Most high school athletes don’t prepare for the college recruiting process until their junior year (or later), but they should start laying the groundwork earlier than that to get a head start.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you start high school:
Focus on your academics
Because the NCAA requires a minimum GPA for eligibility, developing good study habits and maintaining a high GPA in high school is extremely important, especially during your freshman year. Establish informal study groups with kids who have a good grasp of the material. Get your homework out of the way early in the day so you don’t worry about it all night and end up being tired the next morning. Because you’ll take more required core classes during your freshman year, you’re really going to have to work hard.
Pay attention to extracurricular activities
Extracurricular activities not only demonstrate that you are well-rounded, they also evidence your desire to contribute to your school and help your fellow students. Aside from athletics, get involved in student government, join a special interest club or volunteer at your favorite non-profit organization. This builds your résumé, helps you meet new people and promotes the development of new skills.
Build relationships with teachers
Talk to your teachers. Don’t be afraid to approach them when you have a question about the material or need a new challenge. Offer to lead class projects. If teachers know and like you, they’re more likely to give you positive recommendations to support your college applications. You’ll need at least two credible teacher references when you apply.