Important note: this checklist is assuming you have reviewed and completed our BRX Freshman and Sophomore Year Checklists and Guides. If you are a junior, are just beginning the recruiting process, and haven’t gone through these documents, please read through them first to make sure you haven’t missed any critical steps. If you have missed some, simply add them to the list below.
Get a junior year evaluation from any of the following sources:Attending the camp of a college you’re interested in
Now that you’re at an age where it’s becoming common for athletes to start committing to colleges, it will be easier to compare yourself to their ability level and metrics and further refine your college search.
Much like your sophomore year, you should be researching the following:The current measurables, stats, and ability level of athletes your age who are committing their junior year – how do your numbers compare?
In regards to the second example above, a junior football cornerback with a 4.70 40-yard dash might find out that athletes who committed their senior year to a D2 program had an average 40-yard dash of 4.60 their senior year but a 4.70 their junior year.
This would let them know that they are currently on a trajectory to be a D2 football player and thus, should be reaching out to predominantly D2 football programs. Of course, they could make a huge leap in ability level and open up some D1 doors, but you want to make sure you are spending your time wisely on the recruiting trail.
Make sure you take your evaluation feedback seriously and update the schools on your list accordingly:Target schools: schools that are a good match for your ability level
If you don’t have at least 30 schools total, add the necessary number now. You never know who will look a lot more appealing once they start showing interest in you. NEVER write off a school that shows interest in you, even if they’re on your fall back list or not on your list at all; you want to keep as many doors open as possible.
Not much to say about this besides the obvious: review all of your social media content since you created your accounts and delete anything that could pass as even borderline harmful or inappropriate.
If you’ve been with BRX since your freshman or sophomore year, you’ve already read that one of the first things coaches will ask for if they’re interested in you is for video that shows your skills. This could be general clips of your skills, game footage, or an edited recruiting video.
Coaches love seeing progress over time in their recruits; this shows that the athlete they are recruiting is on an upward trajectory. Assuming you’ve completed both an initial assessment and reassessment at BRX, giving the coaches you’re communicating with access to your BRX Dropbox Videos folder is a great way to show this upward trajectory.
Beyond the BRX assessment and reassessment videos, upload any of your own relevant videos and images that would be important during your communication with coaches. The more your content is in one central location, the easier it will be for coaches to evaluate you.
Lastly, make sure your folder is organized and viewer-friendly. If there are certain videos that should be deleted, makes sure you reach out to the BRX staff to have it completed.
This recommendation piggy-backs off the previous checklist item. If you haven’t already, and depending on your sport, you’ll need to get a highlight or skills video created.
Before making one, make sure you research what coaches in your sport are looking for in a video. Some sports, like soccer and basketball, want to see several minutes of continuous game footage included in your video. Others, like baseball and softball, don’t usually ask for game footage.
Once you have your skills and/or highlight video, upload it into your BRX Dropbox folder, and include links to it in your communication updates with coaches on your BRX Recruiting Chart.
One of the most exciting yet nerve wracking aspects of the recruiting process is speaking to a coach over the phone or in person during a visit. The fact that how you handle yourself in these situations is a huge component of the coach’s decision on whether or not they want to keep pursuing you makes it even more intense.
The best course of action? Preparation and practice.
We have prepared two comprehensive documents to facilitate this:
While these are by no means an exhaustive list that covers everything a coach could ever ask you, it’s a start and will get you 80% of the way there. Study these questions, revisit them often, and practice on one of your parents, and you’ll greatly improve your communication with coaches over the phone or in person.
If you have not yet read the freshman and sophomore guides on how to communicate with coaches and what to send them (i.e. Introductory Packet and Questionnaire), make sure you read it before moving on. Long story short: go above and beyond to personalize each message you send a coach. 10 personalized messages will have far greater impact that 100 generic copy-and-paste emails.
Each time a season and/or school year ends, send one-page updates to coaches you have been in contact with to keep them posted on your progress and athletic development.
Make sure you log all communication – both outgoing and incoming – in your BRX Recruiting Chart so you know who you have contacted, who you need to follow up with, etc.
It bears repeating: the vast majority of coaches you send emails to are extremely busy and will not respond. Remember this: all it takes is one. Stay persistent!
If you read our recruiting resource College Coach Q&A, it’s pretty clear that attending the camp of a school you’re interested in is one of the best – if not best – way to get a coach’s attention. Here is Yale Lacrosse coach Andy Shay on the importance of camps (which they call “prospect day”):
“The best way to be seen by our coaching staff is to come to our prospect day [camp]. Really, it’s the only way that you can guarantee that we’ll see you. Unfortunately, there will be 100 kids at our prospect day and a large portion of those players aren’t going to end up here. That’s just the reality of recruiting. But, if you do show up to our prospect day, it’s a guarantee that we will see you and be able to evaluate your chances of playing at Yale.”
With that said, not all camps are created equal. Some camps are run by scouting organizations (with no coaches in attendance), while others are run by college coaches themselves on their own campus. Some are geared more towards improving your skills than getting yourself evaluated.
When deciding on camps, ask yourself the golden question below:
Are my skills good enough to get recruited?
Talk to coaches, camp organizers, and anyone else that might help you figure out what the camp is geared towards.
Once you’ve decided what’s important to you and compiled a list of camps, prioritize them in order of what will help you the most. Then it’s time to get the camp(s) on your schedule!
One last but extremely important point: reach out to the coaches who will be in attendance before the camp begins to send a short, personalized message that shows your interest in their program. Send a short thank-you email soon after the camp concludes, too.
What’s the difference between “unofficial visits” and “official visits?”
We’ll talk more about “official” visits with the senior year guide, but for now, it’s time to start scheduling unofficial visits to the schools that are highest on your list.
These visits can be facilitated by one of the coaches or by yourself. If it’s being facilitated by the coach, they’ll likely bring up scheduling an unofficial visit at some point during your recruitment if they’ve been actively pursuing you for a considerable amount of time.
If you are not being actively recruited yet, don’t panic! It’s totally fine to schedule a visit yourself to tour the campus and facilities. Reach out to the campus admissions department to get all of your questions answered about scheduling an unofficial visit.
Important note: even if you orchestrated the visit yourself, still send the coach a short email a week or two before your visit to notify them that you’ll be visiting the campus; you might be surprised by how many coaches will reply once you have shown the initiative to schedule the visit yourself.
It’s time for the dreaded standardized test!
Most athletes take the exam their junior year to make sure they have time to re-take the exam if they aren’t completely happy with their score.
Once you finish taking the exam, be sure to send your scores to the NCAA eligibility center with code 9999 and/or the NAIA eligibility center with code 9876.
Here are two things many athletes and families aren’t aware of before the recruiting process begins - and sometimes during its entirety.
Look at sites like studentscholarshipsearch.com and bigfuture.collegeboard.org/scholarshipsearch to look for potential financial aid opportunities.
Taking the time to look into the opportunities mentioned above will make your junior-year meeting with your school guidance counselor much more efficient.
Making sure you’re on track with your courses and keeping your school guidance counselor updated with your college search and favorites should be a yearly practice. Beginning with your junior year, open up the discussion to include a conversation about your financial aid opportunities.
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