If you are interested in playing collegiate volleyball, you’ll need to start with some basic knowledge of how the recruiting process works. Below is a brief timeline to help you with the process:
Freshman Year: During this year, it is important to settle into the new environment of high school. Not only do you need to concentrate on your study habits and academic achievements, you also need to hone your volleyball skills. Play both high school and club-level volleyball in as many tournaments as you can, and start thinking about the types of colleges you might want to attend.
Sophomore Year: During this year, continue to keep your grades up (colleges do care about that!), and make sure you are taking the right classes to qualify you for the colleges you are eyeing. Continue to play as much volleyball as possible, both on high school and club teams. Attending summer volleyball camps at the colleges who have sparked your interest is a great way to bring yourself to a coach’s attention.
Your sophomore year is also a good time to send out letters to coaches. As per the volleyball recruiting rules, they are not allowed to write back, but your letter will still get to them. In your letter, give them your schedule and the date of tournaments you are playing in. Essentially, at this point of the college volleyball recruiting process, you are inviting them to come see you play. This is also a good time to begin thinking about campuses you want to visit in the near future. Start looking into volleyball scholarships too; some schools offer them while others don’t.
Junior Year: During this year, contact the colleges you are interested in, once again letting them know about your schedule and your interest in their program. It is also a good idea to ask your high school and/or club coach to help with the volleyball recruiting process by writing a letter on your behalf. Starting in September of this year, coaches are able to contact you by mail.
Your junior year is also the time to visit your guidance counselor and register with the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse, as well as register for the ACT or SATs (or both). You can request that these scores be sent to the NCAA.
Creating a volleyball recruiting skills video should also be done during your junior year. This video is a tool you will use to market yourself. It can help in being recruited or obtaining a volleyball scholarship.
Continue to play as much volleyball as possible, on the highest level teams in your area. You want to play for clubs that recruiters tend to visit. It is also a good idea to attend elite or advanced summer camps.
Senior Year: As of July 1, coaches will be able to contact you by phone, but don’t let this distract you from academics: stay on track so you stay eligible. Continue to pursue your colleges of interest by sending coaches your fall schedule.
Your senior year is also the time when official visits can begin. Per the college volleyball recruiting rules, you are allowed up to five so be selective and come with any questions or concerns you may have.
After you have made your decision, get ready to sign. You may be able to do so early, as these dates vary from year to year.