Compete in Sports in College To-Do List

This checklist is short and sweet, the nuts and bolts. We will share tips and tools to help you get started with the recruiting process.

Compete in Sports in College To-Do List by Impress Athletix

Compete in sports in college to-do list. To compete in sports in college requires the completion of certain steps. We will share tips and tools to help you get started with the recruiting process.  College sports come in a wide variety, including equestrian, bowling, golf, wrestling, tennis, swimming, and even rodeo. And colleges offer the opportunity for every student to take part in sports.

Some varsity athletes are eligible for sports scholarships through their colleges. Varsity athletes must meet academic requirements to stay on the team and keep sports scholarships.

Part I – Collegiate Sports Organizations

Three sports organizations compete in sports in college. The most popular is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Also, there is the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). As well as the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). The NCAA and the NAIA have specific requirements to take part. There are academic requirements and registration and eligibility determinations. Athletic scholarship money is available in all sports organizations but is limited.

Part II – Academics

You must take approved courses and maintain a strong “core” GPA. Core GPA refers to core academic courses required to graduate. Also, there are specific courses that meet those requirements. The requirements vary based on the collegiate sports organization. A great tool available to help you determine if you are on track is the CoreCourseGPA website. Most high schools sponsor a school account so your membership would be free. Check with your athletic department. If your school does not have a membership, then you can get an individual membership for a one-time fee. If you wish to compete in sports in college, this is a great tool! Your school counselor should also be able to assist you. Visit NCAA Education Resources and NAIA College Bound Guide for current eligibility requirements.

Part III – Eligibility

To compete in sports in college you must be registered with the appropriate eligibility center. The NCAA has the NCAA Eligibility Center and the NAIA has the NAIA Eligibility Center. I encourage athletes to register by their Junior Year. But anytime is ok. Make sure to submit all required documents. Required documents are SAT/ACT scores and transcripts. Submit college transcripts as well for dual credit Courses. I encourage athletes to register with both. You never know what you may find.

Part IV – Research Schools That May Interest You 

Choosing schools are a daunting task. Finding the right fit for you and your prospective team is key. Each school is only authorized a limited number of athletic scholarships. This is also limited by their budgets. So, your job is to find one that offers your major, is a good fit for you and your lifestyle. As well as one where you fit within the coaches’ program.     

  • Make a list of 15 – 25 schools that will meet your needs. Have a mixture of stretch, on target, and schools.
  • You can start by using a site like BigFuture, Cappex, and more. Here you can search by distance, cost, major, sport, and more.
  •  Visit each college's website, check out their admissions requirements and freshman scholarships.
  • Visit each college's athletics website. Here you should find the coaches' email and recruit form. You may also find their scholarship standards. Make a spreadsheet with the information you find.

Part V – Build A Recruitment Profile 

Having an athletic profile is a good tool to help you compete in sports in college. It will communicate important information to prospective coaches. We recommend the following: 

  • Make a video showcase either on your website, YouTube or Vimeo, or all 3. Create highlight videos that showcase your talent and post to video websites.   
  • Make an athletic resume. It should have your contact information and stats on it. As well as links to your video showcase you can attach emails to the coach.    
  • I also encourage athletes to build an online profile. Showcase all your highlights and stats in one place. You can send the link to the coach with all your info in one place. There are also subscription services that allow you to build an online profile for FREE. You usually must listen to their sales pitch. You can also upgrade your service. Upgrades give you access to tools designed to help you with your recruitment process. If you decide to subscribe, do your due diligence, and research the service that offers the best value for you.

Part VI – Contact Coach 

  • Complete their recruitment questionnaire on their website. Generally, the info you will need is your contact info and parents' contact info. Also, you will need your GPA, Class Rank, and ACT or SAT score. Additionally, you will need your School Information. School Address, Phone, and Counselor Contact Info. As well as Coach Contact Info (School and Club (if applicable). You also need your marks/stats and links to video footage.  
  • Email the coach expressing your interest. This part can be tricky. Some coaches will email you back right away. Some won’t contact you until your senior year. The NCAA has rules about when the coaches can start contact. Those dates change each year based on the sport. The NAIA and NJCAA don’t have the same rules. Generally, an internet search of “sport contact period” will bring up the most recent standards.   
  • Visit campuses to make sure the environment is what you need. 

Part VII – Apply to the colleges of your choice

To compete in sports in college you must apply and be accepted to the university.

  • Apply early. A lot of academic money is awarded as early as August/September of your Senior year.   
  • Fill out the FAFSA in early October of your Senior Year. This is required in order to receive any kind of financial aid. Athletic scholarships are financial aid.

This checklist is short and sweet, nuts and bolts. There are nuances to the recruitment process. But these are the essentials. I encourage you to start in your freshman year preparing. Build a good foundation. Do your research and establish relationships with the programs that most interest you. Most of all keep an open mind and find your comfort zone. Also, be willing to stretch it a little bit. Competing at the collegiate level is a privilege and is achievable. Yet only a small segment of high school athletes is so lucky. Good Luck!