WHAT TO KNOW
A recent National High School study found that there are about 445,000 female athletes competing in high school volleyball in the United States. Out of those near half a million players, only 5.8% will go on to play at the collegiate level. This may come across as an extremely small percentage, but no need to worry! Out of the 25,700 girls playing college volleyball, 91% of them played volleyball at the club level (source: NCAA Goals Study). So, by being a part of Momentum, you’ve already set yourself up for a more successful run at playing college volleyball!
We know there are outside recruiting services that you may find necessary to help you in your college recruiting journey, but we can assure you that you will be equipped with all the recruiting know-how at Momentum to initiate this process yourself. Plus, there is no one else a college coach would rather hear from than YOU! We will be sure to give you a “tool kit” of information and resources for you to utilize on your own college recruiting journey. If you ever feel at a loss or are confused in the process, you will have access to our Recruiting Advisor, Jessica Safer, who will assist you with your recruiting questions.
A helpful place to start your recruiting process is by identifying what you’re looking for in your college experience. Does student enrollment size matter most to you? What about the region or area the school is located? Do you know what academic program you’re looking to study? Does the volleyball program have a winning record? How close is the nearest airport? It’s very important to look at a school from a student’s viewpoint, THEN from an athlete’s view as your first priority will be your academics & the career you’re aiming for after college!
Next, you want to determine your desired college division level. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) governs the play & rules of colleges at Division I, II, and III levels totaling 1,117 schools across the nation. You can read more about each of these divisions on the NCAA’s website here. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is the governing body of small, 4-year athletics programs at 251 schools in the United States. Finally, the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) oversees 2-year athletics programs at its 300 schools nationwide. As a side note, there are some junior colleges that operate outside of the NJCAA (ex: there are about 100 junior colleges in California that compete in their own league, the CCCAA– California Community College Athletic Association).
If you are looking to compete at the NCAA Div I or II levels, you will need to register in the NCAA Eligibility Center (EC). The EC is a crucial tool for the NCAA to monitor your academic progress and ensure you are completing the right high school credits to graduate & start your freshman year at a college institution. You are also required to upload your ACT/SAT test scores. Finally, the EC monitors your amateurism status which means you’re not getting paid to play volleyball or receiving any professional endorsements from outside organizations. The NAIA Eligibility Center works the same way in monitoring your academic eligibility.
Official and Unofficial Visits
When you start going on college visits and touring the campus with the intent of playing volleyball at that school, you will be taking either official or unofficial visits. In a nutshell, the difference between the two visits is who’s paying for them. On an official college visit (which can now be taken starting your junior year), the school will pay for you which would cover your transportation to and from the college, lodging, meals, and three tickets to their home sporting event. You are only allowed to make five official visits to DI schools. When it’s an unofficial visit, you pay for all expenses while on campus except for the three home event tickets.
WHAT TO DO
When it comes to making the final choice of what program you’ll play for in college, there are multiple factors to consider: do they offer the academic program that you want to study? How far is the school away from home? What is the head coach like? How updated are the athletic facilities? What does the college town have to offer? With these different angles that you need to approach a school with, we have created sections of questions for our Momentum players to ask themselves when assessing a college. Please reach out to your coach or our Recruiting Advisor, Jessica, for this in-depth list of over 30 questions! One of the main keys to marketing yourself to college coaches is through sending them a video.
Just like a good book that hooks you with an intriguing introduction, you want to “hook” college coaches to you through your highlight video. An impacting highlight video is anywhere from 2-4 minutes long with footage that shows off all the fundamental aspects of your game. For example, if you’re a 6-rotation pin hitter, you want to be sure to show full clips of you getting solid kills down the line and hard cross along with defensive & serve/receive plays that showcase your ball control. Be sure to show enough of the play before your highlight moment so the coaches can see your fundamental movements!
Raw Game Film
After seeing your Highlight Film or Skills Video, coaches will typically ask to see your longer unedited game clips. In this situation, you want to have a 10ish minute raw (unedited) game clip of you playing your specific position(s). Be sure it’s a game you’re confident in and feel showcases your full capabilities! The next step will be sending them your game schedule so they can assess your skills live.
HOW TO DO IT
Emailing College Coaches
Direct contact to college coaches is your biggest step of initiation in the recruiting process. It’s important to keep these emails concise yet detailed enough to let the coach know who you are as a student-athlete, as well as showing interest in their specific program. A couple of pointers to keep in mind:
- E-mail the head coach and both assistants; the assistant coach is probably the one reading and responding to recruiting emails. Include their names and the school name in your message!
- If you are a freshman or sophomore, include your club coach’s email and recruiting advisor’s email; coaches cannot respond directly to you yet.
- Be sure your email address is professional. Coaches may not respect getting an email from ‘puppygirl21@…’ or ‘volleyballkillerz@…’
- Spell check or send your draft to us if you are unsure of wording.
- Give your basic info, there is no need to detail every award or stat from years past: DETAILED YET CONCISE!
To see a couple of templates we have our Momentum players utilize, reach out to Jessica and she can send you those copies!
Going on Campus Visits
Touring different colleges will be one of the biggest determining factors for which school you end up choosing. Below is a list of pointers to consider when going on campus visits:
- Go In-Season– Try to schedule your visit when the volleyball team is playing a home game so you can see how the team gels and plays together, and also so you can see how involved the school and community are in attending home sporting events.
- Stay Over Night– This allows you to have direct insight into what student housing will be like as well as what nightlife may be like on campus and in town.
- Ask Questions– Be sure to ask the players & other students tons of questions about the volleyball program, school, and college town.
- Campus Tour– Be sure to sign up for the campus tour that the admissions office gives and be sure to tour all the main buildings on campus, especially the Hall that holds the majority of classes for your desired major.
- Venture Out– Be sure to check out places on campus that you could see yourself utilizing often, as well as go into town and see what kind of eateries and grocery places there are to choose from.
- Take Notes– Hopefully, you will be going on multiple campus visits during your recruiting years. While you’re on the visit or when you get home, take notes on each school so you can compare your likes/dislikes from each campus.
High School Checklists
Whether you’re a freshman or senior, there are things you need to be doing each school year if you are looking to play college volleyball. Below are checklists you can mark off as you complete them during each academic year. If you’re starting the recruiting process a bit late, be sure to look at the earlier year’s checklist to ensure you catch up and have those tasks completed!
- Start thinking about what subjects you may want to study in college
- Consider what subjects will be relevant for your desired career
- Identify states or schools that you are interested in for college
- Consider attending a couple of volleyball camps at the schools that interest you
- Start building your Athletic Resume (we can send you the template)
- Send your schools of interest an introductory email
- Complete and return questionnaires or messages to coaches that have requested information from you
- Register with the free recruiting resources like University Athlete and FieldLevel
- If you’re looking to pursue NCAA DI or DII schools, register yourself in the NCAA Eligibility Center
- Attend more volleyball camps at schools that interest you so you meet the coaching staff and can tour the campus
- Refine your list of interested college programs and send them email updates with new film
- Make visits to the college campuses that interest you most and are pursuing you for volleyball
- Take the ACT or SAT. If you are unhappy with your score, reschedule test ASAP and study with a tutor
- If you are pursuing an NAIA school, be sure to register in the NAIA Eligibility Center
- If you receive a scholarship offer and are 100% sure on that school, you can give your verbal commitment
- Intentionally attend a few volleyball camps at your top-choice schools; be sure to go on a full campus tour
- Narrow your college interest list solely to schools that you can see yourself attending (ideally 5-10 schools)
- If you haven’t already, get visits scheduled to your top college choices ASAP. The coach is recruiting multiple people in your position so you want to make a commitment sooner than later so you don’t miss an offer
- Be sure you have applied and have been accepted to your top school choices
- Verbally commit and sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to your desired school
- Upload your final senior transcript to the Eligibility Center
It is ultimately up to each athlete and their family on how much they want to financially invest in college recruiting. We encourage utilizing the resources below as their basic accounts are free and we find multiple college coaches are using them to recruit their athletes!
University Athlete– This program is quite essential to sign up for as most college volleyball coaches use UA when they evaluate athletes at tournaments, so be sure your profile is up-to-date before a qualifier!
FieldLevel– FieldLevel is a program that capitalizes on the referrals of your high school and club coaches. It’s growing in popularity amongst college coaches as they are more trusting of what your club coach has to say about you since they are working directly with you on a near-daily basis.
BeRecruited– If you’re looking for an additional website to host your athletic profile and network with college coaches, BeRecruited is an effective & free resource for that.
If you feel like you are in need of additional recruiting aid, Jessica will be offering time-saving services so you can get all of your recruiting needs met in-house at Momentum. These services consist of highlight films, skills videos, and access to her direct contact database of nearly 3,000 college volleyball coaches. For more info on these additional services, you can email Jessica directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Player Questionnaire– download to edit; post to your Momentumvbc.com profile
- Sample Athletic Resume– guideline in how to create your athletic resume
- College Scorecard– a great tool to help you find specific schools by program/degree, location, and school size
- CampusTours– provides interactive virtual tours and campus maps online if you are looking to get a preliminary feel for a school before planning a visit
- Scholarship Statistics– a great resource to search through a full list of the 1,814 schools offering volleyball programs, along with their average scholarship amount, admission rate, and student enrollment size
- Volleyball Recruiting Guidelines– general article from NCSA describing a few qualities and measurables a volleyball player needs to have
- Recruiting Seven Ways to Still Impress Coaches When Everything Falls Apart on the Court
- Food for Thought for Parents
NCAA Recruiting Calendars & Resources
- Western Undergraduate Exchange
- U.S. Department of Labor Scholarship Finder