College Recruiting Guide Tips for Parents

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College Recruiting Guide

Tips for Parents

  • Understand who is responsible.
  • Many families falsely assume that their high school coaches or club coaches are responsible for their child’s recruiting process. However, the recruiting process is ultimately Your responsibility
  • You are responsible for:
  • Researching and evaluating schools;
  • Contacting college coaches;
  • Visiting schools and making decisions along the way.
  • Your coaches may help by determining where your skills fit in with different college programs, writing recommendations, and even placing phone calls on your behalf to college coaches.

Tips for Parents

  • 2. Be Proactive.
  • It is important to be proactive and research as many schools as possible. The recruiting and college selection process is not something that should sneak up on you senior year.
  • Success in recruiting is about matching up your academic talents, athletic talents, and desires with a given college program. The families that come the closest to finding an athletic, academic, and social match are the ones who usually have the best success in the recruiting process. They have already done much of the work for the college coach, & the coach has con-fidence in recruiting a smart & talented athlete who wants to attend their school.
  • There are over 1,100 NCAA colleges at the D1, D2, and D3 level, and 500+ Junior College and NAIA schools.

Tips for Parents

  • 3. Don’t Follow The Herd
  • Many students put themselves in a position to fail by only applying to popular schools. The problem is that everyone is applying to these schools and competition for admission is extremely difficult.
  • Harvard annually receives over 20,000 applications and admits only 10% of applicants each year. Despite your academic record, Harvard is going to turn down over 18,000 students each year, some of them being incredibly smart and gifted students.
  • Juniata, a small D3 school in Pennsylvania received just over 1,500 applications last year and accepted about 1,100 students or roughly 75%. Few have heard of Juniata because you won’t find their basketball team on TV in March Madness or their football team in a bowl game. Juniata recently appeared in the Unofficial Guide to the 320 Most Interesting Colleges, published by Kaplan Publishing and their girl’s volleyball team won the 2004 D3 national championship.
  • If your list of colleges includes only well-known schools, you will find competition for acceptance and athletic scholarships extremely difficult.

Tips for Parents

  • 4. Be Realistic
  • The love, time, and money you have poured into your child’s athletic career can often cloud your judgment of their potential for a college scholarship. Most parents’ are not realistic about the chances of receiving athletic scholarship money. While your talents may garner some athletic scholarship money, after D1 football and basketball, there is very little scholarship money to go around. Most coaches, even at the D1 level, have a limited amount of money for their team that they divide up amongst 10-20 players.
    • There is far more money in the form of grants, merit aid, outside scholarships, institutional aid, & federal financial aid, than there is in athletic scholarships.
  • You need to explore your options at all programs at all levels, and not focus your search solely on an athletic scholarship. You also need to seek out people that can give you a realistic evaluation of your son or daughters ability & how it applies to different levels. Ultimately, only a college coach can determine whether or not you can play for them.
  • “A kid scores 20 goals at the age of 8 & parents think they are the next David Beckham or Abby Wambach, however if he/she gets 100% on a math test, they don't think he's/she’s the next Albert Einstein."

Tips for Parents

  • 5. Be Educated
  • There are a lot of confusing topics and terms that you will come across in the recruiting process:
    • “Official visits”, “Early decision”, “EFC”, “Red shirts”, “Scholarship blending”, “Head-count sports”, “NLI”, “NCAA Clearinghouse”, “Dead period”, & so on.
  • Your job is to learn the basics, understand your role in the recruiting process, understand how coaches recruit and what they look for, and understand what admission departments and schools look for. It’s not about rules; it’s about understanding and working with the process.

Basic Contact Rules

  • The NCAA rulebook is thicker than the yellow pages. Following some basic rules will keep you out of trouble. However, you do need to understand some specifics of person-to-person contact.
  • Telephone Calls - In all sports other than football and basketball, phone calls from faculty members and coaches can take place on or after the following dates.
    • NCAA D1 – College coaches can place 1 call weekly starting July 1 after junior year.
    • NCAA D2 – College coaches can place 1 call per week starting June 15th after completion of your junior year.
    • NCAA D3 / NAIA – Unlike D1 and D2, there are no restrictions as to when a D3 or NAIA coach can call a prospect in high school.
  • NOTE: In any grade, coaches may RECEIVE calls from students who are paying for the call at ANY TIME. However, if a message is left, the coach cannot return the call until the proper time.

Official Visits

  • Division 1 - You are allowed 5 official visits to different schools of your choice (provided the school has invited you). In order to go on an official visit, you need to provide the college your current transcript on an official school document and your PSAT/SAT/ACT score. Official visits are paid for by the school and include round-trip transportation, lodging, food, and tickets to a game for you and in some instances for your parents. Official visits cannot exceed 48 hours.
  • Division 2 – The same rules apply for official visits for D2 schools. Regardless of the division classification of the schools you visit, you are allowed 5 total official visits at the NCAA D1 and D2 level. As long as you only use five official visits, they can be broken up as you chose between D1 and D2 schools.
  • Division 3 & NAIA - You are allowed the same expense paid official visit to a D3 or NAIA school as to a D1 or D2 school. While you can only make 1 per school, you can visit as many schools as you would like, as the limit of 5 does not apply for D3 or NAIA schools. Many D3 and NAIA schools cannot offer paid official visits due to the expense of bringing a student athlete to their campus.

Athletic Eligibility

  • The NCAA Clearinghouse processes ALL inquiries regarding an individual's initial eligibility status to play NCAA D1 and D2 athletics. If you have aspirations of playing college athletics you MUST register with the NCAA Clearinghouse by the end of your junior year. NO EXCEPTIONS!
  • The Quick Facts:
  • NCAA D1 and D2 have standardized minimum academic requirements for S-A's entering college. If you want to play, you have to register and qualify according to the requirements. No one is exempt! (Except D3 bound S-A's, they do not have to register with the Clearinghouse)
  • Register at the end of your Junior Year by going to and/or working with your HS guidance counselor to get all the necessary documentation.
  • If you attended more than one HS, you need official transcripts from each school, mailed directly to the Clearinghouse. Don’t mail them yourself.
  • The Clearinghouse is in NO way part of the admissions process to a particular college.
  • NCAA member institutions (schools recruiting you) will request your information from the clearinghouse, you will never send it to anyone yourself.
  • You must submit a final transcript of your HS grades to the Clearinghouse when you graduate.

Athletic Eligibility

  • How Is Eligibility Calculated?
  • The NCAA Clearinghouse uses a sliding scale that compares your GPA and SAT/ACT scores. Unfortunately, most schools have far higher standards than what the NCAA Clearinghouse sets, so it’s possible to be eligible according to the NCAA Clearinghouse, but not get accepted to many individual colleges. The NCAA Clearinghouse doesn’t make admission decisions - only schools make admission decisions.

Core Course Requirements

  • In order to be eligible, you must also complete (16) core courses in high school, as follows…
  • 4 Years of English
  • 3 years of math (Algebra 1 or higher)
  • 2 years of natural/physical science (1 year of lab)
  • 1 year of additional English, math or natural/physical science
  • 2 years of social science
  • 4 years of additional courses (from any area above or foreign language, non-doctrinal religion/philosophy, computer science)

Core Course Requirements

  • You must earn a combined SAT or ACT sum score that matches your core-course grade-point average and test score sliding scale (for example, a 2.400 core-course grade-point average needs an 860 SAT).
  • NOTE: D2 eligibility is slightly different, requiring 3 yrs of English and 2 yrs of additional English, math or natural/physical science as opposed to 4 and 1 listed for D1, as well as 3 years of additional courses. **
  • The NCAA Clearinghouse Web site has a list of all high schools and approved core courses at those schools. If you are in doubt about a particular class, research your school and classes online or ask your counselor.
  • Junior College Requirements - You need to graduate from high school.
  • NAIA Requirements - meet 2 out of the following criteria. (1) Score 18 on the ACT or 860 on the SATs; (2) Have a GPA of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale; (3) Graduate in the top 1/2 of your high school class.

Financial Aid

  • There are many types of aid, so don’t dismiss any school due to cost until you have explored all the financial possibilities at your disposal. While there will be many schools out of your reach financially, you may also find many colleges offering generous financial aid packages based on your need and your academic record. Smaller and less well-known colleges will often offer more aid to students in an attempt to attract more talented students to their school.
      • “There is far more money in financial aid and grants than there is athletic scholarship money.”
  • The Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) has established a number for more assistance. Their number is 1-800-433-3243. They also publish The Student Guide: Financial Aid from the US Department of Education, which can be obtained free of charge. The FAFSA Web site will also have detailed information on the process.

Financial Aid continued

  • Free Money:
  • Grants – are free money based on your FAFSA, your interests or your merits.
  • Institutional Scholarships – check out what kind of grades and test scores you need to be automatically qualified for merit scholarships. You may be eligible for full rides at some schools.
  • Private Scholarships – are those that you may spend hours searching online. Apply for as many private scholarships as possible, including local and national awards.

Financial Aid continued

  • Federal Loans:
  • Apply for federal money by filling out the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st of your senior year. Don’t borrow more than you need!
  • PLUS Loans
  • PLUS loans are loans your parents take out to put toward your higher education. They may borrow up to the full amount of your education, incl tuition, books, travel, and fees.
  • Private Loans
  • Like federal loans, private loans help you pay for school that you have to pay back. Apply through banks or loan company.

Financial Aid continued

  • Where can I get the FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?
  • You can get the FAFSA form at and apply online.
  • When does the form need to be submitted?
  • A soon as you can “after” January 1 of your senior year.. Colleges will need your financial aid information with your application!
  • What type of information will I need to provide with the FAFSA form?
  • - Students Social Security Number
  • - Student’s income tax returns, W-2, & 1099 Forms.
  • - Parent’s income tax returns, W-2, & 1099 forms for previous year.
  • - Bank statements and mortgage information.
  • - Records of untaxed income.
  • - Information regarding stocks, bonds, & mutual funds that your family holds.
  • - Information on childcare costs, medical expenses, and other unusual family expenses.

Researching Schools

  • One of the common misconceptions in recruiting is believing that athletes are discovered. While the very best high school athletes may be discovered,
  • Most college coaches rely on student-athletes contacting them.
  • The most successful recruits are usually those who possessed a combination of athletic skill and academic talent and worked hard to research different colleges that might be a potential fit for their skills and desires. As we stated earlier, there are over 1,500 colleges at 4 levels, and it’s important to explore all your options. The goal of the recruiting process is not simply to get recruited by colleges, but to recruit your own schools. You are as much a part of the process as the coach is.

Researching Schools continued

  • At the end of the day, finding a match is answering YES to the following:
  • 1 – Can I be accepted to this school based on my academic record? – If you cannot get accepted, your recruiting process is over. It doesn’t matter how good you are or how much the coach wants you. Most coaches won’t even talk about athletics until they have qualified you academically!
  • 2 – Do I have the athletic skill to play for this school? If you don’t have the skills to play for a certain program, it doesn’t matter how badly you want to go there, plus no one wants to get cut or sit on the bench. It’s important to find programs that fit your level of athletic ability.
  • 3 – Does the coach have the ability to evaluate my skill somehow? – If a coach cannot physically see you play through an actual game or through a video, they may have a difficult time feeling confident in your ability and might lean towards other recruits who they have seen perform.
  • 4 – Is this coach truly interested in having me play for their program? – Some coaches encourage kids to “try out” or “walk on.” You need to know if a coach is interested in you as a person and as an athlete.

Researching Schools continued

  • 5 – Can I afford to go to this school? – The national tuition average for private college is over $19,000 a year and some are approaching $40,000 per year. College is not cheap and despite your desires and the availability of financial aid, there will be some colleges you cannot afford to attend. This is a reality that needs to be accepted, and you need to apply your energy to other schools that are more affordable. It’s important to note that you should never dismiss any school because of cost until you have explored all your financial options with the coach and with the institution.
  • 6 – Does this school offer academic programs I am interested in? – If you want to be an architect or an engineer, it’s important to find schools that offer those programs. If you have no idea what you want to do, it’s important to find schools that have a wide variety of programs that you can explore. You are going to school for an education & to enter the working world after college, so it’s important to find school that offer academic programs you are truly interested in. Don’t settle for less!
  • 7 – Will I be happy and successful at this school? – This is a difficult question to answer until you actually arrive at school. Schools may look great on paper or in person and then after a semester you might not like the players on the team or some other aspect of the school. When visiting and evaluating colleges, we try to encourage families to ask as many questions as possible from coaches, players, other parents, students, teachers, and anyone else you can find. Only then will you get a sense of the school before you actually enroll and arrive. The national graduation rate for students who enroll in 4-year institutions is 60% from the institution they first enrolled in, so at some point, 40% of all college students transfer or drop out of the school they enrolled in. Much of that can be traced back to their decision-making before they enrolled. Wanting to participate in college athletics makes finding a match that much more difficult.

Common Recruiting Terms

  • REDSHIRT – A term used to describe a student-athlete who does not compete in athletic competition and is granted an extra year of eligibility. A red shirt may practice and travel with the team.
  • NLI – The National Letter of Intent is a legally binding document that an athlete signs with a school. It signifies the award of athletic scholarship money for 1 year. It is used at all NCAA D1 & some NCAA D2 institutions. You can only sign one with an NCAA school. It is not used at the D3 or NAIA levels.
  • PROSPECTIVE STUDENT-ATHLETE – You become a prospective student-athlete S-A when you enter the 9th grade.
  • FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student-Aid – is the form you fill out that determines your EFC. Colleges use this to calculate and award financial aid. File after Jan 1st of your senior year.
  • EFC – Expected Family Contribution is the amount of money a college expects you to contribute to your education based on your FAFSA information. If a college costs $20,000 and your EFC is $10,000, your need is $10,000
  • EARLY DECISION – Early Decision is a program that allows students to apply early to one school. In most cases, it is a binding decision. If accepted, a school expects you to attend. In other cases, it is not binding. Check the policy at each individual school. Early Decision is a signal to a school you really want to attend and will usually improve your chances of acceptance. You will lose your ability to compare financial aid packages at other colleges however.
  • EARLY ACTION – Like Early Decision, Early Action is a program that allows students to apply early to a school. In this case, Early Action is not binding like early decision. More schools are switching to this program for admissions and getting away from binding early decision programs.

Common Recruiting Terms continued

  • ACADEMIC INDEX – The Academic Index is a term used by Ivy League schools to determine eligibility. It is a combination of SAT 1, SAT 2 and Class Rank. An applicant’s individual score is compared to the average for all students
  • NEED BLIND – Schools that are need blind do not use your financial situation when evaluating your application, even if your EFC is very low. This is a good thing for you.
  • CORE COURSES – Core courses such as math, English, science, history, social studies - that the Initial Eligibility uses to determine your eligibility at the D1 and D2 level.
  • CONTACT PERIOD – During this time, a college coach may have in-person contact with you and/or your parents on or off the college’s campus. The coach may also watch you play or visit your high school. You and your parents may visit a college campus and the coach may write and telephone you during this period.
  • DEAD PERIOD – A college coach may not have any in-person contact with your or your parents at any time in the dead period. The coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.
  • EVALUATION PERIOD – The college coach may watch you play or visit your high school, but cannot have any in-person conversations with you and your parents off the college’s campus. You and your parents can visit a college campus during this period. A coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.
  • QUIET PERIOD – The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents off the college’s campus. The coach may not watch you play or visit your high school during this period. You and your parents may visit a college campus during this period.

High School Freshmen

  • Your child becomes a Prospective Student Athlete
  • Make sure you are enrolled in core courses.
  • Think about colleges that you may be interested in attending
  • Prepare a draft of your player profile
  • Study Hard – Have Fun
  • Attend a summer camp at a college you may be interested in attending

High School Sophomore

  • Enroll in core courses
  • Prepare your player profile
  • Create a personal recruiting video of 5 minutes or less
  • Compile a list of 7 to 10 colleges that you may be interested in attending
  • Contact these college coaches to express your interest in their school, to obtain more info re: their college curriculum & soccer program, and to provide your player profile, recruiting video, & schedule of upcoming games
  • Take the SAT or ACT at the end of Sophomore year
  • Attend a summer camp at a college you may be interested in attending
  • Study Hard – Have Fun!

High School Juniors

  • Enroll in core courses
  • Update your player profile and your personal recruiting video
  • Compile a list of 3–5 colleges that you may be interested in attending & stay in touch with these coaches
  • Schedule Official Visits
  • Enroll in the NCAA Clearinghouse
  • Complete admission applications to the colleges that you may be interested in attending.
  • Retake the SAT or ACT to improve scores
  • Attend the annual College Fair at Maryville University in April
  • Attend a summer camp at a college you may be interested in attending
  • Study Hard – Have Fun

High School Seniors

  • *On July 1st before your senior year, college coaches may begin to contact you directly.*
  • Enroll in core courses
  • Update your player profile and your personal recruiting video
  • Schedule Official Visits
  • Visit with college reps that come to your high school
  • Attend Vianney College Night in September
  • Complete your FAFSA as soon as possible after Jan. 1st.
  • Enroll in the college of your choice
  • Send final transcript to NCAA Clearinghouse
  • Study Hard – Have Fun

Great Web Sites

  • – news about the college experience from national publications, financial aid timelines and answers to FAQs.
  • – learn the difference between grants, loans and scholarships & calculate how much $ you’ll need for college.
  • – find links to online college applications, search for colleges and discover your learning type.
  • – apply for student loans and get money management tips.
  • – learn how to save for college and what to do if your savings won’t cover tuition.
  • – provides a glossary of financial aid terms
  • – will direct you to a list of scholarships for which you may be eligible.
  • – check out student loan funding Ask a Counselor feature.

Great Web Sites continued

  • – a government run site with college planning timelines, access to online version of FAFSA & borrowing tips.
  • – what are colleges looking for in applicants? What scholarships do you qualify for? How to evaluate acceptance letters.
  • – charges a small fee to match you to the scholarships for which you qualify.
  • – contact info for more than 6,900 universities around the world
  • – offers help for the essay required for your application to colleges.
  • – administers the SAT, visit for testing dates, fees, test-taking advice and prep.
  • – for ACT dates and locations, fees, and enrollment info

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