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Cal South E-News // September 2009 COLLEGE PLANNING

September 15, 2009

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It's Never Too Early to Start

Many people believe that junior year is the best time to start thinking about college. This is true for a lot of students, but as a student-athlete, you should be thinking about your college future much sooner. Colleges are recruiting athletes at an earlier age than ever before, which means that high school athletes that aspire to play sports in college must start thinking about their college plans as early as freshman year.

Everything you do from the first day you step onto your high school campus will impact the college you ultimately attend. You must first and foremost focus on your grades. You need to start high school with a solid GPA and maintain that until you graduate so you can give yourself more options academically. Remember that it doesn't matter how strong of an athlete you are. If you don't have the grades you will limit your options severely. You must also think about what level you would like to try to compete at during your college years. If you are thinking higher-level, you have to do what you can to fit the mold of what those coaches are looking for. This starts freshman year, and you must make sure that you choose your club teams wisely. Higher-level coaches begin to seriously evaluate prospective soccer players as early as freshman year.

As an underclassman, you also need to spend a large portion of your time researching schools. It takes a long time to figure out what you may like in a college. If you use your time while you have it, you will be able to make a more educated decision in the end. Look at schools academically, athletically and socially to see what you like and dislike about each particular school. Make sure you take a hard look at the academic requirements and the player bios to make sure that you are academically and athletically qualified for as many opportunities as possible.

Start to keep track of the schools in which you have interest and send introduction emails to the coaches. It's beneficial to give them your club tournament schedule as well, so they can hopefully evaluate you in person. Make sure you are familiar with the NCAA contact rules, because they will have an effect on whether or not some coaches can respond back to you. Either way, introducing yourself early and letting coaches know of the tournaments in which you will be participating will help coaches become more familiar with you and determine if they have interest in you.

The more work you put in as an underclassmen, the less pressure you will be under when you are in your junior and senior years. You will research schools until you make a decision, but if you get the bulk of your research done early, the more time you will have to concentrate on visiting schools and narrowing down your options during your junior and senior years.

About NCSA :
NCSA, the "Official Scouting Organization and Provider of Recruiting Education" for Cal South, is the premier source for matching high school student-athletes with colleges and universities across the country. For more information about NCSA, visitwww.ncsasports.org .