While the number of opportunities to play sports in colleges diminishes significantly (see NCAA table below) that doesn’t mean a student can’t continue to pursue athletics as part of their college experience. Navigating the athletic process is more than registering with the NCAA and meeting the GPA requirements. For the high school athlete, looking for the right college division, team, and program demands almost as much attention as their academic search, layering an intricate and complex amount of information to wade through. Including other important college priorities that specifically identify costs, scholarships, eligibility, team culture, and academic offerings will be important to a college search. Using the guiding principle “choose the school, not the team” will help to ensure a successful college strategy and a backup plan in case of injury, coach departure, academic struggles or change in interests. The dream of playing a sport in college is often built on years of hard work, sacrifices in terms of other activities and dedication. With that in mind, finding schools that provide the strongest educational opportunities for athletes, balance time commitments and travel, and are financially affordable is critical to pursuing athletics - at any level: DI, II, III or intramural. With time and effort, athletics don’t have to end in high school; for the student that thrives on the mind-body balance that a sport provides, it is one area in the college search that should not be overlooked.
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