One of the most important decisions an athlete has to make is where to go to college. Whether attending college for strictly academics, and or pursuing aspirations to play a sport at the collegiate level, organizing your search, understanding academic and athletic standards, and knowing exactly what options are available to you are key elements.
When beginning your college search, think about the following items that may influence your decision to attend a particular school, or not:
- Local vs. Distance
- Commuting vs. Residential
- Urban vs. Rural
- Large Campus vs. Small Campus
- Student life – campus activities
- Meeting admission standards
- Area of academic interest
- Attend college soccer games
In 9th & 10th grade as a freshman or sophomore, the number of colleges you select will most likely be higher than as a junior or senior in HS. This is only natural as you are still debating all the factors outlined above. As you progress through your high school career and refine what it is you do want in a college, you will find your idea of the perfect college fit becomes more concrete, and your list of schools more concentrated. By the time you are a senior, you most likely will have a defined list of 5 to 7 serious schools of interest.
College Tips & Tricks
Campus visits can never start too soon, so when you are able we encourage you to do so. Take the opportunity to establish communication with admissions counselors early in the college planning process, and request media packets from those schools that you want to learn more about. Connect with the Department Head in your projected major to find out about the depth of the degree program you are considering, as this can be a good indicator of whether a college will satisfy your academic pursuits.
Arrange visits prior to, and well before your desired date to make a campus tour. This gives admissions a chance to organize an itinerary so that you can sit in on a class, speak with current students, visit a dorm, dine in the cafeteria, and maybe even stay the night on campus.
Be sure to check out student bulletin boards, posters, the school newspaper, message boards, and find out what is going on in and around campus. Make a mental note of what campus groups are available, student concerns if any, and upcoming social activities. These can offer a wealth of information and give you insight into student life and the social side of college.
Tuition will vary depending on whether the college is public or private, and if you live in state or out of state. Although public universities are traditionally less expensive than private ones, consider all factors that may impact your total tuition expense.
The majority of colleges and universities will offer academic scholarships, with many having athletic scholarship opportunities as well (Ivy League schools will not have athletic scholarships). When thinking about the expense of, and how to pay for college, consider this; a great high school GPA, advanced or honor courses, SAT and or ACT scores can reap dividends when you begin applying for college.
College and universities will offer academic and merit scholarship money awards dependent on your high school GPA and SAT/ACT test score(s). The better your GPA and test scores, the more money you could receive in scholarship monies.
What’s even better? The amount awarded will usually be offered for each year you attend (up to 4 years total), as long as you maintain the designated GPA set forth by the college to keep the scholarship. This means your college education, or a good part of it, could be paid for due to the great grades you earned in high school.
Additional opportunities to garner scholarship monies can often come from these categories:
- Community Service work
- Endowments and Grants
- Fine Arts
Each college or university website will have information on the scholarship/grant opportunities they offer, guidelines for eligibility, and the process for application. Be mindful of application and scholarship deadlines, so you don’t miss out on money to help fund your college education.
If pursuing collegiate soccer, there are approximately 1,400 program options for women. Athletic scholarship awards will vary by affiliation, division of play, and the individual funding that each college provides to the coach for that particular athletic program. Contact the coach to find out the number of athletic scholarship options available.
Understand, that the coach will use their available scholarship funds to cover freshman through seniors for the upcoming year.
If your path does include college soccer, connect with the coaches of the programs you feel would be both a good academic and athletic fit with, as soon as possible. Although athletic affiliation, division of play, and your age will impact what communication can or cannot take place with a particular college coach, being identified as a potential recruit early on is important.
An introduction of yourself via a cover letter along with your player profile is ideal. If you are participating in an upcoming showcase or tournament where college coaches may be attending, provide your game schedule as soon as possible. This gives those attending coaches you contact a good indication of your interest in their school, an opportunity to see you play, watch you develop as a player, and determine if your abilities could fit well with their program.
The 4 components a College Coach will look for in a potential recruit
- Tactical ability
- Technical ability
- Physical ability
- Psychological ability
If the goal is to capture the attention of a college coach, it is critical to be excellent in at least one area. As you size yourself up in ability, consider your strengths, and areas that may need improvement.
Sample profile – coming soon:
NCAA Guide for College Bound Student Athletes - http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/CBSA.pdf
NAIA Guide for College Bound Student Athletes –
If you are interested in playing NCAA DIV I or DIV II, and or NAIA athletics, you must register with the eligibility center for each one and pay the required fee(s).
- The NCAA Eligibility Center registration fee is $65.00
- The registration fee is $95 for international college-bound student-athletes
- Fee waivers are available to those student – athletes who meet the criteria sit forth by the NCAA – refer to the NCAA web site for specifics
- Students should register for the NCAA Eligibility Center at the beginning of their Junior year of high school
- The NAIA Eligibility Center registration fee is $70.00 for both U.S and Canadian students enrolling full-time for the first term of college following high school graduation
- The registration fee is $90.00 for U.S and Canadian transfer students who are current NAIA attendees, or students with more than a summer break after high school graduation
- The registration fee is $120.00 for international applicants
- Fee waivers are available for U.S students – refer to NAIA web site for specifics
- Students should register for the NAIA prior to their senior year of high school.
For students and parents with questions - visit the NCAA and NAIA Eligibility Centers for registration policies, fees and information regarding eligibility procedures.
Aptitude Tests (SAT/ACT)
The Scholastic Attitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing, which measure verbal and Mathematical ability, are required for both international and American students alike. For additional information about examinations, dates of testing, and fees, contact:
ACT Student Services
2727 Scott Blvd., P.O. Box 414, Iowa City, IA 52243-0414 USA
Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Central Standard Time
SAT - College Board SAT Program
P.O. Box 025505, Miami, FL 33102
Phone 1-866-756-7346 International 212-713-7789
Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time