As a sophomore you may be tempted to think “Oh next year is my big recruiting year, I still have time to get prepared.” Don’t get caught in that mind trap! Use your sophomore year to get prepared to make the most of your junior year, traditionally the most important year for high school athletes to get recruited. Here are the six things you need to stay focused on in order to be prepared:
Academics – Being a big student can pay off big. Your good grades can help you not only get into college, but also improve your scholarship dollars. Take the time now to ensure you are on the right path to having all of the requirements you need for acceptance in college. Here are things you should be looking into:
- Check the NCAA eligibility center to see core curriculum requirements.
- Make sure you are a well-rounded citizen, not just a great student or athlete. Get involved as your schedule allows in other school and community organizations.
- Build a stellar academic and leadership resume that no college or coach would turn down. Many colleges and coaches care about character and leadership on and off the court. Waiting until your junior and senior year to build your academic, volunteer and leadership resume may be too late.
- Start thinking now about which classes you like or excel at in school. The summer after sophomore (and junior) year is also a great time to shadow people (or get a summer job) in careers you might enjoy and get a taste of what that profession is really like.
College Testing – We’ve mentioned this before in our other post; it is never too early to start preparing for the ACT and SAT. Start taking courses through your high school, community colleges, online, or buy test prep books. Take the PSAT.
College Application (Researching) – Right now is a great time to begin researching schools you might be interested in attending. Think about a degree plan that sounds interesting to you and find schools that offer that program. Maybe you went to a summer camp at a college and liked your experience. Continue looking into seeing if that school is a good fit. Consider personality, aptitude, college and career testing to help you think about a degree or career path and double check that the colleges you are interested in offer those programs. This is where volleyball and athletic recruiting websites can come in handy! Using some of the search engines they offer to narrow down your options by degree and recruited position can really simplify the process for you.
College Visits – While you can’t take any official visits as a sophomore, you can go to college games, summer camps, training programs, etc. Knowing that sophomore club season and your next year as a junior is when college recruiting really kicks in high gear, go find summer camps at the colleges you like and attend! College camps are the one “legal loophole” where you can talk to and get to know coaches.
College Recruiting – We highly recommend using a recruiting service. There are five main recruiting services: Berecruited, Captain U, NCSA, National Scouting Report and Volleyballrecruits as well as three recruiting do-it-yourself guides/programs: Recruitme, Recruitingregistry, and Sandrecruits. Recruiting services do a few things:
- Simplify the process for you! Most have a free profile, registry and search engine of what colleges have openings for your position regardless of which package you use.
- Facilitate communication between coaches and athletes – you don’t have to track down coach’s email addresses.
- It can actually open your eyes to a world of possibilities or a college you have never heard of in another state that is a great fit academically and athletically for you. Spend as much or as little money as you have to spend. There is truly something for every budget.
Talk to your club coaches about college coaches and programs they are familiar with or recommend. Club coaches can be a great window to the world of help. Sometimes it’s all about who you know. Oftentimes clubs have relationships or discounts to some of these recruiting services.
Make sure you are videoing club (and school) games and adding them to your profile or uploading to You Tube. As a sophomore, truly the only kids getting recruited are those super tall front row players interested in playing D1. Don’t worry, there is plenty of time and plenty of opportunities. Build your resume and profile!
Scholarships – Get involved in extra-curricular activities of all kinds and keep a log of how many hours you spend each day/week participating in it. Branch out and try getting involved in different activities outside your comfort zone. Build a stellar community service and leadership resume