Recruiting Column

Recruiting Tip: Knowledge is power

The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner,


The more informed you are on how the college recruiting process works, the better your chances are to land a college scholarship. Don’t ask someone else to figure it out for you, don’t rely on your parents or your coach, and don’t sit around waiting for a scholarship to fall in your lap. Here are the top three things you have to know to have a successful recruiting experience.

You have to know the right colleges to pursue

To understand which schools are a good fit, you need an honest, objective evaluation. Don’t ask your parents, your friends, or even your teammates where they think you can play. You either need to have a candid conversation with your current coach or get a third party evaluation. Make sure the evaluation gives you the competition level that best suits your athletic abilities. Pursuing the wrong colleges is a recipe for disaster.

You have to know the recruiting rules

Knowing the recruiting rules will definitely give you a leg up on your competition. You don’t need to memorize the NCAA Guide for the College Bound Student Athlete, but having a basic understanding of how recruiting works will pay off. Spend some time and learn the differences between an official and unofficial visit. Know the definitions of terms like quiet period, contact period, dead period, etc. Make sure you are on track with your NCAA Core Course requirements.

You have to know where you stand in the process

The college recruiting process can be confusing. Mixed messages from your parents, your current coach, and sometimes from college coaches make it difficult to know if you’re a top prospect, you’ve just been noticed by a few coaches, or if you’re not being recruited at all. If you receive an invitation to a camp, a request to fill out a recruiting questionnaire, or if a coach views your profile on a recruiting website, you aren’t being recruited. However, you are being recruited if:

  • College coaches are calling or communicating with you on a regular basis.
  • A college coach comes to one of your games to specifically see you play.
  • You are asked to go on an official visit.

If you aren’t being recruited, then something has to change. Step up your efforts to find the right college and be persistent in the process.

It’s easy to get confused, lost or unsure about where you stand and what to do next, but the more you know the better your chances to find a college scholarship.