For many high school athletes, the dream of playing their favorite sport at the collegiate level is something they’ve held since the first time they picked up a ball or stick. Making that dream a reality is difficult but obtainable with hard work. When it comes to the college search process, it’s never too early to start. You can do research on various programs that One of the tough realities of college athletics is that the talent level is extremely high, especially if you’re interested in participating in Division 1. A very small percentage of high school athletes will have the chance to play at the highest college level. In football, only 2.5 percent of high school athletes will go on to play Division 1. You can see the statistics for other sports here: http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/estimated-probability-competing-college-athletics.
This is why it is important to do some research and also make a realistic assessment of your own abilities. Even within Division 1, there is still a fair amount of variation as far as the talent pool is concerned. For instance, there is a definite difference between playing basketball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
You can figure out a lot of this during the recruitment process. You will be able to gauge a program’s interest in you when you speak with their coach. Typically, around your junior year, you may begin to receive letters from interested coaches. Colleges are free to contact you this way, but are not allowed to contact you directly until the July before your senior year.
How does one get recruited, though? Performing well and standing out are the obvious things to do. There really is no other good answer. It also varies from sport to sport. For some sports it will be essential to put together a highlight tape and play at college showcases. That way you’ll be able to get yourself out there in front of the coaches and scouts.
It can be daunting, but the most important thing to do is just play and have fun. Whether or not you continue to play in college, you’ll always cherish your high school sports memories.
On a final note, it is extremely important not to disregard the academic side of your application. If you can’t meet the academic standards, you will not be able to compete. You can check out some requirements here: http://www.ncaa.org/student-athletes/resources/division-i-initial-eligibility-toolkit.
By Daniel Joyce