Among the important action items for high school seniors looking to compete in college are:
- Figuring out which schools still need their position.
- Showcasing their talents.
- Communicating with coaches to find out where they might be in the pecking order. Most college coaches will be honest with you about where you stand. If you’re an outside hitter and they have one player ahead of you on their recruiting board, they will likely say something like, “If so and so doesn’t come here, you’re our next choice.”
Here's what you should do:
- If you’re an uncommitted senior, time is of the essence. If you haven’t started the process, follow the freshman checklist. Reach out to coaches at schools you may want to attend who may still need your position in your grad year. Division 1 schools complete recruiting earlier than Division 2, 3 and NAIA. NCAA rules have slowed down the recruiting process, so as time goes on it will become more common to be uncommitted entering your senior year.
- Attend as many “unsigned” showcases and clinics as possible to get in front of more coaches. Make sure the coaches attending are from schools you are interested in.
- Scan the “College Needs List” on prepvolleyball.com. This is even more crucial to speed up your process by finding out which schools still need your position and where you could see yourself going as a student-athlete.
- Apply to the schools you want to attend. Early applications are usually the best option; it’s good to get them out of the way. Most colleges begin accepting applications around Sept. 1, but make sure to research your specific target schools' deadlines and let the coaches know if you’re planning to apply.
- After your verbal commitment, complete your NCAA eligibility profile. For student-athletes, this is a simple matter of clicking a button.
- Make a phone call to the other schools that offered you a spot. This is respectful, and it's a nice gesture to tell them your decision over the phone rather than letting them find out on social media or through others. It lets them know that you’re courteous and care. Remember, you may see them on the other side of the net during your college volleyball career.
- Announce your verbal commitment through your social media platforms and on prepvolleyball.com and/or Rich Kern’s recruiting registry. This lets coaches and others know your plans and that you are no longer in the recruiting process.
- Plan for your National Letter of Intent signing experience. This is a ceremonial event and a great photo opportunity for capturing memories and celebrating. Depending on your city, high school and area where you live, there may be a city wide “signing” of all athletes – or simply at your school. Find out from your high school athletic director what typically happens on “signing day” in November.
- Reach out to your soon-to-be teammates on social media. Getting to know the players who you’ll be going to battle with is a great way to begin forming a strong team bond.
- Plan your summer. Find out from your college coaches what’s expected of you. Will you need to go to summer school? If so, who will pay for it? What will your housing situation be? Be proactive in fact-finding.
- Keep training and practicing after both your verbal commitment and signing. Some recruits relax at this point, which is a bad idea. You should grind even harder and focus on getting ready to compete, especially if you want to challenge for playing time right away.
- Take care of any nagging injuries that you may have had during your senior year of high school. Get stronger and healthier than ever so you can have a positive start to your collegiate volleyball experience.
- Pay close attention to communications from your coaches or the school’s compliance department so you can complete whatever is being asked of you. For example, working out housing arrangements or getting a physical. Again, be prompt. Respond within 24 hours.
- After your high school graduation, send your final transcripts and your degree immediately to the NCAA Eligibility Center and to the admissions office of the college you’ll be attending. Overnight it with a tracking number so you’ll know when it’s received. Once the NCAA has it, they’ll call the conference office and the conference office will let your school know if you’re eligible to compete. Don’t send this info by snail mail. The faster the NCAA receives it, the more time you’ll have if there are eligibility issues to iron out.