Playing your sport in college will be some of the best years of your life. It will set you up for success and forge incredible friendships. Unfortunately, too many athletes want to go to college for the wrong reasons and end up missing out on college sports altogether. If these three reasons are why you want to play college sports, maybe you need to reconsider what is most important.
1. The Name of the School is the Most Important Factor
If the most important aspect in choosing a university is that it is a big-named school, you are in it for the wrong reasons. Deon Sanders Jr. has famously turned down excellent football scholarship offers because he was not happy with the schools. It is fine to have a dream school. Unfortunately, too many athletes are unwilling to compromise on their school choice and spend all of their time e-mailing big schools and never hearing back. They waste their valuable recruiting years on schools that will never recruit them.
The Solution: Set up a list of schools that includes multiple division levels. Shoot for a list of 20–25 schools. Have only 5 dream schools and 15–20 schools that you know you qualify for athletically and academically.
2. You are Only Picking a School Because You Will Become a Professional
Playing your sport professionally is probably not going to happen. That does not mean you shouldn’t make it a goal, but what you shouldn’t do is throw away an opportunity to get a college education holding out to go pro. Remember, the talent levels are getting so deep at the college level that the professional leagues are full of athletes from all division levels.
The Solution: Go to the best college you can and become the best player you can while getting an excellent education. Go be the best Division II athlete or NAIA athlete and make the pros take notice, but for insurance against a professional career, get your degree. Did you know, having a college education means you will earn on average one million dollars more over your lifetime than without a degree?
3. You are Only Looking For a Full-ride Scholarship
Paying for college is becoming exceedingly difficult, but getting a full-ride athletic scholarship is not the most likely solution. There are over ten billion dollars of financial aid available for academic scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid. There is only one billion available in athletic scholarship money, and majority of that comes in partial scholarship.
The Solution: Getting good grades makes you ten times more likely to get financial aid from a school than being a college athlete. If you get above 3.5 GPA, you can become a candidate who combines athletic and academic money, making it much more likely that you will not have to pay for college.