Know What to Ask During Your College Athletic Search
For student-athletes who are passionate about their sport, having the opportunity to play in college can sound like a dream come true. From connecting with peers with similar interests, to representing your university, and honing your skills, there are a variety of benefits associated with being a college athlete.
Despite this, all students should think carefully before committing to playing a sport throughout their university experience. Since there are a host of questions that often come to mind about the college athletic recruitment process, we have rounded up the top queries students should consider when evaluating athletic options in higher education.
What am I looking to get out of college athletics?
Different students may choose to play sports during their university years for different reasons. Some athletes may be recruited due to their high talent level and enjoy a scholarship as a result, while others may choose to continue to play because of their immense love of the game. Before continuing your search of college athletic offerings, it’s important to have an understanding of exactly what you’re hoping to gain. Students who wish to be as competitive as possible may want to gravitate towards universities with Division 1 programs, legendary coaches, and large athletic budgets. In contrast, those with more recreational interests should opt for institutions with a diverse array of intramural clubs and additional extracurricular options.
Realistically, what level of competition can I expect to achieve?
Just like it’s necessary to evaluate your academic standing, it’s important to have an unbiased view of your athletic skills and how you stack up against other students. Playing at a Division 1 level is exceptionally competitive and students must be recruited in order to gain a seat in this process. If you’re not sure of where you stand, consider asking your high school coach or another athletic official for their input. Students who do not think they will meet the caliber for Division 1 athletics should not despair, as there are plenty of other ways to keep up your athletic passion throughout college. Division 2 and 3 athletic leagues can be great options for students who wish to play competitively, while those looking for something less rigorous can gravitate towards intramural clubs.
How will I balance schoolwork and athletic commitments?
Being a student-athlete requires excellent time management and the ability to plan ahead. Many high school athletes are already well aware of this, but both academics and athletics will be taken up a notch in college, so it’s important to be prepared. Students who are playing on a university team may not have as much time to devote to additional extracurricular activities and internships while their sport is in season. It is crucial to consider the commitment associated with playing a sport in college and assess how this undertaking will work for your lifestyle and your aspirations.
What are my goals after college graduation?
Some students may have Olympic aspirations, while others may dream of attending medical school or starting a full-time job. It’s normal to be a little uncertain about your post-college goals, but it’s beneficial to have an idea of what you are aiming for. Student-athletes who are hoping to make their sport a career may have very different priorities from those who don’t plan on playing professionally.
What qualities matter most to me when determining fit?
An athletic program that aligns with your skill level and goals is important, but it’s not the only factor worth considering when finalizing your college best-fit list. In addition to researching athletic programs, be sure to investigate different academic offerings, locations that suit your preferences, and campuses that align with your needs and goals.
Students who are interested in playing a sport throughout college should do their research and reflect on the types of programs that best align with what they are looking for. If you are curious about university athletic options and need personalized guidance, our team of admissions experts are here to help.