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HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE CHECKLIST BY YEAR

Use this checklist to ensure you are on the right track to graduate and to create opporunities for yourself to play college sports. Print and complete the checklist.
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FRESHMAN YEAR


Start building your 4 year plan now! First step is to meet with your high school school guidance counselor regarding course selection during the Fall: 
Be sure to take courses that meet high school graduation requirements.
Be sure to take courses that meet college admission requirements.
Be sure to take courses that meet NCAA initial-eligibility requirements.
Choose classes that match your high school’s list of required core courses -
  • What core courses do you need? Search for your high school’s list of NCAA core courses on the  NCAA Eligibility Center.

Download or order a copy of the NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student Athlete and read it thoroughly. Keep an eye out for rule changes.

Look to become part of some type of organization outside of school like a non-profit or volunteer somewhere. Coaches will like that you are  a well rounded individual and that you are active in your community, coaches will evaluate your character just as much as they will evalutate you athletic abilities. 

Download the Sports Thread application and begin building your athletic profile for coaches to view.
  • Fill in your personal bio, athletic stats, highlight videos and academic standing.  

Start building a list of 60 colleges with sports programs that interest you using the Sports Thread application (NCAA, NAIA, Junior College):
  • 20 safety colleges
  • 20 match colleges
  • 20 dream colleges

Take a strong academic course load, take honors/ AP classes but only if an A or B average is possible. Work hard and get the best grades possible during your freshman year, it is much harder to try and improve your grades after your sophomore year so put yourself ahead of the game. 
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.8.

Start recording your games/meets/matches and upload them to the highlight videos tab in your Sports Thread athletic profile for coaches to view. You are allow to upload unlimited videos! 


Refer to the Free Video Editors list provided on the Sports Thread website and download the software that works best for you and begin editing!

Establish a good rapport with your high school and club coaches and tell them about your desire to play in college. Talk with them about opportunities to train and compete so as to increase your exposure within your sport.

Attend summer camps and join a club team if possible. 

Seek out objective and qualified third party individuals (club and high school coaches) for honest feedback on your strengths and weaknesses as an athlete.

Submit Recruiting Questionnaires to the 60 schools on your list within Sports Thread so that your name is in their database a potential recruit! Better to get started as early as possible!

Do a thorough check on all of your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TAKKLE,
LinkedIn, etc.) to ensure you are perceived as the mature individual you are.

  • Get rid of any inappropriate information that’s viewable to the public, coaches keep an eye out for this and a bad social media post could rob you of an opportunity.

Using Sports Thread’s email templates , introduce yourself to at least 60 college coaches in programs you are realistically qualified for based off of recruiting guidelines. Better to start low and move your way up through divisions.

Contact coaches at schools that you know you can get into.

Create folders within your email account to organize incoming mail from college coaches OR create a new email account strictly for recruitment.
  • Refer to Sports Thread’s “How to Organize your Inbox” page to manage emails from coaches.

SOPHOMORE YEAR

Update your Sports Thread athletic profile with your latest highlight videos, academic accomplishments and personal statistics.  

Meet with your high school guidance counselor to review your academic progress:
  • Continue taking courses that meet high school graduation requirements.
  • Continue taking courses that meet college admission requirements.
  • Continue taking courses that meet NCAA initial-eligibility requirements.
  • Continue taking courses that match your high school’s list of required core courses.
    • What core courses do you need? Search for your high school’s list of NCAA core courses on the  NCAA Eligibility Center .

Make sure to register with the  NCAA Eligibility Center,  this should be done at the beginning of your sophomore year.

Refresh your list of 60 colleges within Sports Thread (NCAA, NAIA, Junior Colleges).
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.8.

Take AP classes only if an A or B average is possible (seek help from your teacher or get a tutor if you are struggling in any subject area).

Get involved in out-of-school organizations such as non-profits or volunteer somewhere. Coaches evaluate you on your character just as much as your ethletic ability and they will really like that you are active in your community. 

Continue collecting video footage of games/matches/meets and uploading the latest versions of your highlight videos to your Sports Thread athletic profile for coaches to view.

Refer to the list of free video editing software on the Sports Thread website to begin editing your highlight videos.

Continue to ask objective third-party individuals (high school/ club coaches) for their honest feedback about your strengths and weaknesses as an athlete. Be sure you are improving from your freshman year.

Remind your high school/ club coaches of your goal to play your sport in college and always seek new opportunities for improvement. Join a club team if you have not already as this will increase you exposure and improve your skills. 

Refresh your list of 60 colleges that interest you using the Sports Thread app (NCAA, NAIA, Junior College):
  • 20 safety colleges.
  • 20 match colleges.
  • 20 dream colleges.

  • Do they meet your athletic needs? Your academic needs? Your social needs?

Review college rankings on Sports Thread and cross reference your list against the remaining 60.

Introduce yourself to 60 college coaches using the Sports Thread email templates  to help guide you. 
  • Make sure they are realistic options based on recruiting guidelines.

Provide each of these coaches with your unique Sports Thread profile link so they can follow your progress and keep you on their radar.  

Stay on top of your voicemails and check all of your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TAKKLE, LinkedIn, etc.) to ensure there is no inappropriate content that is visible to the public on them.
  • Coaches monitor your social media accounts and a bad post can cost you an opportunity!

Take the time to schedule a follow up meeting with your coaches to ensure you are on the right track and that you are competing at the highest possible level. Ask if there is anything specific you should be doing to improve your chances of playing in college.

Maintain a good rapport with your coaches, athletic directors, trainers and guidance counselor.

Respond to all forms of communication from college coaches at every level using email templates provided by
Sports Thread. Be sure to direct them to your Sports Thread athletic profile where they will have access to all of your unique information that sets you apart! 

Send coaches your athletic profile link (sportsthread.com/_________). You can easily email or text it to them!

If a specific college interests you but did not send recruitment information, reach out to the coach via email using the “Introduce Yourself” email template  provided by Sports Thread. Share your Sports Thread athletic profile.

Continue to fill out questionnaires and discover if you meet the minimum academic and athletic qualifications at schools that interest you.

Email the coaches from your list of colleges, use the Sports Thread “Coach Update” email template to update them on your progress and new information on you Sports Thread profile. You should be establishing relationships with all of them.

Take the time over the Summer to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), this will help you get familiar with the collegiate financial aid process.
  • What is EFC?
    • This is a number that helps determine your eligibility for federal student aid.

Take virtual tours of college campuses at levels you’re qualified for using the Sports Thread virtual tours feature. If you like what you see, consider contacting the coach and scheduling an unofficial visit.

Attend summer camps that build speed, strength, athleticism, skills, etc.

Continue to monitor your social media accounts. The first thing a coach will do after finding out who you are is check up on your social media accounts to get a better idea of who you are and evaluate your character. If they see one bad post they will immediately take you off of their recruiting list. Don't ruin your opportunities for one bad social media post! 
Continue to attend camps, combines, showcases and tournaments to get the most recruiting exposure as possible. Coaches use these events to evaluate players and this will get you on their radar. Post your shedule on your Sports Thread athlete profile for coaches to easily find out where you are. 

JUNIOR YEAR

Update your Sports Thread athletic profile with your latest highlight videos, academic accomplishments and personal statistics.  You are now entering the most important year in your athletic recruiting journey!

Begin ACT/SAT prep and register to take the tests here .  Discover the national ACT and SAT testing dates on PrepScholar .

Schedule and take either the Pre-ACT and/ or Pre-SAT. Take each test as many times as you need to achieve the score you want.
  • Find the preliminary Pre-SAT (PSAT) dates here .  
  • Find the preliminary Pre-ACT (PLAN) dates here .

Download or order the newest version of the NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student Athlete and read it thoroughly. Keep an eye out for any rule changes.

Meet with your high school guidance counselor to ensure you are fulfilling all core course requirements and that you are still on the right track to play in college.

Continue to take a strong academic course load, take AP or honors classes but only when an A or B average is attainable.

Update your list of  60 colleges on Sports Thread that you’re realistically qualified for (NCAA, NAIA, Junior College).

You should begin to feel like you are establishing relationships with coaches at each college that still interests you:
  • 20 safety colleges.
  • 20 match colleges.
  • 20 dream colleges.

Take the SAT/ ACT. Input your test scores into your Sports Thread athletic profile for coaches to view.

Designate the NCAA to receive your SAT & ACT scores when registering for test. The NCAA Code is #9999 on the official SAT & ACT registration form.

Double check to make sure you are registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center. You have to do this to play in college. Have you high school guidance counselor send your transcripts to the Eligibility Center as soon as possible. 

Begin the “Amateurism Certification Process” questionnaire, find more information on this on the NCAA website.

Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.8. Seek help from a teacher or tutor if you are struggling in a subject.

Use Sports Thread’s coaches directory to reach out to college coaches via email and/or phone and share with them your athletic schedule so they can attend your games/matches/ meets and tournaments.

Reevaluate your goals and set new ones.

Update coaches on your good and bad games using the “Good Game Update" and "Bad Email Update"  email template.

Continue to ask objective third-party individuals such as high school or club coaches for feedback on your strengths and weaknesses as an athlete. Consider hiring a personal trainer or coach to improve upon your weaknesses.

Maintain a good rapport with your high school and club coaches and remind them of your goal to play your sport in college.

Request college applications as early as possible and send them in!

Continue updating your Sports Thread athletic profile with personal athletic statistics, highlight videos, etc for coaches to view. Send coaches your athletic profile via text or email. 

Continue to attend sports camps to improve your skills. Post your schedule on your athletic profile for coaches to easily find you and evaluate you. 

Stay up to date on your emails and voicemails from coaches, respond to everything and continue to send them periodic update emails using the Sports Thread email templates to help guide you. 

Refer to the “Organize Inbox” page for help on managing contact with college coaches.

Refer to the “Recruitment Timeline” page on the Sports Thread website.

Keep updating and refining your list of colleges on Sports Thread based off of your athletic needs, academic needs and social needs.

Take virtual tours using Sports Thread to be sure you like the school, especially if you are planning to take an official visit or unofficial visit there! Refer to the "Official vs. Unofficil Visits" page for more information. 

Schedule unofficial visits at schools that are high on your list. This is a great way to get an idea of which schools you are serious about. 

Schedule gameday visits if applicable. Note that you are not allowed to contact a coach in any way during dead periods, so try to schedule visits outside of dead periods if you plan on meeting with a coach.  

Continue to monitor your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TAKKLE, LinkedIn, etc.) to ensure there is no inappropriate content visible to the public. Coaches monitor this very closely to get an idea of your character, so be careful!
  • One bad post could ruin an opportunity for you!


Continue to attend camps, combines, showcases and tournaments to get the most recruiting exposure as possible. Coaches use these events to evaluate players and this will get you on their radar. Post your shedule on your Sports Thread athlete profile for coaches to easily find out where you are. 

SENIOR YEAR



Update your Sports Thread athletic profile with your latest highlight videos, academic accomplishments and personal statistics for coaches to view. 

Continue to work hard on your academic courses, maintain a minimum 2.8 GPA.

Meet with your high school counselor to ensure you are on the right track and you are fulfilling all of your core course requirements.

Take the SAT/ACT again if needed, request that your scores be sent to the NCAA using code #9999.

Order or download the newest version of the NCAA Guidebook and check for any new rule changes.

Gather your applications and make sure to have all applications sent in ASAP. Complete the second of the two Amateurism Questionnaires at for the NCAA Eligibility Center and sign the authorization form. 

Complete the FAFSA form .

Meet with your counselor to ensure your filled out all of your forms correctly, there is no room for error now.

Revise your list of 60 colleges on the Sports Thread app.

Make sure a few of these schools are safety schools where you know you are guaranteed admittance and possibly a scholarship.

Schedule official visits with NCAA, NAIA and Junior Colleges if applicable.

Consider what you will say if offer is made during an official visit.

Continue taking virtual tours of college campuses using Sports Thread. Use the college information tab within the app to compare college’s academics, athletics and social life.

Finalize and submit all applications to schools.

Submit FAFSA form on January 1st!  

Discuss all financial aid options with coaches and college counselors!

Review Student Aid Reports (SAR) to determine the best package for you.

Continue to call and email coaches you are interested in playing for, let them you how invested you are! Send them your updated Sports Thread profile and update your schedule of tournaments, showcases and combines so that they can easily find you and evalutate you. 

After graduation ask your high school guidance counselor to send your proof of graduation and transcript to the NCAA Eligibility Center.
  • If you attended more than one high school the Eligibility Center will need your transcript from all of your high schools.

Prior to signing day, ask top coaches on your list where you stand on their recruiting timeline. Maintain a relationship with coaches by sending them email updates (refer to Sports Thread email templates for ideas). If you haven't heard back from a coach for a little while continue to reach out to them!
 
Continue to monitor your social media accounts! Even if you have made a verbal commitment or signed an NLI do not let anything innapropriate appear on your accounts. Coaches are always monitoring these and they can still revoke a verbal offer if they see something they don't like!
 
Maintain constant communication with the coaches you are interested in! Send them your Sports Thread athletic profile page, update them on your tournament schedule and maintain a relationship with them! 

 If you haven't done so already, make your decision on which college to play for!



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