Your time in the classroom is remarkably similar to your time on field. Each require focus and effort, hard-work and long hours. Just like a game, what you do in class in the early stages can make or break it for you in the final. As we know, recruitment is starting earlier and earlier, with the latest reports that colleges are starting to look at potential students as early at seventh grade. As with anything, planning is necessary, so here are few tips from us at Parros College Planning to make your planning a bit easier.

Plan Your Class Schedule As Early As Possible

Both the NCAA and NAIA require student to complete a certain amount of core courses before they can are fully recruited. You will need to complete these courses with a certain GPA, and you will also need to reach a minimum required score on your ACT/SAT exams.

You’ll want to start planning early, most likely in your freshman year of high school, to make sure you are on the right track to complete these courses in time and academically strong. Being able to balance your time in class and on the field can be difficult for a lot of students, but ultimately, it will reward you with a level of experience and responsibility every college loves to see.

Research and Create

If you’ve been playing with all of your skills for the past few years, chances are high that you have already been receiving a few pamphlets in the mail asking you to come check out some campuses. While this is a great way to stir up interest in certain colleges, it should be primarily your own effort when it comes to finding prospective colleges you may want to join.

Take the time to investigate certain institutions, considering factors that don’t just include their athletic tradition. Think about how the school can benefit you academically, their financial aid packages, or certain majors you may have an interest in. When considering athletics, don’t just value one school over another because of your relationship with the coach, as it’s always a possibility that he or she may move on to other positions during your college career. Once you have completed sufficient research, create a list of your top choices and really target those school. Your research also gives you the benefit of have key knowledge in certain universities that can really make you stand out to the coaches.

Make Contact the Right Way

The average coach is receiving hundreds emails a week about specific students looking to join his or her team. It’s easy to get lumped into this group of seemingly anonymous emails if you think that just sending a single email without prior impact will get you the recognition required for joining the team. Contact coaches early in your high school career, but don’t override them with emails or phone calls. Try to keep it to every other week at a most as you get more seriously invested. Be respectful and understanding of the coach–he or she will undoubtedly be very busy–and be patient waiting for a response. Also think a little outside of the box. Coaches will get floods of emails in the beginning of a school year that will eventually die down around Thanksgiving. Waiting a bit before sending could ultimately lead to you being picked from the crowd.

Understand the Rules!

If you ever thought that a response from a coach was a little cold, try to not take it personally. The most likely explanation is that the coach or athletic director is simply trying to follow the rules, and it’s a good idea for you to do the same. Both the NCAA and NAIA have fairly strict rules for how a coach or coaches should handle the recruitment process, and those rules apply to how they are allowed to communicate to potential athletes.

First impressions are huge, and you don’t want to start off on the wrong foot. It certainly looks a little fishy to the coaches if you don’t know the rules when it comes to recruitment, so do yourself a favor and read each organization’s guidelines before you make any attempt to contact the coaches.

Social Media Management

If you don’t think that potential coaches are Googling you or looking you up on various social media account, you could be sorely mistaken. Your social media accounts are a gateway for coaches to learn more about you in an easy, efficient way, and how you are displayed through social media matters.

So, take the time to clean up your profiles. Change your possibly embarrassing photos into ones that emphasize your commitment to you athletics or academics. Like or follow the pages of the colleges you are considering. Take a minute to Google yourself, if you see a page that pops up that needs to be edited, then fix it. Rule of thumb, if you have something on your social media account that you don’t want your mother to see, then you probably wouldn’t want your future coach to see it either.

Grades, Grades, Grades!

The importance of grades cannot be stressed enough when it comes to recruitment. Not only is the upkeep of your grades often a requirement to even be considered for certain colleges, you’ll often need to keep them up in college in order to keep your scholarships, both academic and athletic. It’s also a known fact that you will receive more aid for your academics than your athletics. A good academic student is invaluable for many coaches. Think of it this way: every athletic director must deal with a very selective budget. Each student they recruit will require a piece of that budget for scholarships and stipends. Student who work hard in high school to achieve merit-based scholarships will need less of that budget, making it easier for coaches to build a stronger, more diverse team. If you can make yourself attractive to the coaches, they will want you. Think of it as a win-win; your grades will allow you more scholarships than your athletics, and coaches will want you because you require less of their scholarships.

Of course, these are just the basics; there are many things to accomplish in order to be recruited for playing in college. Foundation is exponentially important though, giving time to make sure the basics are complete is the best way to get the ball rolling. At Parros College Planning, we know that student-athletes have some of the most complex and rigorous planning to do for college; that’s why we have specifically tailored a student-athlete package for them. With our help, we can not only assist with the basics, but we can drive deeper into understand the wants and needs of each student to properly tailor a plan for him or her. With Parros College Planning, you can be on top of your game, and top of your class.

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