Top Tips for College Bound Athletes
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.