Being recruited by a college to play a sport that you love is very exciting, especially when there is a healthy scholarship included! But, there are a lot of responsibilities that come with that recruitment and, quite frankly, time management is the key to success. You must never forget that you are earning an education! Being able to juggle the responsibilities to your team and to your studies is a skill.
Prospective college students who have an interest in participating in athletics at the college level really need to do their homework early in order to not find themselves drowning in the deep end of the pool. If college athletics is a realistic possibility, high school students should start to familiarize themselves with the various intercollegiate athletics sanctioning bodies and the associated levels of athletic play. Narrowing down the desired governing organization, if any, and appropriate level of play, if applicable, to fit the student’s talent and motivation is a first key step.
For many student-athletes, intercollegiate sports can help open doors for college admission. While it is exciting and flattering to be pursued by various colleges, prospective students should know that participating in intercollegiate sports is hard work. 1.) Your sport will take considerable time and effort. You’ve done this throughout high school, but in college your team may to dictate most of your schedule. Expect mandatory study halls in addition to practice and games. 2.) If you are a scholar-athlete, your scholarship will depend on your continued participation in that sport. Quitting your sport due to loss of interest or a career-ending injury may affect your ability to pay for school. Intercollegiate sports bring so many positives, but prospective students need to know the drawbacks as well.
That they are more competitive than ever. That it’s very difficult to balance an education with a sports (and heavy travel) commitment, and that if you are pro-quality you should make sure you finish school.
Assuming you have the athletic ability to play at Division I, II or III, you want to find a college where you will be happy for four years (and for some athletes in some sports, it might be 5 or 6 years). Keep in mind that scholarship school coaches are buying your services and expect a return on that investment as your performance affects their performance, their contract and their future. That means the coach determines what you do for his or her team, and when you do it. Academics are important but for many schools the importance only relates to keeping an athlete eligible. As a result, you may be told you cannot join a sorority or fraternity, that you have an athletes’ study hall every day, that you are expected to use your summer according to their requirements. Also, you may not even be able to play as a freshman, or may end up sitting on the bench for your whole career.
if you believe you are serious about being part of the team during the college period, you should invite the perspective colleges to visit your games.
you also should consider to have someone promote your position to the coach directly.
Prospective collegiate student-athletes need to consider the role sports will play in their collegiate experience. At a Division I school their participation on a team will likely be the defining aspect of their college experience, as the commitment to their sport will have a serious impact on their ability to participate in many of the things that are associated with the college experience. The trade-off is the opportunities for scholarships, travel, visibility, etc. that are not similarly available to others. Too, on the academic end, high level athletics can sometimes make certain majors being almost impossible to pursue. In contrast, the experience of the Division III athlete is usually far closer to that of the normal undergraduate and for some that is very important. Ultimately much depends upon what kind of experience a student desires.
Students need to know playing intercollegiate sports in college is just like having a full time job with all of the time constraints and expectations without any pay! Primarily they are also in school to get an education but one does not happen without the other. So understanding their role in the two opposing sides of university life is paramount.
Students who are interested in being on an intercollegiate team once they enter college must consider many things outside of perfecting their craft.
1) you must begin in your preparation to get noticed by colleges early in your high school and often middle school career by practicing to be above the bar in your area and getting noticed early
2) participate in league sports which have become one of the primary recruiting venues for college athletics like AAU and Upward to name a couple
3) remember that you are talking about “college” athletics so you must maintain adequate grades in school and take the necessary standardized tests
4) additionally, began a video journal of your performances, because schools will want to see more than one game, they will want a video portfolio of what you have to offer
5) you must register with the NCAA Clearinghouse to become eligible to play at the college level
6) finally once you are being considered you must weigh your academic career goals with the schools offerings, keeping in mind that very few athletes make it to the professional level
Regardless of level or division, intercollegiate athletics is a heavy time committment. The athlete must be committed to the sport; otherwise, the experience has the potential to cause significant misery. That said, for many athletes, the time demands can help to structure what can often be an overwhelming amount of free time. Teams also provide strong social networks in college, help athletes to keep in shape and stay healthy, and allow students to represent their college in competition. Job recruiters also count athletic participation as a positive attribute in applicant profiles. And, while this should probably go without saying, athletes must remember that the level of competition at the collegiate level goes up dramatically. An athlete must be sure he or she is well-qualified for competition at that level to avoid any sort of unexpected disappointments.
Getting Recruited… It’s a Long Process, Get Started Early!
There are lots of things you should know about intercollegiate sports. But, the first thing that comes to mind is the time and dedication that they take. Most intercollegiate sports practice and/or play year long. If they aren’t on the field they are in the weight room. It takes a lot at a time when you have also begun a new challenging academic path. Obviously it can be done, but it isn’t as easy as it was in high school.
Athletes that play intercollegiate sports need discipline. They have less time to study than many other students because of the athletic committment. These scholar athletes must make better use of the time available by allotting ample time to study and complete asignments. Intercollegiate sports can be physically demanding as well, so these students must make sure that they have a healthy nutritious diet. Improper nutrition can lead to poor performance on the field/court as well as in the classroom.
There are varying levels of sports. At which level do you want to compete? Division I, II, III, NAIA? They all have different requirements. Make sure that you know what they are. Register with the NCAA Clearinghouse as well as the NAIA. Make sure that the classes you take in high school and the grades you earn will qualify you to play sports at the collegiate level. Make sure that you are talking to your high school coach or athletic director if you are interested in playing sports in college. Leverage their knowledge and their connections. Finally, practice hard!
One of the most important things to know is the difference between Divisions I, II, and III.
Often people assume that DI is inherently the best, DII second best, and DIII third best. It’s not quite that simple. While the best DI teams will usually have the best players, there are many top DII and DIII teams that are often on par with many mid- and low-tier DI teams. What this means for you as an athlete is that you should focus less on the division label and more on what school has the best balance of academics, social characteristics, and athletics.
Know that intercollegiate sports play a prestige role in university life with many opportunities to participate in a diverse range of sport’s within the college framework. The glamorization of big time NCCA D 1 Footballer athletes that are seen to live a very relaxed and lavish college lifestyle is far from the truth for 99% of college sport athletes. Regardless of what sport you play and where you play it, from the offset you are expected to commit a serious amount of commitment to any program with little leverage considered in terms of academic deadlines. The point I am trying to stress is that for certain student’s it’s better off to take advantage of the many other extra-curricular activities including intramural sports to keep grades high with time for social activities if desired. For other student’s, the commitment of long nights studying, hard training session’s and sacrificing the attendance of social gathering’s are exercised to fully incorporate the high demands of intercollegiate sports. The size of the school, the specific sport, the sporting institute e.g. NCAA D1,D2,D3 or NAIA, program expectations etc…. These vital components and a lot more, all correlate towards how much time will be needed to incorporate an intercollegiate sporting career.
No matter what sport you play or what type of intercollegiate athletic program you become a part of (NCAA Division I, II, or III or the NAIA, etc.), you need to know that the level of intensity and the level of commitment required increases significantly when you reach the college level. Whereas many students are able to be two and even three sport athletes in high school, college often requires you to commit to just one because that program (and that coach) will have certain requirements for your fitness, your training and focus, and also (very importantly!) on your academics as well. (Without scaring anyone away, the simplest terms I can put it into is to say that, as an intercollegiate athlete, your program owns you.)
The best possible resource for any student considering intercollegiate sports is the NCAA website. You must have a solid knowledge on the requirements and available opportunities that exist at D1, D2, and D3 colleges throughout the country.
If you play a varsity sport in high school, you already know the time commitment it takes. Understand that this commitment will be just as intense, if not more so, in college. Your time management skills will be put to the utmost test as a college athlete! Consider DI, DII and DIII colleges, understanding that even though only DI and DII offer athletic scholarships, DIII colleges are eager to attract strong players and might offer merit or other financial incentive if you were to choose them.
Prospective collegiate student-athletes need to consider not only the sport, the role sports will play, but the division standing of the school they will be attending in their collegiate experience.
Participating in intercollegiate sports is serious business. It affects not only your college list but also your schedule at whatever college you choose to attend. You should do your homework about what is involved in being a college athlete and also be sure you’ll qualify. It’s best to start with the NCAA rules: http://www.ncaastudent.org/NCAA_Guide.pdf. Once you’re sure you’ll be able to play – and that you really are that dedicated – communicate with coaches, visit prospective schools, and talk to student athletes to get the scoop. If after that you’re still ready to play, put together a reasonable list with the help of your guidance counselor and seek outside sources if needed (for example, to get a video to send to prospective coaches).
A student can have just as much fun if not more by playing on an NCAA Division III team than on a D-1 team. A student needs to consider that he/she may be benched at a D-1 college whereas he/she might get to play more at a D-II or D-III college.
For many students and parents the idea of college athletics is synonymous with the NCAA – especially Division I. The NCAA or National Collegiate Athletic Association has done a great job of positioning itself as the major player in college sports. However, there are a few more athletic associations that bring together colleges to compete against one another for championship titles. Some of them consist of very specific type colleges (e.g. two-year, Christian).
First, MOST high school level athletes will NOT move up to the intercollegiate level and be awarded ATHLETIC MONEY. Most high school families just don’t understand the prevailing myths which may end up hurting their student-athlete:
There are a couple of different types of intercollegiate sports. I’ll assume the question here is geared towards varsity sports, though.
Weigh your options! Consider the answers to the following questions:
Students interested in intercollegiate sports should get excited because it’s a wonderful opportunity to continue playing something that you love. First off, students need to become familiar with the NCAA and visit www.ncaaclearninghouse.net to understand the requirements and expectations for going through the recruitment process if they plan to play Div. 1, Div. 1A or Div. II sports. Interested students should begin creating a resume specific for their sport and consider creating a DVD. They should inquire with coaches and fill out online inquiry forms on the college’s websites.
First, you will know you are a Division I athlete if you are participating on the varsity team as an 8th grader or freshman and getting significant minutes. Division I athletes have “freak” qualities. I don’t mean that in a scary way, but that these athletes look like a junior in high school as an 8th or 9th grader.
Students interested in intercollegiate sports should become very familiar with the requirements for the NCAA Clearinghouse. Students should register for the clearinghouse and signup to received updated information. They should become familiar with course requirements as well as minimum scores on college enterance exams.
The time commitment. Intercollegiate sports require you to budget your time wisely as you will be on the road during much of the season (i.e. away games, tournaments) and will be away from campus. Time management is key for collegiate athletes to be successful in the classroom. Your time will also be crunched on campus as you will have practices (sometimes multiple practices per day) often occurring early in the morning and/or late in the evening. That said, the benefits of being part of a team can be very rewarding and you can develop a second family with your teammates if the chemistry is right.
Vince Lombardi said, “To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, to be late is to be forgotten.” His words ring true for the college process, particularly for student athletes. College coaches are restricted from contacting players outside of NCAA regulated periods, however, students can put themselves on a coach’s radar in advance of the official recruitment period. Check college websites for “Prospective Student Athlete” forms to indicate your interest in pursuing an athletic career at a specific institution.
College coaches, on average, will recruit up to ten student athletes for every single position they are trying to fill. With the number of athletes graduating and leaving the team each year, many coaches have to, literally, communicate with hundreds of athletes to fill 17, 18 or 19 positions. To accomplish this they rely on what has worked for them in the past – focus on high schools that have supplied athletes to their college program in the past, attend tournaments, games and high school contests close to their college and rely on the recommendations of people they know and trust. With so little time between the end and beginning of a new season, they don’t have the time to randomly visit web sites and view hundreds of profiles of athletes they have no relationship with. They also don’t have the time or resources to send out random emails or mailings. Instead, they focus on student athletes who are recommended to them or who show interest in their team and college. It is also important to realise that only 2% of all student athletes get 100% of their college education paid for by a full athletic scholarship. You need to find other resources available to help pay for college. There are scholarships available to every high school student but you need to know where to apply and what scholarships are legitimate. There is both Aid and Tax Relief for student athletes to use for their college education, Unigo can help you maximize your opportunities to receive scholarships to help pay for you college education.
First, it is important to know that there are different Divisions and while you don’t really have to know what distinguishes one Division from another (numbers of stadium seats for examle!), it is important to understand that there are some critical differences between the levels.
Something that incoming freshman don’t think much about is the fact that their team mates on their respective athletic teams will be their best friends in college. Although you will likely meet some casual friends in your residence hall, because you spend so much time with your team mates, you’ll more than likely develop your closest relationships with them. This is a good thing in most cases because you have an automatic group of people who share your interest in sports and fitness. That said, however, don’t be afraid to occasionally venture out and meet non-athletes.
As I tell every student, be aware of the commitment at each level. While D-I and D-II offer athletic scholarship money, these levels of competition require a lot more commitment. I often compare this to having a full-time job as you will be expected to perform at a certain level. D-III allows you to play your respective sport at a high level of competition, but also allows you to have the full college experience (i.e. graduating on time, the ability to participate in other social activities, and earning a solid GPA). It is important that student athletes graduate college with a degree and with a solid GPA, as you will likely need to disclose your GPA to prospective employers when seeking that first job! For parents be sure that your child’s prospective college coach is emphasizing the importance of earning a college degree, and not just emphasizing what takes place on the field.
Talk to several students who have participated to get a better picture of the programs available and weigh the pros & cons.
Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.
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