College Counseling for Student-Athletes

Playing sports in college is a big decision for high school student-athletes. This page explains the athletic recruitment process at Division I, II and III schools.

If your daughter is being actively recruited by a college coach, please have her notify the College Counseling Department and Ms. Mallison, the Athletic Director. They can assist your family with the process and address any questions you may have.

For an overview of the NCAA process, including terminology, common misconceptions, statistics and next steps, click here.

Eligibility Checklists

Division I & II

Division I & II schools may offer athletic scholarships to student-athletes. As a result, students must be cleared to play through the NCAA Eligibility Center. There are several steps she can now begin working on to obtain her eligibility:

Step 1. Register with the NCAA Eligibility Clearing House

Step 2. Submit official SAT or ACT scores to the NCAA Eligibility Center using the code 9999 in her junior year.

Step 3. Request a transcript at the end of the junior year be sent to the NCAA Eligibility Center.

Division III

Division 3 colleges do not offer athletic scholarships and do not require students to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.

Indicating Interest

Sophomore Year

• Talk to your coach about your athletic ambitions.
• Make preliminary inquiries about colleges that interest you.
• Write a brief letter to the coach indicating interest in his/her program and demonstrating your knowledge about the school and its sports program
• You may not receive any reply other than a brochure, but your name will go into a file for future reference.

Junior Year

You and your coach are now in a better position to assess your skills and narrow your list of college choices. Be sure to look at colleges that offer programs in areas you want to study. Check special academic entrance requirements.

  • Write selected coaches letters explaining why you are considering that college and how the school will help you realize your overall goals; explain why you would be an asset to the program; keep college coaches informed of your schedule, tournaments and summer schedules
  • Have your coach send a letter of recommendation explaining your accomplishments and potential as well as what you can contribute beyond your physical skills: practice habits, character, etc.

More Information

Alternate Decisions

Attend a community college for two years and start the sport and scholarship search again. If you are accepted at a school that denied you a scholarship, you can consider attending as a walk-on. Club sports and intramural games are available at most colleges. Athletes who sign a National Letter of Intent and then change their minds lose two years of eligibility in almost all cases. Athletes who transfer from one four-year school to another lose no eligibility but must sit out a year before playing again.

Ask Questions

Ask questions:Your coach and counselor are better resources than friends who might or might not know the facts. If you have questions, you can always contact the NCAA Eligibility Center, P.O. Box 7136, Indianapolis, IN 46207-7136, (877) 622-2321.

Assess Your Challenges

• Try to get something in writing if you can.
• In Division III schools, no athletic letters of intent are permitted. However, admission officers often write letters before the official notification date saying that a spot is being saved for you.
• Call your coaches to let them know you have applied.

Eligibility and Recruiting

Eligibility & Recruiting | Divisions I and II: There are some things you should be aware of if you intend to participate in interscholastic athletics at a Division I or Division II school. It pays to plan ahead!

Be qualified: Study the NCAA requirements. Even if you meet the minimum athletic eligibility standards you must also meet the entrance requirements of the college you wish to attend. Know what a “core course” is and which courses at your school qualify. Some courses you take in high school may meet a graduation requirement but not a college-admission or NCAA-qualifying requirement.

All courses that meet the NCAA eligibility standards must be taken before graduation from high school and do not include remedial, special education, independent study, correspondence, or pass/fail courses. Grades are not weighted, even if your high school has a system of weighting certain grades.

You should take the SAT and/or ACT as a junior. If you need to repeat the test for a higher score, the NCAA will count the best individual score from multiple testing dates. Note that ACT scores reflect a sum of the four subtests, not the composite score.

There is a sliding scale for grades and test scores – the lower you are in one area the higher you need to be in the other.

Complete the forms: It is your responsibility to complete all NCAA Eligibilty Center registration items. You must arrange to send appropriate transcripts, test scores, and fees. You may waive the Eligibility Center fee if your SAT or ACT test fee was waived. You do not send your eligibility status to your college, the college must request it from the Eligibility Center.

Know your college: Ask the college about the graduation rate of its athletes, academic support services available to athletes, the redshirt policy, what position you’d be most likely to play, out-of-season practice requirements, what happens if you are injured. Your coach can help you develop questions applicable to your circumstances. Find out about financial aid in terms of scholarships vs. financial need. Ask if aid covers tuition, fees, room and board, books, etc. Usually athletic scholarships are only granted for one year and are renewable up to five times in six years (although you can only play for four seasons).

Know about recruiting rules: And be careful! You may jeopardize your eligibility if you accept any benefit inducement, letters or phone calls, or direct contact on or off campus by coaches, alumni, boosters, or other college representatives (including other athletes) except within specified timelines and under specific circumstances. You could jeopardize your amateur status by accepting payment in any form for participation in an athletic contest or for using your athletic skill for a paid TV commercial or advertisement. It is permissible to accept payment for teaching a lesson in your sport. There may be “agents” or “scouts” who want to market your athletic ability. Don’t accept gifts to you or your family that may affect your college eligibility. Don’t take drugs! That includes use of tobacco products. NCAA rules allow for regular drug testing of athletes and forbid use of tobacco products during the sports season (practice or competition). Know the transfer policies from a junior college to a four-year institution and from school to school.

Getting Noticed

If your daughter is considering playing a sport in college, and she has not been contacted by a college coach, there are several steps she can take now to get herself noticed.

Step 1. Your daughter should notify her club or school coach that she is interested in pursuing collegiate level athletics. She should have a conversation regarding her ability to play, and what division they recommend she should pursue.

Step 2. Compile a list of colleges she is interested in. She can work with her College Counselor in the Junior year or complete a college search on Naviance in her sophomore year.

Step 3. Visit the athletics section of each college website, and complete recruitment questionnaires.

Step 4. Follow-up by completing and emailing an athletic letter of interest and resume to the college coach. Templates for Juniors and Seniors can be found in Canvas.