Thursday, 07 September 2017 21:22

Recruiting Tips: The Early Signing/Admissions Period

Author Tom Kovic Author Tom Kovic Courtesy of Author

The 2018 college recruiting class will likely be the most talented student-athletes ever. The clock is ticking and over the next two months the recruiting process will gain considerable steam as these girls and boys head down the homestretch with college recruiting.

Early Admission is now the most common college application period for prospects and nearly 70% of all recruits will commit and be accepted to their top college choices. What follows are helpful recruiting tips moving toward the November early signing/admissions period.

NCAA Eligibility

The Eligibility Center is an organization that collaborates closely with the NCAA to determine incoming college freshman academic eligibility. A prospect who is considering participation as part of a Division 1 or Division 2 college athletics program MUST register.

Prospects can easily take care of the first part of registration online at: Once completed, the Eligibility Center will generate a PIN number to the prospect that confirms initial registration.

Part two is conducted through the office of guidance or college counseling at the high school. Alert your advisor to your interest in playing at the college level along with your completion of initial registration. Your counselor will forward core courses, grades and standardized test results to the Eligibility Center.

Admissions Pre-Reads

Those prospects demonstrating keen interest in select academic institutions would be served best by requesting an admissions pre-read. College coaches at these institutions have, in many cases, significant input in admissions. Provide coach with a copy of your transcripts, test scores and high school profile and he will forward the information on to admission. Turnaround time is about 7 business days and this feedback to where you stand can be vital.

Official Visits

A big part of closing out college recruiting for rising seniors is scheduling and participating in an official campus visit. Prospects are permitted 5 visits that can begin the first day of classes in the senior year.

Typically, recruits and their families spend a weekend on campus to get an all-around feel for the institution, coaches and current student-athletes. They attend classes, observe practice, hang out with the guys and attend a home football game. The official visit usually provides “recruiting closure” on both sides of the table.

National Letter of Intent

November 8-15, 2017 marks the upcoming Fall National Letter of Intent signing period for most prospects (Football, Soccer and Men’s Water Polo excluded). This is obviously a very exciting time for recruits who have accepted verbal offers of athletic scholarships to their top college programs, but it is important that prospects and families do their due diligence prior to signing:

  • Line-up your official campus visits prior to the signing date. This gives you and your family a final “look under the hood” before you make your formal commitment.
  • Check with your guidance counselor and the NCAA Eligibility Center and confirm you are on track to graduate with the necessary core courses, grades and standardized testing that meet the eligibility standards set by the NCAA.
  • Speak candidly with the college coach you are committing and confirm the terms of the scholarship that has been offered.

Early Admission

There are generally 3 college admission options for senior candidates. Early Admission, Rolling Admission and Regular Admission.

Those prospects (athletic scholarship candidates or otherwise) who are looking to the early college application period need to remain on “close target” with deadlines.

  • Early Reads: It will be in your best interest to request from coach an early evaluation of your college application. You want to hedge your best bet in navigating early admissions unscathed.
  • Priority Application: Depending on the institution you apply, you will likely have the option to complete an athletic priority application that will separate athletes from the rest of the applicant pool. Coaches representing institutions that do not subscribe to priority applications typically have a system (app coding) that will assist admissions advisors in identifying prospect applications.
  • Application Deadlines: November 1 is a rough (early) application deadline for most colleges, but certain institutions differ slightly. Visit the admissions website of your top college option and determine all deadlines and stick to them.

In the final analysis, one’s college search success will depend on several operatives. Sound organization combined with a detailed, systematic approach is crucial, but the glue that binds the entire effort will be the way prospects and families successfully close in on their top college choice.

About Tom Kovic:

Tom Kovic is a former Division I college gymnastics coach (Penn) and the current director of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families on college recruiting. Tom is the author of “Reaching for Excellence”, an educational guide for college athletics recruiting. For further information visit:

Editor's Note:  Publication of this article is not an endorsement of any recruiting service.  Always check with the NCAA or your school's compliance officer for any questions regarding recruiting rules, the latest timelines, or other issues.



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