You’ve now entered your first year of High School and the NCAA defines you as a Prospective Student Athlete. Technically, you have begun the recruiting process but your focus should remain on playing high school and club volleyball and seeking out the best training/coaching possible.
College programs will begin to send information out to you, often sending questionnaires for you to fill out. Their goal is to put your name and information into their database so they can follow your progress. Programs vary in how they choose to send out information so don’t get too caught up in who sent you information and who didn’t. You are a long way away from an actual commitment and things change a lot during the recruiting process. Generally it’s a good idea to return the information and fill out the questionnaires to the best of your ability. That being said continue to focus on your training and doing well in the classroom.
Things begin to pick up a bit for High School Sophomores. You are locked in, for the most part, with what high school you will play for. Often parents are worried that they won’t have a very good team or won’t get good exposure. The truth is that the High School volleyball season is becoming less and less important. The more important decision is what club to play for.
We understand how the recruiting process works.
Now that you have selected Carolina Chaos it’s time to start being proactive. We encourage sitting down with the people that are most important to you in making this decision. You might ask to talk with your high school or club coach. You should sit down with your family and begin to decide what you want out of this recruiting process and build a list of schools that you have interest in. While we advise you to be realistic, don’t put too many limitations on yourself. Give the college program a chance; let them decide if they are interest in you. For example, if you are 5’4” and done growing we would not advise you to send a letter to the top 5 programs in the country saying you want to be their next middle blocker. However, we would suggest that you send out a letter of interest to a top program that you have interest in if you want to be a defensive specialist.
It’s important to understand that college will receive hundreds and in some cases thousands of emails and letters every year. In most cases, they are going to be honest with you during this process and will let you know their level of interest. If you get a response that shows the school is not interested then you have a better understanding of where you stand and you move on from there. Your sophomore year is a good time to begin being proactive in your recruiting process.
The goal of sending out information and letters of interest is to get onto a college programs recruiting ‘list’. Once you make one of these ‘lists’ college programs will do their best to get a look at you. They may ask you to send them your club tournament schedule so they can try and take a look at you. If they can’t see you at one of the tournaments you are attending they might ask you to come to camp or send a recruiting video. In the end, your goal is to continue to develop and get the best training you can get. You still have a lot of time left in the recruiting process.
The Junior Year is one of the most important times in the recruiting process. Hopefully, you have been proactive in the past two years and done your best to get in contact with programs that you have interest in. Continue to work hard during the high school seasons no matter the level of play around you. Continue to get ready for a big winter and the club season that will follow.
Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. This is the Eligibility Center for the NCAA, which certifies if you are eligible to play NCAA Athletics based on your academics. This site should answer any questions you may have about being or becoming eligible to play in college. As part of the process you will need to submit current transcripts, available ACT or SAT test scores, along with pay a fee for registering.
It is important that registration occur during your Junior year, because you want to stay away from the build up of registrations that occur late in the Senior year or the incoming freshman summer when there is a rush of registrations. Typically, the NCAA gets swamped with documents/registrations for football players from big name programs and they will receive priority over volleyball players.
FYI – per NCAA rules, you can practice for a certain number of days without NCAA Clearinghouse Final Certification, but you cannot compete or travel.
A new component of the NCAA Clearinghouse is the Amateur Certification. The NCAA has removed the responsibility of determining a player’s amateur status from member institutions (colleges/universities) – for USA athletes, this is merely a formality and you just answer a few simple questions. For International student athletes, you must be very careful and specific about how you answer the questions on the computer, mainly because of volleyball cultural differences.
Next step would be to apply for the SAT/ACT on a national testing date (sometime between Jan-May).
Your Junior year is also a good time to create a skills video to send out to various college programs. Hopefully your skills have developed and you might want to think about creating another video if you already have one from your sophomore season. Whatever the case may be it’s really important that you try and get your information out to college programs. The video is one of the best ways to catch the attention of a college coach. Your goal is to get on their list of players to see during the club season.
You should think about creating a list of schools that you are interested in. We suggest that you categorize the schools or create some system for ranking the schools. This does not mean it’s your final list but it gives you a good foundation to use during your junior season. Continue to be proactive and send out emails and formal letters to programs that you have interest in. Most college programs are done with their season by second week of December but they also enter into a dead period. Your goal is to get your information to them so that when the quiet period is over you are in their system of players to watch. When their season is over, college programs immediately begin thinking about recruiting for the future.
As you enter your junior year of club it’s important that you’re always working hard. You never know when a college coach might be watching. Although you might know that a certain club match means nothing a college coach is only focused on how you play. Therefore it’s important that you’re always working hard and presenting yourself well. Coaches look for more than just current skills. They are evaluating on interaction with your teammates, leaderships skills, and potential abilities.
As you get later in the club season college programs might begin talking more in depth with the families’ parents. They might also discuss the option of taking an unofficial visit; basically they are asking you to pay your way to visit them on campus. You should take this time to see where you rank with the schools that you are interested in. If they are interested in you and they want you to visit then we suggest that you take the unofficial visit if financially feasible.
As the club season comes to close you need to re-evaluate where you stand and how the process went over the last club season. You need to determine what schools are still actively recruiting you and where you rank now that the year has come to a close. If you aren’t satisfied look at contacting new coaches that are at a different level of play, size, or type of school and send them your recruiting information.
You are now entering your final year of the recruiting process and are now realizing that you will have to make the decision what school is best for you. If you have been proactive in the recruiting process then you should have a good understanding of what is ahead of you over the next year. You have options available and you are now discussing with schools to determine what your best option is. If you don’t have more than a handful of schools actively recruiting you then you should try and get the attention of schools that you are interested in. It can never hurt to have more schools available to you in the recruiting process.
If you are just entering the recruiting process then you need to be proactive during your final year of high school. Most large conferences have already offered or gotten commitments from the high school senior class so you need to get in contact with as many programs as possible. Realistically list schools that you are interested in and contact them to see if they are still recruiting. If they are, make sure you send out your information as soon as possible. If you aren’t happy with the list of schools that are recruiting you then broaden your search and reach out to more schools.
The early signing period for Division 1 programs starts in early November. If you reach this time and you don’t have anybody actively recruiting you then you need to start thinking about other options such as lower divisions or junior college. There is a late signing period but most schools have either given away their scholarships already or are waiting on one or two players. Waiting for this time period can be dangerous if you don’t have other options available. The late signing period ends in the spring before the college season begin.
The final option for those who haven’t found a school or program yet is to find somewhere you can get into academically and try to walk on. While almost all schools hold open tryouts, some schools are more competitive than others.
Once you have selected a school make sure you keep your grades up and keep working hard in the gym. After you sign your letter of intent to play for a college you are done with the recruiting process. That being said it’s important to realize that this is only the beginning of your college career. Your college coach will continue to follow up with you and watch your development. You are now working to become the best possible college player you can be.
Contact: An event occurs any time a coach has any face-to-face contact with you or your parents of the college’s campus and says more than hello.
Contact Period: During this time, a college coach may have in person contact with you and/or your parents on or off the college’s campus. The coach may also watch you play or visit your high school. You and your parents may visit a college campus and the coach may write and telephone you during this period.
Dead Period: A college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents on or off campus at any time during a dead period. The coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.
Evaluation: An activity by a coach to evaluate your academic or athletic ability. This would include visiting your high school or watching your practice or competition.
Evaluation Period: During this time a college coach may watch you play or visit your high school, but cannot have any in-person conversations with you or your parents of the college’s campus. You and your parents can visit a college campus during this period. A coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.
Official Visit: Any visits to a college campus by you’re your parents paid for by the college. The college may pay all or some of the following expenses:
• Your transportation to and from the college
• Room and Meals
• Reasonable entertainment expenses including complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest.
Before your official visit, you will have to provide the college with a copy of your high school transcript and SAT/ACT scores and register with the eligibility center.