It is no secret that being accepted for a college gymnastics team is a difficult task. The competition is tough and there are so many choices for College recruiters to choose from. In this guide, we are going to cover everything that you need to know to kickstart your college applications and boost your chances of being accepted by your chosen colleges.
A quick Overview Of How Recruiting Process Works
Before we start to talk about how you can go about being selected by your dream college we will start with understanding the ins and outs of the recruiting process. This process can start as early as middle school and will often span many years before definitive decisions are made.
College coaches will start by sending out recruiting questionnaires to prospective students in high school. These questionnaires will function to help them identify recruits and begin the first phase of selecting the next batch of athletes. If you do not receive any of these don’t worry, you can often find them online under the college’s athletic website, but you will have to remember to find them proactively.
Next, schools will start to refine their lists and remove anyone that they might not be interested in. This process involves looking through the applicants recruiting videos, social media profiles, and personal gymnasts’ websites to review their various competitive performances. Commonly this step will also include summer camps where students will be able to meet and interact with college coaches over a short span of time. These camps are often used to further refine colleges’ set of choices for the next year to be accepted.
Lastly, colleges will start to invite students to official and unofficial visits to the intended college. Here coaches will often make verbal offers and finally pin down who they will be selected for their teams. This process will usually happen sometime between sophomore and junior years of high school for division 1 gymnastics. Although for other divisions it is not unusual to stretch into the junior or even senior years of high school.
How to distinguish yourself?
Creating a profile that stands out among the ocean of other applicants is very important. Just like in a job interview, schools are looking for someone who will contribute great things to their team. They want a team member who is well put together and able to perform at a college level. Convincing a coach of this in only a matter of seconds when they are looking into your profile is very difficult. Luckily there are some ways to set yourself apart.
One of the best things that you can do to set yourself ahead of the crowd is to make it easy for college coaches to find all of your information in one place. Just as applicants are searching through many different colleges, recruiting coaches are searching through many more applicants. Making this process effortless for them could mean that you are more likely to be selected. The last thing that you want is to fall through the cracks because a coach could not find your information.
To set yourself ahead we recommend creating a great recruiting video that showcases your talents and abilities for all 4 events. This will help colleges to review your abilities in a quick and easy-to-access point. Post this video on your youtube channel or Instagram account and update it regularly by posting more recent accomplishments. Then send your social media channels/personal website, and recruiting video to colleges that you are interested in so that they can review your performance.
Another way to help your recruiting process is to create a website to feature your athletic accomplishments. This is a great help because it will allow you to store all of your information in one easy-to-access place. Your biography, accomplishments, scores, skills, recruiting video, and social media channels can easily be stored here and sent to any potential college with just a simple link.
Do Your Grades Effect Your Chances Of Being Accepted?
Your performance in school will also be a large factor for most if not all college recruiters. Colleges like to know that they are selecting well-rounded individuals that can perform in the gym as well as in the classroom. Showing that you are capable of both of these things can be very difficult, but that is why it is such an impressive accomplishment.
Colleges will often see great grades and excellent scores as evidence of hard work all around and will assume that as a reflection of your work ethic. With so many applicants it is easy for colleges to filter out options based on their GPA so don’t let this happen to you. Work to get great grades and you can improve your chances of being selected.
Requirements for Being Selected By A College Team
In order to be accepted into colleges at an NCAA level, you will need to meet some requirements. These may change depending on the division that you are accepted into, as division 1 will probably be stricter than decision 2 or 3. Here are the major requirements:
- A strong ability to perform in all 4 events
- To be a level 10 or elite gymnast
- Compete at the junior Olympics, international, national, and regional competitions
- Good grades in the classroom show your ability as a well-rounded athlete
These requirements are not set in stone and might vary for each coach. Keep these requirements in mind but also remember to research your ideal D1 Universities For College Gymnastics and look for what value you can bring to their team. What are they currently missing that you can add to the roster? Asking questions like this will help you go above and beyond this list of requirements during the selection process.
How To Start Applying for colleges?
Applying for colleges starts with planning. Just like anything, having a solid plan will help you reach your ideal destination on schedule. The first thing that you will need to do is to decide what are your dream colleges. What colleges would you love to go to? Being accepted into any division 1 college team will require a massive investment of work and due diligence so having your goal in mind will help to guide your efforts.
Start by creating a list of the top 10 colleges that you would like to be accepted by. Write them down somewhere and start to do some more investigating to discover what makes them unique, and what their culture is like. Who are their current team members and how do you compare to them? Understanding all of these questions can help to narrow down your favorite colleges, and it can also help you to ask the right questions when you get deeper into the recruiting process.
Showing that you have done your research can be an excellent way to show just how seriously you take their college and the opportunity that you are presented with.
Once you have done this research you can start to reach out to your colleges and send them an introductory email. The purpose of this email will be to introduce yourself and put your information on their radar. Let them know that you are interested in their college, and include why their college, in particular, appealed to you. As tempting as it can be to create fill-in-the-blank emails they are much less likely to get you anywhere. These college recruiters have seen hundreds if not thousands of these types of emails so they will recognize a low-effort one easily.
A general rule is if your email can be sent to every school without having to change much more than a name then it is not a high-quality email that will grab their attention.
After you have introduced yourself follow them on social media and stay up to date with what is going on at your various colleges. Try to stay on their radar by sending them new information any time that you have a new accomplishment or learn a new skill. This needs to be done with a delicate touch as you do not want to come across as annoying, but staying on top of mind is crucial.
Another way that you can get to know these recruiters is by attending summer camps for the specific colleges that you have in mind. This is a great way to meet them face to face and show them everything that you have been working on. Being able to be seen and work with them will help you tremendously to make an impact. If your ideal college does not offer a summer camp check to see if their recruiters attend any other camps that you might be able to go to as well.
These are the major ways that you can get your foot in the door and make yourself known to your ideal colleges. As you can see there are many other factors to being accepted other than just your meet scores. Those will always be a factor, but networking yourself can also be a huge boost to your chances of being accepted.
When Does recruiting Start?
Gymnastics cannot be officially recruited until they are in their junior year of high school. However, this does not mean that is when gyms start to look for applicants, which can begin much sooner, stretching back to as early as middle school.
This process is a long one that can often span over many years. Recruiters can be picky and many have a good idea of who they want on their team far ahead of schedule. This means that the earlier you can be the better your chances improve.
If you are later into your high school career do not fret. Just because many recruiters do select applicants early does not mean that they are no longer open to seeing you as well. There are many opportunities for high schoolers in their junior or even senior years however you might need to expand your scope of colleges that you would like to apply to.
Final words of advice
Getting into your dream college with a gymnastics scholarship is no easy task, but that is okay. With diligent work and persistence, it is achievable. Take your time to plan out your goals and work towards them daily. This will help you stay on track and create a path to your eventual dream college.
We hope that this article helps you on your journey toward being accepted. Good luck out there!