The search for your college match starts by first understanding how to properly manage your recruiting process. You’ll need to know how to research prospective schools, when college coaches can contact you, what college coaches look for in recruits and more. To help you through this process, NCSA experts have created a complete guide to college softball recruiting.
NCAA SOFTBALL RECRUITING RULES AND CALENDAR
A 2017 NCAA survey conducted by the Division 1 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) discovered that early recruiting had become a trend in college softball. Seventy-eight percent of Division 1 student-athletes revealed their first recruiting communication occurred before junior year. In May 2019, the NCAA set out to prevent further growth this trend with new recruiting rules that prohibit communication between college coaches and student-athletes until September 1 of the recruit’s junior year.
SOFTBALL RECRUITING GUIDELINES
Division 1 college programs reserve roster spots for only the best players in the country. How do college coaches determine which athletes are the best? During the evaluation process, Division 1 coaches identify athletes with three to four years of high school varsity experience, a minimum of 2 years as a starter and four to five years of high-level travel ball experience. When it comes to athletic talent, college coaches look for different skills and measurables based on position that you can find in out softball recruiting guidelines across all division levels.
THE RECRUITING PROCESS
While college coaches are busy building their list of prospective recruits, you should focus on preparing for the recruiting process, which starts on September 1 of your junior year. Below is a list of steps to take:
• Research softball programs: College softball is offered at 1,500 college softball teams across the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA. Research these programs to identify which you are most interested in to build a list of prospective schools.
• Build a recruiting profile: Make sure your recruiting profile is easily searchable in a recruiting network, like NCSA, for college coaches as they evaluate potential recruits.
• Create a recruiting video: Most college coaches will see you compete for the first time while watching your recruiting video online. Make sure your video includes highlights of the position-specific skills outlined in NCSA’s softball recruiting guidelines.
• Attend field hockey camps: Softball clinics, camps or showcases are the best ways to increase your access and exposure to college coaches.
• Contact college coaches: Let college coaches know that you are interested in competing for their softball program by sending an introductory email before the recruiting process starts.
Learn more about how to get recruited for college softball.
Fully funded NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 softball teams are permitted 12 and 7.2 full-ride equivalent scholarships, respectively. As an equivalency sport, college coaches are able to take their scholarship budget and divide it amongst current roster holders and recruits however they see fit. In most cases, these means student-athletes will receive a partial scholarship, rather than a full ride. Recruits are able to combine their partial athletic scholarship with alternative forms of financial aid to cover costs.
TOP RANKED WOMEN’S SOFTBALL COLLEGES
Before you research prospective colleges, identify what you are looking for in a school athletically, academically, socially and financially. Once you have an understanding of your expectation, you can begin your search with NCSA’s Power Rankings. This list ranks the top colleges and universities with softball programs based on factors, such as cost, size, location and academics.