All college bound students are required to take certain steps in order to complete the college search and application process. However, high school student-athletes face several additional steps if they want to play college level sports. These are as follows:
Be clear about what level of play you aspire to
It is very important to be clear about your abilities and what division of college is realistic for you to pursue. Talk to your coach to help you narrow down a list of colleges and choose one that is right for you based upon your skills and experience.
Attend a summer sports camp at your college of interest
Attending a sports camp at a college of interest is extremely important because not only does it expose you to college coaches, it also helps to give you a good feel for the campus.
Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center
To be eligible to play Division I or II sports, you must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, ideally by the beginning of your junior year of high school. The NCAA recommends that student-athletes register at the beginning of their junior year in high school, but many students register after their junior year. There is no registration deadline, but students must be cleared by the Eligibility Center before they receive athletic scholarships or compete at a Division I or II institution. Visit the NCAA Eligibility Center website to learn more.
Send letters of interest to college coaches
Reach out to coaches as early as freshman year of high school (and each year thereafter) to gain exposure and demonstrate your interest in playing for their team. Be sure to include a link to your online profile, as discussed below, to make it easy for college coaches to learn more about you and your abilities.
Prepare an athletic profile and athletic performance video
Create your academic and athletic profile, and athletic performance videos. It’s important to have your academic and athletic information presented professionally, and made easily accessible to college coaches. The most effective way to showcase your skills and talent is to have your profile all in one place online, with all of your information organized by each year of high school, so that coaches can follow you directly and track your growth and progress.
Use a special application marked with a code provided by the college's athletic department
The purpose of this code is that it informs the college’s admission office that the athletic department is interested in a student. Be sure to include it in the application process in the event you are given a code, so that your application materials are given special attention.
Access the Smart College Report
No matter if you’re just starting the college search and application process, or you’ve been working on it already, the Smart College Report and built-in recruiting tools are your personal road map to making the right decision about your future.
Your Smart College Report provides you with a list of colleges that match your preferences, tips on smart loan borrowing and paying for college, scholarship information, college coaches contact information, and letter templates to reach out to admissions officers and college coaches.
Moreover, depending upon the package you subscribe to, you are also provided with a number of tools that help you create your own online academic and athletic profile (your own website), tips on filming an athletic performance video, interview prep tips, an athletic roadmap for each year of high school, and much more.