How to Become a College Athlete

Finished your high school athletic glory days and ready to move on to the next level of play? Not sure how to approach a university or spark the interest of a scout? Here are some tips to help you get noticed and signed by a school for that next step in your life as an athlete.


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    Start by filming some game footage. Some sports have an early fall season, such as women's soccer, and by the time a collegiate team is ready for try-outs and to start scouting a few players, your season may have ended. Game footage will play a large role in continuing your athletic career.
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    Keep a record of all your stats, awards, and accomplishments. Like game footage, this will also be another factor that can help improve your chances of being looked at by a scout or being asked to come to open try-outs.
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    Pick a few colleges or universities that have the sport you are interested in and that you would like to attend and check their website or call the athletic director and find out some info. Most schools will have some type of Athletic Questionnaire you can fill out to let them know you are interested in possibly playing there.
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    Finish your season strong and avoid injuries. A bad-timed injury at the end of your season could strongly affect your chances of being able to play in college. If a coach thinks you are injury prone, they may not be willing to take that risk with their scholarship money.
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    If you have heard back from any coaches or an athletic director from a school you have shown interest in, send in some game footage and a summary of your stats and athletic career. Include as much as possible that might put you over the edge against another player being considered.
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    If a coach invites you to try outs or to come practice with the team one day, make sure that you are in decent shape. It may be 3 months after your season has ended and you haven't touched a ball or ran a foot since your last game. Run a few extra miles and work on some touches or work on getting familiar with the skills again so you are not left looking like an amateur at the try out.
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    The level of play from high school to college is tremendously greater. In any sport, the game is more fast-paced, more skilled, and more competitive. It is completely different. Don't let that affect your game. You have made it to try-outs or farther, so the coaches obviously see something they can use. You deserve to be there based on your skills and ability of play.
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    Once you have been offered a scholarship or asked to play for the following year, you and your coach should set up an official signing date. This is where you will sign your intent to play your college career with the school. This is usually a big day with lots of photographs so dress nice and bring your parents along.
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    As the end of your senior year approaches, don't suffer from "senior-itis." Don't let your grades or attendance slack off. Your athletic scholarship is pending on your grades and graduation of high school.
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    The next thing you will need to do is talk to your guidance office about the NCAA Clearinghouse. All athletes that play any sport after high school must be cleared. They will give you the website address and possibly a code for your school. You will need to have good grades and attendance and a good standing to be cleared.
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    During the summer, most coaches will send you some sort of summer work out plan, or you might even leave for school early to have some sort of pre-season or "two-a-day" work outs. Most importantly, keep in shape. You will work harder than you ever did in high school so you need to prepare your body for the physical intensity that will be new to you.


  • Begin emailing or attempting to get in contact with your other teammates, especially the other new freshman or transfer students. They will be in the same boat as you and it will be very helpful to have an already established support group of friends when you get to school or pre-season.
  • Work on keeping your body hydrated and gaining healthy eating habits. Especially as a college athlete, you don't want to gain that freshman 15.


  • Make sure you think about all of your scholarship offers wisely. Just because one schools offers you more scholarship than another does not mean its the best choice. It could be that in the end that school is still more expensive, especially if you're looking at playing for private institutions.
  • Don't trust anyone selling you a workout program or any service that promises you a scholarship, they are just trying to take your money. You want a scholarship, be the best player in your state at your position, without question, and attach yourself to the best competition you can find, all star teams, travel teams, etc.

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Categories: Sports Leadership