Freshman Year and earlier: The most important thing is to NOT WORRY about college volleyball! Enjoy your time on the court playing volleyball and focus on getting better and mastering the game. Don’t stress out about college.
Sophomore Year: Once your SMASH season has begun, work with your family to think of colleges you may be interested in.
Send an introductory letteror email to the coaches of those schools. (See here).
Don’t stress out about this, just get on the radar of as many schools you are interested in as possible.
Junior Year: This is a key year in the college search process. As a player, this will be your last serious opportunity to develop and take your game to the next level before key times in the recruiting process.
Before you attend any tournaments with your SMASH team, reach out to all colleges on your list with your SMASH schedule.
Before an individual tournament, let the coach know you will be playing and when. Make sure you have a video you can send to coaches. (See here).
Try to rank the schools that are already on your list and evaluate whether you want to add new schools to your list.
Be aware of the colleges who are showing interest in you and ask tough questions to see how serious their interest is.
In the early spring, plan to visit any schools that are high on your list and are showing serious interest. For any schools near the top of your list, try to do an overnight visit before the college school year ends. While summer visits can be informative, they won’t give you the information you need about the team because the players will probably not be on campus. Division 1 programs have a quiet period around the holidays, so be sure to reach out to them early so you are on their radar in January.
Senior Year: The fall of your senior year is a time to seriously evaluate where you stand with the schools on your list.
By this point, you should already have been in touch with the schools you are interested in, have sent them video, and visited.
If you haven’t done these things, don’t panic – do it now.
Make sure you understand the college’s timeline for when they expect you to commit, when they need to submit lists to admissions or their athletic departments. Ask direct questions and find out those answers as well as whether the schools are still interested in you and how many athletes they are recruiting at your position.
If you are contacted by a new school, or become interested in one, don’t worry – just get on the ball now.
You need to ask tough questions and not be afraid of seeming too forward. This is a major life decision for you and you need to advocate for yourself. Ask your SMASH coach for help and follow the advice in this guide.