with coaches often give themselves a leg up in the process. If you’re equally matched talent-wise with another recruit, but you consistently speak with the coach and have a good rapport, you’re more likely to receive an offer.
Application Deadlines and Processes
The recruiting process at times can seem overwhelming. With so much to think about and accomplish—from putting together your athletic profile to attending events and making sure the right coaches see you play—it’s easy to forget the fact that you actually have to apply to college. If you’re not organized and miss important deadlines, there’s no real safety net. It’s up to you to manage your time wisely so you can sign on the dotted line and begin your college athletic career. Learn about the benefits of recruiting services at NCSA.
There are seven main parts to the application process:
Registering for and taking the ACT and SAT
Registering with the NCAA Eligibility Center (for DI and DII) and/or the NAIA Eligibility Center
Filling out and sending in college applications
Submitting your FAFSA paperwork
Requesting your final amateurism certification
Sending your final transcripts and proof of graduation to the Eligibility Center(s)
Signing the acceptance letter
You've Got Offers: How Do You Choose the Right One?
Receiving offers from multiple colleges is an exciting position for a student-athlete to be in—but now you have a difficult decision to make. Not all financial aid packages are created equally. Depending on the overall cost of the school, the largest scholarship offer might not ultimately be the cheapest, or best, option. It’s time to put your offers head to head and see which makes the most sense for your situation. There’s no “right” answer we can provide, but we can give you a framework for how to compare college cost to help you make a more fully-informed decision.
What are the Different Types of Offers I Could Get?
One of the first surprises for many student-athletes and their families is the disappointingly low number of full-ride athletic scholarships available. What may be just as surprising are the many different types of offers athletes can actually receive from a school. To better understand the basics of athletic scholarship offers, here are a few key facts you should know:
Most offers are typically one-year agreements. Although multi-year offers are becoming more popular, they are still rare.
Verbal offers from a coach are not binding agreements.
The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a legal binding contract between an athlete and the school. Since it is a contract, it is important that you fully understand the agreement.
Hopefully, knowing these terms will give you a better understanding of the offers you may receive. Let’s take a quick look at the most common offers a student-athlete may receive from college and universities.
National Letter of Intent and National Signing Day
One of the most exciting moments for a student-athlete is receiving a verbal scholarship offer. Years of hard work have led to this moment. However, nothing is official until you sign the National Letter of Intent (NLI.) Not every school uses the NLI—about 650 NCAA DI and DII schools—and it’s not mandatory to sign. The National Letter of Intent is not affiliated directly with the NCAA; it was created by the Collegiate Commissioners Association to protect both the college and student from either party backing out.
"Insider tip: NAIA and NJCAA have their own versions of the letter. If your student-athlete is attending school in one of those divisions, be sure to understand the nuances of those letter programs."
How to Negotiate Your Athletic Scholarship Offer
Receiving scholarship offers from college coaches is one of the most exciting parts of the recruiting process. All of your hard work is about to pay off. However, your work isn’t done yet. Many recruits aren’t sure how to ask a college coach for more money and the process of negotiating your scholarship offer can be a tricky one. You need to balance being honest with the coach, not offending them and getting the financial support you need to attend your top school choice.
Unsigned Seniors: It is NOT Too Late to Get Recruited with Help
Is senior year too late to get recruited? The short answer is no. For most NCAA sports, coaches can begin contacting recruits starting June 15 after the athlete’s sophomore year. Between this time and high school graduation, student-athletes determined to compete at the college level will dedicate a great deal of time to researching their college options, connecting with coaches, attending recruiting events and visiting college campuses.
Ultimately, student-athletes hope that come National Signing Day in the fall, they will have an offer to accept and sign. But this is not the reality for every student-athlete, and many recruits are left wondering "is it too late to get recruited senior year?” Luckily, college coaches are known to recruit well into the summer months, which means unsigned seniors can still find opportunities to compete at the college level.
The Ultimate Fall Recruiting Checklist for High School Student-Athletes
Being a student-athlete already means managing the stress and to-do’s that come with the athletic recruiting process.
It’s more important than ever to stay on track athletically and academically this fall to set yourself up for success for the rest of the year.
Whether you’re starting your college search as an underclassman, gearing up to communicate with college coaches as a junior or heading into the final stretch as a senior, click on the recruiting checklist for your grade year below to stay on top of managing your athletic recruiting process.
Winter Recruiting Checklist for High School Student-Athletes
With high school in full swing, it’s more important than ever to not fall into a winter season slump. From exploring college rosters, building relationships with college coaches or negotiating scholarship offers, there’s something for everyone to do to continue managing their athletic recruiting process.
Luckily, our winter recruiting checklists break down what you should be doing during every month so you can focus on developing your athleticism, working on your grades and test scores, and figuring out your personal preferences, like what division level is the best fit for you or what type of campus culture you’re looking for.
Spring College Recruiting Checklist for Student-Athletes
The athletic recruiting process can seem overwhelming at times. Between recruiting rules and calendars, important deadlines and essential steps to take every year, there are many boxes to check. So, how can student-athletes keep track of the steps they have to take? As student-athletes reach the end of the school year, it’s important to continue developing athletically and academically before taking some time to rest and recharge in the summer. To help you navigate the athletic recruiting process and stay organized (and motivated!) every step of the way, we created college recruiting checklists for every grade level.
Whether you’re an underclassman who’s just getting started in the process or ready to make a college decision, check out the spring recruiting checklists below to ensure that you never miss any essential to-dos as you progress on your athletic recruiting journey.
Summer College Recruiting Checklist for Student-Athletes
School may be out for summer, but student-athletes shouldn’t take a vacation from the athletic recruiting process altogether. In fact, the summer months provide a great opportunity for student-athletes to focus their attention on developing athletically and managing their recruiting, even if it is just for a few hours a week.
No matter where you are in the process—gearing up for your first year of high school, getting ready to tackle your senior year, or somewhere in between—check out our summer recruiting checklists below to make the most of your summer.
Click on the recruiting checklist for your grade year below to stay on top of managing your athletic recruiting process.