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The Recruiting Process

1) Determine which schools you would have interest in attending, based on your academic interests, location, and their volleyball program. These schools can overlap.
     - 20 schools that you would love to attend
     - 20 schools that you would have an interest in
     - 20 schools that you would attend

For a list of colleges that have an indoor volleyball program, check out this link!


2) Now make a list of those schools with: the school name, the school mascot, location, academic program you are interested in, a list of the coaches and their corresponding emails. It is also important to discuss finances with your parents to find out what you can afford, and how much money you will need through loans and grants. The least debt the better! Keep in mind you can get financial aid for both grades and athletics.


3) Out of the list of selected schools, determine what the level of play is for each college. It is also important to make sure you are capable of playing at that level. After you know what level you are interested in, use the links below to further educate yourself and start your collegiate athlete eligibility check.


    - NCAA DI, DII, DIII  Eligibility Center:

    - NAIA Eligibility:

    - NJCAA Eligibility:


4) Create a way to share all of your information with the coaches you are interested in. This could be a website, a CV, or simply writing it into the body of your email. Make sure to include your: height, GPA, ACT and/or SAT test scores, grad year, high school, club name, and academic interests.


5) Make a highlight video and gather game footage. Coaches only spend about 30 seconds watching highlight videos, so make sure that your best footage comes first. If they are interested, they will continue to watch. A skills video includes a montage of position based skills. When sending game footage make sure you edit out any dead time (i.e. walking back to serve, or timeouts). Make sure you identify your name and class at the beginning of your video. (Don't worry so much about the audio, most coaches mute it anyways.)


6) After you have the above information complete, it is time to draft an introductory email to your list of coaches. Although it is okay to develop a template, it is very important that you personalize each and every email. Address the coach by name, reference their program directly, and finish with their motto (i.e. "Go Rams, Fight On, Lance Up!"). Make sure that you format your email correctly, check for grammar and spelling errors, and be professional, but most importantly be yourself! The coach is recruiting you, and this is the start of a possible relationship. Make sure to include the above information you gathered as well as links to your highlight video and game footage.


7) After sending your introductory email, you can always send them emails that list your upcoming tournament dates and play schedule. If they are recruiting at the tournament, this will give them an opportunity to watch you play in person. Remember, coaches aren't just looking for talent, they are looking for good teammates.


8) If a coach is impressed with you, they may ask to schedule a visit. There are two types of visits, an unofficial visit, and an official visit. An unofficial visit is a day trip where you get to see the school, meet with an athletic counselor, and sit down with the coach in person. An official visit is typically an overnight stay where you spend 1-2 days hanging out with the team, watching practices, attending classes, and experiencing first hand the life of a college athlete. Official visits can be limited based on the programs division, so make sure to do your research.


9) After getting some responses, and narrowing down your choices, it is time to make a decision. It is important to make your decision based on your long term goals. Although you may be excited to play for a particular coach, program, or live in a fun area, make sure your academic needs are being met. Playing collegiate volleyball is an amazing experience, but it does come to an end and its important that you prepare for the next adventure in life.


10) Congratulations! You've made your decision. If you decided to play in college, it's time to sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI). An NLI is a document committing to the school that you will be attending the following year for athletics and is accompanied with scholarship money. If you are planning to "walk on," you do not need to sign an NLI, because you are not receiving any scholarship money in the first year. Lastly if you are not going to be playing in college do not worry. Volleyball is a lifelong sport and there will always be time to play.

Common Questions

When should I get the ball rolling on playing college sports?

The time to start is NOW! Time can be your friend or foe, so make time an asset and use it to your advantage. Start your college research right now regardless of whether you plan to play college sports or not. Research colleges and how they rank academically and socially. Find colleges that can offer you the academic, social and sports program you are interested in. Last but not least learn about financing a college education.

What kind of schools offer athletic scholarships?

NCAA Division 1, NCAA Division 2, NAIA, NJCAA Division 1, and NJCAA Division 2 can offer athletic scholarships. NCAA Division 3 does not offer athletic scholarships but academic scholarships. Also you should be aware that individual colleges and conferences have their own athletic scholarship rules and policies.

Can I play college sports without an athletic scholarship?

Absolutely! If your heart is set on a particular school and they do not have an athletic scholarship available to you then consider “walking on”. Many “walk on” players have made the team and been offered a scholarship after the fact. Keep in mind, some athletes go on to play at a junior college and later transfer with a scholarship to a four year.

What about grades and test scores?

The best way to put it, get good grades. Test scores and your class rank can mean academic scholarship money towards your college tuition in addition to any athletic scholarship you might receive. Don’t coast your senior year. College courses are tough so don’t take the easy route.You will need to meet and maintain certain scholastic minimums just to play college sports. Every college has its minimum standards for admission so make sure you are aware of those standards.

What about college finances?

Start researching college finances now. Learn everything you can about the subject. Text books alone can cost upwards of $1,000 per year. Many athletic scholarship programs will not offer you a full-ride scholarship but a partial scholarship which means you will need to provide the additional funding. You will also want to become familiar with the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid Form). Colleges require you to process Federal Aid and in most cases, state and other financial aid applications.

How can I gain exposure?

The best way to gain exposure is to play where the competition is, attend college camps and play in tournaments. These things can all help you get seen. Additionally it is important for you reach out to coaches and complete their athletic questionnaires. It's also helpful to have a good quality skills video and game footage to send to coaches. 


What are college coaches looking for?

College coaches are looking for an athlete that will fit into their program and help it succeed. Coaches want to win and will look for players they feel will help them achieve this goal. Other qualities coaches will look for are leadership, character, integrity, ability to get along with team mates, and the ability to be coachable. A coach will also look at how you respond to winning, losing, a teammates mistake, or a bad call by the referee. A player who is well rounded in both their personal and athletic life is more marketable than one who is not. Remember, you never know who is watching. It is also important to be careful with all forms of social media. Coaches will find you and you want to make sure you are representing yourself well.

If I get the chance, should I sign early?

This is a very tough question so you need to ask yourself a few things:

    1. Is this the college I really want to attend?

    2. Is this the best deal I am going to get?

    3. Will this take the pressure of recruitment and choosing a college off me?

    4. Is this the best choice for my future?


Remember, although the offer may not be there late this is a big decision and it is important to make sure you have done your homework.


What are the regulations with talking to college coaches?

Every division is different. Please check out their governing body such as NCAA or NAIA and the division that school falls under (i.e. DI, DII, DIII, etc)

How can I see if I am eligible for different college divisions?

Eligibility can vary by division, conference and even by school. It is your responsibility to research all eligibility rules that may apply to you in relationship to the schools you are looking to attend. Since the rules can be so diverse we have provided links for you to use as guidelines to begin this process. Click on any of the links below to start your eligibility education.

    - NCAA DI, DII, DIII  Eligibility Center:

    - NAIA Eligibility:

    - NJCAA Eligibility:

How to Email a College Coach

1) Almost every coach now relies on e-mail to both contact and receive contact from potential recruits. That is the preferred method of communication. To find out the e-mail addresses for the coaches you are looking to contact, simply go to the college’s athletic website and look for a staff listing of names and e-mails.

2) Be brief. Coaches at all levels receive dozens and dozens of e-mails/letters from high school-aged players. All you are trying to do is show you have interest, pass along all of your contact information, your playing information, and provide each coach with a way to watch you. This could be video, tournaments, or camps.

3) NEVER HAVE ONE OF YOUR PARENTS WRITE TO A COACH. You are the one the coach wants to speak with, so they want to hear from you directly. If the relationship develops and it appears that you might be attending that college, there will be plenty of time for your parents to meet with the coaching staff. Remember, going to college is part of becoming an adult. The coach wants to communicate almost everything with you, not your parents.

4) Provide contact information for your current club coaches. Nothing is worse for a college coach than to have to track down your coach’s e-mail or phone number. By having both an e-mail address and a phone number listed after their name, it allows for the college coach to quickly e-mail or call your club and/or high school coach to follow up.

5) Always include basic information about yourself such as graduation year, high school name, athletic history, GPA, SAT/ACT scores. Remember to tell the coach why you think you are a good fit for their program.

6) Do not send a standardized letter that starts out with “Dear Coach” and fails to mention anything specific about his/her program and school. The bulk of your e-mail will be kept the same for correspondence you send out to various coaching staff; however a portion of it should be personalized. Bring in something specific about their program that you learned by going through the website, or playing history. State your interest in the school and specific reasons (such as, “I grew up going to all the Long Beach State games and feel as if I am already a part of the 49er mission and family.” Make it personal.)

7) Make sure you are professional! Don't forget to check your spelling and use proper English and formatting. This is a reflection of who you are as a person, student, and athlete.

8) Lastly, do not mass email a bunch of coaches. This comes across as lazy and shows the coach that you didn’t take your time to personalize each email. It is okay to email the head coach, and CC the assistant coaches, but make sure to address them all as "Coach [last name]."

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