In researching this topic, my eyes were opened and I was amazed at how challenging it is to become a college athlete! You not only have to be a skillful athlete in a particular sport but you have to be a well-rounded, well-educated student. You have to produce evidence of your brawn and your brain power. I now understand the reason why so many of our young people, who have great athletic potential never get beyond this point of potential.
The pathway to college “ball” is arduous and complex and young athletes who endeavor one, going to college and two, going to college on an athletic scholarship or just playing on a college team must start in middle school to set the course. Read on, as I attempt to outline the process. For a complete picture, go to athleticscholarships.net for a complete walkthrough of the process.
In order to be eligible to play at Division 1 or a Division 2 college as a student-athlete, you will need to meet athletic AND academic requirements:
Meeting core course requirements specific to NCAA D1 or D11
- 4 years English
- 3 years Math (including Algebra)
- 2 years Science + an extra year of Science
- 4 years of a language other than the student’s native language
- Must have maintained at least a 2.0 (C) average in high school
- It is crucial that students entering high school be aware of this information:
- Is the high school that has been selected by the student offering the above coursework and the athletic focus?
- Is the high school considered a school academically in “good” standing?
- Will the student have the opportunity to play sports in the chosen sport?
It is important that the student does his/her homework on the academic and athletic offerings. The student must be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center BEFORE acceptance to a college sports team. The above requirements are the general requirements. In addition to these, each of the NCAA divisions can and do have additional requirements, which the recruit must meet. Therefore, starting in middle school, and definitely by the beginning of high school, the future student-athlete has to decide which division level s/he will be the best match in order to determine under which rules s/he is planning to fall. A decision has to be made as to the division because it is that decision that should govern the high school experience. Be aware that coaches will not look for you.
You must GET recruited! Don’t wait for a coach to find you. Begin to build your “portfolio” of accomplishment during your four years. Establish relationships with sports programs, coaches and organizations. Remember, you are not the only one with the dream of becoming an athlete.
Let’s look at what the Division 1or a Division 2 Core Class Requirements look like:
- 4 years ELA
- 3 years Math (including Algebra 1 or higher)
- 2 years Natural or Physical Science (including 1 year of Science Lab)
- 1 extra year of ELA, Math, or Science-natural or physical
- 4 years of extra core courses from any category above or a foreign language, non-doctrinal religion or philosophy
- Graduate from high school
- Earn at least the minimum required grade-point average in your core courses
- Take and receive an SAT/ACT overall test score equivalent to a C or 2.5 according to the conversion to what equals a C at your high school. Example: 2.4 core-course grade point averages a total SAT score of approximately 860)
- Take the required number of SAT II subject-specific exams
Remember, you must know in which college/s you are interested and its/their Division. Each division has their own additional requirements and the ones listed are the minimum of all divisions.
GET SERIOUS, GET BUSY, GET ORGANIZED
Are you really interested in playing college sports, possibly earning a scholarship to play on a college team? Well, why not-but you have to work for it. You have to determine it is what you want and start on a path to achieve it! It is not too late to start.
Before you begin, go to the NCAA website (athleticscholarships.net) and read their information on the NCAA requirements and application. Look at the extensive application carefully. Take your time. Get your parents involved; it must be a family process. It is important that you clearly understand the NCAA requirements. Even though you may not be eligible to submit the application now, become well acquainted with the language and the requirements.
Meanwhile, work on establishing a course of action:
In which sport do you believe you have skills and talent? Do you spend time seriously practicing? Have you inquired about receiving “professional” help/assistance in honing your skills? How about your gym teacher-have you spoken to him/her about your interest? Maybe an organization or camp that assists you in getting better.
Are you engaged in any formal or official athletic team activities?
If you are in middle school, what is your GPA? High school? What is your Grade Point Average? Don’t aim to just “pass a course”. If you are interested in getting into your college of choice in order to play/ participate in sports, just passing is not enough.
Which college do you wish to attend? Don’t know-start by doing your homework and making realistic decisions. Now, get in touch with the school/s in order to attain academic and athletic information.
This is the beginning of a journey, carefully mapped out and implemented. Sounds daunting? Yes, it is but not impossible! Stretch out your hand for there are many looking to support you. Now get started.
Deacon Barbara Ghyll is a grandmother, a mother, and a daughter. As a servant of the Lord, she has been highly blessed and favored to serve God’s children to help them to unlock their potential and to excel academically in school. She holds a Post Graduate degree in Educational Leadership and is a former NYC Elementary School Principal. She is also a former Adjunct Professor at NYU and Adelphi Universities and has over 48 years of experience in education, spanning from Chicago to NYC, both public, private and parochial school systems. She currently serves as a faithful member and as a Deacon at New Life Christian Center which is under the direction and leadership of Apostle Katherine Corbett.