JUNIORS: Be Proactive!
Take a strong academic course load and keep your grades up! Tell your guidance counselor that you are interested in playing a sport in college so they keep NCAA requirements in mind whenever they meet with you.
Review your academic plan for your junior and senior years with your guidance counselor so you know your academic goals and can immediately address issues if they should arise.
Review the NCAA Eligibility Requirements. Update your NCAA I Worksheet. To complete the worksheet, get a copy of your up-to-date transcript along with the list of PIL NCAA Approved Courses from the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Visit colleges - Official vs Unofficial: Coaches may invite you for an official visit which is paid for by the school. You may take unlimited unofficial visits at your own expense. Meet the coach and the team. Watch the team compete. Stay overnight if possible.
End of junior year Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. The NCAA Eligibility Center does not require that you are registered when you send your SAT or ACT test scores. They will match them when you register.
Register with the NAIA Eligibility Center during your junior year before you take the SAT or ACT.
After you have completed your junior year, send your transcript using Docufide to the NCAA Eligibility Center. The NAIA Eligibility Center does require transcripts until after graduation.
Take the SAT and/or the ACT tests and send your scores to your schools of interest and the NCAA (9999) and/or NAIA (9876) Eligibility Centers. If you plan to take one or both of these tests a second time, you can wait until the 2nd round to report the scores to the Eligibility Centers.
Continue to work with your high school and club/private coaches to evaluate your athletic potential for NCAA Div I, II, III, or NAIA. Evaluate the level at which you are being recruited.
Compete in high visibility showcase tournaments and events for your sport. Attend any recruitment seminars at these events.
Attend a summer college camp at a school that is high on your interest list.
COLLEGE SEARCH / ATHLETIC RECRUITING
Know the rules: College coaches are allowed to start sending you recruiting materials. Men's Basketball and Men's Ice Hockey may receive materials on June 15th after your sophomore year and all other sports may receive recruiting materials on September 1st of your junior year. Check the NCAA College-Bound Student Athlete Guide for sport-specific recruiting rules and dates.
Stay Organized: Maintain your filing system to keep yourself organized.
Use the College Search for Student-Athletes Grid to keep track of the schools/coaches that show interest along with their contact information. Track when you receive information from or have contact with coaches so you know who is showing the most interest.
Begin to rank your list of colleges to identify which ones are the best fit for you personally, academically, athletically and financially based on what you know about the schools so far.
Identify 2-3 "reach/dream" schools, 10-15 "good fit" schools and 2-3 "safety" schools.
Proactively contact coaches
Update your Student-Athlete Profile with your personal stats, athletic, academic and extracurricular achievements (no more than 1 page).
Update your video and re-send to coaches on DVD or online. Many coaches prefer DVD because they can easily watch it on a big screen.
Send your updated profile to coaches at schools that are a good fit for you with a cover letter highlighting dates of tournaments or events you plan to attend.
Complete the Prospective Student-Athlete Questionnaire on college athletic websites for those schools you want to attend (if you have not already done this).
Practice leaving voice mail messages and talking with coaches for the schools at the bottom of your list first so you feel more confident when you talk to those coaches at the top of your list. Remember to take notes when you talk to the coaches and keep them in your filing system after each conversation.
Take unofficial visits (at your expense) to your top 6 schools. Visit those schools at the bottom of your list first so you can practice taking a campus tour, visiting an admissions office and meeting a coach. Make sure the coach has seen you play in person or on video before you visit.
FINANCIAL AID / SCHOLARSHIPS
Start researching the financial aid process. Attend a Financial Aid Parent Night at your school if it is offered. You can use the FAFSA4caster to get an early estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid before you fill out the real FAFSA on October 1 of your senior year. Look at the Athletic Financial Aid Comparison Worksheet on the downloads page.