If you’re reading this on the CaptainU site, odds are you haven’t been rated a five-star recruit. However, while five-star athletes are the elite of the elite, that doesn’t mean you can’t earn a scholarship to compete in college. However, compared to five-star recruits, there are five things you’ll have to do differently during the recruiting process.
You’ll Have To Work Harder
It may seem unfair to see five-star recruits garner loads of scholarship offers while your phone isn’t ringing, but that actually makes you part of a huge majority. Being part of the majority of high school athletes who don’t get scholarship offers from multiple schools means you simply have to work harder to get noticed in your own recruiting process. While scouting websites, YouTube, sports radio, and even ESPN provide plenty of exposure for five-star recruits, you’ll have to be proactive to get your profile and highlight video in front of college coaches. That means contacting coaches via email, phone calls, and social media. Just remember to start early, cast a wide, and don’t give up.
Make The Most Of The Offers You Do Receive
Yes, a five-star recruit may get offers from every program in the nation. However, the truth is, the majority of the coaches making those offers know they’ll have no chance of landing that recruit. Coaches offer five-star recruits because they know that any association between their program and that recruit will generate positive buzz and publicity to help their recruiting down the road.
So, while you may not receive as many offers as a five-star recruit, simply earning one, two, or even five scholarship offers is something to be proud of and validation of all your hard work. And, regardless of how many offers you receive, when it gets down to National Signing Day, you’re just like every five-star recruit. That is, you can only accept one offer. Make the most of your opportunities and pick the school that fits you best, athletically and academically.
You Still Need To Develop Physically
While it’s not always the case, most five-star recruits have been physically superior to their peers since their early teens. Developing sooner and standing out earlier was likely an important factor in marking them as an elite athlete for coaches and recruiters.
If you weren’t blowing away the competition at age 13, that doesn’t mean you won’t get scholarship offers at age 17. Early developing, elite athletes are the exception, not the rule. Coaches understand that you will likely continue to develop physically and many will offer scholarships based on just that expectation.
As you develop, keep your highlight video updated to reflect your growth. And, while you’re waiting to grow physically, make sure your grades and attitude are already developed fully so that coaches can see you’ll bloom into a complete package. (How to Succeed in Recruiting if you’re a Late Bloomer).
Hype Your Highlight Video
Assembling a highlight video and posting it to YouTube is a great step. However, sitting back and expecting coaches to discover you when your video goes viral is a giant leap backward. That’s because, unless your video shows you demonstrating professional-level skills, the odds of it exploding across the internet are slim to none.
To make sure coaches see your video, be proactive. Make sure you include the link with every email message to coaches and remember to notify coaches each time you update your video. If you have your own coach contacting coaches on your behalf, make sure they have the link to share too. And, if you’re attending camps, showcases, or clinics at schools on your target list, include your highlight video link when you sign up then as well.
Prepare For Partial Scholarship Offers
Depending on your sport, you may only receive an offer for a partial scholarship. Athletes in what the NCAA defines as “headcount sports” – Division I football and basketball for men and DI basketball, volleyball, tennis, and gymnastics for women – all earn full scholarships. Athletes in other sports where coaches have fewer scholarships – called equivalency sports – may be offered partial scholarships.
While it may lack the glamor factor of a full ride, remember that partial scholarships are often offered as part of a package with other grants or financial aid to help cover or reduce your college expenses. And, whether you’re offered a full or partial scholarship, big school or small, remember to keep your eyes on the big picture goal of competing at the collegiate level.
Whatever your “rating,” you can still earn a scholarship to compete in college. You may have to work harder during the recruiting process than the elite recruits, but in the end, that work can pay off in a five-star experience at the school that’s right for you.