According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), of the 8,000,000 students who participate in high school sports, only 480,000 continue on to play in college. That means that only six percent of high school student athletes will get to continue their athletic careers in college. This does not mean that a student athlete has to be in the top six percent of their sport. In an attempt to help student athletes from George who may want to participate in collegiate sports, The Surveyor has crafted a suggested guide on the recruiting process.
Love your sport. In college, your sport will likely require a huge amount of commitment, so passion and dedication may be the most important parts of finding a path to continue your career. If you love what you do now, you will likely find it easier to discover a path to your collegiate sporting career.
Use the resources you have available to you. Many students are unaware of the caliber of the coaching and physical education staff. It is highly likely that your coach was an athlete in the NCAA, knows NCAA coaches, has helped other student athletes find a collegiate program or knows how to get you into the right athletic program in college.
Get good grades. It is tragic how many high caliber high school athletes don’t get to go to their college of choice because of their grades. In the NCAA, you will be required to keep a certain GPA to retain athletic eligibility (this is likely much harder to maintain than your high school eligibility), and college coaches often pride themselves over the academic prowess of their teams. If you are serious about participating in your sport in college, you need to be serious about your grades.
If you have completed the first 3 steps, you’re probably ready to start picking out where you might want to go to college. It will be important to consider both academic and athletic factors when starting to make this decision, as both will significantly impact your college experience. Don’t let your athletic dreams compromise your academic goals or vice versa. Make sure you educate yourself of the characteristics of different schools, conferences and divisions. Also remember that it is okay if a large and famous NCAA Division 1 program isn’t for you. Many professional athletes have been developed through Division 2, 3, intramural and junior college programs, and sometimes those schools may be the best academic and athletic fit.
Communicate with the schools you’re interested in. Talk to your coaches and formulate a plan. Do not be afraid to put yourself out there. College coaches are actively seeking high school athletes for their programs, and they will likely be happy that you have contacted them.
Upon completing these five steps, you should have a clear path on how to continue your athletic career, and soon you’ll be ready to pursue your academic and athletic dreams in college.