USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the college recruiting process. Here, you’ll find practical tips and real-world advice on becoming a better recruit to maximize your opportunities to play at the college level. Kyle Winters was a standout high school pitcher who tossed seven scoreless innings in a major tournament during his senior year. That performance against some heavy-hitting future MLB draft picks helped Kyle earn a full-ride scholarship to the University of New Mexico. However, Kyle opted to play professional baseball and was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the fifth round and played seven seasons for various minor league teams.
Kyle is just one of many former college and professional players, college coaches, and parents who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their knowledge, experience, and dedication along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation, and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community have made NCSA the largest and most successful athletic recruiting network in the country.
Each year, college coaches are tasked with building a list of prospective student-athletes and, through the evaluation process, identifying who will be the right fit for their program. One of the most basic steps in that process is getting the contact information and pertinent details for each prospective student-athlete. That is where recruiting questionnaires come in. These online forms allow coaches to quickly and easily build databases of recruits. In this article, we breakdown how you should be using recruiting questionnaires as part of a well-rounded recruiting effort.
What are college recruiting questionnaires?
Most college teams have online forms where a prospective student-athlete can fill in the requested information, which then gets sent to the college coach. These questionnaires can usually be found under the recruiting section of a school athletics website or within the individual team’s section.
Insider Tip: Oftentimes, if you do a Google search for the phrase “recruiting questionnaire” plus the school name and sport, you will find the page directly in the search result. Note: Not all teams have questionnaires.
As we’ve explained before, the recruiting process is like a funnel. College coaches need to begin each recruiting class with hundreds or thousands of prospective athletes and, through the evaluation process, they identify the recruits they will offer and sign. Recruiting questionnaires allow coaches to get all of the important details like contact information, links to online profiles, NCAA ID numbers and more from the student-athlete without having to track all of that info down and enter it themselves. They allow coaches to spend more time evaluating athletes and less time entering information into a computer.
Use questionnaires as one of many ways to communicate with coaches
Because recruiting questionnaires are an easy way for coaches to get your information, you might think that all you need to do is simply fill them out. However, college coaches might receive hundreds or even thousands of submissions a year. So, recruiting questionnaires are not the magic bullet for getting a coach’s attention. Instead, think of them as one of several steps you should take when reaching out to a college you are interested in.
Insider Tip: Just because you can complete a questionnaire doesn’t mean you should. All of the recruiting best practices apply, such as doing your research on a team, making sure the school is a good fit, and writing personalized emails. Most college programs will send you something if you complete a questionnaire, and it is best to save yours and the coaches’ time if you were never that interested to begin with.
Make sure you have the following information before filling out questionnaires
- Your basic contact information – This includes an email address, phone number and social media handles. We strongly suggest you create a new professional-sounding email address and clean up your social media accounts before sharing them with coaches.
- Parent/guardian contact information – This is their basic phone number and email address.
- High school and club coach contact information – Many athletes won’t have this information readily available but almost all questionnaires ask for it.
- NCAA ID Number – For NCAA DI and DII schools this ID number is how coaches track your eligibility with the NCAA. If you don’t have an NCAA ID number, read this first and determine what kind of account is right for you.
- SAT/ACT scores – For the middle tier and top academic schools, your test scores are as important as your sports stats.
- Links to online video – Whether you are posting video on YouTube or have a complete online profile, college coaches aren’t watching film from DVD’s anymore and expect you to have high-quality game film and highlight films available online.
Insider Tip: You can save yourself a lot of time completing questionnaires by using the website Recruit Spot. This is a tool built by Front Rush, a company that makes recruiting software used by college coaches for managing their teams. The software allows athletes to enter all of the info needed in recruiting questionnaires, and then it fills out any of the 8,000+ questionnaires integrated with recruit spot with a single button click.