I have received an overwhelming amount of questions about the recruiting timeline for gymnastics. Here is a quick summary of an outline of your college recruiting experience. (If you want a detailed outline please contact me through email)
Some of you will be graduating this year and some will have one to four years. It is important what you do from this point on. Have you taken all the courses necessary to be considered into a college program? Have you taken your placement exams such as the SAT or ACT? Have you been uploading your scores, videos, and gymnastics training to a site where they can be seen by college coaches? These are things to consider when you start looking at possible colleges. Let’s take a look at the things you should be doing and when they should be done by…
A few things to remember…
- The earlier you start, the greater your chances
- An athlete can verbally commit to a college at anytime
- Be pro-active when it comes to communication
- This outline does not guarantee a scholarship
I always tell the families I assist to have their student sit down with them and and start constructing a list of the things that you want when looking at possible colleges. What programs are you interested in? Have you chosen a specific major? Are there any extra curricular programs that you want to pursue or continue from high school? What qualities are you looking for in a team atmosphere?
During the beginning of your freshman year you will want to sit down with your academic adviser and talk to them about what requirements are needed for graduation. Discuss what you are interested in at this time of your life. It may change later, but it will be a good base point for your future. Next, start researching the schools your interested in and break them down to a “top prospects” list. Look for how many scholarships (academic/athletic) will be available for each school the year you will graduate. Make sure to check this list each year for possible changes that may occur.
In the gym…
You will want to start brainstorming with your coach on what skills you want to be competing at the college level. Discuss where you want your skill level to be by your 11th and 12th grade competition seasons. It is important to get all your routines to a 10.0 start value. Start taping your competitions and keeping track of your scores. Look into summer camps that colleges are hosting. Try to attend a few of them. I suggest you do this every summer until you graduate. This is a way to meet other prospective college-level gymnasts as well as getting a connection and networking with the coaches.
Start looking at the list of schools you picked your freshman year. Narrow it down and start going to their websites to complete the recruiting questionnaire. Evaluate your grades? I think it’s a great step to make a goal to be on the student honor roll each quarter\semester. You can start taking practice exams for the ACT/SATs. Meet with your academic adviser to make sure you are on track with all of your eligibility classes and requirements, and make any adjustments as they are needed.
Start to email the schools your interested in. Let the coaches know who you are and send a link to your website or you tube site. Coaches can not recruit you if they don’t know who your are. This email should be well thought out and to the point. Make sure you explain why you want to represent their school. Do your best to keep it personal and not generic.
In the gym…
Keep track of your progress during the off season. Try to video tape clean progressions and take about 5 on each given skill. This shows coaches that you are consistent. Evaluate where you are on your goals from where you were during your freshman year. Change anything that needs to changed.
This is a good time to start your personal website to market yourself to colleges if you haven’t already. Ask your coach if you can put a link on the gyms website showcasing “college recruits”. Make sure that you start recording your scores and stuck routines on to the website. Remember if a college can’t see you- they can’t recruit you! If you haven’t yet, start a you tube site that is easy to find with tags like… Suzie class of 2020, gymnastics recruiting video, recruiting progression, college gymnastic, ect.
College coaches can start to visit this summer so make sure they know where to find you. Are you going to college camps? Are you going to invitationals where college coaches will be present?
Website information should include: Biography, videos, meet results, stand out achievements, meets you will be competing in, and school information that includes your GPA.
In the classroom…
Register with the NCAA National Clearing House. Take the ACT and SAT. Meet with your academic adviser and make sure your on track for any requirements that need to be met. In Canada, Math and English are under a different qualification, make sure you read up and never assume about classes.
In the gym/at home…
Continue to record your competitions and progressions and update your you tube site often. Email the coaches and update them on your season. Include State, Regional, and National achievements. If you to plan to attend a college camp, include it in the email. If you haven’t looked at any of your top choice schools yet, start taking unofficial/official visits. Check out a few college gymnastics meets.
Graduation year! Congratulations it’s your last year of high school. Meet with your academic adviser to make sure that the colleges have your high school transcripts. Take any last official visits that you are interested in. Sign your national letter of intent. If you have not signed talk to coaches about the possibility of a “walk on” position. Many gymnasts start as a walk on and use academic scholarships which can turn into athletic scholarships. Don’t be discouraged if it hasn’t happened yet. In this sport things can change at any given time.
In the gym…
Continue to polish your current skills and keep working on progressions. Work extra hard on cardio and endurance. Post your scores and placements from your recent competitions. Have fun and cherish these memories as you continue gymnastics in college.