Does your child hope to play his or her favorite sport at the collegiate level, hopefully with financial assistance?  The competition is fierce for earning a place on a college team roster, and athletic scholarships are even more difficult to win. For every position on a college hockey team or university football squad the NCAA estimates there are about 20 future freshmen jockeying for a placement. Even for students with stellar academic records, high SAT scores, AP classes and lengthy lists of extra-curricular activities, the odds are slim of earning a spot on the team, particularly at the most prestigious universities and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I schools.  As a parent, you are naturally interested in helping your child beat the odds by assisting and encouraging him or her to do the homework, take the appropriate steps and play the recruiting game. Often the best way to accomplish this is to seek the assistance of a reputable recruiting consultant.

Throughout a young athlete’s high school career parents should encourage and emphasize the importance of academic achievement. While some lower echelon schools may look mainly at athletic performance, top schools don’t need or want to accept students who have not shown stellar performance in high school, a predictor of college academic success. Most top level universities are looking for a GPA of 3.5 or above with a challenging schedule of college prep and AP classes. Standardized testing is another vital element, with the best schools looking at candidates with a minimum score of 1200 on SAT Critical Reading and Math or a score of 26 on the ACT. A student’s high school academic record can be the deciding factor between two equally qualified candidates.

The chances of acceptance to a top university increase dramatically for high school seniors recruited by a college coach. However, the first step is to capture the attention and interest of coaches at desired schools.  Any student attempting to advance to collegiate level play should have the recommendation of a current coach who feels the athlete possesses sufficient athletic ability, character, attitude and determination to meet the heady challenges of the university sports arena.  A student needs to actively promote himself in order to attract the attention of college coaches, and there are several steps to getting your young scholar-athlete’s name and potential onto a coach’s recruiting radar.

Coaches can be contacted by using a variety of methods, including email, phone or use of an online recruiting network. Recruiting consultants possess deep knowledge of the world of intercollegiate sports, from rules and regulations to personal preferences of coaches.  Generally, it is recommended that students not contact coaches before the beginning of their junior year, at which time parents or a consultant can help the student athlete draft a letter or email. Within this communication, the applicant should address the coach by name and list all contact information, year of graduation, athletic experience, awards, honors, current coach’s name, class schedule and test scores.  Student should also offer to provide video, complete statistics and a schedule of games or meets. If no response is received from a second email or online submission, it’s a good idea to try postal mail. Be sure to help your student check all grammar and spelling, as effective, intelligent communication will make an applicant stand out from the crowd.

Recruiting websites help students and parents by providing help and tips on contacting coaches, making a recruiting video and negotiating a lucrative scholarship.  Though a student may, for example, be concentrating on baseball recruiting for a NCAA Division I scholarship, it’s important to remember that generous financial awards are also available at NCAA Division II and III levels, as well as from schools in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). The wider the net is cast, the better the chance of landing a scholarship and a chance to experience the excitement of college level play. Parents and student athletes should also be familiar with the Academic Index (A.I.).  Calculated from SAT I and SAT II scores and class rank/ GPA, the A.I. is just one of the complex tools used in Ivy League recruiting.