After a long and hopefully fun college golf recruiting process, it’s finally senior year of high school. What else do you have left to do before everything’s buttoned up?
If you started your recruitment process early, you will have likely already verbally committed to a school or are about to. However, if you’re starting the process a bit later, don’t worry – we have plenty of options for you to consider if you’d still like to play golf in college.
Checklist for the Verbally Committed College Golfer
Congratulations on verbally committing to play golf in college – or getting close to it. This is an exciting time as you near the end of the college golf recruiting process.
1. National Letter of Intent (NLI) or a Written Commitment
The next major milestone is signing your National Letter of Intent (NLI) if you’re heading to an NCAA Division 1 or Division 2 school, or a Likely Letter if you have committed to an Ivy League school.
However your written commitment takes place – if it does – be sure to stay in constant communication with your college golf coach in order to fully understand the steps you need to take. For example, NCAA Division 3 schools offer a non-binding celebratory signing form to be used at high school signing ceremonies; however, you must be admitted to the college before your coach will send you one.
2. Fulfill Any Outstanding Standardized Testing
While there’s a good chance you already took the SAT or ACT earlier, you’ll want to ensure your scores match your coach’s expectations. This is especially important for Ivy League and Division 3 recruits. If needed, you can take the SAT or ACT again in the fall of your senior year of high school.
3. Apply to Your College(s)
The last big hurdle is submitting your college applications. You may have signed with a school where you can apply early decision or you may be holding out for spring acceptances before seeing where you want to go.
No matter which timeline works best for you, it’s important to get your applications in on time so any prospective coaches can present you to the admissions committee as one of their recruits.
4. Maintain Your GPA
Just because you signed your NLI doesn’t mean you can skimp out on your academics the rest of the year. This is especially true if you don’t have a binding written commitment. Coaches and colleges will continue to monitor your GPA, both in the admissions process and beyond.
If you’re taking any college-level or AP classes, passing those exams at the end of your senior year can help you earn college credit before you step foot on campus. This means you may be able to take a lighter workload your freshman year as you adjust to playing on a college golf team.
5. Apply to College Scholarships and Grants
No matter where you’re heading in the fall, you have the option to apply for college scholarships. While your college golf scholarship will be included in your NLI, you can also apply to academic scholarships, local golf organization scholarships and financial aid.
Research the options around you and invest some time in filling out these applications as they can save you from potentially having to pay for room and board, textbooks and other costs.
6. Continue to Practice and Compete in Junior Golf Tournaments
You’ll want to keep your golf skills sharp as you finish your senior year and head into the summer, and competing in junior golf tournaments is a great way to do that. You don’t necessarily have to travel everywhere to compete again, but playing in a tournament every once in a while will keep you competitive as you join the team your freshman year.
7. Celebrate Your Achievements
Celebrate and reflect on how far you’ve come over the last three or four years and get excited for what’s to come. Signing ceremonies, prom and graduation are just some of the fun memories you’ll have of your senior year of high school.
It’s important to remember to enjoy your senior year but not jeopardize your NLI or college acceptance. Stay in touch with your coaches throughout the year, and freshman year will be here before you know it!
How to Play College Golf After Starting Later
Senior year of high school may feel stressful if you’re just starting your college golf recruiting process. Maybe you started playing recently or you didn’t realize college golf was an option until now; no matter the situation, it’s not too late to try.
Below are a couple options to consider if you’re late to the college golf recruiting process. The first step is to apply for NCAA Eligibility and compete in tournaments in order to begin building your junior golf ranking. Academically, maintaining a good GPA and taking all your standardized tests will help you later on.
1. Take a Gap Year for Golf
A common decision for those who want to see more improvement in their golf game before heading to college is taking a golf gap year. This means that you’ll have an extra year to develop your golf skills, play in more junior golf tournaments and get more facetime with coaches at schools you’re interested in; you can even take some college-level classes to get ahead of the game as long as you maintain your status as a non-full-time student.
The key to a golf gap year is having a developmental plan and staying in constant communication with college golf coaches. The Junior Golf Hub app is an easy way to build your profile, find tournaments and connect with coaches, all in one spot. The Golf Performance Center in Ridgefield, Connecticut, is also a great example of a golf boarding school with gap year programs specifically designed around skill development and improvement.
2. Consider Community and Junior Colleges
Another option is playing for a community or junior college golf team for a year or two and then transferring to a larger golf program. Men’s college golf teams and women’s college golf teams in these conferences have plenty of playing options and are a great way to keep up with your education while you work on your golf game.
No one’s senior year of high school looks alike, but you will find maintaining your academics and continuing to develop your golf skills are top priorities for you all as you sign your NLI, apply to college and graduate. Junior Golf Hub wants you to feel confident about the college golf recruiting process and is available to answer any questions you may have.