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College Preparation, Things You Need to Know

Students & Financial Literacy

A college education is one of the most important investments you will ever make. By managing how you pay for school and what you spend money on, you can worry less about debt and more about your career after graduation. Receiving a scholarship — or multiple scholarships — can significantly reduce your tuition and other college expenses. Scholarships are available in various forms and dollar amounts. Many students receive partial scholarships from different sources.


Many times parents and players are seeking information on the college soccer and
recruitment process. They are not sure where to turn for information. There are so many
questions to ask. When do I apply to College? How important are test scores? How do I contact
a college coach? Do I need a video? What is the NCAA Clearinghouse? How do I begin the
recruitment process?

It is very important to know that no one course is correct for everyone. Each school and
coach may handle the process differently for their prospective student-athletes. But there are
many things you need to know about the process before you begin.

When looking at schools, try to find a campus you love and where you can see yourself
attending for four to five years. Look for a school that has your major area of concentration. Try
to find a school that has a soccer program where you’ll play and enjoy yourself. Be honest with
yourself about where you might fit in academically and athletically and be honest with yourself
and the coach you are communicating with.

Schools and coaches also look for good students. One of the most important things to
remember is to work hard and keep your grades up. You should be a student first and an athlete

It is also our hope that you will check with the school and their umbrella organization to
make sure of their policies, scholarship availability, rules and programs. There are differences
between those umbrella organizations rules. For example, the NCAA Division I and II, NCAA
Division III and NAIA have different rules for what coaches may do during the recruitment
process. So do your homework and remember to ask questions.

It is our hope that the information provided in this guide will help you to answer some of
those questions and point you to the right sources for additional information. There are some
guidelines that will help you as you prepare for this exciting, yet sometimes intimidating,

Getting Started  A Suggested Timeline


(Many of these items pertain to NCAA schools only. It’s always best to check with the umbrella organization to verify recruitment rules. The governing organizations meet on a regular basis and can change rules. For NCAA schools always check here for the latest information:

Sophomore Year

(NCAA Div I and Div II coaches cannot call or write you yet, only send general information and camp information, so don’t be disappointed if you write a coach and they do not write you back. Only NCAA Div III coaches may contact you at this time.)

  • Keep your grades up!
  • Begin compiling a list of possible colleges or universities that meet your interests and
    research their academic and athletic programs
  • Take the PSAT test.
  • Write a cover letter and soccer resume and send it out to possible schools.
  • Review NCAA Clearinghouse eligibility requirements. The summer before your junior
    year, register with the NCAA Clearinghouse.
  • Select junior year courses to fulfill these requirements.
  • Play at the highest level possible. Keep a record of athletic achievements.

Junior Year

As of September 1, you can now talk on the phone with a coach at NCAA Div. I level. (June 15 for NCAA Div II ) If you are a top level player, expect some phone calls. If not, call the coach yourself. A letter followed by a call shows interest in the program.).

  • Keep your grades up!
  • Send coaches updated resume and player profile, send dates of tournaments and league
  • Organize a filing system on colleges that respond to your inquiry and indicate interest.
    You will need names and phones numbers of coaches and also when they indicated
  • Make a list of all the colleges/universities you have been in contact with and rank them in
    order starting with your favorite school (based on what you know at this point) down to
    your least favorite school. Start by calling the coach at your least favorite school. You
    will probably be nervous when you talk to this coach however, by talking to a coach at
    your least favorite college/university, you will gain confidence for when you contact the
    coaches who are higher on your priority list.
  • Most likely, if you are calling a coach, you will get his or her voicemail. Practice leaving
    a message beforehand. You can even call yourself and leave a practice voicemail on your
    cell phone. If you do get in touch with a coach, make sure you take notes on the
    conversation. Also, keep a list of your top five questions to ask and make sure that these
    questions cannot be answered by looking on the Web site.
  • Play in College Showcase tournaments, summer tournaments or participate in ODP
  • Attend any recruitment seminars at these tournaments. Also attend College Fairs and
    register your sport with each college.
  • Consider attending the summer camp of a school of interest, or one which has a lot of
    college coaches on staff.
  • Narrow your search to 10 or so schools and engage in regular correspondence with the
  • Make unofficial visits (at your expense) to selected schools. Meet with the coach and see
    the team play, if possible.
  • Take the SAT or ACT tests. Make sure scores are sent to your schools of interest.
  • Check your status with the NCAA Clearinghouse.
  • Select senior year courses to complete Clearinghouse requirements.
  • Stay in touch with your high school counselor.
  • Obtain financial form (FAFSA).

Senior Year

(When classes begin, you may start taking official visits to the schools that have interest in you and vice versa.)

  • Don’t let down in your class work. Finish strong.
  • Check status with the NCAA Clearinghouse.
  • Narrow your search to 5 schools.
  • Complete FAFSA form again with recent tax information.
  • Respond immediately to any interest shown by colleges.
  • Schedule and complete official visits (at schools expense). Meet with the coach and the
    team and stay overnight if possible, see the team play.
  • Stay in touch with your high school counselor.
  • Narrow down your choices and get your applications done early.
  • Keep coaches updated on your achievements by sending them your resume through the
    fall and play in high level events in November and December.
  • Provide your coach and counselor with your interest college list. Discuss college interest
    with your coach and counselor.
  • Make a decision!

Make A list Of Colleges

Draft a tentative list of colleges that interest you. Your list may include schools in your area,
schools that have a particular major of interest to you, or schools you know very little about.
Your list may be long but in the early stages you don’t want to eliminate any school you are
curious about. It is very important that you look at the school for its academic programs as well
as its athletic programs.

Your academic experience in college is what will provide an important foundation for your
chosen career path after college. Not many players plan to be professional athletes. In addition,
it’s not uncommon for an injury to happen that could end your college soccer career. You want
to end up at a place that you will enjoy attending even if you never play athletics there.

Here are some questions that may aid you in your college selection:

  • Would I choose this college even if I am not playing on the team?
  • Would I be happy sitting on the bench and not playing much?
  • Would I still select this college if there is a different coach?
  • Was I comfortable there both academically and athletically?
  • Did the staff and team seem to get along and care about each other?
  • How does the coach motivate the team?
  • Were the coaching team and staff friendly? Enthusiastic? Honest? Supportive? Sincere?
    Caring? Or hospitable?

Educate yourself about the Various Associations’

Students that plan to compete in athletics at the college level must meet certain eligibility requirements set forth by the NCAA.

Students who have not met the NCAA eligibility
requirements will not be allowed to participate in college athletics.
We have including the following link to assist you in this process.

For information go to:

NCAA Initial-eligibility Clearinghouse

Students who plan to compete in athletics at the Division I or Division II college level must
complete the NCAA Clearinghouse form in order to be eligible. Division III does not use the
eligibility Center.
There is a $30 registration fee. To pay online you will need to use a credit
card. The steps for registering on line are as follows:

  1. Go to the NCAA Clearinghouse web site at
  2. Once there, click on PROSPECTIVE STUDENT-ATHLETE
  3. Once on the Welcome to student information page, click on DOMESTIC STUDENT
  4. Once on the Student release form (U.S.) page, complete this page accurately.
  5. Print an extra copy of your student release form for your counselor.
  6. You will still need to notify your counselor that you registered on line so that your
    transcript will be sent to the NCAA Clearinghouse.

What are the Divisions of the NCAA?

Division I

Division I member institutions have to sponsor at least seven sports for men and seven for
women (or six for men and eight for women) with two team sports for each gender. Each playing
season has to be represented by each gender as well. There are contest and participant minimums
for each sport, as well as scheduling criteria. For sports other than football and basketball,
Division I schools must play 100 percent of the minimum number of contests against Division I
opponents — anything over the minimum number of games has to be 50 percent Division I.
Division I schools must meet minimum financial aid awards for their athletics program, and
there are maximum financial aid awards for each sport that a Division I school cannot exceed.

For a list of member schools/sports link:

Division II

Division II institutions have to sponsor at least five sports for men and five for women, (or four
for men and six for women), with two team sports for each gender, and each playing season
represented by each gender. There are contest and participant minimums for each sport, as well
as scheduling criteria. For sports other than football and basketball there are no scheduling
requirements. There are not attendance requirements for football, or arena game requirements for
basketball. There are maximum financial aid awards for each sport that a Division II school must
not exceed. Division II teams usually feature a number of local or in-state student-athletes. Many
Division II student/athletes pay for school through a combination of scholarship money, grants,
student loans and employment earnings. Division II athletics programs are financed in the
8 institution’s budget like other academic departments on campus. Traditional rivalries with
regional institutions dominate schedules of many Division II athletics programs.

For a list of
member schools/sports link:

Division III

Division III institutions have to sponsor at least five sports for men and five for women, with two
team sports for each gender, and each playing season represented by each gender. There are
minimum contest and participant minimums for each sport. Division III athletics features
student/athletes who receive no financial aid related to their athletic ability and athletic
departments are staffed and funded like any other department in the university. Division III
athletics departments place special importance on the impact of athletics on the participants
rather than on the spectators. The student-athlete’s experience is of paramount concern. Division
III athletics encourages participation by maximizing the number and variety of athletics
opportunities available to students, placing primary emphasis on regional in-season and
conference competition.

For a list of member schools/sports link:

What is the NAIA?

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has different eligibility
requirements for student-athletes. To be eligible to participate in intercollegiate athletics as an
incoming freshman, two of the following three requirements must be met:

  1. Have a 2.0 (C) or higher cumulative final grade point average in high school.
  2. Have a composite score of 18 or higher on the ACT Assessment or an 860 total score or
    higher on the SAT I on a single test administered on a national test date.
  3. Have a top-half final class rank in his or her high school graduating class.

Student-athletes must also have on file at the college an official ACT Assessment or SAT I score
report from the appropriate national testing center. Results reported on the student’s high school
transcript are not acceptable. Students must request that their test scores be forwarded to the
college’s admission office. If you have additional questions about NAIA eligibility, contact them

NAIA 3500 W. 105 StreetP.O. Box 1325Olathe, Kansas 66051-1325413-971-0044

For a list of member schools:

For rules on financial aid, campus visits, etc. refer to Article II:

What is the NJCAA?

The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) is the governing body of
intercollegiate athletics for two-year colleges. As such, its programs are designed to meet the
unique needs of a diverse group of student-athletes who come from both traditional and nontraditional
backgrounds and whose purpose in selecting a junior college may be as varied as their
experiences before attending college. For information on schools and eligibility requirements go

For a list of member schools by gender and sport:

When Can a College Coach Talk to a High School Prospect?

(Some of these items pertain to NCAA schools only. It’s always best to check with the umbrella organization
to verify recruitment rules. The governing organizations meet on a regular basis and can change rules).

There can be a lot of confusion about contacting college coaches, especially if you are new to the
recruiting game. This is the time of year when athletes start thinking a lot about getting calls
from a college coach and there are usually a lot of questions surrounding the topic.

Is it okay for an athlete to call a coach? When can a coach call an athlete?

Are there any rules to be aware of when you are hoping to be recruited by a college coach? To help simplify this, here
are a few simple tips to guide your future interaction with college coaches:

  • A college coach can only call or visit you after July of your junior year in high school.
    That means a coach cannot place an outbound call to you, nor can he initiate a visit to
    your home or school specifically to talk to you about playing a sport at his or her college,
    until the summer before your senior year. Remember, this deals only with outbound
    communication from a coach.
  • You can call or meet with a coach at any point in your high school career. That’s right;
    you can call a coach whenever you want. The key here is that you are the one initiating
    contact with the coach and not the other way around. If you want to call a coach or visit a
    campus and set up a meeting with the coach, you may do so as often as you wish.
  • You can take as many campus visits as you would like when considering a sports
    scholarship offer. Again, the key here is that you are the one initiating the visit. What
    about those five “official” visits that you often hear about big-time athletes making to
    schools when they are seniors? Those are visits that the school pays for. A prospective
    student-athlete can only take five official visits that are paid for by schools during his or
    her high school career.
  • Be proactive about the process! Take control!

What does it mean if a College Coach sends a questionnaire?

Colleges may ask you to complete an on-line questionnaire or mail you one to complete. It is a
way for them to get initial information on you.

Why responding to all College Coaches is Important?

Most prospective student-athletes will receive some contact from colleges, in the form of general
admissions information, questionnaires, and/or emails from college coaches. Many student athletes
make the mistake of disregarding correspondence from colleges and coaches they are not
initially interested in. No college contact should be neglected!

The following is a list of reasons why you should respond to EVERYONE:

  • If you are receiving general admissions information, especially if you are an
    underclassman – respond anyway! A lot of coaches put underclassmen’s names on
    admissions lists to see if they will respond.
  • If you do not respond to a coach, or return their questionnaire, they will stop recruiting
  • Your opinion may change. Once you research a college and talk to a coach, you are
    bound to learn something new. You never know which college or program might be the
    perfect fit for you.
  • The more coaches you communicate with, the more familiar you will become with the
    types of questions college coaches ask. This practice will prepare you for email
    exchanges and conversation with coaches at your favorite colleges/universities.
  • By investigating many different types of colleges, you will have a better idea of your
    likes and dislikes in a college/university.
  • College coaches change jobs! You might ignore a coach because you are not interested
    their program, only to have them get hired at one of your top choices.
  • College coaches are friends with one another, and they do not appreciate it when a student-athlete ignores a contact. You never want to give anyone something bad to say
    about you!
  • It is just common courtesy. If a coach takes the time to send you some information, you
    owe them a response.
  • Responding to a college coach will demonstrate that you are mature and responsible. For
    example, most of the information asked on the questionnaire is to test your responsibility
    and ability to follow directions, and to see if you are interested in the college/university.

Remember, it will only take a little bit of your time, and will definitely be worth it if you are
keeping in touch with every college/university that you hear from. Who knows – it may even be
the one you decide upon!

Sample Resume

You should put together a resume that includes your basic personal information, athletic accomplishments and provides information about your past teams, camps, tournaments and other
soccer experiences. Don’t forget to include athletic accomplishments in other sports as well.

Coaches like to see athletic versatility and talent. Then list your scholastic accomplishments,
include standardized test scores if available, and any extracurricular activities, such as school
clubs or volunteer activities. Let the Coach know of any showcase tournaments you will be
attending with your club team. That is a great way to be seen by a prospective coach.

Sample Resume

Profile of Helen

Smith Graduation Date: June 2020

123 Anywhere Lane

Lexington, KY 40503

Phone: 859 123-4567 (h)

Cell: 859-123-6789 (cell)

E-mail Address:

Parents Name:

Personal Information:

Height: 5’8″ Weight: 146 lbs DOB: 1/30/2002

High School Information:



Phone Number

High School Coach:

Coach Home Number:

Guidance Counselor:

School Fax Number:

Athletic Achievements:

Club Soccer:

High School Soccer:

Other Sports:

Extracurricular Activities:

ODP Experience If Any:

Academic Achievements:

Educational Goals: