How to Get Recruited
How to Get Recruited
Junior Year Recruiting Checklist

Junior Year Recruiting Checklist

Many student-athletes start making significant progress with recruiting their junior year. Your class is now a top priority for many college coaches, as rules restricting NCAA Division I and II programs from contacting your class get lifted. These key steps will ensure you are aware of important windows and prepared for this critical year in your recruiting process.

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Summer Before Junior Year


Prepare for Your Upcoming Recruiting Events 

Athletes who get the most exposure at events all have one thing in common: they put in the work to ensure they are on the pre-determined list of athletes that attending coaches have planned to see. If you do not reach out to coaches before events, it’s possible that the schools you’re most interested in won’t even see any of your games! Use the Messaging System to reach out to coaches on your target list 7-10 days before the event and provide them with your jersey number, field locations, and full schedule breakdown. Reference these sample email templates for the important points to include in your emails leading up to events.

Understand the Importance of June 15th

If you are interested in NCAA DI or DII programs, this summer is critical because these coaches can start contacting you! Contact dates vary by sport, but the most common dates are June 15th, August 1st, or September 1st. If you’re unsure which date coaches may start contacting you for recruiting conversations, find your sport here. If you have been actively communicating with college coaches up until now, you will likely receive more replies now and possibly invitations for phone calls or on-campus visits.


Capture Game Film Throughout the Summer

This summer, it’s critical you are capturing game film during your local and away matches. You’ll use these clips to build your Junior summer highlight reel, which you can create for free in just 5-minutes using the Highlight Reel Editor tool on your SportsRecruits profile. Make sure to hit publish, so that coaches see it when they search for you. You can also share your video using the SportsRecruits Messaging System. Any time a coach reviews your videos on SportsRecruits, you'll receive a real-time notification. 💡Pro tip: Ask coaches for feedback on your video. This will help you gauge where you stand on this coach's list of recruits.

Start Preparing for Phone Calls with College Coaches 

College coaches may want to speak on the phone or stay in touch this year through text. To prepare for these calls, review the common questions coaches typically ask and use a friend or family member to do a practice run! Remember that it is important to show gratitude and professionalism when communicating with college coaches. After a phone call or video-chat, thank the coach for their time and ask what the next steps are. This shows that you are serious about their program and are eager to move recruiting conversations forward.


Publish Summer Film to Your SportsRecruits Profile 

Throughout the summer season, you should have been compiling game film from tournaments, showcases, or prospect days you attended. As the summer comes to a close, creating a new highlight reel is essential! Junior year is when most college coaches will focus on your recruiting class, and they must have up-to-date video to evaluate you for their program.

Commit to an Outreach Plan

Identify several times throughout your junior year when you can commit to contacting the schools on your target list. This year is about building connections with schools that will hopefully turn into more serious recruiting conversations in the following months. After your introduction email, you should be sending periodic updates every 3-4 months. These emails can be updates about new video you’ve added to your your SportsRecruits profile, new academic updates, your schedule for upcoming events, or simply a note wishing them luck at an upcoming game. Learn all the reasons to email college coaches throughout the year (templates included!)

Prepare for September 1st

September 1st is the most important recruiting date for baseball, softball, men’s lacrosse, and women’s lacrosse athletes. NCAA Division I coaches can begin engaging with you in recruiting-like conversations beginning September 1st heading into your junior year of high school. These conversations can be about where you stand on their list, what you have been doing in your recruiting process, and their recruiting timeline for your class year. These communications may include phone calls, emails, video chat software (Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, etc.), and direct messaging on social media.

Junior Year Fall


Check-in With Your Athletic Advocates

Since you can now speak directly to NCAA DI and DII programs, checking in with your athletic advocates is essential. You should be comfortable leaning on them for insight into which programs might be a good fit for you. If college coaches are asking you for recommendations, you can ask your athletic advocates if they would be willing to speak on your behalf.

Check-in With Your Guidance Counselor 

At this point, your guidance counselor should have a good idea of your goals and aspirations for college. Schedule a meeting with your guidance counselor this month to confirm you are on track to meet the minimum academic requirements, especially if you are receiving interest from NCAA DI or DII programs. During this meeting, ask your counselor if you need to adjust your coursework this semester to keep you on track with NCAA core course requirements


Review Upcoming SAT or ACT Test Dates 

Depending on your high school’s curriculum, you may be in a position to start looking into taking an SAT or ACT exam. Even if most of the colleges on your list are test-optional, we recommend taking at least one of these standardized tests to see if it would benefit your college application. Remember that most schools allow you to “super score” your ACT or SAT results. This means that you are evaluated based on your highest scores from each subject, which makes taking these exams more than once a wise strategy. Superscoring should also relieve some stress of taking this exam for the first time, as you will have opportunities to improve that score later.

Connect With Your Target List of Schools

Junior year is considered the most important grade of your high school career, both academically and athletically. Hopefully, you have already started communicating with college coaches throughout the summer. If you haven’t, head to the Messaging System and introduce yourself to all the schools on your target list. You can use the free SportsRecruits School Search tool to learn more about each program, and, in many sports, filter to schools where the current coaches have indicated they are actively searching for athletes in your class year and position. Stay organized and keep track of your progress with each school by adding them to your target from School Search and categorizing each as safety, fit, and reach options.


Publish Film from the Fall

Create a highlight video using film taken at any competition you participated in over the last few months. If your sport wasn’t in season and you don’t have in-game footage, create a skills video. College coaches use this type of video to evaluate skills relevant to your recruiting position, giving them a better sense of how you might fit into their team. Remember to keep your SportsRecruits profile updated with new video, as this is one of the most common places that coaches will go online to learn more about you.

Set Up A College Visit

If you have made significant progress with any schools, they may invite you to visit their campus on an unofficial or official visit starting this fall. If you have yet to receive an invitation, booking a tour through their admissions department is a great way to showcase your interest. Inform the coaching staff that you will be on campus, as it tells them you’re very serious about their school. It could lead to more recruiting-related conversations with that program!

Junior Year Winter


Prepare for Potential Phone Calls With College Coaches

At this stage in the recruiting process, college coaches may want to speak on the phone with you or stay in touch through text. Getting on a phone call with a coach may sound nerve-wracking at first, but keep in mind that most of these calls follow a similar structure, and coaches will often ask a similar set of questions that you can prepare for. Be yourself, answer their questions confidently, and always thank them for their time at the end of the call.

Prepare for Potential Visits With College Coaches

One of the best indicators of a college program’s interest in a potential recruit is an invitation to visit their campus. Whether it’s an official or unofficial visit, a college coach inviting you to see their facilities and show you around campus means you have taken an essential step toward a college offer. Make sure to dress professionally, have your academic information accessible (i.e., your updated transcript and current course schedule), and prepare some questions to ask the coaches. At the end of your visit, thank them for their time and ask what the next steps are.


Write Down a List of Goals for the Upcoming Year

Research has shown that writing down your goals increases the likelihood of achieving them. After evaluating your progress with the goals you set last year, it’s time to identify specific academic and athletic goals you want to achieve this year. Check in with your athletic advocates if you need help identifying specific skills to focus on. If there are grades you want to improve, use this time to consult your academic advisor to help put together a plan.

Review the Different Types of Offers

Many coaches will begin extending offers to Juniors in their spring semester. You may find yourself with an offer from a program, or if you are fortunate, you may have multiple offers! Before you commit to a school, take some time to research the different types of offers that are available to you. The kind of offer you can receive may differ depending on the sport you play and the division the school competes in. Remember that any offer you receive before senior year is considered a verbal offer. It isn’t until you sign the national letter of intent that your commitment is officially considered a binding contract.


Start Researching Ways to Pay for College

Looking at a college’s “sticker price” may drive you away from specific colleges, but keep in mind that most families can reduce costs significantly through a combination of financial aid options. FAFSA, merit scholarships, work-study programs, and student loans are all different ways to help pay for college, and most families don’t realize how much they qualify for. Remember that athletic scholarships are limited and are not something you should assume you are receiving.

Ask Coaches if they are Still Recruiting 

If you haven’t yet had any serious conversations with coaches at this stage of the recruiting process, it’s time to reach out to the schools on your list to confirm where they are with your recruiting class. Make sure you have the most up-to-date information on your SportsRecruits profile and reach out to every college on your target list. If you haven’t heard back from any of your top schools, use the free School Search tool in your SportsRecruits account to find your best college matches. Many athletes commit to schools they weren’t aware existed until late in their recruiting process!

Junior Year Spring


Add Updates from the Winter to Your SportsRecruits Profile

Junior year is the most important time to keep your online recruiting resume up-to-date, as coaches will search online more than ever for your class year. Make sure your profile stands out! College coaches will refer to your SportsRecruits profile to evaluate how you might fit into their program and whether there are opportunities to see you at upcoming events they plan to attend. Log in to your free account, click the “Profile Preview” icon, and update any missing information.  Your recruiting profile should contain essential information like film, class year and position, your upcoming game schedule, and any educational or athletic awards.

Publish Winter Film to your SportsRecruits Profile

If you have any in-game footage from the past few months, now is a great time to build and publish a highlight video. You can do so for free from your SportsRecruits account in the Highlight Reel Editor tab found in your Video Library. If you don’t have any in-game footage, take the time to put together a skills video.

Re-Evaluate Your Target List of Schools

If you have been consistently communicating with your target list of schools, you should have a clear picture of where you stand with these programs around this time. Even if college coaches have told you that they are in no rush to start sending offers to your recruiting class, they will likely be able to give you an idea of their level of interest in you. While it may be difficult to hear from a college coach that they don’t see you as a potential fit for their program, it’s important to understand this information is valuable and helps you focus your efforts elsewhere. Review your target list with your athletic advocates and refer to your past communications to determine if you should remove any schools or add new ones. You can find your best college fits in the SportsRecruits School Search Tool, using filters like division, location, school size, or majors offered, to hone in on your personal fits.


Start Researching Summer Recruiting Events

At this point, you should be able to make informed decisions about which schools to get in front of this summer based on your communications this past year. If you have had serious conversations with specific programs, look into prospect days or ID clinics offered by the program’s coaching staff. You can use the free School Search tool to find a direct link to each program’s website, which is where these events are posted. If you need broader exposure, take the time to research showcases in your area. Showcases are essential events to attend if you want to gain exposure from several programs at once.

Make Sure You’re on Track for NCAA Eligibility

You may be getting ready to create your senior-year class schedule. This is a great time to make sure your GPA is in line with the NCAA requirements and to determine whether you need to take any additional core courses before you graduate next year. When you apply to colleges during your senior year, you will send your end-of-junior year transcript. Finish strong!


Check-in With Your Guidance Counselor

Meet with your school’s college counselor this spring to discuss which colleges you plan to apply to this fall. Your counselor can give you insight into your academic standing with each college. They can also give your family insight into how to pay for college and how to qualify for financial aid. Lastly, your academic counselor can guide you toward professors who might be willing to write a letter of recommendation for you to include in your college applications.

Research Scholarship Opportunities

As you may probably know, college tuition is expensive. Most student-athletes aim to receive an athletic scholarship, which is typically reserved for just a few students. Keep in mind that even if you’re not offered an athletic scholarship, there are many other types of financial aid you may qualify for. Educate yourself on all the options available to help you pay for college.

Publish Film from the Spring

Grab your best clips from this past season and build your spring highlight video for free in just 5-minutes from the Highlight Reel Editor on your SportsRecruits Profile. Once you’ve published the video, message college coaches and ask them for feedback. If you were not in season this spring, a great way to refresh your profile is to add a skills video. Coaches refer to skills videos to evaluate your technique, strength, and speed. Once you publish your video on SportsRecruits, you’ll receive a real-time notification when coaches evaluate your video.


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