College Prep for Athletes

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College Prep for Athletes

More than 7 million high school students in the United States participate in school sports. Only a handful of these students go on to play sports in college or professionally.


High school sports provide more than just a physical work out. Many students participate to make friends, be part of a team, and show school spirit.

But some student athletes hope to compete at the college or professional level. They participate in high school sports to better their skills and (hopefully) get noticed by college coaches and recruiters. Being a top athlete is also a way to pay for college (through grants, scholarships, and other funding).

Keep in mind that you'll need good grades, as well as athleticism, to be eligible for many college sports programs.


Student athletes interested in going to college should keep the following in mind:

  • Sports are a great way to build character. And a strong character appeals to both admissions counselors and employers.
  • The more you compete, the more you risk injury, so take care and play it safe. You don't want to ruin your chances of getting a scholarship because you are injured and no longer eligible.

The College Outlook

As a student athlete, you need to prepare for college as soon as you start high school:

  1. Get good grades—To be eligible to play sports at the college level, you'll need to get good grades in high school. You'll improve your chances even more by having a high class rank and scoring well on the ACT1 or SAT2 test. (You'll qualify for more student aid, too!)
  2. Get noticed—Despite what you may see in the movies, college coaches will probably not be banging on your door. It's up to you to reach out to them, not vice versa. Contact some college coaches and invite them to come observe you.
  3. Investigate colleges—Depending on your sport, there may be a limited number of colleges from which you can choose. Narrow down your decision by looking at everything each school has to offer, including academics and social opportunities.

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