While many high school students are interested in playing sports at the collegiate level, it is important to remember that unless a college coach has contacted the student directly – and most likely watched the student compete in the sport – it is not likely that sports ability will sway a college’s decision significantly. In some cases, however, an extraordinary athletic talent – just like an extraordinary academic or artistic talent – may drive the application process. In these instances, constant communication between the college counselor, the student-athlete, and the high school coach is necessary to make sure that no element of this often-confusing process slips through the cracks. We at Sanford are experienced in guiding students and their families through this system.
College coaches send hundreds of letters to high school athletes, even though they may be looking for only a handful of athletes. Students and parents should not read too much into these letters, for they are sent out long before a coach has made any real assessment of a student’s athletic talents. Before a coach begins seriously recruiting a high school athlete, they must also see a copy of a student’s transcript and, often, standardized test scores to ensure that the student’s academic record is strong enough to gain admission to the college. Student-athletes who hope to compete at NCAA Division I or Division II schools must meet minimum academic standards (combination of GPA in academic core courses and SAT/ACT scores), which are described on the NCAA Eligibility Center web page.