10 Best Ideas How to Set Up a College Signing Table

how to set up college signing table

10 Best Ideas How to Set Up a College Signing Table

What a special day! College Signing day for your student athlete.  You may be wondering how to set up a college signing table.  You will find all of the answers right here as I share my personal journey planning my son’s college signing day. 

It is time to celebrate the athletic talent of the high school student that is taking it to the college level.  

All of the years of hard work have paid off for student athletes to receive athletic scholarships or be a walk-on for their favorite college team. 

Why Celebrate College Signing Day?

To get an idea of how big of a celebration this college signing day event is, lets look at some statistics. Only 1 in 13 high school athletes go on to play sports in college athletics. 

Additionally, only 1 in 57 males play sports at a NCAA Division 1 college. This is definitely is huge reason to celebrate the future collegiate athlete’s big day with signing day celebrations.

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How to Set Up a College Signing Table DIY

My son recently signed with a NCAA Division 1 college for track and field, and I really wanted to make his day special.  

I put together this article with college signing table DIY information and decoration ideas to provide inspiration for students, coaches, school staff, and families looking for ways to celebrate their future college athletes with a star-studded celebration.

how to set up college signing table
These DIY cupcake picks were created by making a sheet of a dozen pictures on Canva, cutting them out, and taping to toothpicks.

What is College Signing Day?

College Signing day is the day when the student athlete “officially commits” to their college choice to play for their college programs. The commitment is commenced with a National Letter of Intent (NLI) signature.

There is also a National College Signing Day that airs on national media for football players for top schools. However, college athletic signing day is not just for football players. It is for all collegiate level sports, four-year college, community colleges athletics, and also military branch commitment as well.  Additionally college signing day also includes scholarship money announcements as well. 

High school college signing day usually takes place in the Spring but can also be in late fall and early winter.

Essentials for Setting Up Your College Signing Table

All of the essentials of any great signing day are right here.  I put together this list because my son recently signed with a D1 college to run track.  When I started looking for a list of essential items for signing day and how to set up a college signing table, I could not find much to suit my needs.  Moreover, I especially could not find any inspiration for track and field and running which is my son’s specialty. 

College signing tables really can just be a table with a tablecloth, along with the paperwork and a pen. However, moms like me need more of a special show to create that special moment for the future college athletes.

If you are wondering how to set up a college signing table, we have the perfect college signing checklist. The following essentials can be tailored toward any college or university and any sport or for National Signing Day. 

After you create this very special table and have the event planned, you will want to think about a stream on social media for other family members to enjoy as well.

Balloons in College Colors

Two to three balloon color varieties in 2 groups of 5 balloons with a weight is perfect.  In other words a group of 5 balloons on each side of the table.

College or University Letters

The college letters which are normally three letters, are such a fun addition.  The best part is that the athlete can keep the letters to decorate their college dorm room when they start school.  

I found 6 inch wooden letters to add to the table which were also in the university color.

College or University Flag

In order to drape the table with the school name, a large college flag works perfectly.  In addition, you can use the flag next year in support of your athlete at their games or meets. 

If you can not find a flag, consider a table throw that is in the school colors or college signing day banners and signs.  Some athletes prefer to drape their jersey or t-shirt over the front of the table.  

Regardless of which table throw that you use, choose a base cloth for the table as well.

how to set up college signing table

Athlete Pictures for Display

Of course, you add as many pictures as you like or a collage of pictures.  However, I think that 3 pictures are perfect.  We had 1- 8 x 10 inch picture and 2 – 4 x 6 inch pictures which worked perfectly. 

Here are some great examples of pictures to feature:

  • First Year doing the sport or a past sports themed party
  • Senior year playing the sport
  • Actual Senior Picture

Medals, Awards, Plaques

Most athletes that are signing with a college will have medals, awards, and/or plaques from their high school accomplishments to display.

Here is an award medal table display.

I did not use this display because I did not find it until afterward.  However it is nice way to display lots of medals.  I had my son choose his favorite 5 medals (out of at least 50).

Frames for Your Pictures

White or black frames or college color frames work great for your pictures on table display.

These are the frames I used.

Cupcake Stand

A small cupcake stand to display celebratory cupcakes is a nice touch for the table.  The cupcake stand with cupcakes adds an element of fun and excitement to the signing table.

This cupcake stand worked perfectly!

Decorative Cupcake Picks

Find some cupcake picks for the sport in which your athlete specializes.  However, depending on the sport, you may need to get creative.  There is not much for running in this cupcake pick category, so we had to get creative. 

I made small pictures of my son on Canva then sent the photo image sheet to picture printer (Walgreens) and had them printed.  Finally, cut the pictures out and taped them to a toothpick.  This is a true DIY college signing table decoration!

I also did get these cupcake picks, but I preferred the DIY ones that I made.

National Letter of Intent (NLI) Paperwork & Pen

This NLI comes from the college, so be sure to have this printed and brought with you to the signing.  In addition, don’t forget the pen!

Small Wooden Board 

A small wooden board is not only decorative but also functions as a hard surface for signing if needed.

how to set up college signing table

More College Signing Table Ideas

Here are more table decorations college signing day ideas that will really make your athlete’s day shine. 

  • Small flower arrangement
  • Jersey
  • Track Spikes for runner
  • Instrument for band member
  • something special from their sport
  • college ball caps
  • custom media backdrop 
  • Video highlights of their sports performance or multimedia video installation
  • Slide show highlights of their sports performance
  • Speech prepared by the presenter, coach, parent, and/or athlete
  • Peg Board or Bulletin Board with awards, certificates, photos, congratulatory notes

College Signing Party Etiquette

The college signing party etiquette can vary from school to school, however, here are some basic ideas for the signing. 

Before the signing, invite close supportive family members and coaches who have made a positive impact on the journey to becoming a college recruit for their specialty.  

During the event, coaches, teachers, parent, may be invited to congratulate the student.  The student may also make a special thank you speech as well. 

After the official signing, sure to notify the local newspaper and local media of the signing dates and send pictures. Share with the local paper for coverage of the big day along with national signing day pictures. 

Celebrate the signing day with a small party reception afterward.  This is a great way to celebrate before graduation.  Using the cupcakes that you brought with you, add some sodas and water for refreshments to commence the hard work and accomplishments of the athlete, future college student, or military branch member.

If your teen likes party themes, here is a complete list of party themes for teens.

It is my hope the you have the most amazing college signing day. I hope this has helped you with ideas on how to set up a college signing table.

how to set up college signing table checklist

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