In less than a year, college coaches will be allowed to start contacting you. On September 01 of your Junior year, your recruiting process will begin. As a result, it is imperative that you devise a plan of action now.
Below are three suggestions for you to consider during your sophomore year of high school to optimize your college recruitment experience:
DETERMINE THE BEST FIT FOR YOU
Create an expansive list of schools/programs that meet your specific needs and desires. Among factors to consider are affiliation level (NCAA I, II, III, NAIA, and JUCO), competitiveness of the program, cost of attendance, quality of education, geographical location, intended academic major, enrollment size, public vs private, and other factors that matter to YOU.
Do not be mesmerized by the name of a school. See beyond the prowess of their football and basketball programs or their academic reputation. Make sure the schools you choose meets your needs for reasons beyond it simply being cool to tell the world you will be running or studying at a particular school. There is much more to college track and field than simply Division I.
Create a list of schools that you would be happy at without track and field – just in case your athletic career does not go as planned.
Do not be passive. Start reaching out to college coaches now from the schools on your list. In my personal dealings with high school student-athletes, I often heard prospects state that the schools on their list were comprised solely of programs that contacted them. If a program you’re interested in does not reach out to you, reach out to them! You will be surprised at how effective personally reaching out will enhance your recruiting experience.
Start to visit colleges during your sophomore year. Take a campus tour, check out the athletic facilities and eat lunch at a local restaurant. Start to get an idea of what it is you want in a college. You can’t sit down and speak with the coach until your Junior year, but you if you happen to bump into them you can say, hi.
Over the span of my twenty year coaching career, I learned that communication is the most important element to reaching your goals. It is imperative that you learn to communicate openly and effectively with your parents, high school coach, and college coaches.
Because it is only your sophomore year college coaches are not allowed to respond to your emails and other forms of communication, but now is still a good time to start reaching out. Fill out their online questionnaire. Send an email expressing your interest in their program and give them a brief overview of who you are as an athlete and student.
Your sophomore year is a great time to begin readying yourself for the process that is about to begin. You should view this time as your pre-season training. Although there will be no meets during this time the work and preparation that you do now will be critical to future success.