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Recruiting Checklist

A recruiting checklist helps stundet-athletes to stay on track to be NCAA eligibile when they graduate. It helps you stay ahead of deadlines to complete standardized tests, register with the NCAA eligibility center, complete your college application, and apply for financial aid.

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Key Takeaways

  • Stay on track with your personal recruiting checklist
  • Register early with the NCAA eligibility. It is complex and time consuming
  • Research and prepare for standardized tests and complete your college application

Stay on track using a recruiting checklist

While a lot of the recruiting process involves talking with coaches and visiting schools, there are a few crucial things to complete in order to ensure you will be accepted into your desired university and eligible to sign a National Letter of Intent, thus completing the recruiting process.

1) Complete High School Core Classes

The NCAA requires completion of certain core classes in high school to be eligible to attend and compete for a university. Check with your high school guidance counselor for a list of these core courses, and to make sure you’re on track to completing the required classes.

2) Complete Standardized Tests

Typically by your junior year you should begin registering to take both the SAT and ACT. The ACT is given 6 times a year, and the SAT is given 7 times a year.

Register early: It is important to register early so you can confirm a date that fits in your schedule, and so you have time to plan to take the tests again if you need to achieve a higher score. Having your test scores will allow you to begin applying to schools at the start of your senior year.

Visit the College Board Website for more information on the SAT, and ACT, or find more details on our requirements page, under Academic Requirements.

3) Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center

If you’re looking to play in the NCAA Division I or NCAA Division II you must complete a registration with the NCAA Eligibility Center. The NCAA looks at completion of certain core classes, GPA, and SAT/ACT scores to determine eligibility. This should be completed in the summer of your junior year so that you are able to go on Official Visits to universities.

*For NAIA, you would register with the NAIA Eligibility Center.

4) Complete your College Application

Filling out college applications can be time consuming, that’s why it is advised to begin filling them out during the summer before your senior year. This will help to get ahead and not be overwhelmed with completing applications on top of school work and practice in your senior year.

Use CommonApp: It is also advised to use the Common Application, where you can use a singular application to apply to multiple schools. Making a list of your top schools, as well as ones where you’ve been in communication with coaches will help to narrow the amount of applications you send in. See more information under Applying to College.

5) Apply for FASFA – Federal Student Aid

Being awarded an Athletic Scholarship is a dream for many, but in reality only 2% of high school athletes will be awarded an athletic scholarship, and not many of those are full-rides.

However many schools offer Academic Scholarships and Financial Aid to make the college of your dreams affordable. That’s why it is important to fill out the paperwork for FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Make sure to check the deadlines for your college to be eligible for financial aid. It is advised to complete the paperwork at the beginning of your senior year (regardless if you know you will need it or not) to assure you would be eligible.

6) Request your Amateurism Certificate

On April 1st of your senior year, you must request your final amateurism certification. At this point you have likely already registered with the NCAA eligibility center, but now you must update the information to ensure you are certified to compete at the Division I and Division II levels and receive scholarship.

7) Show proof of graduation

Once you graduate high school, you must show the NCAA that you have done so by submitting your final transcripts. You can do this by having your transcripts sent to the eligibility center with your graduation date included.

8) Sign a National Letter of Intent

Schools that are part of the program may send their prospective student-athlete a National Letter of Intent (NLI). The letter is a legally-binding contract.

It explains what athletic financial aid the school agrees to provide the student-athlete for one full academic year, only if the student is admitted to the school and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules. Not every school uses the NLI, therefore it is not mandatory to sign, but it was created to protect both athletes and colleges from backing out of a commitment.

If you sign a National Letter of Intent, you agree to attend that school for one academic year and other schools that are part of the National Letter of Intent program can no longer recruit you. The signing dates slightly change every year, but below you will see the windows for signing for the 2020-21 school year.

NLI Signing Dates

Prospective Student-Athletes Signing 2020-21 and Enrolling 2021-22

Sport (s) Initial Signing Date Final Signing Date
Division I Basketball (Early Period) November 11, 2020 November 18, 2020
Division I Basketball (Regular Period) April 14, 2021 August 1, 2021
Division I Football (Early Period) December 16, 2020 December 18, 2020
Division I and II Football (Midyear JC Transfer) December 16, 2020 January 15, 2021
Division I and II Football (Regular Period) February 3, 2021 Division I: August 1, 2021
Division II: August 1, 2021
All Other Division I and II Sports November 11, 2020 August 1, 2021

Note: It is NOT mandatory to sign on the initial signing date, but many students do, as it has become a nationally celebrated event.

9) Make it Official

Even after you have graduated and received acceptance into the school you are planning on attending, you must accept and show your intent to attend. Otherwise the school will give up your spot of admittance to the next student on the wait-list.

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