If you are you a Student-Athlete who aspires to play at the college level here are some things you should know.
1) Start planning in your freshman year. Create a profile at the beginning of your sophomore year or thereafter at the NCAA Eligibility Center and become familiar with the information on the site.
2) Grades matter. Colleges want Student-Athletes, in that order. Admissions officers and coaches want students that can handle the rigors of the college coursework and are capable of making positive contributions to the team.
3) Take the most rigorous core academic courses available at your high school. For a listing click “List of NCAA Courses” under the Resources tab on the eligibility center website. Become familiar with the academic eligibility requirements for each level of play, Division I, Division II, Division III, and the NAIA.
4) Update your online profile yearly. Independent of your profile put together a marketing (yes, marketing plan) for how you–the athlete–will get in front of prospective college coaches. Be sure to follow the strict guidelines for coach contact listed on the eligibility center website and then work your marketing plan. Athletes should take ownership of their own promotion, not parents. There is a fine line between being a parent who wants to promote their kid to one that is overbearing. Coaches want to hear from the athletes; not Mom or Dad.
Most importantly, Student-Athletes should remember that there are great schools at all sports level divisions and that the more willing they are to cast their net far and wide in their college search, the more schools and opportunities they will find to play at the college level.