The process of being recruited can be an incredibly daunting task for high school students. Depending on your level of commitment and your goals for recruiting, the process can start as early as your Freshman year of high school. There are a huge number of services and programs that can be utilized to help make the process easier, and CJVA is here to help our players reach their recruiting goals! Our recruiting coordinators will help players set up their recruiting profiles, provide advice on the current state of recruiting, and even help communicate with college coaches on your behalf!
In-House College Placement Staff
We provide in-house staff who are available to provide guidance to players and families throughout the recruiting process. These staff members can assist in the following ways:
- Understanding the overall recruiting landscape
- Providing information and resources
- Setting up successful targeting strategies
- Providing an assessment of 3rd party recruiting services
- Providing advice on software and other tools (i.e. SportsRecruits, Fieldlevel, HUDL, etc.)
- Communication on behalf of athletes when it is appropriate and necessary
- Guiding players on how to manage their recruiting profiles
Recruiting Information: General Rules Of Thumb
Penn State’s camp draws top athletes from all around the nation, so Russ Rose won’t be able to meet every single player individually! A good first step is to check if schools that you’re interested in have camps, and if they do, sign up! If that school isn’t hosting their own camp, the coaches might be working or attending other camps, so feel free to ask them!
Coaches are not allowed to talk to players during a competition, so don’t take that as a sign that they weren’t watching or that they aren’t interested in you!
Coaches aren’t just trying to find strong athletes, but overall good people! If you play amazing on the court, but throw a fit the second you’re pulled off the court, or you ignore your coach, college coaches pick up on that, and they don’t like it! Coaches want upbeat, positive, competitive players in their gym. If they see negativity and bad sportsmanship, don’t expect an email from them.
Volleyball is continually growing in popularity within the US. There are tons of tall, athletic athletes at a tournament, so it’s important that you’re able to show what makes you desirable not only to the coach, but to the college itself. Are you in any Honors or AP courses? Do you have a high GPA? Are you in any other extracurriculars? Are you involved in volunteer work? Do you have a job outside of school? College coaches love to see well-rounded student-athletes who are able to contribute to their college community in many different ways. Making personal connections with the coaches at schools you’re interested in, and asking them personally to see you play at specific tournaments is a great way to be seen. Plus, college coaches often recruit alongside their colleagues, so if you’ve been talking to one coach, chances are that a few more will tag along!
With the massive size of many volleyball tournaments, coaches can be overwhelmed with all of the talent around them. To make it a bit easier, coaches generally make a list of players who have reached out to them about that tournament, and will make a specific effort to see them play. Emailing a coach well in advance that you will be playing at MLK, or at NEQ, or any big tournaments, as well as telling them when and where you’re playing will put your name on that list, increasing your chances of being seen, as opposed to just hoping that coaches happen to walk by and notice you.
Know the differences between D1, D2, and D3 schools, and the rules involved with each of them. If a D3 college is offering you an athletic scholarship, you should be able to recognize that as suspicious! If a coach is pressuring you to commit before you are comfortable, know the rules on when you need to decide by. Talk to coaches about the academic pressures of being in season, and know how many classes you will miss due to matches. College is a huge commitment, and you want to do your homework beforehand so that you can feel confident that you’re making the correct decision for you. D3 schools can still offer a great level of competition, and there are D1 schools that haven’t won a match in years. Pick a school that is a good fit for you, both on and off the court!
The best piece of advice we can give is to be realistic in your expectations while searching for colleges. It would be amazing if all of our players could be committed to Big 10 schools by their junior year, but in reality, that’s an unattainable goal for any club. It’s important to keep your options open during the recruiting process. Just because you have a dream school in mind doesn’t mean that you should stop looking for other schools that you could imagine yourself being happy at! Stay informed about the academic and athletic standards of the schools you are looking at, and keep working hard to make yourself known.
Coaches want players who continue to grow, and work hard to improve. Sending a video of you as a sophomore, as well as a video of you as a junior will show a coach your potential to continue growing as an athlete! Even if you commit to a college as a Junior, you now need to work even harder to prepare yourself for college. Similarly, continue to improve in the classroom. Admissions committees are willing to overlook slightly lower GPAs if they see an upward trend over the years, since it shows your ability to improve.
Year-By-Year Recruiting Guide
Freshman Sophomore Year: These years are largely preparation for your Junior and Senior years, when the bulk of the recruiting process will take place. Exceptional athletes might get some attention as a sophomore, but the majority of athletes use this time to prepare for their Junior year, particularly by taking the following steps:
- Register for University Athlete: University Athlete (https://universityathlete.com) is a free service that makes it east for college coaches to go to a tournament and pull up a player’s academic and athletic information while watching them. Be detailed, and keep your account up-to-date! Coaches are trying to learn if you’re a good fit for their school!
- Register for the NCAA Eligibility Center. This becomes important later on, especially for D1 and D2 recruits.
- Compile an athletic resume to send to coaches. Include your basic contact information, as well as height, weight, different jump reaches (approach, standing block, etc.), GPA, academic interests, extracurriculars, etc.
- Do your research! Research schools that fit your academic and athletic interests. If you want to pursue nursing, don’t spend all of your time looking at schools without nursing programs! You are going to college to be a student-athlete, so make sure that your academic needs are met, not just your volleyball needs!
- Be wary of expensive recruiting services! Many recruiting services charge an arm and a leg for flashy videos with promises of being recruited by big D1 coaches, but often these services aren’t worth the money. No recruiting service will make the process easy. No matter what, you’ll still need to work hard to get yourself known to these coaches, flashy videos or not.
- Write an introductory email to coaches and colleges you’re interested in. Be personal, friendly, and professional. Check your grammar, and make sure that you’re not mass-emailing coaches. No college coach likes to see that they are one of 20 recipients on an email about how much you love their schools. Include your athletic resume, your tournament schedule for the season, a link to your skills video or game tapes, and tell them why you’re interested in their school!
- Put together a skills tape! This does not need to be a high-budget, multi-camera tape! Cameras on smartphones are constantly improving, and in most cases will do just fine. You can upload your video to a free service such as Youtube so coaches can view it. Keep in mind that coaches love to see uncut footage! Including the footage of a full game, even if you make a few errors, can help show how you react and recover in high-stress situations!
- Start taking campus visits! It’s early, but it’s good to get exposure to different types of college campuses. Besides academics and athletics, the campus is where you’ll be spending a ton of your time for a few years, so it’s important that you enjoy it! You can contact the admissions department to set up a visit, take a tour, and you may even be able to sit in on a class or meet with students and professors! Make sure you take notes about different things you like and don’t like about your visit so you can revisit them later. Let the coach know that you’re coming to see if you can set up a time to talk with them. Make sure you have a set of questions, such as their coaching style, practice times, off-season workouts, the team, etc. Different coaches run their programs differently, so it’s important to know the expectations going into it!
NCAA Rules for Freshmen/Sophomores:
- Written correspondence and Emails: Coaches may send you questionnaires, rules letters, referrals to admissions, and camp brochures. You can write to coaches as often as you would like.
- Phone Calls: You may call college coaches, but they may not call you, even if it is to return your phone call. If you get their voicemail, make sure you leave your email address in case they want to follow up with you!
Texting is strictly prohibited for both the coach and the player!
- Evaluations: They can come see you 7 times throughout the academic year, and unlimited times during the summer
- In-Person Contact: No in-person contact is allowed off-campus. Players may visit colleges as often as they like at their own expense, and may visit the coach while on-campus.
Junior Year: This is the most important year for college recruiting for all levels of athletes! Volleyball is a huge sport, and you need to do your part to stand out to coaches!
- Narrow down your college list. Through college visits and research, you should already have a better idea of what you want from a school, and which schools you would fit in at, athletically and academically. It’s much harder to handle communications with 25 college coaches, compared to if you narrow your list down to 10 colleges.
- Let coaches know if you are not interested! Recruiting is a two-way street. You’re working hard to get recruited, but colleges and their coaches are working hard to recruit players for their roster, and sell their school to you. If you know you’re not interested in a school, let the coaches know, so that they aren’t wasting time and resources that could go to other athletes that actually are interested in their school. Make sure you let them know nicely and graciously.
- Keep the coaches you are interested in up-to-date on your progress! Email them if you update your skills tape, or if your team wins a tournament, if you set a school record, etc. Right before a tournament that they will be at, send them your team’s schedule and ask if they can make time to come see you!
- Take your SAT or ACT, and send the scores to the schools you are looking at. Also, email the coach with your scores so they can input them into their own database. Update your athletic resume, recruiting profiles, and your NCAA Eligibility center with your scores.
- Fill out the paperwork to be put into the CJVA Media Guide. This way, if a coach asks your club coach or management staff about you, they have more information to share about you.
- Send copies of your transcripts to your top choice schools. These are more informative than just your cumulative GPA, since this tells the school which AP and Honors courses you’re taking, your grades in specific courses and subjects, as well as how your grades have improved throughout high school.
- Continue making college visits! Taking a second, or even third, trip to a school that you really like is perfectly fine! More than anything, DO NOT commit to a school before visiting the campus and meeting the team, coaches, and professors.
- If you commit D1 or D2 in your Junior year, let ALL of the other coaches know! If you’re being signed to a school your junior year, chances are that you are a great player, and multiple schools are probably dying to have you on their team. It’s a hard thing to do, but it’s your responsibility to let any and all college coaches that you’ve been talking to that you’ve made a decision. It’s a courtesy to them, and it allows them to move their focus to non-committed athletes.
Updated NCAA Rules for Juniors:
- Written correspondence and Emails: Starting September 1st of your Junior year, coaches can begin sending you recruiting letters.
- Phone Calls: After July 1st of your Junior year, coaches can call you once per week
- Text messages: This past year, coaches have been given permission to text with recruits.
- Otherwise, rules are the same as Freshman/Sophomore year
Senior Year: This year is important for both committed and non-committed athletes.
- Narrow down your College list: By your Senior year, you should have no more than 10 colleges on your list. Make sure to keep coaches in the loop as you do so, and alert them if you are no longer interested in their college.
- If you are retaking your SAT or ACT, keep schools and coaches updated. Sometimes, your SAT or ACT scores can have a major impact on your schools’ or your coaches’ decisions
- Keep an open dialogue with coaches. Let them know any major updates to your life, and continue to alert them to any tournaments or matches that they can attend.
- Stay on top of your actual applications! Make sure you’re aware of the different deadlines for the schools you’re interested in, and the varying requirements for the applications.
- If you need financial aid, be sure to submit your FAFSA by February!
- If you are offered a D1 or D2 Athletic scholarship, you can sign a National Letter of Intent during one of two signing periods. If you sign your NLI, you are bound to attend that school for at least 1 year!
Updated NCAA Rules for Seniors
- Written Correspondence and Email: Coaches can continue sending you recruiting letters
- Official Visits: During your senior year, you may be eligible for Five “Official Visits,” which means that the NCAA will pay some or all of your visit expenses. This is organized through the NCAA Eligibility Center, which is why it’s important that you keep that page up-to-date!
- Otherwise, rules are the same as Junior year