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Athletics and the College Process

Athletics and the College Process

The following information applies to those who are interested in pursuing athletics in college and might be considered a “recruitable” athlete. You may become a “recruited prospective student-athlete” at a particular college if any coach or representative of that school approaches you (or any member of your family) about enrolling and participating in athletics at that college. The following actions by coaches may lead you to become a recruited prospective student athlete:

  • Providing you with an official visit;
  • Placing more than one telephone call to you or any other member of your family; or
  • Visiting you or any other member of your family anywhere other than the college campus.

If you have not heard from any coaches, but hope to continue with a sport in college, we suggest the following:

  • Self-Assessment: Take the time to be honest with yourself about your abilities and potential. Are you interested and ready to play on the college level? How good is the program at the schools you are looking at? Do they welcome all to the program, with potential for development, or only those they recruit?
  • Talk with others: Talk to your coach, your counselors, or other athletes who are similar to you in ability. Ask for help in aiding you in your self-assessment.

If you feel that you might be of interest to some college coaches after completing these initial steps, we recommend you do the following:

  • Talk to your team coach about the kinds of schools you are considering. Discuss all programs that might be of interest to you. Ask if he or she will contact these schools on your behalf. If you are in a sport where college coaches may request videos of your play, start discussing what you might want to send.
  • When communicating with the admissions offices at these colleges, be sure to inform them that you are a varsity athlete and of the sport (s) you play. They will often pass this information on to the respective coach.
  • Contact the college coaches directly. Let them know of your interest in applying to their school and of your intention to participate in their program. You might want to consider setting up an appointment to meet with the coach.

Depending on your ability, you may be of interest to some college coaches and not to others.  Do your best to be realistic in your self-assessment of your athletic talent and the teams for which you are most likely to play.  Remember that while you may be good enough to play on a particular college’s team, your athletic talent may not be of a caliber to play a role in the admission committee’s decision making.  Coaches have varying ranges of ability to support you in the admission process, so it is important to understand their system.  You may contact NCAA Clearinghouse at to learn about NCAA rules and requirements.