What should prospective students know about intercollegiate sports?
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.
A few other things to consider:
1) You’ve received an offer! It’s a great team, but is it a great school for you? Do you match up with the school’s academic environment? Does the school have a major that interests you? How about the social environment?
2) Read the “fine print” before you commit. What GPA must you maintain? Is your scholarship “guaranteed” each year? What if you get injured? What if the school drops the sport? Anything can happen at any time and it’s your future that could be affected!
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the recruitment process, but pay attention to the details!
Best of luck!
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.
In the United States, there are three primary organizations that govern intercollegiate (meaning college versus college) sports. They are the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA; www.ncaa.org), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA; www.playnaia.org) and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA; www.njcaa.org).
Perhaps the most well-known, the NCAA consists of more than 1200 U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities. Generally speaking, the NCAA divides its sports into three tiers–Division I, Division II, and Division III, with Division I being considered the “highest” level of play, or in other words, the most competitive. Therefore, the most talented athletes are recruited to play at the Division I level. While there are a number of important differentiations between division levels, a very influential fact is the availability of scholarship money. While colleges and universities competing within the NCAA’s Division I and II levels can offer prospective students athletic scholarships (which may be combined with other forms of scholarship or aid, like for academic merit), Division III institutions do not and cannot offer scholarship money to prospective students who wish to participate in athletics. Student-athletes at Division III schools can, of course, still receive scholarship money for other reasons, like academic performance or artistic talent. Therefore, Division III students truly play for the love of the game, rather than any financial incentive.
The NAIA consists of several hundred smaller universities and colleges that wish to offer intercollegiate athletics, but for whatever reason, do not want to or qualify to be a member of the larger and voluntary-based NCAA. As of 2011, all member institutions are in the U.S. and Canada, yet the NAIA allows for members from other nations. NAIA schools can provide scholarship money to student-athletes for their athletic participation. While most of the NAIA sports are sports that are also part of the NCAA, the NAIA does sanction competitive cheering and dance, which is not an athletic area sanctioned by the larger NCAA. Most sports sanctioned by the NAIA only have one level, while some, like men’s and women’s basketball, field teams into two levels of play.
The NJCAA is the sanctioning body for community- and junior-colleges, which are two-year institutions, across the U.S. There are hundreds of member institutions with many more being added each year. Like its fellow sanctioning bodies, the NJCAA can give athletic scholarships to its players. The NJCAA sanctions a wide variety of men’s and women’s sports.
There are also other sanctioning bodies that may be of interest to the prospective student-athlete. These include the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), the
United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCCA), and the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA).
Each sanctioning body, and potentially each level of play within said body, has varying and strict guidelines for student-athlete eligibility. Prospective student athletes should make themselves familiar with the guidelines and requirements for joining and playing for any college’s athletic program, based on that institution’s affiliated sanctioning body and or level of play. Failure to understand the appropriate processes and rules could hurt a prospective or current student-athlete’s opportunities to compete as a college athlete. Visiting each sanctioning body’s website and reading general information about eligibility is a great starting place for prospective student-athletes.
Once a prospective student-athlete gets a grasp on the playing field of intercollegiate athletics, he or she is in a much better position to consider whether this is a route that is truly desirable. Whether or not to pursue opportunities in intercollegiate athletics is a major decision. Working to be recruited can be a time-intensive process. Furthermore, being a successful student-athlete on and off the field, at any level,is a testament to one’s work ethic, time management, and, overall perseverance. Student-athletes need to know how to manage their time, balance and meet their emotional and physical needs, and, at times, advocate for themselves. While these actions are desirable for all college students, the fact is, many college athletes feel more daily pressure than a college student not participating in intercollegiate athletics. However, if a student has really done his or her research and appropriately analyzed which institutions fit him or her academically, socially, financially, and athletically, then participating in intercollegiate athletics is much more likely to be a very rewarding experience.
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 are recruited to a D III school team, you may find you have to try out to even make the team, or have to try out every year. But on the other hand, at a D III school, you are normally obligated only for your season, and because many are generally small colleges, they welcome multi-sport athletes which is extremely rare at D I schools.
Also, understand that scholarships are not necessarily the answer to affording a particular institution. For men’s sports, for example, only football and basketball offer full scholarships and all scholarships are for one year only, normally renewable, but there is no such thing as a “full ride” anymore. As an example, the NCAA allows up to 11.7 scholarships for D I programs, and they also limit the number of scholarship athletes to 35. That means the average scholarship is only about one third of the cost of attending that college, and not all colleges have the resources to fund all 11.7 scholarships.
So there are many pieces to the puzzle even if you have college-level ability, and the more you learn about the differences between divisions and schools, the more likely you are to have no surprises once enrolled. It is my belief that you should be choosing a college where the education provides you with the best platform to succeed in your chosen career, as the chances of it being as a professional athlete are less than one in one thousand high school athletes according to NCAA.org.
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!
They should know that only a very small percentage of all high school varsity athletes across all sports get recruited, less than 5% across all divisions.
1. The recruiting rules are different and complicated for each of the NCAA divisions, DI, DII, and DIII. Make sure you know what they are!
2. Start early and often contacting coaches of schools where you think you might want to play, after you’ve received advice from your coach (high school, club, AAU, etc.), as to what level he/she thinks you might be able to play at.
3. Remember that sports are an adjunct to your college experience, and you are going to college for an education first, so you are trying to make an academci/athletic match.
4. Athletic scholarships are only available to student-athletes who play at the DI and DII levels, except in the Ivy League, where there are no athletic scholarships.
5. Try to be seen at showcases and attend college recruiting camps in the summer between junior and senior year.
6. Rules for when a coach can contact you as a prospective student – athlete vary from division to division and sport to sport.
7. If you’ve been told you might be able to play in college, realize that the recruiting process is long and you have to be willing to put in the work and still keep your grades up at school!
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 glamorisation 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.
If your considering entering into intercollegiate sport my best advice is to be ready to take on an overloaded schedule, prioritise all your time perfectly, buy a diary which you check several times a day and add every event in your life such as academic deadlines, games, practice, group project meetings, dentists appointments……INCLUDE EVERYTHING IN YOUR LIFE!! if you think you can handle a full schedule, the rewards for intercollegiate sport participation are endless, literally.
College athletics will be a rewarding experience if one can balance well all of his or her commitments — classes, studying, traveling, playing, practicing, training, and having a college experience (retreats, social events, etc). Being prepared to be an independent worker and learner will contribute to one’s success!
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.)
For the majority of college athletes, however, this is exactly what you’re hoping to find when you graduate to the collegiate level, so it’s exciting to become a part of it. That’s where the focus on your academics has to factor in as a major component, because you won’t get to play if you’re failing in the classroom. So remember that you are first a STUDENT, then an ATHLETE – and have fun out there!
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.
Understand that although you may have been running a football since you could stand up, the playing field for college will be extremely competitive and absorb a large amount of your time throughout your college years.
Remember that the word student proceeds the word athlete on the collegiate level. Not only do your coaches expect you to perform on the field but your performance in your courses is essential for your to become a successful student-athlete.
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.
At a Division I and Division II schools participation on a team will likely be the defining aspect of their college experience. The commitment a prospective student makes 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, and to take into consideration the “what ifs”.
With Division I adn II schools comes the opportunities for scholarships, travel, visibility, and so on… however in Division III schools this is not the case..
For some athletes in Division I and II schools, from an academic perspective, high level athletics can make certain majors being almost impossible to pursue. However, the experience of the Division III athlete in the same sport is usually far closer to that of the normal undergraduate and for some that is very important.
At the end of the day, the student needs play a major role sometimes on what kind of experience a student is afforded.
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).
So as you are looking at colleges and you come across one that participates in an athletic association that is not familiar – don’t worry. Go ahead and check them out because many of these institutions will offer athletic scholarships in addition to a great college education.
Below are some of the collegiate athletics associations including the commonly known NCAA.
The purpose of the Association of Christian College Athletics (ACCA) is to provide Christian and Bible schools an opportunity to compete as Christian athletes in a public and national forum. The goals and priorities include providing first class National Tournaments with quality Christian athletic competition, developing solid, demonstrated Christian character in our student/athletes, and bringing positive attention to God and his Son, Jesus Christ, through athletic competition, academic excellence and Christian service on our campuses and our communities.
The purpose of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is to promote the education and development of students through intercollegiate athletic participation. Member institutions, although varied and diverse, share a common commitment to high standards and to the principle that participation in athletics serves as an integral part of the total educational process.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a voluntary organization through which the nation’s colleges and universities govern their athletics programs. It is comprised of institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals committed to the best interests, education and athletics participation of student-athletes. This section of the Web site contains more details about the Association, its goals and members, and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes.
The National Christian College Athletic Association was incorporated to provide a Christian-based organization that functions uniquely as a national and international agency for the promotion of outreach and ministry, and for the maintenance, enhancement, and promotion of intercollegiate athletic competition with a Christian perspective.
The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) is the governing body of intercollegiate athletics for two-year colleges. As such, its programs are designed to meet the unique needs of a diverse group of student-athletes who come from both traditional and non-traditional backgrounds and whose purpose in selecting a two-year college may be as varied as their experiences before attending college.
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:
They think their student athlete will get a full-ride.
They think their student athlete is going to be “recruited”.
They believe their student-athlete needs to play Div I, etc etc.
Most high school student-athletes just don’t go on to the collegiate level and most who do don’t get the athletic money everybody assumes is there. There are many reasons for this.
For this discussion, I would simply point out that MOST COACHES at MOST ATHLETIC PROGRAMS simply DO NOT have the budget to “SCOUT” or “RECRUIT”
prospects typically more than one or two hours drive away. If you have ever known college coaches, then you know that athletic budgets are one of the big constraints hurting your young high school athlete.
However, that provides YOU with the opportunity to take the scouting to them!! “If it’s Going to Be, It’s Up to Me” should be the student athlete slogan. A logical way to get recruited is to develop a MARKETING PLAN.
Another IMPORTANT perspective that high school families miss is the potential opportunity which Division III sports could play in your son’s or daughter’s future college career. More on this later.
Finally, there are other outlets for student athletics, if a student doesn’t want “VARSITY”
level pressure or time commitment. Many colleges offer either “CLUB” level which is non-varsity competition with other institutions or “INTRAMURAL” which means literally
in-house “rec” level sports. Some schools offer both.
There are a couple of different types of intercollegiate sports. I’ll assume the question here is geared towards varsity sports, though.
There are two major governing bodies of intercollegiate sports: the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Within the NCAA there are three levels of competition, or divisions, Division I, II, and III.
Most of the time what you see when you turn on your TV is an NCAA Division I sport. Bowl games, March Madness, the Frozen Four are all NCAA D. I offerings. Most college athletic scholarships are given by NCAA D. I schools, although D. II schools offer athletic scholarships as well.
Playing a D. I sport can be like having a full-time job while also being a full-time student. Student-athletes often, though not always, have scholarships so there is an expectation that those will be earned through continued commitment to the school and the program. In short, the school is paying your tuition and expects you will work hard for it on the court, field, track what have you.
The balance between athletics and academics can be more even at a D. III school. Many students make the mistake of assuming, though, that the competition at the D. III level is not all that challenging. Depending on the school and program, the competition can be at a very high level.
The same goes for NAIA programs. Don’t assume they aren’t competitive. Make sure you do your homework. It might be that an NAIA or D. III school is the perfect place for you. You won’t know unless you look.
Weigh your options! Consider the answers to the following questions:
1) Which has the highest graduation rate in four-years?
2) Which offers you the least amount of loans and indebtedness?
3) Have you visited each and if not in person, do they have a virtual visit option on their website or through youniversitytv.com?
4) Which has alums who are doing that to which you aspire?
5) Which offers the most options and networks for internships or study abroad?
6) How many schools if any do they share articulation agreements for cross or dual registration?
7) Which if any AP or dual college courses do they accept which might move you closer to graduation, thus saving money?
8) Are there faculty pursuing research opportunities in which you are interested?
9) Do they consider special circumstances in re-negotiating aid?
10) Are there on campus supports such as writing labs, workout facilities, counseling, emergency funds for special circumstances, and grants for summer study?
11) Is it likely you can take the courses required and still have room to explore other interests?
12) Are you required to declare a major from the outset? If so, can you change colleges without losing credits?
The answers to these questions should help you determine which college offers the best resources for your plans. All the questions aside, where do you most want to be?
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.
Another important piece of information you should know is that there is more than just playing Division I. To play Division II, III and even NAIA athletics is a great accomplishment. I am a big proponent of the NAIA because they can offer scholarships which is something Division III can’t. High school athletes need to know though that all of these levels of intercollegiate athletics are very competitive and a great experience. I played NAIA baseball and was amazed at the competition we were facing.
The last piece of information is to start early in visiting schools, contacting coaches and attending camps. Do not wait until junior year to figure out that you want to play intercollegiate athletics. If you do, you can rule out Division one because it is too late. The key is that you should always have started yesterday.
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.
Grades count, even freshman year grades
Even the most esteemed college bound athlete needs to demonstrate solid academic performance. Grades from ninth grade to eleventh grade are used to compute a student’s NCAA core academic grade point average. Students broaden athletic opportunities by consistently working hard in classroom.
Take the test, early
Standardized tests (either SAT or ACT) are a chief component for attaining academic NCAA eligibility. High school juniors should plan to take the SAT and ACT for the first time in December or January of junior year. Academic eligibility can be achieved prior to the start of a student’s senior year. Early academic clearance enables college coaches to focus on your athletic performance. In addition, familiarity breeds success: taking standardized tests multiple times offers the best opportunity for a solid score.
Consider all options
Only 2% of high school students earn a college athletic scholarship, though far greater numbers play sports in college. Keep an open mind about pursuing athletics in college. Division III institutions don’t award athletic scholarships, but offer students competitive athletic opportunities balanced with strong academic programs.
Select classes carefully
All students who play sports and have even the slightest interest in college athletics should select courses carefully beginning freshman year. While your school may count “History of Jazz” for graduation, the credits may not count when the NCAA computes your core academic GPA. Visit egligibitycenter.org to determine if you are enrolled in NCAA approved classes.
Register with the NCAA Clearinghouse
At the conclusion of your junior year, register with the NCAA Clearinghouse at eligibilitycenter.org. There are four components to completing this registration: submit the online questionnaire, provide payment (fee waivers may be available), submit an official transcript through your high school, and submit official SAT or ACT scores. When all components are received, the NCAA will evaluate you for eligibility.
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.
Division I has I-A and I-AA for football and I for all other sports. This is the most competitive level for college athletics and is highly regulated. As an athlete on a Div. I team you need to expect to devote a considerable amount of time to your sport (consider it as though it were a full time job). Division II is also very competitive and regulated, though there are fewer and fewer DII colleges left. Division III can run the gamut from quite competitive to much weaker, and does not have athletic scholarships, it also does not demand quite as much of a time commitment as Divisions I & II (and I-A & I-AA).
Then there are the Club sports. These are teams that compete intercollegiately, but are not at the Div. I, II, or III level. Often the teams are competitive, but also have a lot of fun. Many colleges with a Div. I team in a sport will also have a club level team so that more students can participate in the sport.
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.
Also, another thing about intercollegiate athletics is that you will be required to use your time very wisely. You must have (or will have to develop) excellent time management skills so that you can balance being a good student, a good athlete, and good friend, etc.
Mike Chapman, Owner
Chapman College Admission Consulting
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.
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