6 Phases of the College Recruiting Process

The college recruiting process can be tricky to navigate unless you have a plan.

Follow the simple steps outlined in these six phases of the college recruiting process and learn not only everything you need to know, but also everything you need to do to find the right college for you. Then, start grounding your dreams in reality by developing a customized marketing plan that will highlight your abilities and gain the attention of your top choices.  

Here is a breakdown of the six phases of the recruiting process and what you might expect to learn in each phase. 

1. Introduction Phase

This is the place where I recommend all prospective student-athletes (PSAs) begin the college search/recruiting process. This phase provides PSAs with an introduction to playing college sports.


  • Why is it important for you to play in college?
  • What are the benefits of playing college sports?
  • What are the demands of being a student-athlete?


This phase allows PSAs to establish their motives and goals for their college future.  It will provide a closer look at the student-athlete experience.

2. Planning and Preparation Phase

The second phase is very informative. In this phase, PSAs should learn about the landscape of intercollegiate athletics, and understand the ins and outs of the NCAA.


  • What is the NCAA?
  • What is the NCAA Eligibility Center?
  • What are the recruiting rules and regulations?
  • What are the differences between NCAA DI, DII, DIII, NAIA, and NJCAA?


In addition, a PSA should understand all the factors that go into building an initial list of schools to help prospective student-athletes find the right school that fits their academic, athletic, and personal needs.

3. Communication Phase

Now that you have a better understanding of the recruiting process and you have a grasp of what you are looking for in your college experience, it’s time to contact college coaches. It’s imperative to know what qualities coaches are seeking when filling their roster. What are the four areas of a PSA that college coaches look at?  PSAs should learn how to create an effective marketing plan to market/promote their abilities to college coaches. What are the three parts to writing an introduction letter? What should be included in your student-athlete profile? Learn some strategies to effectively communicate with college coaches. Discover social media tips that will help you build a positive personal positive image.

4. Exposure Phase

There are many aspects to gaining exposure from coaches at the college level. First, learn the difference between being identified vs. being recruited. Discover the best ways to be evaluated. What do you need to do in order to make a great first impression on a college coach? Answer questions that you might expect from a college coach. Learn about and effectively use the three key elements to gaining exposure.  What are some tips to make the most out of your overnight visit? How can you narrow down your list of prospective schools?

5. Decision Making Phase

It’s time to make a decision. Learn and understand the intricacies of Financial Aid. What are the different types of financial aid available? Use the Cost of College Table to find the school that best fits your family’s situation. How can the College Comparison table help you choose the school that’s right for you? If you are an early commit, discover the terms of a verbal commitment. Who signs a National Letter of Intent (NLI)? What are the two types of walk-ons?

6. Beyond the Decision

Congratulations, you have made a decision! Now what?

You can take time to celebrate that you have navigated the recruiting process successfully but in all actuality, the work has just begun. College coaches recruit you based on your potential and the impact they think you can make on their program both on and off the field. It is important that you are prepared to be a successful student-athlete.


As you navigate through the college recruiting process, you should look at it from three perspectives: as a student, an athlete, and as a young man/woman. You want to find a school that will help you develop in all three of these areas. If you choose a school based on only one or two of those perspectives, you will likely find that you’re not happy with the choice you’ve made.

Be sure to explore all of your options so that you can make informed decisions. Do your homework and seek out the appropriate help to find the answers you need. It is your future. You’re worth it.

CoachUp is the safest and easiest way to find a coach for personalized training. With our 100% money-back guarantee and vetted coaches, anyone can achieve their full athletic potential. Find your perfect coach today and become the athlete you want to be!


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