04 Oct National Signing Day and Scholarship Timelines
For many prospective student-athletes, a lot of unnecessary stress, pressure and anticipation can build in the lead up to National Signing Day. Below we explore the significance of National Signing Day break down some of the biggest misconceptions.
National Signing Day occurs each year in November and marks the first day of the signing period for student-athletes commencing college the following year. From this date, student-athletes can begin to receive and sign their scholarship paperwork, formalising their college commitment. However, it is important to note that the signing period extends all the way through to August. So, if you don’t receive a scholarship offer in November, you are not alone. In fact, this is completely normal.
Seeing the signing announcements of fellow athletes in November can understandably create the impression that you are falling behind or missing out. However, it is important to keep everything in perspective. Signing early can, in some cases, be detrimental to a student-athlete, denying them time for other opportunities to emerge at colleges that may be a better fit. By the same token, scholarships at top programs can become available during later stages of the signing period if athletes who had previously given verbal commitments have decided to pursue an opportunity elsewhere.
The scholarship signing period extends through to August. So, if you don’t receive a scholarship offer in November, you are not alone. In fact, this is completely normal.
Having additional time in the recruiting process before committing to a college can also be advantageous as it allows student-athletes to continue to progress in their sport. Perhaps your results don’t adequately reflect your potential in the months leading up to November, given the stress of balancing your sport against the pressures of Year 12 final exams. After graduation, you will have significantly more time to dedicate to competition, which may attract new interest and scholarship opportunities well beyond the November early signing period.
On the other hand, if you have received multiple early scholarship offers that you are satisfied with and have gone through the necessary process to make an informed decision, there are certain advantages to signing in the November period. It will allow you to lock in your scholarship opportunity, which for some may bring a degree of comfort in knowing where you will be going to college. You can then start to plan and prepare for your departure to the US well in advance, while focusing on your sport without the pressure of still being in the recruiting process.
However, it is always important to keep in mind that National Signing Day represents the first day that a student-athlete can sign a scholarship offer, not the last.