High School Athletes Navigating Through the Recruiting Process

Whether you’re a stud freshmen playing on a varsity team or an average freshman playing on the freshman team, the recruiting process takes time and effort if you want to receive an athletic scholarship. I suggest you start having conversations with your coaches and counselors starting in your sophomore year of high school. The sooner you begin the process, the more options you will have by senior year.
In high school, I was a three-sport athlete, but I was the most passionate about softball. I was brought up to varsity by the end of my freshmen year, and I played travel softball all year. Unfortunately, I did not have anyone guiding me through the recruiting process. I thought college coaches were going to come find me, and I was going to get a Division I scholarship to play a sport I loved. I thought my stats spoke volumes; I believed any college would be happy to have me. My senior year I signed with UIC, and I
received a scholarship to play Division I softball. Personally, I think I got lucky.
Looking back, I wish I had someone to help me navigate through the recruiting process correctly. If I had to do it all over again, I would have researched Division I, II, III, and NAIA schools that had both my major and a women’s softball team. Along with researching, I would have registered for more exposure
camps or ID camps in order for more college coaches to watch me play. I would have emailed these coaches, sent them my stats, filled-out their questionnaires online, sent them my athletic and academic resume, and sent them a video of my swing and my fielding skills. I would have also taken the ACT three more times and studied each time to increase my score; I only took it twice. Even though I received a scholarship, I did not receive a full ride. If I went through the above list carefully, I know I would have received more money for my academics as well as for athletics. Also, a part of me wishes I settled on Division III or NAIA school and played softball and volleyball.
The recruiting process is strenuous and time-consuming, but if you have a counselor helping you, it makes the process easier and more successful. Student-athletes need to be persistent and take the initiative when contacting college coaches. College coaches are usually either in season, or they are out recruiting; they are very busy and they will not always email athletes back depending on how many recruits are emailing them on a daily basis. If you do not hear back from a coach, do not give up. On average, athletes should email a college coach 3-4 times before moving on. After the fourth email, you can begin to assume they are not interested, but not before. Once you do hear back from a coach, make sure you stay in contact with them at least twice a month. If they are interested in signing you, they may be in contact with you more and eventually, they will ask you to come to their campus on an official visit where you will meet the team and stay overnight with a player. This is also a great time to bring up any questions you may
have regarding the team, school, and scholarship money. This excerpt is a quick glance into the recruiting process. If you are planning on playing a sport in college, speak to your high school coach, school counselor, and someone who has played in college and
has gone through this process. Exhaust your resources and give yourself options. More importantly, start,
and never give up!