Many students play a sport during their time in high school, but how do you know if it’s right for you? And, how do you know if you’re good enough to play in college? These, and other questions are addressed in this blog about how being a student-athlete changes the college admission process.
Do I want to play a sport in college?
Only you can answer this one, but the idea here is to get as much information as possible in order to make your decision. Talk with adults who did choose to get involved in college athletics. Reach out to friends who currently play sports in college. Ask college coaches about their teams and to be realistic with you about their expectations in terms of academics, time and performance. Then, have a candid conversation with your parents or other trusted adults about whether playing sports in college is a good idea for you.
I DO want to play sports in college!
You have made your decision and you do want to at least pursue playing a college sport. Now is the time to talk with your high school coach(es) about the level of college athletics you should pursue: D1, D2 or D3. The requirements, expectations and skill for each level can greatly vary. Attend athletic camps and showcases to assess your skills amongst other athletes your age.
I need to find the right athletic program at the right college.
Don’t forget that you will be a student-athlete in college, and recognize which comes first: student. Finding a college where you can play sports is great, but finding one where the academics, social life, location, etc all line up can be more challenging. You need to find colleges that offer the level of sport you want to play and then create a list of those that also make sense in terms of the other criteria. Once you have that list somewhat narrowed down, it’s time to reach out to coaches.
Now I need to communicate.
One of the first things to do when you identify some schools that are both a good athletic and academic fit is create an Athletic Resume. An Athletic Resume highlights your sports-related accomplishments, but also academic achievements and extra-curricular involvements. Once your resume is created, start sending it off to coaches. It’s relatively easy to track down the email address of college coaches, so send them an introductory email indicating that their school might be a good athletic and academic fit for you and attach your resume.
Things are getting complicated…
From here, every student’s experience is different. Interactions with college coaches can get more serious, and offers can even be put on the table. It’s important that you have significant help from a college counselor and parents or other trusted adults to see you through.
If you think you might want to pursue college athletics, it makes sense to start the college search process a little earlier than other students because you likely will have a few more things to do. We recommend the end of sophomore year or beginning of junior year to start talking with your family and Campus Bound counselor about if college athletics are right for you.