It's back to school time. You have a new backpack—check. New clothes—check. New phone with upgraded texting plan—check. Updated college recruiting plan—wait...what?
More than likely, your college recruiting plan—or even the fact that you need one—is the last thing on your to-do list. With big games and the homecoming dance coming up, it can be hard to think ahead to playing college sports. However, the college recruiting process starts your freshman year and continues all through high school, so don't wait until your senior year to start formulating your plan.
Below, I break down my top five back-to-school college recruiting tips.
5. Set Up an Online Calendar
Create an online calendar that you can access anywhere. I recommend Google Calendars, which you can use for free with a Gmail email address. [Learn more about signing up for Gmail and the importance of your email account.]
Once you create a calendar, insert all of your games, practices, gym workouts, dances, tests, family events and other obligations. Then block in recruiting work, like sending emails to college coaches. This will help you get your recruiting work done in a timely manner, and it's a great time management practice. Once you get on the college team of your dreams, if you don't know how to manage academics, sports and your social life, your chances of success on and off the field during your freshman year will be greatly diminished.
4. Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center
Every athlete who intends to play sports at the college level needs to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. You must go through this process to prove to the NCAA that you are an amateur athlete.
3. Meet With Your Guidance Counselor
Meet with your high school guidance counselor to ensure sure you are on track to graduate. Also, confirm you are taking the right courses to be eligible to play college sports.
2. Contact Colleges
Create two lists of colleges: your top five dream schools and 15 to 20 additional schools that you think you might like to attend. Start emailing coaches at those schools. Introduce yourself, say something nice about their program and try to start a dialogue that persuades them to come and watch you play.
Think about your parents. If they need a new job, do they sit around and wait for a prospective employer to contact them? No! They are proactive. They aggressively [but courteously] contact businesses and organizations to present their credentials and express interest in applying for a position. The same goes for college recruiting.
Coaches are incredibly busy, and most have limited resources. If they don't know you are interested in their program, they probably won't waste time trying to recruit you.
1. Read the College Recruiting Handbook
Download a free copy of the College Recruiting Handbook at CollegeRecruitingWebsite.com. This is a great resource for high school athletes and parents who want to educate themselves about the recruiting process—and it offers plenty of information on how to get recruited.
It's the little things that make a great athlete on the field, and it's the little things that will make you a great recruit off the field. Many athletes never play college sports because they didn't know what to do off the field. Now that you know what to do, it's up to you to be proactive. Work hard and do the little things right to make your college sports dreams a reality.
Have a great fall season and remember: if you "Believe in it®" and back it up with hard work, anything in life is possible!
Jared Montz, a former pro soccer player and collegiate national champion, is the founder of CollegeRecruitingWebsite.com. His company works with competitive high school athletes in all sports; builds them personal websites, like YourName.com; and teaches them how to promote and network themselves confidently to college coaches using CollegeRecruitingWebsite.com.
Find out more, watch College Recruiting TV and download a free copy of Montz's College Recruiting Handbook at the CollegeRecruitingWebsite.com. You can also connect with him at Facebook.com/JaredMontz.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock