Every high school athlete dreams of competing at the college level, playing in a stadium full of fans cheering their hearts out for their team. Unfortunately, many high school athletes – even highly talented ones – don’t get to realize this dream.

Only about 10 percent of all high school athletes go on to play college ball in a NCAA school. Out of those, only a third receives academic scholarships.

The recruiting process isn’t perfect, and every year academically and athletically gifted students are passed over. Knowing how to effectively plan your high school academic and athletic career, and how to effectively sell yourself to college recruiters, is key to locking down one of those coveted athletic scholarships for college soccer, baseball, basketball, football or other sports.

Taking Charge

Recruiting websites offering help in making connections with college recruiters can greatly help high school athletes seeking to move up, but the best help is self-help. The following are a few ways high school athletes can make themselves more attractive to college football, basketball or baseball recruiting agents:

- Having a firm academic foundation is essential to getting recruited. Eligibility standards for NCAA schools continue to change, and making sure that you take the right classes in high school, to be eligible for NCAA ball, is important. By working with your high school guidance counselor, as well as checking NCAA standards, you can ensure that you take the right courses for college athletic eligibility.

- Be well-rounded. Having a few activities other than athletics under your belt can only help you with colleges. Try to participate in a service or other school organization.

- Be sure to register with the NCCA. You’ll need $50, and your Social Security number to register, but it is well worth the time and money. Each year dozens of high school athletes lose their opportunity to play college ball, because they don’t take care of this necessary step. It’s recommended that you register with the NCAA by your junior year.

- Narrow down your choices. Decide what schools are your dream schools, which schools you’re likely to get into and which are acceptable fallback schools. This will help you focus your efforts and set attainable goals. Typically, your three lists should consist of about 15 schools.

- Get started early. You should ideally begin your work to make yourself an enticing prospect to colleges around your sophomore year, to give yourself time to develop academically and athletically.

Get help from a recruiting services specialist. These professionals know what college coaches, including coaches from prestigious universities, look for in a student-athlete. By working with one of these specialists, you can work on the skills you need to gain the attention of a quality athletic program. Whether you want to play college soccer, baseball, football or another sport, having the right help to connect you with coaches and recruiters is imperative to getting into the right school and continuing your athletic career.

By being proactive and finding the right recruiting websites to offer you help, you can succeed in your quest to become a top college athletic pick for the university of your dreams.