Being a student athlete in high school is challenging. Student athletes have a dual focus of competing both in the classroom and on the playing field. As student athletes prepare for their transition from high school to college, they must choose a school that not only is a good academic fit but also a good athletic fit. Most students find it very challenging to navigate the college selection process, but being a student athlete adds an additional layer with factors that can influence the decision. When a high school student athlete is being recruited, what factors must that individual consider? Are there any advantages that these student athletes have ? 

There are many factors that go into recruiting student athletes, and multiple factors that student athletes consider when they pursue college athletic opportunities. Students need to consider their options and to make sense of their athletic and academic goals when looking for opportunities to be student athletes in college.

For student athletes, the quality and fit of a university’s athletic program can be equally important or even outweigh that institution’s academic prowess and reputation. Student athletes, by nature, are competitive and want to go to a place where they can compete and have both individual and team success. Student athletes must be able to balance a school’s academic reputation and its athletic reputation when deciding on the school that is best for them. Coaches, many times are very influential and sometimes can be the deciding factors on a student athletes college decision. 

Student athletes will spend a great deal of their time in college around their teammates and coaches. When an athlete is “in season” they often will spend between 4-6 hours daily and many times over 30 hours weekly playing and practicing their sport. In addition, during the “off season “ they can spend up to 20 hours a week training.  That said, it is vital for a student athlete to feel as though they fit in with their teammates and are comfortable with the team culture. As a result, in addition to a university’s academic reputation and athletic reputation, a student athlete also has to strongly consider if they are a fit for the team culture when making a college decision. 

Student athletes do have some advantages in the admissions process. Being a student athlete can be considered as an additional criteria for admission during the application process. Often coaches have roster minimums which must be met every year. This puts the student athlete in a strong position because the schools are looking for talented student athletes to join their rosters. 

Less than 8% of high school student athletes will have the opportunity to participate in athletics at the college level. Even though it can add additional stress and another layer to the college selection process, being recruited to play a sport in college can be an exciting process. Being a student athlete can add other options that might not have been there if not for athletics. Hopefully navigating the athletic recruitment process will offer student athletes and their families an opportunity to meet many great people and learn about several great institutions. 

Todd is one of GAMECHANGER’s athletic recruitment and financial aid coaches. For more information, or to connect with Todd, email GAMECHANGER now.