High school athletes who are considering continuing their athletic career in college need to do some careful research and planning when choosing a college. While high school athletics are demanding and competitive, college athletics requires even more dedication and commitment. Students who think they might want to pursue their sport should begin thinking about it early in the high school career.
- Research the differences between Division I, II, and III. Do some careful self-evaluation and try to honestly assess where your talents would best fit in. Consider if you want to compete at the intensity that college sports demand or would you be happier in a less intense environment and enjoy the school’s club or intramural teams.
- Collect newspaper articles and game tapes; consider making a highlight DVD to send to coaches.
- Attend at least one game for each college you intend on applying to. Contact the coach ahead of time, introduce yourself, and let them know you will be at the game. Some coaches may invite you to do an “overnight” with one of the players on the team.
- Create a “sports resume” that you can send to coaches.
- Ask your current coaches for recommendations or if they would be willing to speak on your behalf to college coaches.
- Keep the admissions counselors up-to-date on your visits to coaches and/or games.
- Talk to friends who are playing college level sports and listen to what they have to say.
- Consider your major and course load, and think about time management and what is realistic for you.
- Consider the amount of time required for you to train or practice with the team even when the sport is not in season.
These are all important issues to think about right now, while you’re still in High School, but most of all, think about what YOU want. College is your time to explore many new things. College athletics can add much to the college experience, but due to the time and commitment level it may prevent you from doing other things as well. Talk to people, do the research, and if do want to play at the collegiate level, start your college planning sooner rather than later.