I recently received an e-mail from a mother of a high school runner who has just completed their sophomore year of high school. She was curious as to how the recruiting process and timeline have been altered by last year’s NCAA rule change allowing coaches to speak with current juniors.
You are now already halfway through high school and will be heading off to college in two years. And, for a good number of you – you will be making your college decision in the Fall of 2019. Typically, I would have not offered this advice so early on in the process, but with the changes in the recruiting calendar you should make the appropriate changes.
Cast a wide net - See what's out there and determine what type of school might be a good fit for you. If you have not yet done so create an expansive list of schools/programs that meet your specific needs and desires.
Fill out online recruiting questionnaires - The online recruiting questionnaire is a good first step and simple means to initiate communication with a program. It allows the coach to assess if you are a good fit for their program and alerts them to your interest in their program,.
Contact college coaches - If you have not yet started -- start reaching out to college coaches from the schools on your list. You will be surprised at how effective personally reaching out to coaches will enhance your recruiting experience.
Take the ACT / SAT - Register and take the SAT/ACT during your junior year. If you feel adequately prepared, I would suggest taking the test in the fall of your junior year. This will allow you plenty of time to take it for the second time in the spring. If you are considering attending a highly selective academic institution taking the test earlier will significantly enhance your recruitment. Most selective schools will not vigorously pursue a potential-student athlete without test scores to determine admissibility.
Utilize Unofficial Visits - Unofficial visits can help you gather significant information about individual programs and schools. This time will allow you an opportunity to meet the coach in person, tour the college, check out the athletic facilities, and possibly meet current team members.
In summary, do not be passive -- start reaching out to college coaches now. E-mail every program that you are interested in, regardless of the perceived reach. Be your own greatest advocate and take charge of your future.