How to become a Walk on or PWO?

Every year I get asked about becoming a “preferred walk-on” and what that really means? Let me try to explain. First, becoming a Preferred Walk-On (PWO) and Walk-On’s are two distinct things. Regardless, both a PWO and a Walk-on spot are hard to get and require just as much attention to detail as securing a scholarship. The biggest distinction between the two is a PWO is normally guaranteed its spot on the roster (also joins the team during training camp) whereas a Walk-On is not guaranteed and normally requires a tryout of sorts or you could join the roster at a different time or when school starts depending on the sport. 

So how do you become a PWO? To be a PWO, coaches need to see you play (Hudl, YouTube, etc.) and they are looking for all the normal factors like Height, Weight, Speed, Length, Strength and then evaluate positions of need they might have.  These PWO spots are normally targeted for positions that require great depth and are a need. Examples: Football: Offensive Lineman, Kickers, Deep Snappers, Defensive Lineman. Baseball: Pitchers. Basketball: A Great Shooter!  In D1 Basketball this might mean 1-2 PWO spots. In D1 Football this is normally around 20-30 PWO spots (hyper-critical for specialist roles).

In the same way that you would pursue a scholarship spot, send your film, Athletic Resume and transcript/test scores (the ability to be academically admitted will be a major factor too), and tell them you are looking for walk-on opportunities specifically. Call out the interest in walking-on in your initial correspondence and be direct. We also encourage you to apply to the university you are interested in Walking On too early to secure admissions spot as well as completing your FASFA as early as possible. 

Importantly, work to find out if they need your position at your target school. It may be a waste of time pursuing a position at a certain school that is stacked, most walk-ons are invited to join the team because they play a position that is lacking depth on the roster, and the coaching staff doesn’t have scholarships available.

Also, we encourage your High School or Club coach to contact the targeted list of Universities you are interested in Walking-On. Start with the assistant coach who recruits your county/school, and possibly try the position coach Recruiting Staff if you aren’t getting much feedback.

Bottom line you have to get in front of these coaches and recruiting staffs just like you would those other schools that you are engaged with for potential scholarships at say a smaller level.  

If you have questions about “walking on” or “PWO” please let us know. We are here to help you. For more information on the recruiting process, please reach out to us a or visit


Bryan Bedford

CEO of Recruit Route

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