Resources / The Road to College

6 Ways Student-Athletes Can Get on a College Coach's Radar


By Matt Musico*

How do you kickstart the athletic recruitment process by getting your name in front of a college coach? Here are six different ways to get things moving.

The college admissions journey can be a multi-step process that takes a lot of time and effort. This can also be said about the process of getting recruited to play varsity-level college sports. Because the field is so competitive – only about 6 percent of high school student-athletes play a varsity sport in college – student athletes need to start reaching out to coaches early in high school. And this can be a long and daunting process.

How do you get on a college coach’s radar? Sometimes, the hardest part is just getting started. Below are six suggestions to help you get the ball rolling.

1. Fill Out a Recruiting Questionnaire

It’s important to build a college list that fits both your academic and athletic needs. Once you have a collection of schools you’re seriously interested in, it’s time to let them know you’d like to learn more.

Prospective students often fill out information/inquiry/prospect cards at high school visits and college fairs. For college counselors, these forms record a point of contact, demonstrate interest, and may help them remember a great conversation they had with you when they're reviewing your application.

Prospective student-athletes should also fill out a recruiting questionnaire which is usually found online and used to share information about themselves with a college’s athletic program. College coaches often use this information to see if student-athletes meet basic standards and are potentially a good fit for the program.

Recruiting forms will vary by school – and sometimes, by sport within each school – but they will ask some variation of the same questions. You will need to disclose specific personal, academic, and athletic information about yourself. For an example of Syracuse’s recruiting form, go to Syracuse University’s Athletics website.

After you complete the form, it gets added to the school’s recruitment database and the coaching staff is notified.

2. Introduce Yourself to the Coaching Staff

Sending an introductory email to the coaching staff of schools you are interested in is another great way to get the process moving. It’s important to keep your message brief but be sure that it includes key details, including relevant academic and athletic information. Also include your academic resume and a copy of your transcript. The email or your resume should include a link to your highlight video (if available), and the name and contact information of your current high school or club coach.

Download a template for this email here.

Pro Tip: Be sure to include the entire college coaching staff on your email. The head coach might have the final say, but it’s common for an assistant coach to coordinate the recruitment process and handle introductory communications with prospective student-athletes before the head coach gets involved.

3. Use the Connections You Have

While it’s important to include the name and contact information of your current coach in your recruitment questionnaire and introductory email, that doesn’t mean your coach can’t reach out on your behalf. While it’s important for prospective recruits to advocate for their own athletic ability and character, your coach’s recommendation often carries a little extra weight.

College coaches want to win, but they also want to cultivate a consistently positive environment throughout their program. This starts with recruiting student-athletes who are the right fit – not just athletically, but also academically and personally. Having your coach share their perspective of you can help college coaches make a more informed decision on whether they’d like to recruit you.

4. Send Follow-Up Emails with New Information

Let’s say you spent a lot of time putting together a thoughtful email with all the necessary information to introduce yourself to coaches, and you don’t get a response.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the school is not interested in recruiting you. If you believe a certain school is the right academic and athletic fit for you, strategic persistence is key.

Instead of simply following up and providing the same information you previously provided, bring new information to the table. Did you just get your report card or a new SAT/ACT score? Has your highlight video been updated? Do you have a sports schedule for the upcoming season you’d like to share? Are you planning on taking a campus tour and would like to say hello in person?

Sending a follow-up email can be more effective (and feel more natural) when you have new information to share with the coaching staff.

5. Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Social media can be a great way to market yourself and your athletic abilities -- and get the attention of coaches.

There are plenty of college coaches on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and other social media platforms. While you might be hesitant to share your athletic accomplishments on your feed, it is possible that a coach might see them (or look at the clips after you tag them in it), like what they see, and follow you. If that happens, you have a new opportunity to send a direct message to the coach, introduce yourself, and get the recruitment process started that way.

As much as college coaches may enjoy doing in-person recruiting, they can only get to a limited number of places. The internet helps them recruit from their couch or office, and you should use it to your advantage.

6. Find the Right Camps and Showcases to Attend

There are tons of camps and showcases available every year for prospective student-athletes to show their abilities to college coaches.

However, showing up to a showcase or camp and putting your best foot forward is just one piece of the puzzle. Before signing up for a showcase, find out which colleges are expected to attend. Are at least some of the schools on your college list going to be there? Are schools that participate in the level of play you’re aiming for going to be there?

For example, if you’d like to play NCAA Division III baseball but you attend a showcase with only NCAA Division I schools in attendance, that’s not the best use of your time.

Once you know which schools and coaches will be there, reach out to them to let them know you’ll be participating and that you’re looking forward to getting evaluated by them. Taking these steps will likely make the effort you put into a showcase or camp more worthwhile.

Like undergraduate admissions, the athletic recruitment process can be long and full of twists and turns. It can feel overwhelming. The best thing you can do, though, is to take one step at a time, and the suggestions discussed above may help you accomplish that. Once you get started, you may be well on your way to playing varsity college sports. Good luck!


*Matt Musico is a freelance writer for CollegeData. He has worked in higher education for the better part of a decade. Half of that time was spent working in an undergraduate admissions office, while the other half involved working with high school families as a private college counselor.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to CollegeData, 1st Financial Bank USA or any other person or entity. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this article are hereby expressly disclaimed. 

We try to make content available to you on that you may find helpful. The content may include articles, opinions and other information provided by third parties. If we can reasonably fact check articles provided by third parties and information used in those articles, we will. However, opinions of third parties are their own, and no fact checking is possible. The content on may not apply to you or your situation. We recommend that you refrain from acting or not acting on the basis of any content contained on without consulting with your parents, high school counselors, admissions representatives or other college counseling professionals. We will not be liable for the content on or your actions based on any content on