NCSA: Your Winter Break Recruiting Checklist

NCSA

NCSA: Your Winter Break Recruiting Checklist

NCSA Recruiting

NCSA: Your Winter Break Recruiting Checklist

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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. Jason Smith is a former NCAA DIII athlete and college coach at all three division levels. Jason is just one of many former college and professional athletes, 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.

Depending on your sport, winter can be a time to wind down or focus in and get prepped for the upcoming season. But regardless of how your season looks, college recruiting keeps on rolling year-round, so it’s important to stay on top of the recruiting process. After all, whether it’s prepping for game day or editing highlight video, your competition for college roster spots isn’t going to slow down, and neither should you. But what exactly should you be doing to get organized? Read this winter recruiting checklist to find out.

All athletes

All sports

  • Keep your online recruiting profile up to date. Add your personal preferences and a transcript to get the most accurate college matches.
  • Reach out to the right college coaches. Research college rosters, including athletes’ stats, to learn which division is best for you.
  • Show your interest in a program. Fill out recruiting questionnaires at schools you’re interested in by visiting their athletic website.
  • Stay connected. Follow programs and college coaches on Twitter.
  • Let college coaches know who they can contact. List your high school and club coaches as references on your online recruiting profile.
  • Stay on track academically. Check your classes to make sure you meet NCAA Eligibility requirements.
  • Show coaches what you’re made of. Edit your highlight video with recent clips and your best plays.
  • If possible, attend a local camp or showcase to obtain a third-party evaluation of your skills, update your key stats, and potentially perform in front of college coaches.

Football

  • Review the NCAA Football Recruiting Calendar.
  • Talk to your high school coach about your areas of improvement, off-season training goals and plans to play another sport.
  • Develop strong relationships with your high school coaches because college coaches contact them.

Basketball

  • Set athletic goals for your season.
  • Record stats and accolades from your season.
  • Attend a local college to watch a game and evaluate the competition level.

MORE: Get Your Copy of the Winter Break Recruiting Checklist for Underclassmen

Sophomore athletes

All Sports

  • Expand your college opportunities and start researching regional colleges and athletic programs.

Football

  • Schedule and take the Pre-ACT or PSAT.
  • Determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Basketball

  • Talk to your high school coach about what your role will be on the team.
  • Invite local college coaches to attend games (varsity only).
  • Research college rosters and compare their accomplishments.

MORE: Get Your Copy of the Winter Break Recruiting Checklist for Juniors

Junior athletes

All Sports

  • NCAA D3: Official visits are allowed starting January 1 of your junior year and they are unlimited.
  • Target specific college camps or prospect showcases where you can obtain a third-party evaluation of your skills, update your key stats and perform in front of college coaches.
  • Talk with your coach references about personally reaching out to your target colleges if you haven’t completed a call or visited the college yet.
  • Complete and update online questionnaires for your target programs.

Football

  • Email coaches your full-season highlight films.
  • Make phone calls to your target programs to ensure you’re connected with the coach on staff who will be recruiting you.
  • Prep and study for the ACT or SAT.
  • NCAA D3: Official visits allowed starting Jan. 1 of your junior year, but typically take place after your senior season.
  • Review the programs that are interested in recruiting you to better understand which division is the best fit and then create a 5-10-5 list: 5 safety schools, 10 target schools and 5 reach schools.

Basketball

  • For D1 men’s basketball, recruits can begin taking official visits starting Jan. 1 of their junior year of high school. Women’s basketball recruits may begin taking official visits April of their junior year of high school, beginning the Thursday following the Women’s Final Four tournament.
  • Determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  • Place phone calls to your target programs as coaches at all levels can now call you back.
  • Determine which “Game Day” visits to attend if you receive invites.

MORE: Get Your Copy of the Winter Break Recruiting Checklist for Seniors

Senior athletes

All Sports

  • Register with the NAIA Eligibility Center if you have a serious interest in NAIA programs.
  • Complete and update online questionnaires for your target programs.
  • Start contacting local or in-state junior college programs if you do not have any serious interest from NCAA or NAIA programs.
  • Call interested coaches.

Football

  • Official visits will take place in November, December and January (outside of dead periods).
  • Workouts are allowed at D2, NAIA and junior college campuses.
  • The vast majority of personal contact from D3, NAIA and D2 schools will happen now.
  • DI coaches will finalize offers and begin in-person visits at recruits’ homes or schools.
  • Early Signing Period for D1 is from Dec. 19 to Dec. 21.
  • Regular Signing Period for D1 and D2 takes place from the first Wednesday in Feb. until April 1 for D1 and Aug. 1 for D2.
  • School and home visits will begin for D2, D3 and NAIA levels.
  • Understand your options and narrow down your list of schools.
  • D1 and D2 schools complete their recruiting by April.
  • Upload an updated transcript to your NCSA profile.

Basketball

  • D1 and D2: NCAA Early Signing Period in November.
  • Go on “Game Day” visits at top prospect colleges.
  • Complete applications for backup schools.
  • Get full games added to your NCSA profile.

Taking care of these recruiting tasks when you’ve got some holiday downtime will make for a less hectic recruiting journey when school picks up again after your break.

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