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For many graduating high school students, a large part of school was sports. In college, things are a bit different. Depending on the school you’re looking at, getting onto a team could be extremely difficult. Also, getting your academic work done while simultaneously playing sports in college can be tough, to say the least! Here are a few simple guidelines to follow if you’re hoping to play sports in college, because it isn’t just about showcasing your skills. Try to keep the following in mind:


  • Start looking at college teams (and gathering college information) early on in the process – even in ninth or tenth grade.
  • Take some time to watch colleges play to better assess your abilities and how they compare with those of athletes at the collegiate level.
  • Watch a college team practice; it gives you a good idea of how a coach relates to the team.
  • Beware of the coach who “negative recruits” against other schools.
  • Familiarize yourself with NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete, which includes a helpful section on “What to Ask” about college athletic programs.


  • Assume that talent in a high school translates into potential athletic scholarships or sports scholarships.
  • Misjudge your athletic ability by inflating or underestimating your potential. Be realistic about your skills.
  • Confuse a coach’s interest with a guarantee of admission, playing time, or even of making the team.