JUNIOR YEAR: 1) Continue to take the required NCAA core courses. Be sure you’re on track to complete 10 core courses by the end of your junior year.
2) Track your core course GPA to ensure you are getting the very best grades you can!
3) Review the NCAA’s Guide for the College Bound Student Athlete to be sure you understand what recruiting guidelines apply to you.
4) Read/reread your copy of Preparing to Play Softball at the Collegiate Level.
5) Continue to play competitive travel ball.
6) Register with the NCAA and the NAIA Eligibility Centers (if not already done).
7) Schedule and take the SAT and ACT at least once between October and March. **
8) If not already done, make a skills video (or update your existing video) and upload it to YouTube.
9) Put together introductory packets (or updates) to send to college coaches. Target all sorts of teams, not just the big name programs. Plan on writing at least 40 to 50 colleges.
10) Continue taking unofficial visits to colleges. Start official visits if appropriate.
Optional: Attend college camps or clinics, however, be sure you understand that the actual number of players recruited for a given graduation year from a given college camp will be extremely small—-perhaps 1 or 2 and sometimes 0. There is no guarantee you will be considered a top prospect simply because you attend a camp and are interested in the college. But camps can be a great opportunity to see coaches in action and to familiarize yourself with college campuses.
11) Check in regularly with your travel coaches to be sure they know you’re staying on track and doing what needs to be done.
12) MOST IMPORTANTLY…NURTURE YOUR LOVE OF SOFTBALL! (College ball is not fun at all if you don’t love what you’re doing.)
NOTE: Recruiting timelines vary tremendously from Division I to Division III and NAIA schools. Since 75% of all players will compete at the D-II, D-III or NAIA level, keep in mind that while coaches at Top 25 D-I schools may be scouting freshmen and sophomores, (as well as juniors), the majority of college coaches are more likely to be focusing on juniors and seniors.
For most athletes, this process is a marathon, not a sprint, and you may have to continue to contacting coaches into the fall or even the winter of your senior year. By staying on track from the beginning to end of your high school career, you will hopefully find the school that can offer you the collegiate experience you’ve been dreaming of!
** While the NCAA may waive SAT/ACT requirements at some point and the NAIA no longer requires an SAT/ACT for athletes graduating with a 2.3 GPA or better, many colleges still require these tests or use them as a basis for academic aid. It's a good idea to establish a baseline score by the winter of your junior year.