The DOs and DON'Ts of Playing Sports in College

By Peterson's Staff updated on Tuesday, January 29, 2013

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!

There are a few simple guidelines to follow if you're hoping to score a spot on a college team, 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.



About the Author

Peterson's has more than 40 years of experience in higher education, and the expert staff members here are all ready to leverage their considerable knowledge and experience to help you succeed on your educational journey. We have the information, the know-how, and the tools -- now all we need is you!

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