The 5 Phases of the College Recruiting Process

The 5 Phases of the College Recruiting Process

Welcome to the Guiding Future Stars Academy Recruiting Blog

Are you interested in playing sports in college?

Are you a prospective student-athlete or parent of a child who aspires to play in college but have no idea where to begin.  If so, you're not alone.  The college recruiting process can be a very windy road and can be difficult to navigate if you don't have a road map.  There are thousands of schools to choose from and seemingly endless routes for getting to to the one that will provide you with the best college experience, academically, athletically, and socially. Don't worry.  Guiding Future Stars ( is here to help. We know that a clear road map may be all you need to go from undiscovered to highly recruitable.   Guiding Future Stars Academy will:
  • EDUCATE prospective student-athletes and families about what it takes to compete at the next level and how the college recruiting process works.
  • GUIDE prospective student-athletes in their pursuit to find their College Experience Trifecta.
  • INSPIRE prospective student-athletes to chase their dream to play in college and be a successful student-athlete in the classroom, on the field, in the community, and beyond.

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College Recruiting has drastically changed over the last decade.   It’s common for a freshmen or sophomore, even a few 8th graders to verbally commit to a college.   It is crazy to think that a 14 or 15 year old can make such an important decision that is going to affect the rest of their lives.  As some college coaches would like to slow the college recruiting process down there doesn’t seem to be any signs of that happening anytime soon.   Guiding Future Stars wants to help educate as many prospective student-athletes and their families about what it takes to play at the next level and how the college recruiting process works.  The journey to find the right college is about self discovery.  So education is the key to your recruiting success. GFS breaks the process into five phases to help prospective student-athletes and their families navigate the college recruiting process successfully. You can find out more about the five phases in the College Recruiting Playbook: College Recruiting X’s and O’s. The College Recruiting Playbook outlines a surefire approach that will help you win in the classroom, on the field, and in the community. Follow the simple steps outlined in the five phases of the college recruiting process and learn not only everything you need to know, but also everything you need to do to find the right college for you. Then, start grounding your dreams in reality by developing a customized marketing plan that will highlight your abilities and gain the attention of your top choices.



The 5 Phases of the College Recruiting Process 1. Planning and Preparation Phase - This is an excellent place for prospective student-athletes to jump-start their college search process.  Planning and Preparation is the first step to learning about and understanding the college recruiting process.  The Planning and Preparation Phase will help you answer the following questions
  • What are the factors that go into building a list of schools?
  • How do you build a balanced list of schools?
  • What is the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA?
  • What is the Eligibility Center?
  • What are the academic requirements  to compete in the NCAA?
  • What are the recruiting rules and regulations for your sport?
  • What are the differences between DI, DII, and DIII?
2. Communication Phase - Now that you have a better understanding of the recruiting process and you have a grasp of what you are looking for in your college experience, it’s time to contact college coaches.  The communication phase will help you as begin interacting with the college coach community.  You will discover the following
  • What are the four attributes college coaches look for while recruiting prospective student-athletes?
  • What are the three parts to writing an introduction letter?
  • What should be included in your student-athlete profile?
  • Learn some strategies to effectively communicate with college coaches.
  • Discover social media tips that will help you build a positive personal brand.
3. Gaining Exposure Phase - There are many aspects to gaining exposure from coaches at the college level. The Gaining Exposure phase will open your eyes to the identification and evaluation process.
  • Discover the best ways to be evaluated.
  • What do you need to do in order to make a great first impression on a college coach?
  • Answer questions that you might expect from a college coach.
  • Learn and effectively use the three key elements to gaining exposure.
  • How can you stand out on and off the field?
  • What are some tips to make the most out of your overnight visit?
  • How can you narrow down your list of prospective schools?
4. Decision Making Phase -Now it’s time to make a decision.
  • Learn and understand the intricacies of Financial Aid.
  • What are the different types of financial aid available?
  • Use the Cost of College Table to find the school that best fits your family’s situation.
  • How can the College Comparison table help you choose the school that’s right for you?
  • If you are an early commit, discover the terms of a verbal commitment.
  • Who signs a National Letter of Intent (NLI)?
  • What are the two types of walk-ons?
5. Beyond the Decision - Congratulations, you have made a decision. Now what? You can take time to celebrate that you have navigated the recruiting process successfully but in all actuality, the work has just begun. College coaches recruit you based on your potential and the impact they think you can make on their program both on and off the field. It is important that you are prepared to be a successful student-athlete. GFS will prepare you to learn, achieve, and succeed in the classroom, on the field, and in the community. The GFS College Recruiting Decision Making Tools will help you organize and manage your entire process so you and your family can be make an informed decision so you can find the school that will provide you with the best college experience, academically, athletically, and socially.
  • College Recruiting Timeline
  • Goal Setting
  • Time Management
  • Weighted Pros Cons List
  • College Recruiting Organizer
Utilizing these tools will help you as you navigate through all 5 phases of the College Recruiting Process.   Are you ready to get a jump-start on your college search process and begin the journey to find your College Experience Trifecta.   Grab your copy of the College Recruiting Playbook today and start making your dream a reality. In 2015, the College Recruiting Playbook was published to help educate prospective student-athletes about the college recruiting process. The College Recruiting Playbook is a student-athletes workbook to finding the right college to fit their academic, athletic, and personal needs. Finding the right college for your student-athlete doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, with College Recruiting Playbook, you can navigate the five phases of the recruiting process with surprising ease. 1. Planncollege-recruiting-playbook-covering and Preparation 2. Communication 3. Gaining Exposure 4. Decision Making 5. Beyond the Decision This step-by-step guide walks parents and students through everything they need to know and do in order to find the best college athletically, academically, and personally. Written especially for high school athletes, this guide is also an essential read for parents, teachers, and coaches. By utilizing the included organizer and looking at the process from more than an athlete’s point of view, you can form the best strategy for your young athlete’s near and distant future.


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Christopher Stack is the Founder and CEO of Guiding Future Stars and author of the College Recruiting Playbook. GFS is a student- development company that transforms the next generation into excellent students, great athletes, and extraordinary people. A former Division I soccer player for Mount St. Mary’s University, he holds a degree in sports management and an MBA in marketing. Stack has worked in intercollegiate athletics for over twelve years. Starting his career in college administration at his alma mater as the Coordinator of Intramurals, he also served as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the university’s women’s soccer team. He eventually transitioned to the academic side of college sports as the coordinator of student-athlete academic support.  In 2014, he created Guiding Future Stars.  In 2015, he published his first book The College Recruiting Playbook. Stack now enjoys using his higher education experience to help educate  high school students achieve their dreams of playing sports in college while also gaining first-rate educations.

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